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5 problems with Ubuntu 12.04 part 2: Calendaring & forward planning

by Russell Barnes

Ubuntu 12.04 has a number of challenges to overcome before we think it’s ready for the planned LTS release later this month. We continue our irreverent list with a few issues with calendaring in Ubuntu 12.04…

Wendy Windows isn’t a happy lady. After her laughable inability to set up an email client in Ubuntu 12.04 she was flamed into next Tuesday and, as such, feels quite unable to continue with our little social experiment.

5 problems with Ubuntu 12.04 part 2: Calendaring & forward planning
"This isn't the socio-technological experiment I signed up for."

This being the case we’ve worked hard to find some fresh help. Say hello to Mackenzie Mac. Besides being a full-time web designer, Mackenzie “Mc-Zee” Mac is also an aspiring Brogrammer currently studying hard in an effort to maximise his potential to ‘rage with his crew’ while coding during downtime.

5 problems with Ubuntu 12.04 part 2: Calendaring & forward planning
“We got invited to a brogramming party where there were naked ladies in the pool. They were cool programmers.”

Though an unashamed Apple fanatic, his early experiences with Ubuntu 12.04 were positive, citing ‘clean design’, ‘smooth lines’ and a System Settings Panel he insisted he ‘could really work with’.

5 problems with Ubuntu 12.04 part 2: Calendaring & forward planning
Ubuntu 12.04's System Settings
5 problems with Ubuntu 12.04 part 2: Calendaring & forward planning
Mac OSX's System Preferences


It seems – by and large – Mackenzie was ‘lovin’ it, bra’, until it came to organising his extensive schedule of hedonistic studying and intensive partying.

For Mackenzie, one of the most striking issues was the apparent inability to access his work and social schedule.

It seems an important aspects of his OS X experience is the system-wide integration of Apple’s iCal, and its ability to quickly sync, mirror and share his schedule across more than 38 other iProducts that could be concealed about his person at any one time.

“I feel connected to my schedule. Even on a new device I can get to my calendar quickly – I just connect, subscribe and Whoomp! There it is,” he enthused.

In cutting contrast it seems Ubuntu 12.04 has a rather short sighted view of forward planning.

Why? At the present time there is no default calendaring application in Ubuntu 12.04 (even though there used to be). Moreover, there’s no way  for a user to interact with the Date and Time applet in Ubuntu 12.04’s System Menu, an essential means for one-click quick referencing of appointments.

5 problems with Ubuntu 12.04 part 2: Calendaring & forward planning
"I could have sworn I had Beer Pong practice scheduled for tonight…"

Why? The problem centres around the replacement of Evolution email client with Thunderbird. While there are a plethora of valid and proven reasons for doing so, Ubuntu has effectively been left bereft of any calendaring capabilities as a direct result.

The core problem here is that Thunderbird doesn’t have a calendar.

5 problems with Ubuntu 12.04 part 2: Calendaring & forward planning
Hai, I don't have a calendar.

If you want to correct the issue, the most obvious advice is to replace the new default email client with the old default email client. Yes – manually roll back to Evolution.

There is another option, though. You could install Lightning, the calendaring add-on for Thunderbird. Mozilla used to have a standalone Calendaring application called SunBird, but Lightning is essentially its Thunderbird ‘integrated’ incarnation, which is great, because it pulls in all the cool stuff from your Thunderbird client. Right?

It does the job well enough. With a bit more fiddling you can import a calendar from a file, or you can add a further add-on to be able to read and write to your Google Calendar. Do you want your calendar to show all your Address Book members birthdays? There’s an add-on for that (though you’ll have to manually add all the birthdays before it will work).

Have you spotted the problem? You need an add-on for an add-on to integrate a feature into the add-on that exists for the sole purpose of integration. It’s kind of like Inception.

5 problems with Ubuntu 12.04 part 2: Calendaring & forward planning
Annoying (especially this bit).

The long and short of it is that if Lightning doesn’t integrate effectively with Thunderbird, what’s the point of having an integrated solution in the first place? Oh, and did we mention that the Lightning fix still doesn’t pull your data into the Time & Date applet in the System Menu?

As much as we’d rather slap him around the face with a smoked Kipper, Mackenzie Mac definitely isn’t going to miss Beer Pong practice this week. The git.

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    • Sicofante

      OK. Let’s end this surreal conversation for good. OS X is based on BSD which is a totally different animal from Linux, let alone Ubuntu. Besides, even if both were based on exactly the same code, your point is completely off topic, since this is about Ubuntu having the tools for everyday use in a professional/event, such as a calendar. OS X has it. Ubuntu hasn’t. Period.

      Of course, if any Apple tech support person tells you OS X is based on Ubuntu (which I’m positive won’t happen; you pick up the phone), s/he lying and you’re an ignorant for believing such nonsense.

      (EDIT: I honestly didn’t know what you were talking about in my previous post’s questions. You don’t only write nonsense. You write it so badly it’s very hard to follow.)

    • bh9

      Well, since English apparently isn’t your native language, that may account for your difficulty.

      Since the information I obtained came from more
      than one source — a support tech at Apple HQ who volunteered it and another tech at the local Apple store who confirmed it when I asked — it seems likely these would be more authoritative sources than you. Accusing people of lying merely because you hold contrary beliefs is the mark of a lazy mind.

      What is “Ubuntu” is not recognizable to users based on the underlying kernel (which is unseen) but on the GUI and the various fundamental functions provided. The Gnome interface is widely used by Linux systems of various flavors, and the Apple OSX GUI looks and works virtually identical to the Ubuntu Gnome implementation. This is a matter of fact. If you have both, you can (but likely will not) confirm it easily by inspection and operation. Admittedly the Apple GUI doesn’t work as smoothly as the Ubuntu one.

      I assumed the Ubuntu implementation was in imitation of Apple. I was informed I had it backwards. Whether you believe this or not has no influence on reality.

      As to your obsession with the “professional” necessity
      of a stand-alone calendaring system (rather than one bundled into another application), it’s reasonable to point out that you’ve invented your own standard about what is “professional”. Since that word generally describes personal conduct and performance rather than arbitrarily preferred software features, perhaps you should pick another you find less confusing as to its meaning.

      Most people using Ubuntu prefer the Lightening plug-in if they are using T-bird, which is now the default mailer shipped with Ubuntu. It also supports Google calendaring, according to claims made for it. (Since I have never shared personal information with Google, I have no idea.)

      Previously, the Mozilla Sunbird application was available to anyone who wanted it. It was a stand-alone calendaring system. It was then abandoned in favor of moving it to T-bird as a plugin:

      It is a bit humorous that you’ve spilled a lot of ink off topic to complain that my single remark was off topic. No doubt that irony entirely escapes you.

    • Sicofante

      It seems your mastering of English doesn’t help your cell brains one bit. I bet you can’t speak a single word in any other language either. But let’s forget about your general ignorance and your particular ignorance in computing. Moreover, let’s forget about this necroposting of yours altogether and all the idiocy you keep spouting. All of your points have been already discussed in this thread and you simply don’t get it. Plonk.