Calendaring. Again.

Adam Williamson awilliam at
Thu Jul 28 22:18:38 UTC 2011

Hey, folks. Just wanted to take another shot at one of my oldest
windmills :)

So, we talked about calendaring for a long time. Then we picked Zarafa.
Then we kind of implemented it. Then no-one used it, and we took it out

That wasn't what you might call a 'success', I know. I think there's
maybe a couple of reasons for that. One, I'm still not really sure why
we'd pick Zarafa. It's explicitly designed to be a Microsoft Exchange
replacement, and I don't think Fedora is a project with a lot of people
who really need to use ActiveSync or Outlook, so...huh? It just doesn't
seem like it was ever a great fit. By the Zarafa page on the wiki - - we couldn't even ship Z-Push
because ActiveSync is patented, so apparently our only ever official
calendaring system never had a working sync mechanism at all, and I
don't think Zarafa's web interface is any great shakes.

Two, there was never any particular driver towards using it.

So, I think another try with a more appropriate calendaring system - if
we can find one - and a 'seed' use of it might be a good idea.

I've been using eGroupware, personally, for quite a while, and I think
it's a good system. I'm not aware of any major barriers to including it
in Fedora. It has internal copies of a few Pear modules, but that's
pretty small beer and it should be trivial to use the system-wide copies
or get an exception (some of them are extensively modified). It has a
nice web UI and decent sync capabilities via CalDAV: I've used it
synchronized with Evolution on two systems and never had major problems.
It seems at least a better fit than Zarafa. Citadel would be another one
to look at.

As for a 'seed' use, I think an ideal fit here would be the release
schedules. Currently, these are dumb HTML tables with ICS files living
in the current release manager's personal fedoraproject space:

which sucks for any number of reasons, not least of which you need to
know who the hell the release manager is at the moment in order to find
the schedule. =) Using a proper calendaring system would seem to be a
far better way to handle the release calendars, and would be a great
kickstarter for a project calendaring system. Since the calendars are
maintained by one person, we only need to get one person (hi, Robyn!) to
buy in, in order to kick off this seed use.

To restrict the liability issues mentioned in Smooge's blog post, we
could not enable the email function of the system we choose (this is
possible with both EGW and Citadel). We could also not have individual
accounts for all Fedora project members, at least at first: we could
have just a few individual accounts with commit access, mainly for the
release manager to maintain the calendars, and then have a single
read-only guest account which people could use to view the calendars and
sync them read-only to their phones and desktop clients. It may even be
possible to set things up so people can view and read-only sync without
any authentication required.

What do people think of this idea? If it seems like an approach that's
simpler to maintain and more likely to produce actual useful results,
that'd be great. I'm willing to work on packaging eGroupware and
resolving the private-copies-of-pear-modules issue - I already maintain
eGW for Mandriva, so it wouldn't be too much work to convert the spec to
Fedora standards.
Adam Williamson
Fedora QA Community Monkey
IRC: adamw | Twitter: AdamW_Fedora | adamwfedora

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