Managing appointments and contacts with Osmo

Utilities

Osmo includes a number of utilities that facilitate working with calendars. A date calculator, which you can access by clicking on the Calculator icon in the calendar toolbar or by pressing D, allows you to calculate the number of days between two dates.

With the use of a function that is hidden in the Create annual calendar icon in the calendar toolbar, you also can create an annual calendar, but it is of little practical use because you cannot store or print a calendar that you create in this way.

With Osmo, you can print a calendar in landscape format for a selected month that lacks any notes assigned to the days of that month. In this way, you use the print function to create a blank wall calendar that you can fill by hand. Osmo currently does not support printing of tasks, contacts, and notes; however, the author or the program is working on this feature.

Settings

To meet your own needs, you can customize Osmo with the use of the settings available under the Options tab. Settings are organized by program function. For example, you can specify how the calendar shows days with appointments and tasks, as well as the font type and size (Figure 5).

The bottom part of the Options dialog box for the calendar lets you import files in iCalendar format. As of this writing, the program will only open iCalendar fields for reading; you cannot enter data in a calendar you import in this way. In the future, the Osmo developer plans to integrate SyncML [2] to support the exchange of calendar data with other programs, as well as with devices such as cell phones.

The settings in the Options module also let you set the font or define categories for other modules. One annoying thing about Osmo is that it does not manage categories across the board for all its subcomponents; instead, you have to define categories separately for each of the Calendar, Notes, Tasks, and Contacts modules. This causes unnecessary work and makes it harder to keep track of everything.

File Format Issues

Osmo stores data in its own XML-based file format. The program stores the calendar and notes in multiple files and subdirectories below the ~./osmo directory. The use of a proprietary file format makes it more difficult to exchange data with other programs.

One option for exporting data from Osmo to another program is to export the appointments for a day to an iCalendar file. To do so, select a day in the calendar, right-click the calendar day, select Export to an iCalender file in the drop-down menu, and enter a file name. Mozilla Lightning and Sunbird, Evolution, and the Apple iCal application will all read the iCalender files that you exported from Osmo.

When it comes to contacts, Osmo only offers a CSV-based exchange format. The import function does not always work reliably; importing contacts via SyncML is tagged "experimental" and did not work at all in our lab. The CSV-formatted files exported by Osmo can be imported into spreadsheets and databases without trouble.

Installation

Various current distributions, such as Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, and Slackware, include Osmo in their package sources. Your distribution's package management system tends to be the best approach to installing the software. If you prefer to build Osmo directly from the source code, you will need the libxml2, libnotify, libgringotts, and libsyncml libraries and developer packages.

The source code archive, osmo-0.2.4.tar.gz, is available from the project homepage. After downloading the source code, you can unpack it by typing tar -xzvf osmo- 0.2.4.tar.gz. To configure the source code for building, change to the new osmo-0.2.4 directory created in the last step and type ./configure. Then type make to compile. Finally, become root and give the make install command to install the program files.

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