[linux-elitists] (forw) Stymied on PalmOS "iCal" support

Rick Moen rick@linuxmafia.com
Wed Jan 7 13:17:37 PST 2004

Just in case anyone else cares about the current state of calendar-app
support on Linux.

----- Forwarded message from rick -----

Date: Wed, 7 Jan 2004 12:56:28 -0800
To: Dire Red <deirdre@deirdre.net>
Subject: Stymied on PalmOS "iCal" support

Bah.  Evil namespace collision.  

Back around 1993, a guy named Sanjay Ghemawat (at MIT) wrote a basically
lousy, primitive calender utility and eponymous file format (in tcl) for
*ix, and called it ical.  Various and sundry parties wrote PalmOS
syncing apps (such as Syncal) to convert that bidirectionally to the
PalmOS Datebook format. 

Later, IETF invented vcal, partially to improve on that, and then
improved in further, and called the resulting RFC2445 spec iCAL (usual
filename extension .ics, as you know) -- of late, made famous by Apple 
Computer's release of its "iCal" application with OS X.  On Linux, we
have a reasonable substitute for that latter piece, at least:  Mozilla
Calendar, a XUL app.

The support for iCAL on Linux and PalmOS sucks, in part because
(probably) of confusion about names:  Coders think "Eh?  I'm pretty sure
we can already read/write ical files.  Isn't that what the read-ical
file in Pilot-Link, and Syncal, are all about?"

There's just one guy, an undergrad in Germany, who figured out the
problem and wrote a (buggy) Perl script to convert Ghemawat's "ical"
format to RFC2445 iCAL (.ics) format:  ical2ics.pl .  He warns that it
isn't yet good enough to correctly convert all recurring events.  And
there's nothing to convert _from_ iCAL to Datebook.

So, I'm giving up on calendar conversion between PalmOS and iCAL for
now.  It's one area where I simply lose (for now), by being on Linux
instead of OS X.  Pity.  But I want to be in charge of my data, thanks,
rather than the Church of Steve.  So, for now, I'll be editing my iCAL
files in Mozilla Calendar and continuing to use PHPiCalendar as an
Internet-accessible viewer for them.

I've also added documentation of this wretched mess to my
http://linuxmafia.com/faq/Apps/scheduling.html documentation.

Cheers,        "A raccoon tangled with a 23,000 volt line, today.  The results
Rick Moen       blacked out 1400 homes and, of course, one raccoon."
rick@linuxmafia.com                                  -- Steel City News

----- End forwarded message -----

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