Mobile device syncing in Linux made easy

We'll use KitchenSync as the OpenSync front-end, but the process isn't that different if you use Multisync on Gnome. With the toolbar applications running in the background and the mobile device in a connected status, run the KitchenSync application from the Tools menu. We now need to create a group.

A group is just a collection of plugins, and these are called 'members' by both KitchenSync and Multisync. You can use different groups for different tasks. You may want to create a group that doesn't touch your phone, and synchronises your Google Calendar with Evolution, for example. But we'll create a standard mobile syncing group first.

Click on the 'Add Group' button and give your group a name. Now click on the 'Add Members' button, and the 'Evolution 2.x' member followed by the 'Plugin To Synchronize Windows Mobile 5 And Later Devices' member. We also had to click on the Evolution member and use the configuration fields to locate our address book, calendar, and task list locations. Finally, click on 'OK' to save the group.

In sync

We're now ready to start the first synchronisation process. From the Group list in KitchenSync, click on the 'Synchronize Now' link. This will initiate the ActiveSync connection between your desktop and mobile device, and you should see activity on both.

Depending on which facilities you enabled; contacts, calendar events and notes are now being copied from your mobile device into your Evolution configuration or KDE 3's PIM suite. If there is any conflict, such as when there are two contacts with the same name but different addresses, you will be presented with the raw contents of the file and asked to choose which takes precedence. It can be a little difficult to read, so you're better off choosing the device you know is more likely to be up to date.

And that's all there is to it. Use the panel applications to install new applications and use Gnome to browse the contents of your mobile device. For everything else, you need to use OpenSync to manage the data conversion between your desktop applications and those used on your mobile.

Everything is a little rough around the edges, and there really shouldn't be any need for detailed instructions for getting your mobile devices to synchronise with your desktop. But the important thing is that it works, and we've got all the contacts back that we lost at the beginning.


First published in Linux Format, Issue 115

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