[K12OSN] iCal

Ben Nickell twinprism at athena.physics.isu.edu
Wed May 3 22:43:23 UTC 2006

>> >
>> >
>> More the like same user from multiple systems.  For example, they  would
>> have mozilla calendar on windows at home and Linux at work, iCal on a
>> mac laptop.  They wouldn't shut down the home or work ones.   I think
>> they had them configured to synchronize automatically, so often it would
>> result in the file being accessed by 2 clients at once an corrupting the
>> ical file.  Maybe this was because of bugs in Mozilla Calendar
>> synchronization, because I didn't think webdav should allow that.
> The problem is that there isn't a standard method of handling this
> kind of iCalendar file publication.  iCal takes the simple/safe route
> of assuming that only one client is going to publish and all the rest
> will subscribe.  It makes no attempt to synchonize of do anything
> sophisticated at all.  If you publish from  iCal, it overwrites
> whatever is there.  If you publish from two different instances, it
> simply isn't going to work.  It isn't designed to work that way.
> OTOH, Mozilla Calendar is designed to do a naive sync.  Before
> overwriting a calendar, it checks for changes and tries to not
> overwrite them.  This is inherently unreliable for complex cases (not
> to mention that Mozilla can't seem to finish a calendaring client in
> general).
> Reliably syncing multiple calendars is actually a fairly difficult
> problem.  Note that there is now a standard called CalDAV which lays
> out how calendaring via WebDAV is supposed to work, but it isn't
> really supported yet.
> If I were you, I would try to impress upon them the limitations of
> iCal's implementation.  It places the burden on the user not to screw
> up their calendars.  The user is responsible for only posting changes
> from one computer.  If they don't like that, they're going to need to
> use some other system, and a web based system is going to be by far
> the easiest to deal with.
> --Tom


Thanks your informative response.  That makes perfect sense and mirrors 
my experience exactly. 

I mirror Tom's recommendation for a web based service.  phpicalandar 
can't display calendars on the web the you publish with iCal, and others 
can subscribe, just make sure to publish from only one location.  Google 
calendar sure is nice, especially if you use gmail, but so far lacks the 
ability to synchronize devices, though you can export an ical file. 

I have really been trying to avoid Outlook (almost entirely successfully 
so far) the organizations I work with. It is getting harder and harder 
because of all the devices that only sync with Outlook.  Grrrrrr. 


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