[Evolution-hackers] evolution-kolab: Lifting the veil

Hi all,

I think it is time to provide the list with some details about us and our 
project. I will give just a short overview here. If you'd like to know more 
details, please feel free to ask.

About us

The main developers for the evolution-kolab project are employees of two 
German conmanies. The companies are

kernel concepts [1]
tarent Ltd.	[2]

Both companies are active in the Linux and OSS development field. See the 
respective websites for more info (english versions available).

The Developers are

Nils Faerber		(kernel concepts)
Silvan Fin		(kernel concepts)	
Christian Hilberg	(kernel concepts)
Hendrik Helwich		(tarent)
Umer Kayani		(tarent)

More resources may be allocated as needed. :)

About the project

The goal of the evolution-kolab project is to provide a plugin for Evo/EDS 
which will allow Evo users to utilize a Kolab 2 server [3] as a groupware 
solution. We will try to map as much of Kolab's functionality as possible onto 
Evolution whithout changing Evolution itself (other than providing a plugin, 
that is). Especially, we will not touch core Evolution or E-D-S.

The fun thing about Kolab is that our backends will need to talk not only IMAP 
and SMTP (for retrieval/storing of contact data and calendar data), but also 
LDAP (another contact data source) as well as HTTP (trigger for free-busy-list 
generation and f/b-list data retrieval). Some tech details have already been 
discussed on evolution-hackers. It is required that all data transport be 
secured via SSL/TLS if at all possible (as an option for the user).

We will need to provide working and tested results by the end of Q1/2011, 
latest. This means we have a tight schedule, so we have to restrict ourselves 
on a number of issues. These are (including, but not limited to ;-):

* targeting Linux for client and server *solely*. No specific attempts will
  be made to be portable to other platforms (like *BSD, Windows, ...).
  Nevertheless, by offloading as many low-level-details as possible to GLib 
  and friends (and making use of highlevel Evo/EDS infrastructure), it should
  be possible to port to other platforms fairly painlessly.

* targeting Evo/EDS 2.30 only (2.30.2 presently, we should be able to follow
  patchlevels). It is a customer requirement that the plugin be used with
  current stable versions of GNOME and we will not be able to stand API churns
  or move to GTK+-3 on our development platforms for several reasons, mostly
  due to development deadlines.
  However, we will actively read evolution-hackers for updates on the upcoming
  changes in 2.31 and try our very best that our code be portable to 2.31 with
  as little pain as possible.

* targeting Kolab 2 (either Version 2.2.3 or 2.2.4, this has to be discussed
  internally, still). Kolab 1 will not be supported.

* providing DEB packages for Debian/GNU Linux only. RPM packages should not
  be too hard to generate from our debs (or by other means), but we will not
  be able to provide them.

* User manuals and other documentation will be in German (another customer
  requirement). Volunteers who will translate to English and other langs
  are welcome. Source docs will be in English, of course.

Testing will be done using the GLib Testing framework for unit tests. As far 
as integration testing goes, we're not yet settled but I think we may use 
python, expect or something the like for automation.

Coding style will follow Evolutions conventions [4] as closely as possible.

Our project will be GPLv2 (or a comparable FLOSS license which will assure at 
least GPLv2's freedom level ;-). There should not be any licensing issues 
here. If there are doubts, please feel free to ask for clarification. Our 
customer, for whom we will develop this solution, is also very specific about 
the project being hosted publicly and accessible by everyone. If Evolution 
staff will be willing to host our project sources within Evo git repo, we'll 
happily transfer our stuff there as soon as we have a first preview ready.

So long for now,
Best regards,


[1] http://www.kernelconcepts.de/
[2] http://www.tarent.de/
[3] http://www.kolab.org/
[4] http://projects.gnome.org/evolution/patch.shtml

kernel concepts GbR        Tel: +49-271-771091-14
Sieghuetter Hauptweg 48    Fax: +49-271-771091-19
D-57072 Siegen

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