ActiveSync Alternative for Linux

Windows Mobile based gadgets use the elusive ActiveSync protocol which Microsoft hasnt released yet for public use. However, for me to get my O2 XDA Cosmo (HTC Excalibur s620, T-Mobile DASH etc) to run on my Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbons, it wasnt a trivial choice as I had to choose between several promised but incomplete and buggy open source tools. Until I came across SynCE, another oper source alternative, things were gloomy.

It wasnt as trivial to get SynCE going as well due to various library conflicts and an inability for me to properly configure my firewall to allow a Remote NDIS based connectivity between the SynCE tools and the device. However, thanks to this guide, major things were resolved, I however, chose minor alternatives when choosing my source files to get it going for my device.

For me, usb-rndis didnt work, but the newer version usb-rndis-lite did.
For some reasons, GnomeVFS 0.11 still doesnot work for my device, however I tried the GnomeVFS 0.10 as recommended on SynCE website to finally enable Nautilus to recognize my device contents as a remote site.

I am still unable to actually sync anything between Thunderbird and this device. There is a possibility to hack Multisync to synchronize the above two but thats for later….

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  1. favorited this one, brother

    • gdiepen
    • March 27th, 2008

    First, I would like to point you to the latest guide on http://www.synce.org should work for all recent ubuntu versions. The guide you refer to mentions something about patching the kernel, which is not needed at all. In the current ubuntu install guide on http://www.synce.org we show what you have to add to /etc/apt/sources, what you have to do to remove the original usb-rndis drivers present in the kernel and how to create the patched ones.
    I am pretty sure that the current ubuntu guide is almost foolproof because I have been going through it with somebody having ubuntu installed and every problem he encountered, I updated right away in the wiki ;)

    Furthermore, syncing to Thunderbird will not be possible through any guide we present on http://www.synce.org. There is some alpha version of a thunderbird plugin for the SVN version of OpenSync. The problem is that the only guaranteed by using these both SVN versions is that you will get dataloss :)
    There is a project called FinchSync that will do this, but it works in a completely different way.

    Finally, I would like to point out that the latest version of my own project SynCE-KPM (KDE PDA Manager) is starting to look very much like ActiveSync ;)

    I know that it has KDE in the name, but I don’t have any actual dependency on KDE itself, only on Qt4.

    You can find a screencast of the program in action on my website: http://www.guidodiepen.nl/2008/03/24/major-update-of-synce-kpm-now-even-better-than-before/

    The screencast will shown a device connecting, copying a CAB file to the device for installing, creating an ActiveSync partnership and showing the status of an ActiveSync session in progress (Note, synce-kpm does not do the actual syncing, that is done via sync-engine in combination with opensync)

    For questions, feature requests, just drop a note on my website.

  2. THanks a lot gdiepen,
    I am looking forward to your synce-KPM project over this weekend.
    and thanks for the tips.

    btw, as i said, this wierd combo worked for me…somehow. Not a recommendation though as ur suggestions seem very direct and least obstrusive.

    cheer,
    atif.

    • Paul
    • June 18th, 2008

    Thanks for the guide. I’m looking for a solution that would enable me to run my emails from a linux based email server and have the ability to use the ActiveSync push email technology on my iPhone from the same machine. Do you know of any solution that make this happen?

    Thanks,
    Paul

    • Wilco
    • November 1st, 2008

    Paul, try z-push.

    • roger smith
    • April 25th, 2009

    What is the latest on synce kpm I am looking for something to sync mobile 6 with using ubuntu 9.04

    Best Regards

  3. Hi Roger, little bit late reply, but still. Syncing should work perfectly with SynCE in combination with OpenSync. I would like to point out that SynCE-KPM it self does NOT do any syncing, it is only showing the progress and it is a device managing application.

    For instructions on how to install SynCE under ubuntu, I would like to point you to: http://www.synce.org/moin/SynceInstallation/Ubuntu

    I saw that the link in my original post above is not working anymore (there has been a major harddisk crash at my hosting provider some time ago).

    A screencast of SynCE-KPM in action while a sync is going on can be found in the post: http://www.guidodiepen.nl/2008/11/the-lost-screencast-of-synce-kpm-in-action/

    At the moment I am working on a registry editor that is to be included in SynCE-KPM. Early draft version of this can be seen in a screencast in the post: http://www.guidodiepen.nl/2009/09/viewing-registry-keys-only-from-within-synce-kpm/

    Kind regards,

    Guido Diepen

    • Brian Jones
    • August 7th, 2011

    I’ve tried for years to sync my HP iPAQ using active sync and PClinuxOS. Various alternatives such as virtualbox and wine were too unwieldy and unreliable, or caused Pc crashes. Synce is installed in my Packard Bell R4 Easynote by synaptic PM., which works ok for most things but not activesync. Then suddenly without warning a couple of weeks ago active sync began to work. Battery level, iPaq details were available on my PC using synCE tray icon, but files could not be seen or exchanged. Partnership was established and password options available. I was delighted and amazed, then just as magically it stopped working after a couple of days. No efforts on my part to retrace my actions which may have led up the sudden success have been in vain. I love Linux its principles and its operation and look, as well as it price for us pensioners. However I am beginning to tire of the failure to fix this valuable requirement. Advice and alternative versions are often just too much “software speak” for this oldie, even as an ex-PC engineer. Please can I get a self installing version that will work?

  4. Was zpush among those other OSS tested? It could likely be used the other way round

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