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KEYWORDS=webdav, caldav, calendar, e-mail, client, cosmo, thunderbird, sunbird, lightning, mozilla, google, date, Davrom Consulting Newsletter - Issue # 37 - Dated: 16 May 2007

From the desk of David Clark

You have got to love the recent spate of Mac adds on TV regarding Vista.
You can also see them on youtube.com.

We have been working with some recent projects to get customers up and
running with Thunderbird e-mail, Sunbird/Lightning calendar sharing on
Windows interfacing with Linux servers - and it is great to see the
continuance of inexpensive solutions from the open source community.

We have been doing some background work on our website and if you are
responsible for your web presence then looking into Google's Webmaster
Tools is well worth the time. What don't Google do?

I would like to thank the reader for their time in reading this


UNIX Quote

If you want to travel around the world and be invited to speak at a lot
of different places, just write a Unix operating system.
(By Linus Torvalds)


If you are looking for a good e-mail client that runs on either Linux,
Mac or Windows, I can thoroughly recommend Thunderbird from Mozilla.

Thunderbird is part of the free product offerings from Mozilla who also
provide the Firefox web browser which also runs on Linux, Mac and Windows.

Thunderbird comes feature rich with all of the nice features that can be
found in any e-mail client these days: Personal Folders, Message Filtering,
Junk Mail sorting, Message tagging and all the things that make e-mail the
essential communication/todo list tool that it is today.

Coming from Netscape Messenger to Thunderbird was just a natural
progression and it allows me to continue to keep my e-mails stored as
ASCII text - ASCII text can be read by anything and preserves my
accessibility to the e-mail content well into the future.

Thunderbird is simple to install and comes with a whole host of add-ons -
read the next article for a brief description of Lightning/Sunbird.

I would encourage you to download and try it - you won't go back to
Outlook if you do. And when you want to upgrade to the next release of
Thunderbird you wont have the huge task as you do with Outlook for keeping
messages and contacts - Thunderbird just keeps on using the same
folder/file format and folder location.


Sunbird and Lightning

I have recently been requested by customers to install calendar sharing
capability between Windows users using a Linux server as the host. This
is where implementing the WebDAV/CalDAV or Cosmo solutions on Linux and
combining them with Mozilla's Sunbird or Lightning products, giving
Windows users calendar sharing without the need for MS Exchange. And
what's more, it is all free software. (Linux e-mail systems such as
Scalix and Kolab provide calendaring with e-mail as well.)

If you are running a Linux server it is very easy to setup the WebDAV
facility, especially on Fedora (RedHat), and create simple calendar
access using the WebDAV features in conjunction with Mozilla
Sunbird/Lightning. Users simply authenticate their access to a specific
calendar file (staff, sales, meetings) to view and update the calendar
for all users to see.

The Mozilla Sunbird product, again a free product, allows you to
interface directly into the calendar system and the Mozilla Lightning
product, also free, is an add-on product to Thunderbird which is
essentially calendaring within the e-mail system.

Very nice products that now allow end-users to share calendars
without having the high cost of paying for the same features found in
other e-mail/calendaring systems.

For more information on Sunbird and Lightning please visit:


From the Trenches

Some comic or not so comic relief from the support days gone by.

A frozen disk or a frozen chook:

I recall some years ago a customer had reported that they were able to
get a clients information off an overheating hard disk which had died by
putting the hard drive into the freezer overnight. Apparently they were
able to get the drive to stay up long enough to get the information off it.

With great scepticism I looked on as my colleagues bundled the hard disk
in freezer wrapping and placed in the office freezer. At this point in
time I had joked that they were more likely to get inforamtion off a
frozen chicken than a frozen hard disk.

The next morning my colleagues found that they could not get anything off
the frozen disk - and didn't want to try my suggestion of trying a frozen
chicken as well.

20 milli-second cluck time at 4800 bawks per minute.

Tech Tip

Filenames using the date/time stamp:

When programming in the UNIX/Linux shell environment you often need to
create unique files for storing information such as backup logs or
something along the lines of an information/log file that you may need to
reference in the future. This is where I have found using the date command
an execellent tool for giving files a unique name. Consider the following

STAMP=`date +%y%m%d`
tar -cvf /dev/st0 /bin >${MYLOGFILE}

The example above will create a variable called STAMP with the
credentials of yymmdd which for the date of this newsletter would
equate to 070515.
The variable of MYLOGFILE becomes /tmp/backup_070515 and the output of
the tar command is placed in the file /tmp/backup_070515. If this program
were set to run each day I would have a log file for each day the backup
is performed. I could then check what was backed up on a specific day
simply by using the file's name rather than having to list the specific
file and use the date/time creation information such as that seen with
the "ls -l" command.

As this very year, month, day, minute and second will never occur again I
tend to take this approach when wanting to create a unique file name that
gives the most specific date information about the file - the date
command I use is:

STAMP=`date +%y%m%d%H%M%S`

which creates a variable of yymmddhhmmss - and based on the example above
produces 070515155100.

The date command is loaded with options and you can find out more about
what they are by going to your UNIX/Linux command line and typing:

man date

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