I’ve been meaning to write more about groupware and collaboration, and hopefully will find the time for a longer post on the topic, but here’s a bit of timely news. Ludovic Marcotte and friends have just released a combination of some of their previous extensions to Thunderbird and Lightning as something they call the SOGo connector: it’s an extension to Thunderbird which, when combined with Lightning, provides features like remote address book through CardDAV (sending vCards through CalDAV, AFAICT), and an informal protocol called GroupDAV. While CardDAV is an extension to CalDAV which is an IETF spec, GroupDAV is currently an ad-hoc, simple protocol built to let clients interoperate with open source groupware servers, which probably explains both why it’s simple and why only a few servers (including SOGo, of course) support it.
I still need some education as to what relevant standards have to say (even in non-final form) about shared contact lists. More on this topic later I’m sure.
Is nicely explained by the Lifehacker crew. It’s not the exact setup I use, but the main point is the same.
Upon reflection, one of the fascinating consequences of GMail using IMAP (which, by the way, is a very significant technical achievement, as IMAP, while a very powerful protocol, is also very hard to implement in a scalable way) is that people can now get free email with an IMAP server. This is important not just for power-users like the Lifehackers, but also for people using smartphones (iPhone, Treos, etc.). I wouldn’t be surprised to see the other major webmail providers coming out with IMAP support as well. We may see yet see IMAP get its fair market share.
For many, IMAP support turns GMail into a high-performance mail server with spam filtering, which by the way can be used with a web front-end — as opposed to what it was last week: a webmail system with POP access.
This email world is a lot more fluid than people realize.
I’m recruiting globally, and that means that I spend a fair bit of time trying to coordinate phone call times involving several timezones. Is there a good website or OS X dashboard widget or … that people have found handy for that? The sites I’ve tried so far have been reasonable at asking the question “when is time X in timezone Y”, but then leave delta computations to me, and those end up error-prone.
I’ll be in Paris, France, from Nov 12 to the 19th. I’ve got a few things scheduled already, but I’d be happy to organize an informal “pot” about Mozilla, MailCo, Thunderbird, or whatever interests.
Oh, and for those of you who don’t know, I’m French (and American (but not Canadian)) and speak French (and English (and am even slowly learning some about the fascinating topic of Quebec profane words)). I don’t think I’m likely to blog in French anytime soon (although I admire people like Loic who manage to blog bilingually) and am only slightly apprehensive at the thought of business negotiations or deep technical talk in my native tongue, given that I’m way behind on the lingo. (In grad school, the idea of giving a scientific talk in French was fairly terrifying). Still, I’ve had a few conversations in French these last few weeks and I think they went ok.
It’s nice to see that Gmail now supports (at least for some accounts) IMAP access. It will make talking to it from the iPhone much nicer — as I mentioned last week, IMAP is just a much better protocol.
It seems that they’re mapping labels to IMAP folders, which is an natural but non-trivial idea, as multiple labels can be assigned to a single email, but AFAIK IMAP doesn’t have the concept of a single email message in multiple folders. Also, the labels are per-conversation, not per-email, so the metaphors don’t line up perfectly. I wonder what happens to conversational labels if one uses IMAP to move a single email across folders…
I think I’ll crash (no, really, register) some sessions & BOFs.
Some of the words that stood out so far: vCardDAV, Sieve, Calsify, S/MIME, SASL.