KDE's Personal Information Manager Tools

By Eric Foster-Johnson, ITworld |  Opinion

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
applications.

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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