5. Desktop Applications.

This section describes applications which can synchronise their data with your PDA. The applications generally use pilot-link to provide communication with the PDA. Coldsync provides conduit capabilities to application that are not specifically written with PDAs in mind.

5.1. JPilot

JPilot is a Personal Information Manager (PIM) that provides a replacement for the Palm Desktop software provided for Windows and the Mac. JPilot provides desktop versions of the Palm address book, todo list, calendar and memopad. JPilot can also be used to install applications onto the PDA.

JPilot is available with most Linux distributions. You can also download JPilot from http://www.jpilot.org. To use JPilot you must have pilot-link installed. As JPilot is a gtk+ application, you will also need gtk+.

5.2. Gnome-pilot

Gnome-pilot aims to provide PDA connectivity for the Gnome desktop. Gnome-pilot provides conduits for the Gnome PIM applications, a control centre applet for configuring the link, and a panel applet for dislaying the hotsync status.

Gnome-pilot uses a daemon process to communicate with the PDA via pilot-link. Client applications use the daemon, rather than call pilot-link directly. The daemon must be running in order to use the client applications such as the conduits.

Gnome-pilot should be available as part of Gnome. The home page for the project is at http://www.gnome.org/projects/gnome-pilot/.

Gnome-pilot configuration is done through the Gnome control centre. If you have gnome-pilot installed, you should have a "Pilot Link" section under the peripherals section of the control centre.

5.2.1. The Pilot Link Applet

The Gnome control panel Pilot Link applet allows you to configure your PDA for use with Gnome. You must set up your PDA before you can use any of the Gnome conduits.

The first step is to add a device. Start the Gnome control centre, and click on "Pilot Link" in the left hand pane. The right hand pane should show the pilot link applet.

  • Click on the devices tab, then click "Add". You should see the "Device Settings" dialog box.

  • The "Name" field can contain anything to help you identify the port that you create.

  • The "Port" field should contain the port to which you attach your PDA. The port should be the same as you use for pilot-link.

  • The speed and timeout values will depend on your device. Try the defaults, and change them if you have problems synchronising.

  • The "Type" should be set to your device type.

Once you have configured the device, you can configure the actual PDA:

  • Click on the "Pilots" tab, then click on "Add...". You should then see the "Pilot Settings" dialog box.

  • If you already have a user name set up on the PDA, click "Get from pilot" to download the username and ID. Otherwise, click "Send to pilot" to set up your username on the PDA.

  • The "Pilot Attributes" allow you to name your PDA and set a local directory to use for the conduits.

  • The "Sync action" determines what happens when you press the hotsync button on your PDA. The default is "Use conduit settings". This allows you to customise set different sync actions for each conduit.

Once you have configured your PDA, you need to configure the conduits.

5.2.2. The Pilot Conduits Applet

Start the Gnome control centre, then click on "Pilot Conduits" in the left hand pane. If you have a PDA configured in the pilot link applet, you will see a list of available conduits. If you have more than one PDA, you can use the drop down list to select the one that you wish to configure.

Each available conduit starts out disabled. To enable a conduit, select it in the list and click on "Enable". You will then be given a choice of methods for synchronisation.

5.3. Evolution

Evolution is a Microsoft Outlook clone for Gnome from Ximian. Evolution comes with a conduit for gnome-pilot. The conduit can be configured through the gnome-pilot conduits control centre applet described above.

Warning: Mandrake 8.1 comes with a beta version of Evolution. This version seems to have a bug whereby it does not correctly identify records when synching. This can lead to records being duplicated on the PDA.

The latest version of Evolution can be downloaded from http://www.ximian.com. Evolution is designed mainly for use with Ximian Gnome, and installing it independently involves resolving a number of dependencies.

5.4. KPilot

KPilot is the KDE equivalent of Gnome-pilot. KPilot provides basic PIM functionality, as well as conduits to KDE applications such as KOrganizer.

As with gnome-pilot, kpilot uses a pilot-link via a daemon process.

KPilot is available from http://www.slac.com/pilone/kpilot_home

TODO: Again, I don't really use KDE, but will give it a spin.

5.5. XNotesPlus

XNotesPlus provides a means to post small notes on your X-Windows desktop. These notes can be shared as memos with your PalmOS device.

In addition to the notes, XNotesPlus provides PIM features, and integrates the notes feature with the todo list and addressbook. Note that XNotesPlus does not perform a true synchronisation, but simply replaces changed databases.

The XNotesPlus web page at http://www.graphics-muse.org/xnotes/xnotes.html contains full installation and use instructions.

XNotes is shareware, and not freely distributable.

5.6. WMSync

If you use WindowMaker, this might be useful. From the website:

Wmsync is a WindowMaker dockapp that starts your favourite sync program for your Palm(TM) PDA. It displays a small animation when syncing. It is controlled by a small perl script via SIGUSR1 and SIGUSR2 so it is highly customizable. Thatīs all.

Wmsync is available from http://home.t-online.de/home/db7ne/wmsync.html