Recently, I have been concerned with getting my personal information in order. Part of it is finally having an organized life. The other half comes from no longer trusting companies to store my information for me. I am going to outline my current setup and the problems with it.

Let me first say that I am aware of a couple systems out there, but none of them so far seem either installable on my current host, or feature-complete. Zimbra seems very viable, but it requires root-access and a full server or vm (none of which my hosting plan provides). Also before you jump to “Just use all web apps,” I am not always connected. I use my iPod touch as a PDA and wifi can be spotty. My laptop has a superior input system, and that is also not always online.

My goal is the following:

  • Central IMAP email
  • Central Calendaring System
  • Central Address Book
  • Central Todo list
  • Use Kontact PIM suite with all of the above
  • All hosted on my current web host
  • Accessible and editable from all my devices (laptop, desktop, ipod touch, wap phone, etc…)
  • Do it open-source (for free)

Mail

I am actually very close to having this covered. Right now, I use IMAP, with several folders, filters, etc. I use Kmail on my laptop, roundCube webmail, and Gmail for mobile.

One problem I have is mobile access. Right now, I use Gmail to access via my ipod touch and phone. GMail does not provide IMAP access to OTHER email accounts, only POP3. This means that when Gmail reads my mails, everything in my inbox is marked as read! Gmail also archives my email, something I can accomplish myself, thank you very much.

Another problem I have is filters. My host does provide server-based filtering, but it is a clunky interface. I have about 25 filters though Kmail. I like their way of creating filters, it allows for fine grain filtering. Some might say “use Sieve,” but alas my host does not support it. So currently, I rely on my laptop to eventually filter email for me. I am toying with the idea of exporting Kmail filters to a .procmailrc file and throwing it on the server, but have yet to venture into that deep hole.

Calendar

Starting last year, I started using a calendar, and it has saved my life. Currently, I use Kontact’s calendar on my laptop. It is running the GCalDaemon that syncs with Google Calendar. It offers 2 way sync so I can edit either through Google or my laptop.

As said above, I am trying to host all my personal data myself. So having Google host my data is a problem. However, they provide good interfaces for the web and mobile. I have yet to find a way to nicely manage my calendar both on the desktop and the web.

Todo

This is perhaps the most important. I use this to keep track of mostly homework and exams. My explanation for not using a calendar is long-winded, theoretical, and personal. Right now, I use the system in Kontact. I like how it will mash together with the calendar and show me what is due each day on a week time line.

My problem lies with the inability to sync with any services. To my knowledge, there is no todo list system that will read Kmail’s file format, or vice-versa. This is a big problem when I am not toting my laptop and I need to know when an assignment is due.

Address Book

I have made little effort on this front. Kontact has gathered names and emails for me. I have tied some of the names to Kopete (IM client) contacts, but that is about it. In the future, once I start to have real contacts, I would like a central way to contact them all.

I have a couple ideas. One is using and LDAP server, which Kontact supports. The problem (again…) lies with not having that service available on my host.

Bringing them all together

So the BEST solution would be Zimbra-like. I can view everything together in one web interface, yet use whatever client tools I want to make changes. What is an Address book without the email client? Todo list without calendar? I have read a little about akonadi, but don’t quite grasp it as a whole yet, maybe it will help after I make the switch to Kubuntu 8.10 and KDE 4.

What are your suggestion or comments? Leave a note below or email me.

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