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SyncEvolution + Funambol + Calendar Synchronization: vCalendar 1.0 Considered Harmful

Funambol 6.0 improved support for iCalendar 2.0 (as used by Evolution and SyncEvolution) considerably, so people started using it although the support is not yet complete. However, there is one big problem and that has caused all kinds of bug reports: in the default configuration the Funambol server sends vCalendar 1.0 back to Evolution, which was never meant to handle that and indeed fails to cope with some aspects of it. I have added a warning that this combination is not supported to the compatibility page. In this post I summarize the problem and (if you are a really determined user) provide some pointers for changes which might help with the current Funambol release.

  • Time zone information is sent by SyncEvolution, but not used by myFUNAMBOL and not preserved. Make sure that client and server are set to the same time zone to mitigate the problem. This is not going to help with events which were scheduled in different time zones.
  • Importing items with special characters into Evolution scrambles these characters because Evolution does not handle the vCalendar 1.0 encoding of these characters.
  • Sending such items with a broken encoding back to the server can cause a parser exception on the server.
  • Alarms get lost, probably regardless in which direction the events are sent.

Because of these problems it is not recommended to synchronize events and tasks with myFUNAMBOL. Users of a local Funambol installation might be able to avoid the encoding problems by configuring their server as described by Mauro, but this has not been tested; the problem with ignored time zones and lost alarms will persist.

As I said in my posts to the Funambol developers mailing list, I don’t have the time to test the configuration suggested by Mauro. For me personally a server which does not support time zones is also not very interesting. If you disagree and/or would like to help Funambol improve their calendar support, then please don’t hesitate and try out the changes suggested by Mauro and provide feedback directly on the developers list or in this blog.

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