SyncEvolution 0.9.2 and 1.0 beta released, support Maemo 5/Nokia N900

SyncEvolution 0.9.2 and 1.0 beta are available. 0.9.2 replaces 0.9.1 as the official stable release. Binary packages are provided. Changes in both releases are listed below. 1.0 beta contains all changes included in 0.9.2. Development has already shifted towards 1.0, but if you find issues in either version, please report them.

In the 1.0 beta, SyncEvolution itself is already able to act as a SyncML server, both via HTTP and Bluetooth (direct sync with phones). Because of incompatible versions of libbluetooth in different distros, the precompiled 1.0 beta packages do not include Bluetooth support. One has to compile from source to use that.

2010-01-30: if you had problems installing the 1.0 beta binaries because of dependencies on libbluetooth2 or libpcre.so.3, then please try again. Binaries without these dependencies replaced the initial set of binaries today (-3 release instead of -2 for .rpm and .deb).

To learn more about SyncEvolution, come to FOSDEM 2010:

SyncEvolution 0.9.2

0.9.2 is available again for Maemo 5 and the Nokia N900, thanks to the work done by Ove Kaaven. Support for the native calendar is included. SyncEvolution Maemo packages are available via the Maemo extras-devel repository. Bug reports can be submitted both in http://bugs.maemo.org and http://bugzilla.moblin.org. The latter is the tracker that is monitored by the SyncEvolution team, which will also incorporate patches. In general, Ove is the main maintainer of the new backend.

New XMLRPC backend, contributed by Franz Knipp/M-otion. It accesses data inside a web service via a SOUP API and thus allows synchronizing it via SyncML. See src/backends/xmlrpc/README for more information.

Added templates for Oracle Beehive and Goosync. Both are not currently part of the regular testing.

In addition to that, 0.9.2 is an incremental update, with several updated translations and addressing all of the issues reported by users for 0.9.1:

  • vCard dialects: added “X-GENDER/X-SIP” (used by Maemo) and X-SKYPE (used by Maemo and recent Evolution, MB #8948)
  • Evolution Address Book: avoid picking CouchDB by default (MB #7877, evolution-couchdb #479110)

    CouchDB address books are appended at the end of the local database list, otherwise preserving the order of address books. The initial release of evolution-couchdb in Ubuntu 9.10 is unusable because it does not support the REV property.

    Reordering the entries ensures that the CouchDB address book is not used as the default database by SyncEvolution, as it happened in Ubuntu 9.10. Users can still pick it intentionally via “evolutionsource”.

  • installation: templates now in $(datadir)/syncevolution/templates (MB #7808)
    This are files used internally, meant to be extended by distributors. Storing them in /etc is no longer supported, but also unlikely to be needed. Added warnings that these files cannot simply be copied into .config because they are not complete configurations.

  • installation: “make install” populates $(docdir) (MB #7168)
    Previously README, COPYING, NEWS, and server READMEs were copied into syncevolution.org .tar.gz/.deb/.rpm archives as part of custom make rules and thus missing in other installations.

  • building: –with-boost had no effect (MB#7856), detect incorrect use of –with-synthesis-src, workaround for lack of –with-docdir in older autoconf, do not unnecessarily depend on CPPUnit header files and GNOME/EDS libs (MB#8338), workaround for libtool bug (”cannot install `syncecal.la’ to a directory not ending in …”)
  • clarified documentation of properties for file backend (MB#8146)
  • stderr redirection: detect “error” messages and show them (MB#7655)
    The “GConf Error: Failed to contact configuration server…” error message was suppressed by the code which catches noise from libraries invoked by SyncEvolution. Now it is printed as ERROR, making it easier to detect why running SyncEvolution inside cron needs additional changes.

  • importing contacts from SyncML server without full name (MB#5664):
    Evolution expects the name to be set and shows an empty string if it is missing. Now the name is re-added by appending first, middle and last name.

  • Evolution calendar: work around ‘cannot encode item’ problem (MB #7879)
    Happens when the calendar file contains broken events which reference a timezone that is not defined. Now the event is treated like one in the local timezone.

  • “http_proxy” env variable is supported regardless which HTTP transport is used (MB#8177).
  • avoid crashes when libecal sets neither error nor pointer (MB#8005) and when aborting a running sync in the syncevo-dbus-server (MB#8385)
  • “–status” output: fixed missing total item counts (MB #9097)

Known issues:

  • ZYB.com is not supported because of a known anchor handling problem in the server (MB#2424), worked around in 1.0.
  • The IPv6 configuration in Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala” in combination with libsoup and myFUNAMBOL causes network connectivity problems.

Upgrading from 0.9:

  • nothing to do, upgrading and downgrading should work seamlessly

Upgrading from 0.8.1:

  • After switching from a 0.8.x release to a 0.9.x one, or vice versa, do a “syncevolution –sync refresh-from-server” or “–sync refresh-from-client” (depending on which side has the authoritative copy of the data) once, to get client and server into a consistent state. Not doing so can result in applying the same changes to the server multiple times, and thus duplicates.

SyncEvolution 1.0 beta

Compared to the current stable release, this beta release can also:

  • synchronize directly with a phone over Bluetooth/OBEX
  • accept Bluetooth/OBEX connections in cooperation with obexd 0.19
  • run SyncEvolution as a rudimentary HTTP SyncML server

These feature were already available in a source-only 1.0 alpha release. For the beta, we fixed some issues (nothing major) and in addition to the source, also make binaries available. As before, we hope to get feedback on where we are going with 1.0 and its SyncML server and direct synchronization features. If you want to get involved, now is a good time because a) there is something which works and b) there is still time to influence the final 1.0, scheduled for March 2010.

Documentation of the new features can be found in the “Development” section for HOWTOs or ask on the mailing list.

Here is a more complete list of features compared to the stable release. The full (and up-to-date) list can be retrieved from the Moblin Bugzilla (MB) issue tracking system with this query. For changes compared to the 1.0 alpha please consult the change log.

Implemented features are marked with a plus +, open ones with a minus -.

ZYB.com
+ now works thanks to a workaround for anchor handling (MB #2424)
- only contacts tested because everything is considered legacy by ZYB.com

Slow sync handling (MB #2416)
+ Unexpected slow syncs can be detected when running as client and if configured (see “preventSlowSync”), abort the session so that the situation can be analyzed. A refresh from client or server might be more suitable. Because this required manual intervention by the user, the feature is off by default.
- Catching slow syncs does not work yet when running as server and in one corner case in a client.

Improved sync-UI:
+ settings for HTTP servers are now done inside the list of all configs and server templates instead of poping up a separate window
+ uses the new D-Bus API
+ no longer uses private gconf key to select default peer, replaced by “defaultPeer” in SyncEvolution config
+ added recovery features like handling of unexpected slow syncs (MB #2416)
- restoring from backup only supported by command line (MB #8050)
- spinner to indicate network activity missing (MB #2229)
- interactive password request not implemented yet (MB #6376)

Command line:
+ fixed printing of rejected items (MB #7755)
+ improved error reporting (textual descriptions instead of plain error codes MB #2069, partial success MB #7755, record and show first ERROR encountered MB #7708)
+ can create new sources (MB #8424)

Redesigned and reimplemented D-Bus API, required by sync-UI:
+ central syncevo-dbus-server controls configurations and sync sessions
+ accepts incoming SyncML connection requests and messages received by independent transport stubs (obexd, HTTP server, …)
+ can be used by multiple user interfaces at once
+ fully documented, see src/dbus/interfaces
+ no longer depends on dbus-glib with hand-written glue code for C++, instead uses gdbus plus automatic C++ binding generated via C++ templates
- ’syncevolution’ command line tool bypasses D-Bus server and runs sync sessions itself (MB #5043)
- availability of peers not detected (connected for HTTP, paired for Bluetooth; MB #7700)
- Bluetooth peers can only be configured via command line (MB #9216)

Revised configuration layout (MB #8048, design document at
http://syncevolution.org/development/configuration-handling):
+ several peer-independent sync and source properties are shared between multiple peers
+ they can be accessed without selecting a specific peer, by using an empty config name or with the new “@” syntax
+ user interface in command line and D-Bus API unchanged
+ old configurations can be read and written, without causing unwanted slow syncs when moving between stable and unstable SyncEvolution versions
+ old configurations can be migrated with the “–migrate” command line switch; however, then older SyncEvolution can no longer access them and migrating more than one old configuration causes the second or later configuration to loose its “deviceId” property (which is shared now), causing a slow sync once
+ config names may contain characters that are not allowed in the file names used for the underlying files; will be replaced with underscores automatically (MB #8350)
- users of the sync-ui will not know about the –migrate option, so if they have only one configuration, it should be migrated automatically

SyncML server in general:
+ incoming connections are accepted by syncevo-dbus-server via the D-Bus Connection API; because this is a “personal SyncML server”, all local data is meant to belong to a single user, and only one sync session can be active at any point in time
+ different users on the same machine can run their own server, as long as they ensure that listening for incoming connections does not conflict with each other (different port in HTTP)
+ the session of an HTTP client which stops sending messages expires after “RetryDuration” seconds instead of blocking the server forever (MB #7710)
- suspend/resume support is untested (MB #2425)
- automatic backup of server databases is inefficient (done even when client is not allowed to do a sync; always backs up all data, including sources which are not active; MB #7708)
- the progress events and statistics reported for a SyncML client are not generated when running as SyncML server, will require a fair amount of refactoring in the Synthesis engine (MB #7709)
- the Synthesis server example config contains workarounds for specific phones, but SyncEvolution does not currently use those; adding new workarounds should be made very simple (MB #7712)

HTTP SyncML server:
+ test/syncevo-http-server.py provides an experimental HTTP server based on Python and Twisted
- a configuration must be created for each peer manually, including a remoteDeviceId value that contains the peer’s SyncML device ID (MB #7838)

OBEX SyncML server (”sync with phones”):
+ peers are contacted via a builtin transport that uses libopenobex (MB #5188)
+ Server Alerted Notification (SAN) message triggers syncs; server ID and URI are configurable (MB #7871)
- a configuration must be created for each peer manually, including a syncURL that contains the peer’s MAC address (MB #7838)
- should be integrated into the system’s Bluetooth pairing (MB #7089)

OBEX SyncML client:
+ obexd 0.19 contains a plugin which passes SyncML messages to syncevo-dbus-server
- parsing of SAN message is rudimentary and depends on an existing local configuration, needs to be refined depending on which SyncML server software it is meant to work with (MB #6175)

Automatic sync (MB #6378):
- no support for the various server push notification mechanisms
- no intelligent detection of local changes
- no regular background sync
- depends on safe handling of concurrent editing, which is blocked by merging of a new Evolution Data Server API (MB #3479)

Upgrading from 0.9.x:

  • Upgrading and downgrading should work seamlessly when using existing configurations. But this being a beta, better ensure that you have backups of both your data and your configurations in ~/.config/syncevolution.
  • The new configuration layout is only used when creating new configurations or explicitly invoking “syncevolution –migrate” (see above). Such configs cannot be used by older SyncEvolution releases.

Source, Installation, Further information

Source snapshots are in
http://downloads.syncevolution.org/syncevolution/sources

i386, amd64 and lpia binaries of 0.9.2 for Debian-based distributions are available via the “stable” syncevolution.org repository. Add the following entry to your /apt/source.list, then install “syncevolution-evolution”:

For 1.0 beta, use the “unstable” repository.

These binaries include the new “sync-ui” GTK GUI and were compiled for Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Hardy). Older distributions like Debian 4.0 (Etch) can no longer be supported with precompiled binaries because of missing libraries, but the source still compiles when not enabling the GUI (the default).

Because of incompatible libbluetooth versions in the different distributions, the packages of 1.0 beta do not contain Bluetooth support. One has to compile from source to use that.

The same binaries are also available as .tar.gz and .rpm archives in http://downloads.syncevolution.org/syncevolution/evolution. In contrast to 0.8.x archives, the 0.9 .tar.gz archives have to be unpacked and the content must be moved to /usr, because several files would not be found otherwise.

SyncEvolution Maemo packages for 0.9.2 are available via the Maemo extras-devel repository.

After installation, follow the getting started steps.