N800 Synchronization - Nearly Demystified!
So through the graciousness of a developer and their donated code, I have a Nokia N800. It’s an awesome device: I cannot overstate the value of using the same software on my desktop as on my portable device. I refer to it as my laptop replacement: with a new Bluetooth keyboard, it can essentially do everything my outdated laptop did and faster, except for slide presentations.
Unfortunately, I had been using a (slightly flaky) Palm Vx, and was hoping I could replace it with the N800. Yes, I knew when I got it that it wasn’t a PDA, and that there was no officially supported PIM software, and that anything for it was probably a little flaky, but that didn’t bother me - I never was a Palm addict and most of the time used it more to take notes on than actually organize my life.
However, I did install as much of the Pimlico Project stuff as possible, as well as the GPE PIM suite. The “hacker” synchronization of Evolution on my desktop to the Pimlico stuff (copying files from my .evolution directory) worked ok the first time, but the lack of 2-way interaction and the restriction of the system to relatively manual, calendar-only operation made it essentially not functional. (And, when I clicked on a date intending to look only at that day, it liked to add events instead, and Cancel didn’t always work, so I had random events scattered on my calendar.)
With some trepidation, I decided that I would use the GPE stuff - I believed it would be harder because it wasn’t the same data store as Evolution, but only GPE had all the features (calendar and todo) that I needed, and people had, at least in theory, synced with it before. Today I took some time and, for probably the fourth time, looked at all the OpenSync tutorials I could handle. It strikes me as very powerful software that is still very much under development. My version in Ubuntu Feisty was too old to have the GPE plugin, and the additional repo on the OpenSync site was i386 only (and I’m AMD64). So, I rebuilt the source packages from their repo for 0.22 (the latest stable version) and attempted to use it.
This brings me to the good news point - I got it to work! Basing my steps heavily on the instructions to sync a GPE iPaq with Evolution, and opting to use GUI tools instead of CLI whenever available, I was able to get syncing to work relatively well! There are a few issues, but I’ve documented them on my instructions and when I figure out whose fault they are, I will fix them or file bugs.
So, for the sheer sake of making these instructions available to other potentially frustrated N800 users: How To Synchronize an N800 (with GPE) and Evolution. It is my hope that the next person using an N800 who wants to try some cutting-edge PIM stuff will have this guide to get them started, so they won’t get sidetracked on a million and one different paths. There’s obviously some great development going on with these PIM apps, but I fear not many people end up actually syncing things anymore, and those who do know how already, so they don’t write up instructions. Hopefully these instructions will let more people take advantage of all the real work the devs are doing.
Till next time, keep it in sync!