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Open Source-Friendly Smartphones For the Small Office?

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the ethics-schmethics dept.

Businesses 222

Thunderstruck writes "I work in a small office with just two computers. Both machines run long-term-service releases of Ubuntu, with Gnome, and Evolution for scheduling, contact management and electronic mail. We plan to stick with Linux long-term. For telephone service, we're using smartphones. In order to keep everything straight, we need phones that can synchronize easily with the calendars and contact data on each owner's desktop machine. We cannot use cloud based services for this function due to ethics rules, and for security reasons. Right now, we do all of this with older Palm phones, but these are a dying breed. What options are out there right now for phones that will sync with Evolution (or another good Linux PIM suite) which do not require data to go through the cloud first?"

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Android is what you want (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33978582)


Re:Android is what you want (3, Interesting)

Izaak (31329) | more than 3 years ago | (#33978678)

It won't do it out of the box, but as an open platform it should be possible to make it happen. Might require an a custom OS patch though... As an Android developer myself, I might look into this and release something if someone else doesn't beat me to it.

Re:Android is what you want (2, Interesting)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979096)

As long as we're on the topic, anyone have any success connecting the Android 2.2 Mail app to a courier-imapd server? I'm not having any joy, though it works with mutt / thunderbird / etc.

Though I suppose it would be better to connect to something with a full PIM suite, like Evolution... but haven't convinced myself to migrate there from JPilot + PalmOS beyond an occasional one-way sync.

Re:Android is what you want (1)

Reapman (740286) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979954)

Hmm trying to remember what server software I use, I was fairly confident it was courier, although may have changed it a year or so ago. Regardless it works fine for me on the default email program, using 2.1 or 2.2.. sure you got your ports forwarded past the router?

Re:Android is what you want (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979230)

as an open platform

Android was open, but that's changing fast now. Be really careful because e.g. old Motorola phones let you install whatever you wanted. The new ones block installing your own images completely. There are similar jail breaking possibilities to an iPhone and in a similar way you can't rely on them.

Re:Android is what you want (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33979272)

Android is not hardware. Hardware (and firmware, I suppose) is what's blocking this. Not Android itself. Locking down a phone is not a requirement for Android, and there will never be a day when all Android phones are completely locked down.

Re:Android is what you want (1)

Tr3vin (1220548) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979342)

The platform is still open. Only Motorola devices have changed, not Android. If you don't like how closed a device is, Android allows you to buy a different device while still using the same OS/apps. A truly open platform can be used in very non-open ways.

Re:Android is what you want (0, Troll)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979498)

A truly open platform can be used in very non-open ways.

What are your thoughts on the GPL (3)?

Re:Android is what you want (3, Insightful)

Izaak (31329) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980232)

Correct. I jut bought a new LG Android phone and had no trouble upgrading the custom 2.1 Android OS that it came with to stock google 2.2. If that had not worked, I would have immediately returned the phone as 'defective'.

Re:Android is what you want (5, Informative)

AltairDusk (1757788) | more than 3 years ago | (#33978680)

As much as I like Android the most open source friendly current smartphone I know of is the Nokia N900. I would poke around some of the N900 focused forums, they may already be capable of what you're looking for and if not someone may have figured out how to add it already.

Re:Android is what you want (4, Informative)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979034)

Not to mention that the N900 has a PalmOS Garnet emulator available, so you might still be able to run some of your other legacy palm apps: []

I myself recently made the move from a Palm TX to an Android phone (purely because I'm a Google Maps Mobile addict), but still find myself carrying the Palm TX around for a lot of legacy apps that I haven't been able to find "modern" equivalents for...

  • DB
  • Progect (haven't found a better user-sortable outlining / project tracking tool anywhere else, even on PCs)
  • Cryptopad / KeyRing (though I guess I should try to migrate to the KeePass compatible thing eventually)
  • DiddleBug (haven't found any decent drawing apps for Android period, much less ones targeted for free-form note-taking)
  • HandyShopper (very useful for recurring lists, birthday party invitation lists, it even does a great job tallying my monthly budget!)
  • HappyDays (anniversary reminder linked to "birthday" field in address book, curiously good for popping up reminders for annual maintenance)
  • PIM entry is still much more streamlined than in Android 2.2 (too many submenus)
  • HP48GX emulator (some Android scientific / graphic calcs are close, but not really feature complete yet)
  • Plucker (still looking for some sort of automated web scraper for Android that allows offline viewing... I know Dolphin browser can sort of save individual pages, but it would be nice to carry complete sites around... Waiting for FBReaderJ to support the plkr format someday.)

Anyway, I too am quite interested in where all the hardcore Palm users have migrated to (evidently it wasn't WebOS, if only for the lack of SD storage :P )

Re:Android is what you want (1)

Sechr Nibw (1278786) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979878)

You might want to take a look at HTTrack: []

1password is coming to Android soon (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979904)

It's a great password manager. Aside from dropbox, it's one of the first things I install on a new machine that will be used by me or a close relative.

On the broader note, though, almost all of these have equivalents or better on the iPhone platform.

Re:Android is what you want (2, Informative)

Albanach (527650) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980070)

Actually, much as it pains me, I think they want iPhones.

If they run Zimbra (open source groupware) as their mail server and use iPhone 4s they can sync email over imap, calendars over caldav and contacts over carddav.

Zimbra has an open sourced evolution connector too, if they don't want to change their desktop software.

Re:Android is what you want (3, Interesting)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979206)

The N900 is great. I'd be very careful recommending it to a Windows/Mac user without Linux experience, but if they are technically competent they should be able to get it working fine. The main problem is that, like so many recent Nokia products, it seems to lack the last two months of beta testing polish which makes the real difference. However, if you already know Linux you can really benefit from it.

Re:Android is what you want (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980110)

The n900 has syncevolution, that can supposedly sync with lots of stuff: []

However, I'm not sure how reliable it is on the n900 at the moment. I'd like to have some server running or syncing with evolution on the desktop, but when I peeked into this on the forums some months ago, it didn't seem very straightforward yet.

Maybe pop into and ask how it's doing?

Re:Android is what you want (2, Informative)

tareko (1002904) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980450)

Agreed that N900 is excellent depending on what you want. I have used many PIMs, and allow me to give you this golden advice: FUNAMBOL. My current is N900, Ubuntu desktop/laptop, and then a speckling of many other systems. I use a cloud, BUT it's easy enough to setup your own funambol server and synchronize to that. Before the N900, I easily synced to several win mobile PDAs using funambol as well. If you want details on setup, feel free to pm. tarek : )

Re:Android is what you want (4, Insightful)

NekoIncardine (838965) | more than 3 years ago | (#33978754)

To be a hint more accurate...

The reason Android can be relied upon to play nice, is that, as the only one of the platforms with open code access, you can write the app you need to get it to sync correctly with Evolution - or worst case, convert your Evolution files to what the Android's syncing functionality uses. Either of these solutions, which are not currently possible on a majority of other mass-market smartphones, should work to fit your needs - possibly with the hiring of a handy coder or two or paying someone to write it for the Evolution project.

The other nice part about Android is that there's a fair array of sets - great way for the boss to show off his boss-ness by getting a recent top-of-the-line while your group handles (surprisingly cheap for a smartphone!) sets from last year, WITHOUT losing compatibility with the key app you need.

I believe that Blackberries can also support custom apps, though if your business does FOSS for the sake of Freedom, as opposed to simply cost, the Android OS, being GNU GPL (even if the specific implementation in many phones isn't), may better suit your wishes anyhow.

Re:Android is what you want (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33978822)

I guess I'll take the bullet.

My iPhone works wonderfully in Ubuntu nowadays. Not jailbroken, just works.

That's not to say the iPhone is OSS friendly, just that Ubuntu has... overcome.

Re:Android is what you want (4, Insightful)

martyw (1911748) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979358)

Quite contrary to the public's belief. Android is not very friendly to standard open source projects, to usual OSS programming languages and lacks basic development means in general. Of course you can "publish" nearly anything on the store, but that anything must come from one development scenario only - the Java app.

One can't even use even basic canonical open source projects and libraries.

Developers are pretty much forced to use Java everywhere - language that is not very popular in the FOSS community and that is falling further down in popularity every other day now.

Re:Android is what you want (1)

InlawBiker (1124825) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979768)

The Google business-class apps are encrypted, private and sync with Android out of the box. And the best part - since Google says you can trust them, it means you have nothing to fear! Of course, you would have to stop using your desktops and switch to Google Apps for your calendaring and email.

Yer boned... (2, Insightful)

Blackbrain (94923) | more than 3 years ago | (#33978586)

The short answer is "there ain't none". You may be able to hack together an in house solution with some N900 devices, but they will probably be discontinued next year. After that who knows. As for the rest, all require using proprietary sync tools (ala iTunes) or syncing to remote servers (Driod, PalmPre, Blackberry).

Re:Yer boned... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33978654)

Yeah, there are hacked 'sync' tools out there, but I wouldn't trust my business to that.

I think it might be more appropriate to examine your concerns about existing platforms/devices/services if it is necessary to use smartphones within the business. If you are building software, then build your own sync tools, however I'd suggest for any business time is much better spent using supported platforms and devices than to build your own, unless that's what your business is.

Re:Yer boned... (1)

CreamyG31337 (1084693) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979164)

what phone isn't due to be discontinued "next year"? It's not like a lack of updates stops it from working suddenly. And these n900 phones are upgradable to MeeGo anyways, officially.

Re:Yer boned... (1)

jx100 (453615) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979532)

Officially-unofficially. The N900 is the testbed platform for meego, so it is definitely going to get it. You can even get the latest early builds for it right now. However, it will never have an official release supported for consumers by Nokia. You will still have community support, but it's good to be exactly aware of where Nokia will stand with the new distro.

Re:Yer boned... (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980488)

yep, that's what's made me very sceptical about the whole maemo platform. There was a hacker edition for n770 but it was essentially abandonware after the release of the n800.

What needed an overhaul was the build infrastructure, ala regular distros. Meego devices ought to be powerful enough to self host too as in the bsd 'make world' scenario via a mounted filesystem or cross compiled from a networked machine.

Things may have changed with the meego alliance. I hope i'll be presently surprised...

Re:Yer boned... (5, Informative)

slinches (1540051) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979478)

While it's true that Nokia isn't providing much support for the N900, it shouldn't require much "hacking" to get a working sync solution because it's already been done [] . The Maemo community has really impressed me with their ability to provide functionality well beyond what's available on a stock N900.

Don't think phones, think software (4, Informative)

dacarr (562277) | more than 3 years ago | (#33978610)

On the phone side, the only phones that are pretty much open-source friendly are anything running Android and OpenMoko. I know Android won't sync to the desktop in its native state, though - and OpenMoko...dunno, ask others.

Consider, though, the following.

Android, in its current state, can talk to an Exchange server. If you have an option that will do this (Evo server, maybe?), use it.

Blackberry and Windows Mobile are both syncable on Linux in general. Do searches in the Ubuntu package manager.

Nokia Symbian, I believe, will function similarly.

Re:Don't think phones, think software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33979788)

There are open-source products available that allow you to sync your phone with activesync (z-push), and it should be able to communicate with more that just the zarafa suite.

Re:Don't think phones, think software (1)

smbarbour (893880) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980428)

Don't forget about WebOS... The source is so open, you can even change the built-in apps (even directly on the device via a terminal session). The "jailbreak" process to allow unsigned apps is to type "upupdowndownleftrightleftrightbastart" on the phone (which even Palm will tell you). They have even provided an RSS feed for the official App Catalog to be used by any third-party application managers to use (such as Preware)

Even Android looks closed-source in comparison.

WebOS 2.0 is scheduled to be released with the Palm Pre 2 in December, but the existing phones can be upgraded to it.

depends what you need to sync (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33978630)

Many phones can sync emails via IMAP (like your own mail server, which I think doesn't count as "could"). If you also need calendar/contacts, then I think you're out of luck.

Google is your friend (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33978646)

Google is your friend

Multisync []

Look what's supported.

Take your pick.

You're welcome.

Even some gifts come with a price. Try not to imagine Goatse. Ha Ha. Got you.

Re:Google is your friend (2, Informative)

steveg (55825) | more than 3 years ago | (#33978746)

Multisync appears to be dead. The same people are working on Opensync [] which does seem to have current activity.

Re:Google is your friend (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33979402)

For something that actually works right now, take a look at Syncevolution [] . The development has been extremely active in the past years and the project seems to be significantly ahead of the "competition" at this point.

syncevolution can work as a SyncML client: e.g. PC --- service --- device
or as a SyncML server: PC --- device

SyncML implemantations are notoriously non-standard (as is the SyncML standard itself) but e.g. Nokia S60 phones should nowadays sync pretty nicely with syncevolution + Evolution.

SyncEvolution? (3, Informative)

furrymitn (1681200) | more than 3 years ago | (#33978656) [] Looks fairly promising using your current setup. A brief look give the assumption it's compatible with evolution, and will connect up to anything that talks syncml, and there's a syncml client for nearly any smartphone out there. And some dated info found at [] gives info on someone setting up evolution to talk activesync, which would allow for windows-based phones to sync up...

Windows Mobile. (4, Interesting)

saintlupus (227599) | more than 3 years ago | (#33978658)

I sync Evolution with a Samsung Epix running Windows Mobile 6.5. Works fine, at least with the USB cable - I haven't tried Bluetooth.

I'm running Debian Squeeze.


Re:Windows Mobile. (1, Funny)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33978780)

...running Windows Mobile 6.5. Works fine, ...

*Looks around Slashdot in embarrassment because he said "Windows works fine"*

Re:Windows Mobile. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33979008)

As strange as it sounds, sometimes even Microsoft software does what it's supposed to do.

Re:Windows Mobile. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33979060)

Sounds like a bug to me... They'll fix that with the next update.

Windows Phone 7 (1)

traindirector (1001483) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979194)

They'll fix that with the next update.

Actually, you're right. It's called Windows Phone 7, and it's not looking too Linux friendly.

They did need to improve the Windows Mobile UI quite a bit, but I think they're throwing the baby out with the bath water...

Re:Windows Phone 7 (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980012)

I doubt Linux compatibility is high on the usage list for Windows phones...

Meego (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33978688)

The only thing that I've seen like this is the Meego based phones. Of course, it's all still alpha.

Nokia N900 (5, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 3 years ago | (#33978700)

It's basically a Debian box with phone functionality.

Add blue tooth keyboard & mouse, plug the video out into a decent monitor and I'm not even sure you need a desktop or laptop.

Re:Nokia N900 (1, Informative)

Neil Watson (60859) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979058)

I believe the N900 is soon to be discontinued. Maemo is depreciated in favour of Meego. AFAIK Meego will not be officially supported on the N900. Finally the N900 has been plagued with USB failures. There are claims that a design flaw makes the USB port weak and prone to falling off. []

Re:Nokia N900 (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979330)

>> I believe the N900 is soon to be discontinued.

So, does that mean the phone will stop working? WTF?? And you will be able to boot into Meego with your N900 in future anyway.

The USB port problem was fixed long back. If you have taken pain to search forum threads, then you should also check the timestamp (that thread is almost a year old) if they fixed a year old problem already or not.

Re:Nokia N900 (1)

present_arms (848116) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979348)

N900 owner here, no issues with USB at all, althoiugh some did have, meego and maemo will be dualboot and it will run a full debian /ubuntu distro, has a gig overall of ram (256+768 swap) and looks decent on a 40 sony tv with the tv out, I love ma 900 :D

Re:Nokia N900 (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980040)

If you don't mind my asking, are you in the U.S? And if so, what carrier are you using the N900 on? From what I've read, it appears that T-mobile is the typical carrier for n900 users in the U.S., but I have yet to see any particular plan on T-mobile stand out as a cheap, effective data + text solution.

Nokia E Series (1)

puto (533470) | more than 3 years ago | (#33978702)

I recently bought an E-63 and it will sync with Evo. Great little phone, and I do not have to diddle with it. It just works.

Re:Nokia E Series (1)

kwalker (1383) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979296)

What software do you use to sync? I've also got an E63 and I'm thinking of getting an E72/E73 but I want something that will sync with Evolution.

Zimbra Collaboration Suite (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33978708)

I recommend using Zimbra. It's free, is an excellent mail server similar in functionality to Exchange, and will easily install on either Debian 5.0 or any version of Ubuntu. You can use any mail client, and they even have their own client, as well as a feature-rich ajax-based web client. I sync it to my Android phone via MAPI, and it works very seamlessly.

Re:Zimbra Collaboration Suite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33979134)

I was going to post the same recommendation, so consider this a bump!

zimbra & droid? (2, Informative)

doug (926) | more than 3 years ago | (#33978720)

I've never used it, but if you set up a zimbra server, then you can use the connectors available for the 'droids. That should give you the services you need on a box that you control.

- doug

Nokia n900 with Maemo? (4, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#33978724)

If you're already using debian-based products, why not use Maemo for the phones and apt-get debian-ARM .debs? Even if regular syncing doesn't work, you could automate an rsync over SSH with passwordless pke.

Re:Nokia n900 with Maemo? (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979082)

It's only a temporary solution, since Nokia plans to abandon Maemo in favor of Meego (the latter isn't Debian-based).

Re:Nokia n900 with Maemo? (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979344)

And you missed the part where N900 can boot into Meego?

Re:Nokia n900 with Maemo? (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979422)

The version of Meego the N900 will get is community-driven. It's good, but you can only get so far without the people who actually built the device.

Re:Nokia n900 with Maemo? (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979424)

And you missed the part where you have to rewrite all your UI code to go from Maemo (GTK+Hildon) to Meego (Qt)?

Re:Nokia n900 with Maemo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33979528)

two words: dual boot

Re:Nokia n900 with Maemo? (1)

jx100 (453615) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979564)

Maemo also supports Qt. The support was added to help aid the transition to MeeGo.

Get a server (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#33978726)

Get a small (hosted or not) server to sync your desktop and all kinds of other mobile devices against. There are free and open source packages for Calendaring, E-mail (obviously) and Contacts either separately or together. If you already have a server, which you most likely do have, it will be able to handle this little bit of extra web service. This way you'll also be better protected in case a client computer decides to crash.

Otherwise, Ubuntu One and other service can get you these services for a small price.

Re:Get a server (1)

kwalker (1383) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979356)

I've been looking for something like this for a while, especially as my device herd has grown. What software would you use on the server side? I've looked into several (SOGo, eGroupware, DAVIcal, etc) but they all break in some form or other. The closest I've ever gotten is a mostly-sync (Contacts and Notes) with with eGroupware but it throws a very opaque error when I try to sync my calendar items (gets about 20 of 401 then throws an "invalid server address" error).

Ethics? (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33978736)

I'm not a fan of the cloud but I've never considered it unethical. Care to elaborate?

Re:Ethics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33978842)

Second party data in Third party Server. I can see how this could cause problems.

Re:Ethics? (4, Informative)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 3 years ago | (#33978880)

If you have employee information in your phone contacts, you are bound (in the UK) by the Data Protection Act to protect that data. If it's being sent to some cloudy server that might be hosted in a foreign country, then you are breaking the law.

Re:Ethics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33979078)

Correct. That would be breaking the law.

Judas Priest has this setup for their soundmen, roadies and studio engineers.

Re:Ethics? (1)

venom85 (1399525) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979114)

What you described related to the UK's DPA makes it a legal issue, not an ethical one. My best guess is that they're concerned with sensitive information being exposed to unauthorized people. So his security and ethics claims would really be one in the same. The ethics problem has nothing to do with laws though. Laws don't make something unethical. Legislators often make laws surrounding ethical issues, but they were ethical issues before the laws ever appeared.

Re:Ethics? (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980126)

What you described related to the UK's DPA makes it a legal issue, not an ethical one... Laws don't make something unethical. Legislators often make laws surrounding ethical issues, but they were ethical issues before the laws ever appeared.

Well, I don't know where the sumbitter lives and works, so it may well be only an ethical issue, with no legal concerns.

Mobile E-Mail (3, Informative)

sheehaje (240093) | more than 3 years ago | (#33978776)

Most of the mobile world I know of is slowly moving away from direct synchronisation with the desktop. Instead, the desktop and the mobile device sync with the mail/groupware server.

I suggest taking a look at Zimbra as it supports most devices out there. You can go at it both ways too, with either a server sync or a desktop sync.

We are using Exchange right now with the Evolution MAPI conduit. We are moving away from this solution in favor of Zimbra which will work across desktop and mobile platforms.

Look for Exchange Alternatives (1)

pacergh (882705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33978782)

Some Exchange alternatives may work with ActiveSync. This opens up your options to Palm Pre, Android, and iPhone. They may also work with Blackberry Enterprise Server. (Novell may have a solution that runs on Linux.)

It has been a while since I've looked for these kinds of solutions. The one thing that has likely not changed, however, is the fact you'll have to pay for the connections between your computer/server and the phones.

Email is going to be the easiest solution. Calendaring will be the hardest.

You say you cannot use the cloud -- but can you use off-site management for anything? If so, use a hosted Exchange server or something of that kind.

If you are hosting everything yourself, then over the air syncing with your calendar may be accomplished with some WebDav solutions. I think Palm/HP's WebOS does CalDav; perhaps the iPhone and Android as well.

Finally, contacts are going to also be difficult. An Exchange replacement will work best for that as well.

Good luck!

For every new feature we lose two (1)

DamageLabs (980310) | more than 3 years ago | (#33978790)

You know what?

I still haven't found an app that can sync contacts and SMS between Symbian, Windows Mobile and/or the Sony Ericsson standard platform. A bit less that 10 years ago I could do all that on PalmOS - the app was called GSMtool - and Ericsson/Siemens phones through IR.

Something that you could try is making your own cloud. Try a VM with Funambol, some say it does work. Haven't tried it myself.

SyncML (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 3 years ago | (#33978834)

If you can set up your own SyncML server, then there are clients for pretty much all the major phone platforms.

Google is of course your friend. You could start by looking at stuff like Synthesis AG, SyncEvolution and Funambol.

New palm OS. (2, Insightful)

camelrider (46141) | more than 3 years ago | (#33978836)

Isn't there a new Palm version about to be released? I believe it uses WebOS.

Re:New palm OS. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33978918)

There is a new Palm phone about to be released. The software it runs, WebOS, already exists in version 1.4.5 that runs on the Palm Pre/Pixi, is essentially the same stack of software you would have on a Linux box running GNOME, and in my opinion is the best smartphone OS/UI on the market.

Oh, and to answer the original question, it already syncs quite well.

Re:New palm OS. (2, Insightful)

timmy_o_tool (657118) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980222)

Not sure if the Pre2 supports it, but the Pre, and Pre Plus have the Classic Emulator. I believe the Pixi, and Pixi Plis support the Classic emulator as well (I dont have a Pixi to try it with)

Samsung Galaxy S (2, Informative)

cfriedt (1189527) | more than 3 years ago | (#33978856)

As pointed out [] by Harald Welte (he's as good an authority on the subject as any), the Samsung Galaxy S is a good candidate. Samsung makes all of its source open and there probably isn't firmware locking, AFAIK.

Run your own server... (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#33978872)

Instead of trusting your data to someone else's cloud, you could always run your own server on something like Zarafa...
I have a Zarafa setup to which i have an iphone and a nexus one synced, all the data travels over SSL. I actually find this a lot more useful than having to connect my phone over usb every day.

Re:Run your own server... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33979088)

yep, or, worked perfectly with Windows Mobile, not yet so great on Android. Dunno about iPhone. Synchronizes nearly everything. syncevolution has got a Funambol config which worked for me.

Why not stick with Palm? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33978874)

Why not use the Palm Pre? It's similar in design to the new Blackberry Torch (slide out physical keyboard) and WebOS is great.

Re:Why not stick with Palm? (1)

aitikin (909209) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979054)

Because there's no easy way to use webOS without being in the cloud for pretty much everything.

I Love my Pre, but if you RTS the poster is looking for a non-cloud based solution.

I do think that that's a little unrealistic to avoid the cloud now and do not understand the ethics violations that would ensue, but to each their own.

I use... (1)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 3 years ago | (#33978908)


Synch to Evolution using "multisync". I also use "googlesync" on the blackberry, so my assistant can schedule me by editing web interface (or, calendaring events via email -- but the web schedule turns out to be remarkably useful for me). But, I am based on an older Fedora -- there have been improvements in the past 2 years.

in7ormativ3 goatgoat (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33978924)

series of deba

Nokia N900 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33978930)

It's the most open source friendly phone right now. Meego might become that when it's available in a big way.

You can ssh into it and sync without using any cloud services. No "jailbeaking" is necessary; you have root out of the box.

The phone is yours. Not Apple's or Motorola's or even Nokia's.

You can make free international calls with Android (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33979012)

Free international calls using Android:

Tango offers free video calling between iPhones and Android devices over 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi:

Windows/Exchange (2, Insightful)

magamiako1 (1026318) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979044)

You should ask yourself during this trial on how many more business-specific applications you're going to have to dig around for and come up with hobbled-together solutions when you could have very well done this easily with Windows SBS/Exchange and been done with it. In fact, you'd be already most of the way finished doing this if you just used SBS.

Your boss can focus more time on actually conducting business and less time trying to come up with "OSS" ways to do it.

Remember, IT works for business--not the other way around. Sometimes you need to make concessions on this.

Re:Windows/Exchange (3, Insightful)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979178)

That would be a little overkill for 2 users, but it is a good point. I agree with your last statement completely. We acquired a company admin'd by a Linux-obsessed freak, and the people we hired on were quite happy about not having to send the occasional un-openable MS Office doc to the one person with Office to re-save and convert for OO.o use, and how well Exchange handled their email than Zimbra, etc. His over-adamant use of OSS was a hindrance on the business. As a sysadmin, you first obligation is to your employer, not your principles.

Of course, we're both going to get voted down because we are a bunch of MS sellouts, despite a full third of my servers/appliances running Linux and other OSS...

Nokia N900 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33979124)

The Nokia N900 [] really does just run a desktop Linux stack. From that perspective you can do whatever you want with it pretty easily. Things like SyncEvolution [] work on the N900. That said, Nokia's Maemo is in the process of being merged with Intel's Moblin into MeeGo [] . It may be worth waiting to see what Nokia's first MeeGo phone is like and perhaps getting that in preference to the N900.

What's wrong with 'the cloud'? (1)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979168)

So long as you have encrypted connections, what's wrong with using 'the cloud'? I don't think you'll find any modern phone that syncs email with a desktop email client anymore. Why the heck would that be desirable anyway?

Also, I'd like to put in a plug for the HP Pre. The contacts and email applications on WebOS are better than what I've seen on Android or iPhone. You can have tons of calendars and even multiple Exchange accounts on the same phone.

Re:What's wrong with 'the cloud'? (1)

Blackbrain (94923) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979380)

So long as you have encrypted connections, what's wrong with using 'the cloud'? I don't think you'll find any modern phone that syncs email with a desktop email client anymore. Why the heck would that be desirable anyway?

The problem isn't the connection, but who has access to the data once it is on the remote server? That is a difficult enough question with a hosted, off-site server but with cloud computing it becomes unanswerable because the data is spread (or should be) to various geographical locations. How accountable is your cloud provider for you data security?

Re:What's wrong with 'the cloud'? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980286)

For most small businesses their data is safer in the cloud than on their own servers (though the original article submitter is likely savvy enough to keep their servers patched and secure).

I tried to convince a small non-profit that they should move to Google Docs to get calendaring and access to files from home. They refused, saying "We don't trust them with our email and documents, what if hackers broke in". Yet they were using their ISP's POP3 mail server for email with no password encryption, and their office "fileserver" was the receptionist's computer and the whole reason I was visiting them was to help clear malware off that computer when their ISP threatened to cut off their internet service because that computer was part of a botnet and sending out spam.

Yet Google is "too insecure" for them.

Syncing with USB is outmoded (1)

Sheik Yerbouti (96423) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979202)

I don't sync devices with USB to my computer anymore that was last decade. When you say on the cloud what do you mean? You do realize your email travels across the internet unencrypted and is readable by anyone in the path unless you have taken measures to encrypt every email right? The future is sending data directly to the device over the Internet or VPN if your so inclined just as you would your desktop. So setup a mail server and have your device connect to the mail server via imap or POP3 and ical... over VPN if you prefer.

Plugging in a device to your desktop to sync is silly and archaic at this point. If you want a file off of your desktop buy a phone with ssh sftp client and ssh sftp the file just as you would from your desktop. It's past time to think of your phone as a little computer with much the same capabilities as your big computer because that's what it is now. Apps you get from whatever app store music and content the same all done wirelessly there's really no need to plug in except for power.

Re:Syncing with USB is outmoded (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980368)

Isn't Wifi last decade too? And Bluetooth. You're so archaic, my next phone will connect to the net via TCP/IP: "Traditional Carrier Pigeon Internet Protocol". Latency sucks, but bandwidth is incredible. I've seen theoretical transfer rates in excess of 1Gbit/second (with latency in the 1 hour range, depending on your distance from home).

I don't treat my phone as a little computer with much the same capabilities as my big computer because it's lacking the screen and keyboard that my computer has. If I want a document on my phone, I just email it to myself. Am I supposed to explain to my mom how to STFP her recipes to phone?

What about encryption? (3, Interesting)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979208)

If you have ethics and security issues with storing data in the cloud, then shouldn't you also be looking for a device or application that encrypts sensitive data?

Do any Android phones do encryption natively? I've heard that the upcoming Droid Pro claims to. I know the iPhone has encryption support, but I don't know how whether it encrypts all application data or only data that Apple deems 'sensitive'.

Re:What about encryption? (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980502)

Along those lines, I would think that if "ethical" and "security" are a problem, having valuable data on a phone is downright stupid. How many people lose their phones? I happens all the time.

I don't know what is non-ethical or un-ethical about using a cloud (whatever THAT means). Does that mean you can't use WIFI or 3G to transmit data? Does it mean you have ethical problems with hosted solutions? What would those Ethical problems be if the data was encrypted both in transit and in storage?

I've worked with people that were paranoid, it isn't ever pretty. And it rarely ends well for anyone. (self fulfilling)

SyncEvolution (4, Informative)

ackbar (1316031) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979412)

I use SyncEvolution with my Nokia E71. Works flawlessly. Will also work with the Nokia N900 and I'm guessing any Symbian S60 phone. []

Nokia Symbian talks SyncML with SyncEvolution (1)

Britz (170620) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979432)

If you don't want to go cloud you will either have to set up your own server or directly sync between the desktops and the phones. Since you are already set on Evolution you will have to find a solution that works with Evolution. I have done a lot of research into syncing for myself and for my job. For Evolution there is a mature solution called SyncEvolution that even has corporate sponsors. SyncEvolution speaks SyncML, so you simply have to find either phones or a server that speaks SyncML.

For servers: [] or []

Certain phones can speak syncml. For example the Nokia E-Series (business phones). Also said company Synthesis does offer an Android app to add SyncML capability to Android phones.

CalDAV or Exchange ActiveSync for OTA Sync... (1)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979648)

If your calendaring solution supports publishing via CalDAV or Exchange ActiveSync, then the iPhone will sync over-the-air for both of these systems.
I have a number of clients running Kerio Connect (not Open Source, but runs on Linux if you're interested) that's essentially a drop-in replacement for Exchange and it supports ActiveSync. iPhones sync to this for mail, calendar and contacts very well. As do most other smartphones that aren't a BlackBerry.

If you don't like the idea of using ActiveSync, you can configure mail via IMAP and calendar via CalDAV and it also works very well.

Why don't you run a calendar server? (1)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979674)

Life will be a lot easier for you if you run a calendar server that supports an open standard, such as CalDAV.
Don't bother syncing the phone with the desktop computer, sync the desktop computer and the phone with your calendar server.
Things will work a lot better that way, you can share your calendars with each other and you've got a single point to backup for all calendar information.

run your own server: +1 (1)

Matthew Weigel (888) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979762)

I've been really happy with this approach, personally. I run eGroupware [] on my server, and it in turn provides device-agnostic GroupDAV and SyncML services (among others) that I use to keep my smartphone (an iPhone 3G, but options exist for pretty much everything else too) synchronized. I don't use Evolution, but I understand that it is supported as a client (I use Thunderbird / Lightning, although there's currently a bug in one or both of them causing problems that I haven't tracked down).

On top of integrating well with my phone, desktop, and laptop, it also provides a decent web interface for it all that I can use when none of them are available. It doesn't provide its own mail server, but it integrates just fine with what I had already set up - and all communication (send/receive mail, synchronize, and web applications) is inside an SSL tunnel. The functionality I have, for personal information, is as good or better than every corporate Exchange system I've interacted with. And it's all open source, except for the pieces that run on my proprietary phone.

"an office with two computers" ??? (2, Funny)

lytles (24756) | more than 3 years ago | (#33979816)

that's not an office, that's a closet ...

Think about what you really need to sync... (1)

smammon (88123) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980230)

Most people that think of syncing really don't need that much and what you need is almost never confidential. For example you probably really just need your contacts and your schedule.

Unless you are a criminal, neither would be subject to questions of ethics - and unless you are a high ranking politician would not even rank as sensitive information. For those - go with the cloud. Evolution will sync your contacts to Google and google calendar is great - especially for small groups or individuals. Both are native on Android. For email - just setup your own server or use the hosted email you have now with the built in mail client. Turn on SSL (TLS) encryption and Bob's your uncle.

If you need to sync and carry documents / spreadsheets or the like, just use android and do an rsync with a directory on your sever or workstation. You can transfer files via bluetooth, USB or WiFi.

Coming from Palm it's a little weird getting used to cutting the cord but it really is great and does work.

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