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Ask Slashdot: Open Source Calendaring

Cliff posted more than 15 years ago | from the using-the-web-as-your-dayplanner dept.

News 81

buzz lightyear asks: "I'm trying to find out about developments in RFC2445 - Internet Calendaring and Scheduling...and RFC2447 - Internet Calendar Messaging. Can you tell me what the state of play is regarding these functions? eCommerce is starting to require such connectivity, irritating though that may be..and I want to find out where the developments are, if any. Needless to say some propriatary system will fill the gap if left open long enough."

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Re:Options and Existing Options (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796506)

Netscape stores authentication, prefs for calendar
in their Directory (LDAP) Server, but NS Calendar
stores the event data in a separate database.

Re:Options and Existing Options (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796507)

There is a "web connector" called "Web Outlook" that mimicks the outhouse interface using frames and javascript. Ask your admin if it's enabled.

proprietary is WIN-ning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796508)

with NT rapidly spreading through fortune 500, government and military, along with the requisite exchange server (go ask the MCSE to turn on pop3 or imap, he'll spit on you), which defaults to a proprietary protocol for messages, calendars, etc. I see linux losing a lot of ground -- rapidly.

it's illegal to write a client for this baby. email is the web's killer app -- and MS is choking it off. how hard will it really be to kill http once this is done? outlook and the servers will be in place.

please, i'd like to hear from someone how this will be stopped? i think open source has incredible value, but can it stand up to MS-muscle and PHB's (like the new CEO of unisys -- an MS worshipper)

personally, i'd guess that the only way to stop it is a high quality, easy to admin, open-source IMAP server and client for win32/NT/2K that also works with linux.

oh yeah, you could email the linux haters over at pegasus mail, but they're only interested in clients, and only clients on win and mac.

please post your thoughts, i just watched several thousand users get "migrated" from groupwise/novell to MS outlook, and it was an unhappy day for open systems and the future ISV's


The Gnome project are trying to fix this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796509)

Well, Miguel and some of the other Gnome people are in the making of a pair of apps that are trying to fill these gaps.

They will start with a Outlook like i think.

Browse the mailarchives on if you are intrested.

It would be very nice if once for a while people could agree and make ONE (like The Gimp) real good GNU app instead of a dozen half finsihed.

Well, thats my 2$...

time to do that "cvs checkout gnome" again :)


Re:Open source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796510)

this looks like it could be big, but i don't understand how it can be open source if the gui is locked. hope you consider making this a gnome project, putting daphne under cvs, and dropping wxWin in favor of GTK+ and gnome.

i think the gooey client would be ready much sooner, also i think it should have something like a "moron mode" where it looks/operates almost identically to outlook/groupwise.

just my .02, i hope you aren't pissed but it doesn't fit on a gnome desktop the way it is, and "migrating" people from the other groupwarez will be a problem without "moron-mode".

Re:Seems to be guided by commerical interests (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796511)

As well as scheduling humans like Outlook does, there also needs to be support for event type sites. I work on active-sydney [] which needs some way of working with other sites, for example when there's a National or International event happening that we want to use. Currently we're planning on using a proprietary (though open) approach. It'd be nice to be standard.

Look on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796512)

There is supposedly an calendaring option to Mozilla. Look around the web site. I am not sure if the project is still alive or has been killed.


Re:Options and Existing Options (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796513)

How do you define "to calendar"? I'm completely lost.

Re:Exchange, Notes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796514)

What does "to do calendaring" mean? I've never encountered the expression before.

Re:proprietary is WIN-ning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796515)

Really? I'll try POP. I was told they had to turn it on, and they were not going to do so. Same with IMAP. But that still doesn't provide a groupware environment -- calendars, etc. All that is proprietary, I beleive.

Unlike so many on /. nowadays, I am pretty rabidly anti-MS -- don't care what they do/make, how good/bad it is, I don't want to use it.

Just like I wouldn't want a world with only one beer, no matter how well it was brewed. I'd drink something else, just to protest the choice of only one beer.

all the MS supporters/Outlook lovers who post on /., PISS OFF!

OCS Calendaring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796516)

What about Obsidian Systems' OCScal? It is GPL'd, web-based, and works on vCalendar... It is quite promising.

Re:proprietary is WIN-ning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796517)

funny, i've seen posts like this on the MS lists, "We support open standards, yada, yada" but when people try them, it seems there is always a glitch, "the op needs to do this, that, etc". We'll see.

As far as me programming a better exchange or outlook, I have no interest in trying to compete with MS, I just want to use "anything but" -- I don't really care if NT/outlook/exchange is faster/slower/better, I just want to use something from elsewhere, anywhere.

I've always disliked the arrogance of microsoft corp., personnel and supporters -- and prefer to spend my money elsewhere.

Kind of an old american tradition -- support the underdog!!

open systems loss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796518)

> I don't know how moving from groupwise to
> exchange could be constructed as a loss for
> "open systems". They both seem equally closed.

I think the switch to an all-MS solution *is* a loss for open systems, since an open system must do more than accept outside products, it must utilize them as well.

When the outside vendor loses marketshare to a OS-bound/single vendor solution, the open systems vendor takes a hit, while the bound system moves forward.

That's what I mean by "a loss for open systems". If the case were strictly horizontal, it would be something like exchanging groupwise for a lotus solution.


Gnome Mailer is coming. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796519)


Gnome has a couple new groupware projects, Distributed Calendar and Gnome Mailer.

also, Miguel discusses the topic briefly in an interview on linuxtoday.

Re:Open source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796520)

Well, in my defense, WxWin apps just don't look that good to me, and I think they look out of place on a Gnome desktop. It's just personal taste. Even if they are based on GTK+ underneath, they don't look the same at all. Gnome just styles things differently.

Also, I looked twice for the source to "daphne" on the site before posting, I didn't realize I had to go into CVS to get it. I didn't see a note or message to that effect with the other downloads.

I even logged into "uncensored" and looked through the messages and saw nothing about daphne
except someone asking for a binary, which was not available. I'll try looking in CVS now.

I aplaud your effort -- kind of romantic to see something with it's origins in the CPM days moving so far forward.

Crosswind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796521)

It's not open source, but the nicest scheduler I've seen available for Linux is Cyber Scheduler from Crosswind Technologies [] The server process is on either Unix/Linux or NT, the primary client is a web browser, and dedicated clients are available for PC's, Unix, and Macs. Per user licensing is $100 - not too shabby when you count the cost of Exchange Server and NT.

Re:proprietary is WIN-ning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796522)

As an aside, there is an alternative to an exchange server (check out which now runs on linux. This combination retains the outlook client (and calender) support.

"Calendaring" is a sign of illiteracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796523)

It's a sad, sad world we now live in where complicated fancy words must be used to catch people's attention, and where simple, solid, descriptive terms get left in the dust as the marketroids and script kiddies hit us with an endless barrage of content-free hipsterisms.
The word you are looking for is not "calendaring". You can only calendar something in the most satirical of linguistic vaudeville shows. Real people say "plan" or "schedule" instead, and sound remarkably less pretentious when doing so. "Group planners" or "cooperative scheduling" is nothing new. "Calendaring" is an abomination.

Viral Calendars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796524)

There's something intringuingly amusing about a calendar program whose data were GPL'd, don't you think? It would be much easier to check on your buddies' meeting schedules that way.

Re:The Gnome project are trying to fix this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796525)

"Gnome project are" sound geekspeek. Try "is" next time. Project is singular.

Re:Look on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796526)

You mean a scheduling option.

Outlook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796527)

Outlook 98 and 2000 BOTH support vCal today...

GAFB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796528)

Pull the stick out of your derriere.

Calendaring is a VERY common term, used for YEARS in the SW industry, to refer to software apps that allow you to plan your OWN schedule, in addition to "groupware" planning... Now THERE'S a stupid techie-word.

Re:GAFB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796529)

I suppose that when conversing with blonde secretaries who flunked their sixth grade English class, such grunts and other smelly remnants of linguistic flatulence might occasionally be necessary, but you'd think professionals would know the difference.

Re:Open source groupware project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796530)

imagine everyone with individual mailboxes on a server. . .now imagine the director of marketing sending out a 15MB piece of fluff to everyone in the company. . .n employees * 15MB is a definite scalability problem.

Re:The Gnome project are trying to fix this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796531)

Some people, Brits in particular, refer to organizations in the plural. I believe the "singular" reflects our strange US habits, where corporations are individuals, except for taxation purposes, where they pay less and can buy more representation! Who are we to pick on other peoples' habits, especially literary ones? We as a nation are damn near illiterate. If it weren't for strict compilers, many of us couldn't spell "for" properly!!

Doesn't it strike you as strange that an organization of many people is referred to in the singular? as if they are one being? No company I know of, with one glaring exception, has "one mind"...
hee hee hee.

Re:Exchange, Notes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796532)

It usually refers to publishing information about when you are and aren't available, and use that to guess or negotiate on the best time for a meeting or shagfest.

Re:Exchange, Notes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796533)

Notes calendaring is pretty cool but has a few problems. It doesn't really interoperate with anything else (certainly not iCal clients), and it's a serious pain to use programatically (you have to hope you understand how to set a whole pile of mostly-undocumented fields). I think it relies on an interactive server connection to get others' busy times (you can't just keep an offline replica of everyone's schedules, although Notes is usually good at that sort of thing). And it doesn't understand appointments that repeat indefinitely.

Re:Open source groupware project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796534)

That's because MH is an improvement on BSD mail(1)-style spools, which involve grepping one big-ass file for "\r\nFrom {addr} {date}\r\n" to find message boundaries.

Re:"Calendaring" is a sign of illiteracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796535)

Companies have plans and projects have schedules. What I have is a calendar.

"Group planners" or "cooperative scheduling" are phrases which I for one have never heard before. The former sounds like the people who throw darts at Gantt charts and decide when we'll ship, and the latter sounds like MacOS' excuse for multitasking.

Re:"Calendaring"- is a word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796536)

Calendaring is a term used to describe a process of smoothing paper during manufacture. The paper is rubbed against itself. The surfaces act like sandpaper, smoothing the surface. Paper can also be 'super-calendared'.

Re:Seems to be guided by commerical interests (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1796537)

While it's not open source, supports the functionality you want.

libical (2)

Soggie (776) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796538)

The libical group is working on open-source libraries to implement the IETF CalSch Working group specifications.

proprietary (1)

ironhide (803) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796539)

proprietary extentions for scheduling and calendar based functions already appeared in ms outlook. I was looking for an outlook alternative for the linux platform. Although gnome calendar is nice, it cannot make e-mail based appointments with other calendars.
An integrated open source contacts/e-mail/scheduling pim based on open internet standards (preferably with a database backend) would be nice.

Existing Systems (1)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796540)

Both Netscape and Oracle provide these systems already, and do quite a good job of it. The Netscape Calendar server has been available for a long time, and Oracle's product is the successor to their InterOffice suite, and supports both iCal and XAPIA for open standards access to the server from third party clients.

In addition, calendaring is provided by MS Exchange/Outlook (very powerful and easy to use, I might add) and Lotus (altho' I've never used this product).

If Open Source wants to compete with these products, it's going to have to be *very* compelling, not simply on price but on features. These packages are based on in-depth studies of how offices actually work: the Open Source community has no analog to work with, and a huge installed base of well established solutions to compete with.

Re:Options and Existing Options (1)

pehr (1992) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796541)

Exchange has the ability (or so I've heard)
to export a web-viewable format for the
proprietary features.

I use exchange with the Netscape client
and someday hope to have access to the
closed calenderingsystem through the web.
It is not worth your salary to suffer
under Outlook, knowing that your mail is
stored locally (and on the server)
in a closed, proprietary format.
In other words, if you are an outlook &
exchange user you have *no* unmitigated
access to your data (other than through
untrusted executables, ie outlook & exchange).

blah blah blah blah (2)

sheldon (2322) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796542)

And from the menu bar... select File->Save As
Choose the 'text format'

There ya go, now your data is stored in ASCII format for you to view with the tool of your choice.

Some people are just amazing... I tell ya, sheesh.

Re:Open source? (1)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796543)

I did check into the licensing of wxWin. It specifically states that the license is GPL compatible.

Furthermore, the Linux version of wxWin does use GTK+ as its lower-level toolkit. Gnomifying a wxWin application merely involves Gnomifying the wxWin library.

We chose wxWin because it can target both Linux and Windows users -- resulting in a smooth migration for all those users who can take their groupware client with them when they make that big switch.

To address the other issue you mentioned ... all Citadel sources are available through CVS, including the 'Daphne' GUI client. See the website for more info [] on this.

Out of place? (1)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796544)

It looks out of place because it's not finished, not because it's a wxWin app. The pixmaps, for example, are merely a few images quickly grabbed off the 'net just to put there as placeholders. Gnome integration isn't a high priority for me personally -- partially because I'm using KDE desktops right now, and partially because cross-platform is more important to me than having the tightest possible Linux integration is.

Design decisions are the developers' perogative. Anyone who wishes to stand by the sidelines and criticize them will be considered with all the credibility of Andrew Tannenbaum ranting that the Linux kernel is obsolete right out of the door.

If you'd like to join the project and create a Gnome/GTK front end to the system, we'd be thrilled to have you aboard! Please log on to Uncensored [] and we'll discuss it there.

Re:Open source groupware project (1)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796545)

Exactly! A true message store will handle the distribution of a single message to multiple local recipients by storing one copy and keeping a reference count of how many mailboxes and/or public folders are pointing to it.

Open source groupware project (2)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796546)

Anyone interested in an open source groupware project should check out Citadel [] , which has made quite a lot of progress so far. We started with the existing code to a BBS program and moved forward from there. It already supports email, public folders, instant messaging, web/telnet/client access, and a bunch of other stuff. We all know about the un-scalability of BSD-style mailboxes, and Citadel will be an open source messaging platform with a true message store (the message store is already in place and works quite well).

Development help is currently needed in the areas of address books and calendaring/scheduling. This would be a great project for someone to join rather than try to write a calendaring app from scratch with no infrastructure behind it.

FrameCal with Outlook (1)

gigi (4458) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796547)

I'm currently working on a project where we might be using Michael Schechter's FrameCal [] running on a bank's intranet and need to sync with Outlook. Post a message if you are interested in this direction.

PS. Development is not approved yet.
PPS. Have not studied these RFCs ( here is RFC2445 [] ), but at first glance it appears that RFC2445 is not XML-based and therefore I am not very interested.

Only sane group-scheduling I've ever seen... (1)

mdorman (4972) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796548)

was in, of all things, SideKick 98.

It used specially formatted messages dumped in your inbox (which SK would rifle through, not touching anything else) to exchange the information.

The thing that really impressed me was the fact that the messages were plain ASCII, and included instructions on how you could acknowledge the invitation by hand.

Mind you, I didn't use it myself---I had long ago gotten the NT box off my desk---but I was amazed at Starfish's intelligence.

Then SideKick '99 came out and they removed the feature. :-)


Re:>"users demand calendaring" (1)

Clansman (6514) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796549)

>(A)Users demand calendaring

This is the key ... it's needed. right now. I have been checking this out for a while now, slow movements on various fronts most notably Crosswinds stuff (cyberscheduler etc). Still, nothing that allows different client apps to share the same data store a la imap ...

A standard could still win ... the ability to send your customers, clients or partners appointments without sharing the same application would be a killer. But it need to be here right now.

Open Source Internet Calendar Standards (2)

gampid (8492) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796550)

I've been working with some people on building an open source calendar sharing protocol. We haven't gone very far, but it looks like it will be xml based, using a lot of the ideas from the iCal standards. I've written an vCal writer in perl, and a partial reader which helped me get a feel for the standard. The real pain I found was parsing repeating events.

Email me [mailto] if you're interested in our mailinglist.

We are trying to build a global network where everybody will run a calendar on their website and the data can be shared and used by people anybody who wants to use it. Once we get that up maybe we could build an open source, open content net syndication system for more that just calendar data.

Linuxcare working on specs (1)

aftyde (9161) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796551)

We are working on a spec and will probably start hiring programmers at some point in the near future. Groupware is key!

Re: Calendaring and Scheduling work in the IETF (1)

Jeff Hodges (9433) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796552)

> I feel that what's needed is an internet
> protocol that isn't mean't to share data
> between programs, but is the protocol with
> which data is shared. To my knowledge, those
> protocols have have made no effort to include
> location scheduling, groups, etc.

One of the key aspects of the IETF process is that anyone can participate. If you have concerns about the direction of the calendaring work and feel you have ideas and maybe even elbow grease to contribute, you should sign up on the appropriate mailing list(s) and participate.

If the current calendaring work looks like only entrenched vendors are designing it, that may be essentially what is happening (I personally don't know). It takes the participation of different folks with different perspectives in order to balance out a workng group's direction(s).

The IETF has built a robust infrastructure for open development of Internet protocols -- I strongly encourage anyone who is entertaining development of a multi-vendor IP-based protocol to carry it forward within the IETF framework so that we all can beneit from it.


Re: Calendaring and Scheduling work in the IETF (4)

Jeff Hodges (9433) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796553)

There is definitely on-going work in the IETF ( on Calendaring and scheduling. This page.. indeed the key resource. Closely following that is the "calsch" working group's "charter page".. .html

Before you run off and start doing any of your own things, I urge you to carefully review the current internet-drafts and RFCs produced by this group as well as review the working group's mailing list archive (which is available via the IMC-hosted page pointed-to above).

~Anyone~ is welcome to participate in the IETF. If you have ideas and cycles to contribute to this avenue, then you're definitely encouraged to get involved.

Note that by definition, IETF protocol standards are OPEN. Implementations are often open-source. For any protocol standard to progress beyond the "proposed standard" maturity level, there must be > 1 ~interoperable~ implementations. See this page.. ndardsProcess.html

..for info about "IETF Document Series and How Standing is Denoted".

If you've never participated in the IETF and are curious about how to get started, take a look at..


Korganizer? (2)

Alex Zepeda (10955) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796554)

Has anyone taken a look at Korganizer? It has pretty good support for vCalendar as well as syncronizing with a Palm Pilot (via kpilot)..

Re:"Calendaring" is a sign of illiteracy (2)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796555)

Are you equally opposed to "Messaging software" and "Networking software"? (These words might have been around long enough to make it into your musty dictionary.) How about "modem pooling" and "bandwidth metering" and "video streaming"? Now, what was your problem with "calendaring" again?

You should get used to the fact that this is English, specifically the kind of English used in computer industry jargon. Nouns become verbs all of the time (and visa versa).

Re:proprietary is WIN-ning (3)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796556)

i just watched several thousand users get "migrated" from groupwise/novell to MS outlook, and it was an unhappy day for open systems and the future ISV's

I don't know how moving from groupwise to exchange could be constructed as a loss for "open systems". They both seem equally closed.

Despite the fine long tradition of Unix/Internet "open standard" mail, 90% of corporations have historically run on closed systems such as ccMail, MS Mail, and so on. As these people get moved to modern systems like Notes and Outlook is just one proprietary system over another.

Don't go and assume that all IT managers who pick these proprietary solutions are braindead or getting Microsoft payola. The simple facts are:(A) Users demand calendaring
(B) All decent Calendaring solutions are proprietary*
(C) The company is going to go with a proprietary mail and calendaring solution.

An open, low cost mail/calendar program would sweep the market here. I hope some of the products mentioned here get out the door.

* I believe that Nescape submitted it's calendar protocol to the ITEF for standards consideration, but it's banged around in committee for a couple years with Lotus and MS that who knows what's happened to it.


Re:Options and Existing Options (2)

biot (12537) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796557)

> Netscape may even already support this; I'm not sure, though.

Well, considering most of the original LDAP designers now work at Netscape, they arguably have the most advanced LDAP server, and _all_ of their products use LDAP (for configuration etc), it's safe to say that Netscape does LDAP :-)

Netscape's calendar server is 100% LDAP-based; all the meeting info etc is stored on the LDAP server. I'm not sure what the situation is with the calendar client, though.

BTW, LDAP stands for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, not Local.

MS Products are not OS (1)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796558)

I have noticed that there have been several post of MS Products or Lotus Notes. While they maybe real good and may have lots of features they are not Open Source Calendaring Solutions. I think that the person who orrigonally inquired about this was looking SPECIFICALLY for an open source solution, not just a good solution.

Also I do not that they are looking at the current user install base of existing NON Open Source.

To me it seems that they are looking for a product that is both Open Source and a Functional Internet/Intranet based Calendering tool.

I use ical, but ical is not what they are looking for. I tried plan once and it was okay, a bit more than I need.

Does and Open Source Internet/Intranet based Calendering tool exist that allows multiple users to view other peoples free times?

I think you are wrong. (1)

kaisyain (15013) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796559)

It is not worth your salary to suffer under Outlook, knowing that your mail is stored locally (and on the server) in a closed, proprietary format.

I don't understand this sentence. Yes, the mail is stored on the server in a closed, proprietary format. Who cares what particular database they used to store messages on the server? All that matters to the end user is how they access the messages. I think computer people call that an abstract data type.

How the mail is stored locally depends on what your local client is. Since you can access you Exchange account via POP3 or IMAP4 there are a plethora of options. Personally, I used mutt and stored them in maildir format.

In other words, if you are an outlook & exchange user you have *no* unmitigated access to your data (other than through untrusted executables, ie outlook & exchange).

If you are an Exchange user and the administrator has set it up properly then you can use any POP3 or IMAP4 client you want. Does that count as "mitigated access to your data"?

I'm also confused as to why you are upset at having to use a proprietary client to access proprietary features.

Re:blah blah blah blah (1)

nbor (18666) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796560)

Oh Yeah?
You are going to do this for every single e-mail you receive? And duplicate the folder system that the (proprietary system) has?
And what about all the old e-mail ?

Isn't this what software is supposed to do ?
If designed right ?

Some other people are even more amazing...
Don't need to tell ya :-)



Re:I think you are wrong. (1)

Overt Coward (19347) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796561)

I don't understand this sentence. Yes, the mail is stored on the server in a closed, proprietary format. Who cares what particular database they used to store messages on the server? All that matters to the end user is how they access the messages. I think computer people call that an abstract data type.

One of the problems is that if you ever decide to migrate to another mail tool for any reason, your old mailbox is unable to be simply copied over to the new tool.

Abstract data types are good. Abstract data types whose interfaces adhere to open standards are much better.

Seems to be guided by commerical interests (2)

Stalke (20083) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796562)

Currently internet scheduling seems to be guided by commercial interests. The only thing that I've been able to find that shows any advancement is this page [] . From reading over this, the proposed extensions are more of a way to add internet functionality to existing schedules.

Personally I think that this is the wrong way to go. Personally I think what's needed is a system that similar to email. Imagine being able to subscribe to a scheduling-mailing-list that instead of just sending you an email with this years football games (for example), you can get this information added to your schedule and, given an rights system, updates can automatically be sent to you and you calendar can be updated accordingly.

Re: Calendaring and Scheduling work in the IETF (2)

Stalke (20083) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796563)

I took a look at that page a while ago and I came to the conclusion that the protocols that they are proposing really are impotenet compared to the power of proprietary protocols that each company involved with that organization already promote. What they are interested in is a way for their scheduling programs to still be used on intranets (their current user base), but with the ability to share schedules and make appointments across the internet to other people.

Personally, I feel that what's needed is an internet protocol that isn't mean't to share data between programs, but is the protocol with which data is shared. To my knowledge, those protocols have have made no effort to include location scheduling, groups, etc. Besides, what is needed isn't something with which one can schedule meetings (although that would be the basis), for scheduling to be used extensively on the internet, there will need to be ways to include data from web sides automatically and have some sort of time finding features built into the protocol.

Imagine being able to buy an airline ticket, the ticket is automatically added sent to your calendar where to acknoledge it (since it came from an outside source) and an acknoledgement is sent back to the airline so that they know that it wasn't a fraud. Or, on a more local level, you can schedule that your house is re-roofed while you are not there. Personally I think that scheduling is the next best thing on the net, but the only "open source" scheduling on the net right now isn't for the advancement of scheduling, its for the interaction of existing scheduling software between proprietary systems.

Re:proprietary is WIN-ning (1)

CerebusUS (21051) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796564)

You don't have to have drunk the MS kool-aid to recognize when they have a superior product. By this I am NOT saying that Win95 / NT is a superior product, but right now the Outlook / Exchangecombo is very strong.

Instead of burying your head in the sand ("MS doesn't exist, if I ignore it - it will go away") you should be looking at the product to see _why_ it is so good, then encourage others to make something better.

I'm looking into that HP OpenMail product (fortunately, we have some HP hardware here already) but the client will still be MS Outlook. Why? It's easy to use and integrated.


Re:Webcal (1)

Ratface (21117) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796565)

For me, web based calendars are the way to go. I came from a company that built their own internal scheduling and address-book intranet application and miss it terribly in my new company.

So I'm building a new one right now from scratch. I've taken a look at WebCal and it's nice, but it doesn't have everything I need - specifically it has no integration with an address organiser.

Sadly the new calendar I'm building is being written using ASP's and I very much doubt we are likely to release it for external use, but who knows, I may one day get a chance to build a third one in a nice open-source environment :-)

Re: Calendaring and Scheduling work in the IETF (1)

Andrew Scott (23187) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796566)

The point is that calendaring isn't like email - you can't operate 100 simulateous calendar accounts. The effort required to simply start up a new calendar account is quite large, since you need to be able to copy ALL of your current calendaring information across into it and keep it up-to-date.

Just about anyone who needs to use a piece of calendar software already does. It probably isn't open source software, and even if some wonder piece of open source software came along that did everything that the best closed piece of calendaring software did, there is the problem with additional calendar accounts that I just mentioned. Somehow you would have to be able to migrate all of your existing appointments, reminders, etc. to the new wonder open-source calendar.

To do this migration, you need to have protocols and formats to facilitate the exchange of calendar information between calendar software. Happily this is exactly what the iCal stuff does. What you are calling "impotent" is actually the very stuff that is required to fulfill your vision of scheduling. Just think where we'd be today with email if nothing like SMTP or MIME was ever standardised. iCal is the critical first step.

Webcal (1)

Seth Cohn (24111) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796567) just started up a web based calendar, and they chose Webcal, because it's really simple to implement, open source (GPL), and does a nice looking job.

I'm using it to replace Outlook shared calendars, and it's made my users very happy. Next step is getting rid of Outlook, now that I've gotten rid of my only need for Exchange (I already run POP/STMP on a linux box) Outlook/Exchange is a god awful system, and I'm glad to be rid of it.

Webcal can be found at:
and Michael promises a new release in a few weeks or so.

Re:Korganizer? (1)

ianna (27856) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796568)

In my opinion Korganizer should be reingeneered to become client-server and to use postgres as backend... if this will happen thet will be an alternative..

Re:what about "plan"? (1)

ianna (27856) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796569)

Plan, is still shipped with Suse 6.0..

Options and Existing Options (1)

RISCy Business (27981) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796570)

Where I work, calendaring is a requirement. Which I think is BS; a /REAL/ sysadmin has an unreliable calendar and schedule, but oh well. Anyways...

We're using Exchange (*retch*) and Outlook98 (*heave*). Now, granted, it's a very good tool for scheduling meetings (and thankfully it emails me when a meeting is put on my calendar) and cancelling them as well, it's also only available through Outlook. I hate Outlook. Matter of personal preference.

Netscape has "enterprise calendaring" in Communicator Professional, but it appears to rely on a proprietary Netscape server, probably Netscape Enterprise Server, to do it. I haven't seen it in action.

Yet another option is LDAP. Local Directory Access Protocol. LDAP can be extended to have calendaring as well, without too much difficulty I suspect. In my opinion, this is the best way possible to do it. LDAP is a widely supported protocol. Exchange, Netscape, and many other programs fully support LDAP for email address books, so why not calendaring? Netscape may even already support this; I'm not sure, though.

Anyways, just tossing out some options for ya. Hope it helps. :)

-RISCy Business | Rabid System Administrator and BOFH

Re:Options and Existing Options (1)

rstewart (31100) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796571)

Yes the Netscape calendar server does use LDAP for storing the data and they say it can work with any LDAP server that follows the standards properly.

The client can store local calendars or it can connect to a server. The only server that it can connect to however, is the Netscape Calendar server. Netscape state that they will follow any standard as it becomes available.

The Netscape calendar server also allows for the ability to work with your calendar through web pages instead of their client if you wish to.

what about "plan"? (2)

rana (31171) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796572)

There's a free, (server-based and multi-user as an option) scheduling package that has been out for some time called "plan". From "rpm -qi plan":

Plan displays a month calendar similar to xcal, except that
every day box is large enough to show appointments (in small print).
Appointments can be associated with the following information: date, time
and length (in time or days); an optional text message to be printed; an
optional script to be executed; early-warn and late-warn triggers that
precede the alarm time; repetitions (every nth day, etc.); optional fast
command-line appointment entry; flexible ways to specify holidays and
vacations; extensive context help; multiuser capability using an IP server
program (plan-server with access lists); and grouping of appointments into
files, per-user, private and others. Plan can be connected (with additional
software) to Apple Newton and PalmPilot PDAs.

Yeah, it's XML or LDAP but it sounds good, seems interoperable with other scheduling software, and has been around for a while. It used to ship with SuSe (I think) but I'm not sure if it does now.


Kronolith (1)

Sendy (31825) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796573)

The Horde Project [] (the maker of Imp) is making a calendar app, Kronolith.

For now, they offer no information, but the source is in cvs [] .


Re:proprietary is WIN-ning (1)

simong (32944) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796574)

Sendmail on the outside, Exchange in the middle - it works fine here. MS have got a long long way to go before they replace SMTP as the internet mail protocol. Outlook/Exchange is only useful in a LAN environment. You have people on the road, they have to use SMTP or a web client to communicate - MS understand this, which is why Exchange 5.5 has web mail built in. And don't believe your Exchange bod - SMTP, IMAP and POP3 are there from install time.

And you want a cross platform IMAP server/client? Try UWash's imapd and good ol' Netscape.

Re:Exchange, Notes (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796575)

Not exactly on topic, but may be of interest to people looking into Notes.

Notes has a kind of "everything is a document database" paradigm. Your e-mail message store is just another document database, with no special capabilities. The flip side of this is that any document store can receive or send e-mail.

Notes builds its calendaring on top of this. Calendar entries are documents in your e-mail document database. You make entries in your own calendar by creating the appropriate document. You invite people to meetings or create entries by creating a document that will be sent to the other people's e-mail database. There are special views that show these calendar related documents in something that looks like a calendar.

This is a very powerful and flexible system, especially combined with Notes replication and offline database use. It means that if you develop in Notes, its very easy to incorporate scheduling into your app. However, I'd say its drawback is that it doesn't line up with how people think about group calendars. A more natural paradigm would be a shared pool of events from which you can select events or classes of events to create a custom calendar or group of custom calendars. Notes can accomplish the same thing, but it is not intuitive for a lot of people. I've had situations where people simply refuse to use Notes calendaring, because it doesn't make sense to them, even though it is perfectly functional and usable.

Re:proprietary is WIN-ning (2)

acarey (34175) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796576)

with NT rapidly spreading through fortune 500, government and military, along with the requisite exchange server (go ask the MCSE to turn on pop3 or imap, he'll spit on you), which defaults to a proprietary protocol for messages, calendars, etc. I see linux losing a lot of ground -- rapidly.


please, i'd like to hear from someone how this will be stopped?

Write something better. Simple, really :)

Exchange is a compelling choice for a lot of businesses because (a) it integrates with their current environments [i.e. NT, Office]; (b) it is scalable; (c) although it does perform optimally only with proprietary protocols it does interoperate smoothly (out of the box) with foreign messaging systems [SMTP, X.400, Notes, CC Mail] and clients [LDAP, POP3, IMAP, even a frames-based HTML/Java client]; (d) the client software [Outlook] offers virtually unparalleled integration of email, tasks, calendars and contacts in a single application. I'm not an MS fan, particularly, but Exchange-Outlook really is a killer combination. The nearest competitor, Notes, is pretty pale in comparison.

Want to prevent Linux losing ground in the groupware market? Then write some groupware... currently there's nothing integrated out there, and I agree with you that this is an issue that requires resolution if Linux (less specifically, open source in general) wants to make inroads into this market.


Re:what about "plan"? (1)

Simon Brooke (45012) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796577)

Yes, I've used plan and it's a beautiful application. But it isn't the point. A scheduler only really works if it's interoperable, and interoperability means standards. So it seems to me what is important is to track the IETF stuff and produce modules for all the open source schedulers (plan, korganiser (which is also nice) and others which use the standards that IETF is developing.

Exchange, Notes (2)

1010011010 (53039) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796578)

Exchange+Outlook, other than being a large, piggy and crash-happy thing, actually does a good job of calendaring and scheduling. Users can email appointment and meeting requests to other people, who have the option of accepting, tentatively accepting or declining an invitation. Any acceptance causes the event to be put onto the user's calendar, with a reminder optionally scheduled.

I've never used Netscape's calendaring solution, or Notes.

Does anything currently use the vCalendar message format? Conceptually, it doesn't seem that difficult to add support for vCard and vCalendar-type messages to existing mailers, perhaps with two new types: "vAppointment" and "vMeeting."

At our office, we use three different messaging and calendaring systems. The sales weenines use GoldMine and Outlook. The Unix admins use Netscape, Pine, or Elm as it suits them. plus Outlook Web Access. Other people use OutLook. The Unix people use whatever calendaring program they want, if any. The sales people use a mix of Goldmine and Outlook to do calendaring. There's no standard way to exchange appointment and meeting requests, reserve conference rooms, etc.

A nice, open standard would be a good thing; get the software makers to cooperate.

Hmmm.. perhaps special IMAP-accessible folders could be used to store calendars... or a standard XML language -- CIML ("Calendaring Interchange Markup Language") could be used.

Re:Open source groupware project (1)

shocking (55189) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796579)

How on earth do BSD style mailboxes not scale properly? I get over 300 messages a day which are sorted into the appropriate folders (using MH) and I view them with exmh.

Office2000 - OL2K (2)

DaveKempe (66367) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796580)

From the OL2K MS support Article ID Q196484 :

Internet Free/Busy (IFB) is a feature of Microsoft Outlook that allows users to see when others are free or busy and thus to more efficiently schedule meetings. Internet Mail Only (IMO) users have the option to publish their free/busy information to a user-specified Uniform Resource Locator (URL) file server. One can share this URL file server with all users or limit it to a specific set of users.

An Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard called iCal, is the basis for IFB. IFB uses a part of the iCal standard called iCalendar, an emerging standard for the format and storage of schedule information. iCalendar defines a structure for representing free-busy information in a standardized way.


I have been using OL2K for a while now (beta) and the internet free/busy info is pretty good. A bettere way to share information between distributed workers is the Net Folders feature.
Tis easy to just coordinate Calendaer, Contact and Notes info with my remote business partner, we can assign tasks to each other and every so often it automagically coordinates our contact, shared tasks and Calendar items. It is pretty useful, if there was a Linux equivalent that would rock, but i havnt heard of one.

have fun!


Re:Seems to be guided by commerical interests (1)

TCook (66808) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796581)

I'm not sure where they are commercially, but Zcentral ( ) supplies the features that most impress me. They allow you to enter tons of demographic information one time and then you determine who has access to it. Including your calendar. The features and flexibility seem really well thought out.

Re:Options and Existing Options (1)

paper towel (69464) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796582)

"yet another option is LDAP. Local Directory Access Protocol. "

You meant of course, Lightweight Directory Access Protocol...

LDAP has nothing to do with being local or fact, ldap is neat because the database can actually be distributed across multiple servers anywhere on the internet seamlessly.

Re:SearchLight (1)

burtonator (70115) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796583)

Then don't to it!

I think you are missing one major key to Open Source. It is not *my* project. It is FREE!

Go back to sleep. You are right it is better to be part of the problem then part of the solution!

Anonymous Coward indeed!

SearchLight (2)

burtonator (70115) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796584)

I have started an Open Source project named SearchLight. Its goals are to be a combination of a Personal Portal/MS Exchange/Lotus Notes thing. It is going to be 100% Java with JSP and an embeded SQL Database as the data store. It is making decent progress but considering I work for a Startup it is kind of hard.

I am actually fairly close to having a decent product. I am seeking volunteers to port some ASP applications (yuk) over to JSP. Right now I have a ASP NNTP/POP3/Notes/Problems Management/and Tasks code. All that would be necessary is to port these over to JSP and we would be done.

Any volunteers?

Check it out: []

Open Source Implementations of ICalendar (1)

ericbusboom (70646) | more than 15 years ago | (#1796585)

I am creating a libary that implements the iCal RFCs, including iTIP, iMIP, iRIP and CAP. The web page for the libary is: x.html []

I am also working with a small team on a CS server and web-based client. These projects are in early design, and their web pages are at: Association/index.html []

You can address any comments or questions to me at

Re:Exchange, Notes (1)

milele (71696) | about 15 years ago | (#1796586)

Actually, Outlook 2000 does already support iCalendar. If you use Outlook, you can check this out in a few ways:
- from the File menu, choose Import and Export, you can choose to import calendar data from iCalendar format
- Open up an appointment, from the Action menu, you can choose to "forward as iCalendar"
- Recieve an iCalendar appointment, and it can get saved with the right start-time, end-time, etc.

So there is a raw beginning of interoperability there -- invitations across S/W borders. Maybe next a standard way of querying somebody's freebusy time?

Disclaimer: I work for MS.
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