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I would like to keep my contacts and a calendar synchronized between several desktops and cellphones.

Is there a way to achieve this without using Google or similar organisations?

I want to keep my data protected and safe, so an encrypted transfer would be useful.

Do i need to install a service on my own rootserver? or are there any services available, that are safe?

I read this post, but there is not mentioned not to use Google: Thunderbird contacts sync

so no solutions with SoGo or LDAP.

maybe Zimbra is a solution? or Funambol?

I tried kolab, but had some unsolveable problems.

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migrated from serverfault.com Oct 14 '12 at 15:53

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

1 Answer 1

When it comes to syncing there are several protocols out there: ActiveSync, WebDAV/CalDAV/CardDAV/GroupDAV, and SyncML. The easiest to set up and most versatile should be CalDAV+CardDAV. There are servers for several of these protocols, just search google for CalDAv/CardDAV servers, ActiveSync servers, and SyncML servers. Recent and interesting server projects include: owncloud (PHP), Cozy cloud (JavaScript), and Blue-Mind (Java). There's also a thread on Hacker News which might be of interest.

I'm currently running owncloud on my laptop. It's open source, written in PHP, uses postgresql or mysql, and provides Web/Cal/Card/DAV access. I can sync contacts and calendar between my Android phone and my Ubuntu laptop. My desktop client is Thunderbird+Lightning+SoGo connector and my Android phone uses CalDAV-Sync and CardDAV sync for sync. iPhones should be able to sync without a third party app. With the proper PPA setup updates happen like regular system updates.

Previously I investigated the use of openCRX as a personal groupware. It's open source, written in Java, and provides ActiveSync server functionality (seen as an exchange server by smartphones). However openCRX is a raw piece of software, it requires configuration, and the docs isn't always clear or sufficient. So only advisable if you are a superuser and like to figure things out. It's also greedy in terms of resources, much more than a PHP solution.

Before that I was using Zimbra appliance + Zimbra Desktop. Also very greedy in resources. However when upgrading to Ubuntu 11.04 Zimbra Desktop kept crashing due some bug that probably will never get fixed.

Also when using ActiveSync on Android there's a bug that result in battery drain when server connection is not reliable (e.g. on the road). It's unclear when it will be fixed, see bugs 9307, 30123, and 34726 for more info. A workaround might be to use Tasker and Syncer to disable sync when not connected to my home wifi.

In terms of encryption I use OpenVPN on my laptop (server) and android phone (client), so I don't need to have SSL, and everything works as if there's a local network between them. Takes some time to setup but once working, it flies.

In any case most self-hosted solutions are somewhat tedious to work out. The price for not going through Google is high indeed.

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great answer! I see you are using OpenVPN - may I add that freelan is an alternative solution and allows you to create a personal sub-network (I am not affiliated with them in any way) - it works great for me –  Chris Feb 18 at 15:59

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