Will PureOS have 'iCloud-like' sync with Librem 5?


#1

I’m a Linux newb and have been running PureOS for a couple of weeks now. I am really enjoying using Linux but have a question about the upcoming Librem 5. Will the Contacts, Tasks, & Calendar apps on the Librem 5 sync with apps on my PureOS laptop like they do with macOS & iOS devices via iCloud?


#2

Many people would take the attitude that “cloud considered harmful” for functionality like that, unless done very carefully. On the other hand, it’s your phone and you are completely free to do what you want. That doesn’t answer your question.

There may be a range of questions. What is the situation at Day 1 of the release of the Librem 5? What is the situation some months later? Does the answer depend on subscription to a service?

In an ideal convergence scenario the problem doesn’t arise because the mobile is the laptop but that could be some time away (and you still might want to sync purely for backup purposes).


#3

You can use any cloud provider that supports WebDAV for data sharing, CalDAV for calendar and CardDAV for contacts. The necessary apps for synchronizing are pre installed in the GNOME GUI. You can use e.g. Nextcloud as a provider.


#4

When setting up the phone will you be prompted to put in your email and password and have it set up all of those things to sync automatically on initial release? Unlikely

Will you be able to use services like nextcloud to manually configure that functionality? Almost certainly (I already do this on an ARM64 Debian based distro)

Will you eventually be able to use the same Librem.one account to sync these functions across devices with a very similar simple experience to apple/Microsoft/Google devices? Actually this is pretty likely as that level of ease of use is a desired goal; this is just almost certainly not a gen 1 feature.


#5

I liked the previous answers, but would add some greater details to help the original poster.

Yes, PureOS has/will have full-backup and syncing capabilities on the Librem 5; the when and how much is where we get into further explanation and investments into our Nextcloud partnership, Librem One (specifically Librem Files and Librem Backup), and tighter integration during setup.

As of this writing, the initial boot screen on the Librem 5 does offer “Online Account” setup and offers Nextcloud integration, in the not too distant future (measured in months) it will have an ever increasing “Online Account” setup for Librem One services (Librem Mail, Librem Social, Librem Tunnel, Librem Chat) and the soon to be added Librem Files to backup everything you desire encrypted by keys that you own and control.

Todd.


#6

Please make sure to state clearly (in future blog posts, and possibly the welcome screen on the phone) that using Librem One will always, forever be optional.

It is of course clear to everybody how knows and understands the company.
But I’ve already seen people suspecting that the point of Librem One (and PureOS Store) was to create a new closed eco-system people would be tied to.
Avoid needless attack surface. (sad world)


#7

Yes it will be optional, and yes by investing in standard based services, offers the best possible convenient products that support diverse ecosystems. I will forward your advice on to make it clear(er) whenever we discuss that.


#8

Thank you all for the thoughtful replies:

I never considered this point of view. I guess I’ve been conditioned by Apple & Google to accept & expect them to handle my data amongst my devices. Not good!

Thank you for the Nextcloud tip. I just spun up a test instance on DigitalOcean to play with over the weekend.

Agree 100%.

Here’s the thing: Do I want to use Linux on my phone or laptop?

No. Hell no.

However, I don’t really have much choice. Windows 10 sucks, I’m sick and tired of Google – I just can’t stand that company anymore, and Apple is only slightly less of a douchebag company. So where does that leave me if I want to keep some semblance of privacy? Privacy is the only reason why I’m testing the Linux/PureOS waters and even considering using a Librem 5.


#9

I think you’ll grow to love it. Of course, figuring out some differences and learn new stuff can be frustrating. But if you keep at it, you’ll also find true gems of free software applications and you’ll never want to miss them again.
Biggest pain points IMO are some incompatibilities with proprietary hardware/software/services.
But as you already understand that this lock-in is a big problem, you’ll direct the frustration in the right direction :wink:


#10

I’d use a Next Cloud Server to sync my Calendar and Contacts. I already tested it on the librem 5 - in a virtual box. And it worked as expected :slight_smile:


#11

I played around with Nextcloud some more today. While the software is pretty cool, the more i think about it the more I find the premise of running and maintaining a Linux/Nextcloud server for the purpose of syncing my contacts/calendar to be excessive and unreasonable.

Am I out of line, here?


#12

Iḿ not sure if you’re out of line. Th question was about a sync service for librem 5. And I for example began with owncloud, because I wanted to get rid of icloud, google services (which i never used) and so on.

And from my personal experience I can recommend nextcloud for everybody who’s looking for a privacy oriented environment.

And it works really great.


#13

Depends. Only for a calendar, yes seems overkill.
But I’d rather use all the features line backup, file server. If you put it on a Raspberry PI, it’s also not an expensive thing to do.


#14

Isn’t owncloud the software that works similar to Resilio Sync? Ie: use bit torrent technologies to sync two or more devices without the need for a central server?

If so, then you wouldn’t need to maintain an additional linux server to run Nextcloud. You would just need to make sure that for the syncing both of the devices (one with the current information and one to be synced) are on.

It is a pretty ideal solution that uses the hardware and infrastructure you already have.

Edit: Thanks @epinez for the correction. I am in fact thinking about Syncthing. Great solution!


#15

No, @2disbetter, ownCloud and Nextcloud are are PHP-based self-hostable storage (and more…) solutions. You are maybe referring to Syncthing - a free and open source software alternative for the propietary Resilio (formerly known as Bittorrent Sync).


#16

Relying on a Raspberry Pi or other home server type of unit isn’t really in the cards for me because I live off-grid. There’s no power to the home when I’m not there. I do own an old 2-bay QNAP NAS but use it sparingly and it is powered down most of the time.

Having said that, this entire thread will become moot if I don’t stick with PureOS on my laptop. I’m finding I’m spending more time on DuckDuckGo, Linux forums, and copy/pasting terminal commands than I am getting work done.


#17

You can use cheap VPS hosting for similar purpose, $2.5 a month or $30 a year is not going to drain any budget.


#18

It’s not the money.

I’m already trying to navigate my way around Linux on my laptop – my current productivity is abysmal. Sometimes I just get up & walk away from my computer because seemingly mundane tasks have become biblical adventures. That’s enough of a shock to the system as I want to endure at the moment. Maintaining a Linux VPS just so I can sync my contacts would have me sniping joggers from the nearest clock tower inside of a month.


#19

well then the only alternative is to find trusted provider. Not much choice really, either you trust no-one (only yourself that is) or you delegate own self-trust. That’s actually what drives modern ‘cloud’ solutions.


#20

In your situation you are probably better off using the Purism-provided sync (and backup) service, once it becomes available.

By the way, don’t be afraid to ask if you are struggling with some newb aspect of Linux. We were all newbs once.

It’s harder to do that in an open source environment. Even if the (sync, backup, …) client uses a proprietary protocol to a hard-coded central server hostname, someone can download the source, understand the protocol, write a server for that protocol, and change the hostname. Or junk the whole client in favour of a non-proprietary solution.

So while offering services does diversify Purism’s revenue stream, noone is tied to the services.

Any word on whether the Day 1 email client will support being an LDAP client? For contacts I have played with using LDAP (already have an LDAP server) as a different approach for backup and syncing.

LDAP works well enough (ish) on my current surveillance phone and works well with Thunderbird on the desktop/laptop.