KDE's Personal Information Manager Tools

The K Desktop Environment (KDE) recently set up a Web site to help

manage KDE's suite of Personal Information Manager (PIM) tools. The KDE

PIM site (http://pim.kde.org) brings together a number of PIM-related

KDE applications into a suite for managing personal information.

The PIM suite includes the KDE application KMail, for email;

KOrganizer, for maintaining your schedule; and KAddressbook, for

organizing your contacts. KAlarm displays and sounds alarm messages to

warn you about meetings, for example, and KArm tracks the time you

spend on various tasks. The KDE PIM suite goes further with KPilot for

synchronizing with a Palm pilot and Kandy for synchronizing with your

mobile phone. Some of the applications, such as KMail

(http://kmail.kde.org) and KOrganizer (http://korganizer.kde.org) have

their own Web sites, linked from the main PIM site.

These KDE applications already exist individually. PIM attempts to

unify the development and make this applications work together more so

than before. The KDE PIM site also helps Linux developers keep up to

date on the latest proposals for PIM development, including a general-

purpose synchronization library discussed recently. For example, work

is underway on group scheduling via email based on RFC 2445 and 2447.

This provides a standard format for email messages that announce

meetings and events, as well as allowing for others to browse your

appointments to determine when to schedule and so on. What's especially

appealing about this is that the work is based on Internet standards,

putting the KDE applications in a better position to work with other

applications -- be they Windows, MacOS, or simply other Linux


The PIM suite seems well aimed at standards, such as the iCalendar

standard used by KOrganizer to store your schedule. In addition,

applications such as KPilot (http://www.slac.com/pilone/kpilot_home)

and Kandy (http://devel-home.kde.org/~kandy) aim to improve

synchronization between various tools such as a Palm Pilot and mobile

phones. The approach of both applications is to bring the data into the

format used by the KDE PIM applications. This only improves the ability

to share information.

The KDE PIM applications have been around a while, but promise to be

better integrated in the future. In addition, the latest KDE releases

(2.2.1 and 3.0 pre-releases) introduce new features.

Just one word of warning, installing the KDE desktop and the many

required libraries is not easy. For many users, the best approach is to

wait for a Linux vendor such as Red Hat or SuSE to integrate KDE with

their Linux distribution and just install KDE when you install or

upgrade your version of Linux. This takes care of all the many

dependencies and makes the process a lot simpler.

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