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Mozilla Lightning 0.1 Released 198

Mini-Geek writes "MozillaZine is reporting that Lightning 0.1 is released. Lightning is a new Mozilla-made calendar extension for Mozilla Thunderbird that will eventually (once it becomes more mature and stable) be built into Thunderbird. From the article: 'The Lightning Project is a redesign of the Calendar component. Its goal is to tightly integrate calendar functionality (scheduling, tasks, etc.) into Mozilla Thunderbird.'"
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Mozilla Lightning 0.1 Released

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  • Screenshots :) (Score:5, Informative)

    by B3ryllium ( 571199 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @12:38PM (#14964682) Homepage
    I'm using it at home already. Screenshots at my blog. [beryllium.ca]
    • "To protect your computer, Firefox prevented this site (www.mozilla.org) from installing software on your computer."

      When trying to download Lightning... [Sigh]
    • From your blog: "Note: Large images are in PNG format, older versions of IE may have difficulty displaying them"

      That's a bit smug, don't you think? After all, older versions of MOST browsers [libpng.org] may have difficulty displaying PNG images, and the ones you posted don't use transparency, which is IE's main problem.
    • I would have been much more interested in the tabbed mail view for Thunderbird.
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/69903184@N00/70869729 / [flickr.com]
    • Am I missing something, I can't add attendees to events. Isn't that the whole point of contact integration.. where else can you use contacts?
      • zomg! I can't run Quake 4 on Windows 0.1! Something is teh wrong!

        Wait for it. If you don't want to wait, help out. If you don't want to do either of those, this is not the extension you are looking for.
        • Well duh.. I read on the lightning page that it has contact integration and I was just wondering if there was any place I could test this. Obviously its not working. Though I'm glad as hell they finally got a thunderbird version because a standalone calendar without email is just plain useless.
  • Confused (Score:5, Funny)

    by SeanHayward ( 831039 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @12:39PM (#14964696)
    I thought lightning comes before thunder.
  • Mail + Calendar?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @12:40PM (#14964697)
    Why must calendar apps be merged with mail apps? Seriously?
    • The Outlook reason is that you can notify others by email when you'll be booking a room or away for a meeting.

      I don't understand hy the integration is taking so long. Sunbird has been around for a year or more and it's slow as molassas in February. I try to use it but it's such a hog that it pains me to leave it running. It should be 500Kb big, and open in 2 seconds on a P4. This is 2006, we should be demanding applications that open in blazing speeds, not more features.
      • >> and it's slow as molassas in February

        Try it in May or June. Its usually faster around that time of the year.
      • If performance and memory usage are among your biggest concerns, maybe Wyrd [umich.edu] would be a better fit. It's built on top of Remind [linuxjournal.com], a Unix console calendar with powerful scripting capabilities.

        Disclaimer: Yes, I wrote Wyrd, and am therefore thoroughly convinced of it's awesomeness. But in all seriousness, it's extremely fast and runs in under 2MB. Textmode applications have their advantages.
    • I thought that a *nix philosophy was
      "do one thing and do it well"

      This merging of functions is the path to feature bloat.
      • by kamochan ( 883582 )

        In a corporate environment, scheduling and email go hand in hand, which is why I'm glad to see the MozCal project finally take steps forward.

        I still agree with parent. Mac OSX has separate email and calendar (and address book) apps, which do their own things, but still integrate nicely together. Speedwise beat the Mozilla apps as well. Worthy of learning from, IMHO.

      • Err...Right. Mail + spamfilter = bad. Mail + encryption = bad. Whatever you say.

        There's a difference between needed features and bloat.
        • Don't confuse the UNIX philosophy with zero features.

          Mail + spamfilter = good, if the spam filter is a separate (library | application | plugin). This means that I can use the spamfilter of my choice (or even write one) with the mail program as long as it interfaces correctly.

          What is bad is a mail program with an embedded spam filter that you can't rip out and change. This sort of lock-in sucks. Better ways of doing things come along all the time, and if I have to change my mail and spam filter setup becaus
    • The very simple answer to that is because users want it. It doesn't matter if it's a smart idea, or efficient, or flies in the face of the project's original philosophies. At some point you have to decide if you are creating software for your benefit or for the users'. The users want/demand an integrated email/calendar app. If Mozilla doesn't supply it, someone else will. (And does.) If Mozilla does supply it, it will likely be better than other similar products. Either way, the users who want an integrated
    • by rosciol ( 925673 )
      While I agree with a lot of the separation of function items that people brought to light, I think that the reason, besides the fact that Microsoft did it first, is because a calendar application that's not interfaced in a convenient manner to a communications mechanism is not nearly so useful as one that is. Outlook Calendar wouldn't be used at all if it weren't true that I could send out a meeting invite to a hundred people, whose calendars I just checked, and receive responses. Unless you're going to i
      • Why not put them all together and have one kick butt application?

        Wait, we did have that in mozilla before the "core team" cut them all apart to simplify everything.

        Now they start coming back together.

        Whou would have thought that people might want to have a browser, calendar, and email client integrated? Brilliant!

        Seamonkey? What kind of name is that? Mozilla was bad enough, at least you could stick with the same stupid name.
    • Why must calendar apps be merged with mail apps? Seriously?

      In big organisations, lots of people (especially those higher up the food chain) live, work and breath by their electronic calendars. Communication between calendars, via vCalendar/iCalendar or whatever, can theoretically be done using any number of transport protocols, but the only one that is universally implemented is by SMTP.

      Hence, if you want to set meetings with someone through your electronic calendar, you need one that is integrated with

  • by alphax45 ( 675119 ) <kyle.alfred@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @12:40PM (#14964702)
    Too bad my pocket PC will only properly sync with Outlook. Althoug to be honest Outlook 2003 is not that bad. I would still like to try an open source based e-mail client, but until it will sync with my PDA correctly I can't make the switch.
    • by hhghghghh ( 871641 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @12:42PM (#14964721)
      Too bad my pocket PC will only properly sync with Outlook. Althoug to be honest Outlook 2003 is not that bad. I would still like to try an open source based e-mail client, but until it will sync with my PDA correctly I can't make the switch. Blame either the makers of PockerPC or the makers of Outlook for that. You'd almost think they're conspiring to prevent people from being able to switch..
    • That's my upcoming dilemma. I use a different app for my pocket pc for calendars (Informant). Thing is, although they don't have a desktop version, they use the outlook database, so all my contacts and calendar is in Outlook. My email is Tbird. I'm not too sorry that email isn't mobile for me - I carry too much shit around in my email (pop server, never delete the local versions). I'm getting a real admin asst soon, and we'll need to share calendars and contacts. Which, economically, means MS SBS. I'm not
    • Well, Finchsync is a program that allows you to sync your contacts with Thunderbird, and apparently your appointments with Sunbird (though that was broken last time I tried it).
    • by Klaruz ( 734 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @01:47PM (#14965289)
      Have you heard of FinchSync?

      http://www.finchsync.com/ [finchsync.com]

      FinchSync is a tool for synchronizing contacts, appointments and tasks from Mozilla email and calendar products with a Pocket PC.
    • I like to use EssentialPIM on the desktop. The non free version includes PocketPC connectivity. There is even a "portable" version for thumb drives.

      http://www.essentialpim.com/ [essentialpim.com]

      No, I don't work for the company, I just like their app ;-)

      Needless to say, I would love to see the lightning project finished and connecting with PocketPC.
  • by slackaddict ( 950042 ) <rmorgan&openaddict,com> on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @12:40PM (#14964709) Homepage Journal
    This question is aimed at those who use this type of software heavily: how does the Mozilla option compare to some web-based solutions like, say, the calendaring option for the SquirrelMail project?

    • SquirellMail requires, um, a web server?

      Seriously, I view remote apps as dangerous and uncontrollable. I don't have an IT staff, or a local webserver. I'm on my laptop most of the time, and (around me) there are precious few places I can get on the 'net when I'm out of the office, and most of them wan't me to pay several dollars for an hour or two of time (no, I don't live in/near a big city). Online apps don't work for me, and certainly not for a mission critical app like my calendar.

      Unfortuntaly, unless
      • Seriously, I view remote apps as dangerous and uncontrollable. I don't have an IT staff, or a local webserver. I'm on my laptop most of the time, and (around me) there are precious few places I can get on the 'net when I'm out of the office

        Luckily for me, .Mac gives me the best of both worlds. I can get to my calendar through the .Mac web site and I can also get at it offline using iCal from my laptop.

        Surely there's something similar for other operating systems?

    • The biggest problem with this solution is that it's all client side. Outlook is a combination of client side and server side functionality. For example, if I accept a meeting request, put it on my calendar, and then go home. I can access my calendar from anywhere and see what my schedule is without having to connect to my desktop machine.

      Now, sure, there are various workarounds. You could use a VPN and store all your calendar information on an smb share or nfs drive, but that's pretty slow, not to menti
  • Finally! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tezkah ( 771144 )
    Anyone remember this from like a year ago? I've switched from Windows to Linux, and I use Evolution just for its calendar feature (I've been using Gmail for my email with Firefox for at least a year now). It's great how it integrates with GNOME's calendar and shows appointments and the like.

    Lightning? Hopefully it is useful to get people to switch away from Outlook, but its the lack of Exchange support that matters to most people, Hopefully that gets added soon!

    good work mozilla lightning team!
    • While I'm not a fan of Microsoft Exchange, there's no denying that it works. With that said, I require its use at work, yet I spend most of my days using my linux machine. And that Exchange web interface is just godawful.

      So I am wondering: What exchange compatible applications are Slashdotters using in linux?
    • from the release notes

      Please be aware, that the use of nightly developer builds has some risks associated with it. Don't use them with production data.

      * There are KNOWN DATALOSS BUGS in the calendaring code.
      o Don't trust these builds with important calendaring or mail data
      o Always make backups (one possible strategy for Calendaring data backups is described at Calendar:WebDAV testing harness)

    • Re:Finally! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by archen ( 447353 )
      I think you're kind of missing the big picture here, and that is cross platform capability. I use Kontact myself so I could care less about this but lets consider a company that is tired of MS Windows. Or better yet is stuck on legacy desktops that the newest version of MS Office won't support - that will be many of us soon. Well we could say, everyone stop - now we use Linux! Yay! But that shit doesn't happen because you're goiong to end up with a migration period, and that COULD be years!

      By having some
  • Slashdot discussed Google Calendar [slashdot.org] over a year ago - wonder what is the holdup for them ...
  • Sunbird? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Moby Cock ( 771358 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @12:43PM (#14964724) Homepage
    What ever happened to Mozilla Sunbird? That was a calendar project too.
    • Re:Sunbird? (Score:5, Informative)

      by fosterNutrition ( 953798 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @12:48PM (#14964772) Journal
      Lightning and Sunbird share the same codebase, and therefore have the exact same functionality and bugs, but Sunbird is standalone, whereas Lightning requires Thunderbird or the like.

      I used Sunbird for a little while a while back, and while it is a step in the right direction, it really needs a lot of work. Of course, this new release may have fixed all the bugs that irked me, and it is of course only version 0.1 - and with that in mind, Sunbird/Lightning really is a factor to consider, but not quite ready for widespread use. When it is though, it will be good.
      • Re:Sunbird? (Score:5, Informative)

        by MSG ( 12810 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @01:17PM (#14965007)
        Lightning and Sunbird share the same codebase, and therefore have the exact same functionality and bugs

        That's not quite it. Sunbird and Mozilla Calendar share the same codebase, and therefore have the same functionality and bugs. The difference between them is *only* packaging. Sunbird is packaged as a standalone app, while Mozilla Calendar is an extension for Firefox or Thunderbird.

        Lightning, however, is a Thunderbird extention that puts the calendar UI directly in the Thunderbird window. The calendar provided by Sunbird/Mozilla Calendar uses a separate window. The group of products probably shares a codebase for handling calendar and related data, but the UI code is different between Lightning and the others. It's going to have its own share of bugs and features.
    • Go to http://www.mozilla.org/projects/calendar/ [mozilla.org]

      You'll find out they haven't forgot Sunbird. It seems Lightning is 'Sunbird within Thunderbird'. Correct me if I misunderstood :-)
    • Re:Sunbird? (Score:2, Informative)

      by MikeyTheK ( 873329 )
      Actually, I believe you're both wrong. Sunbird can run standalone, within Firefox, within Thunderbird, or within the Mozz desktop suite. The only reason I know this is because I was trying to make it work with a certain Yahoo Day Planner widget (the 0.2 version of Sunbird does work, the 0.3 version does not). I am asking the same question - why do we care about Lightning?
      • Re:Sunbird? (Score:3, Informative)

        by MSG ( 12810 )
        Sunbird is the name given to the standalone distribution of the old calendar application. The XPI extension for Thunderbird or Firefox was named Mozilla Calendar. Aside from packaging, they were basically the same application. So, as a minor correction, "Sunbird" does not run within the other Mozilla products, the Mozilla Calendar does.

        Lightning is a completely different UI, designed to integrate better with Thunderbird than the Calendar application does. It'll provide some of the same things that Outlo
  • What about (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kelz ( 611260 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @12:43PM (#14964729)
    Corporate functionality? I'll be quite a few IT people would love to see a viable open source E-mail/corporate calender program (though MSO is so entrenched in many systems it would be damn near impossible to uproot it now...). This could be a big plus for newer businesses.
    • then the question becomes, will it be able to interact with MS Exchange or Exchange equivalents? That has got to be a consideration in some cases.
    • i'd like to see it interact with calendar sharing in exchange... i hate outlook, so this would be awesome if it did...
  • by Per Abrahamsen ( 1397 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @12:55PM (#14964836) Homepage
    At work we use GroupWise, and I find the integration most annoying. There is no connection between when I want to check my calendar, and when I want to send or read mail. Not to mention that I hate the GroupWise mail client, and use another when possible. I also hate the GroupWise calendar client, but I don't know if there are alternatives (I obviously need access to the information entered by our secretary, and she need to se the meetings I have entered).

    I understand that the calendars for the people in the workgroup need to be synchronized, but is email really the best protocol for that? And if so, does it need to be integrated in the same client?
    • It doesn't have anything to do with any e-mail protocol. It makes ical calendars. Currently, it's for keeping up with your own calendar and it just happens to be in an email client. Actually, it's just an extension. If you don't like it, don't get it.
    • OTOH, why invent a new protocol for sending meeting invitations? Why not use email?

      But if you're set against the idea, one of the good things about Mozilla calendar is that it can be used standalone (Sunbird) or integrated (Lightning).
    • What annoys me about Groupwise is that it totally lacks group calendaring! You'd think that an integrated system like that would do groups. You can proxy into another's calendar, but there is no way to invite a whole department (and check conflicts) to a meeting. WTF? Is this not the primary function of an institutional calendar? Or do most people really just schedule personal events?

      • I don't think that's true. I'm using it right now and I can do a free/busy check among multiple invited people and if you look at the button in the top right corner of the client, the one with two people as the icon, it shows a multi-user calendar display. Basically each selected user's calendar side by side so you can get a quick look at what's going on in one shot.
  • I just hope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by norton_I ( 64015 ) <hobbes@utrek.dhs.org> on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @12:58PM (#14964866)
    I just hope they don't make thunderbird suck in the process. All I really want is a program that does mail that doesn't suck, and thunderbird is currently the closest I can find.
    • Agreed (Score:3, Insightful)

      by thrill12 ( 711899 )
      I personally do not need a calendar, and I would stall any thunderbird upgrade if it ever contains one.
      Sleek, fast and trustworthy are a few keywords I put on the current thunderbird, and which is why I use it.
      If they have to do it, make it optional as a plugin or extension, as with every other major non-mail related feature.
  • I've seen it mentioned in this thread already, but I want to add my own emphasis.

    At least for corporations, people are tied to the clock/calendar. You can't disrupt the old tool until you can work with the old tool. Or, at the very least, be able to send meeting requests and import old calendar information into your new tool.

    It is the small things like the Calendar and PowerPoint and file formats which let expensive software cling to a corporation like a bad fungus.
  • Does anyone know if there are any contrib builds for Solaris 8 as there are for Thunderbird and Firefox?

    Alternately, does anyone know if there are any Java based alternatives to Lightning? The default CDE calendar that's installed at work is ancient.

  • by Chairboy ( 88841 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @01:28PM (#14965130) Homepage
    I'd like to see schedule templates for helping me organize my busy life. I suggest the following pre-made ones for typical Firefox users:

    The Leveller
    7:45AM-8:50AM - Worlds of Warcraft
    8:50AM-8:53AM - Ninja fast shower, gotta get to work!
    8:53AM-9:05AM - Drive to work, clock in late
    9:05AM-11:30AM - Read and post to WoW forums from work computer
    11:30AM-12:30PM - Lunch! Just enough time to get home and mob, try to get Enchanted Axe of Althar or something.
    12:30PM-5:30PM - Do enough work to keep that ass boss off your back, sell some WoW gold on eBay.
    5:30PM-6:00PM - Drive home, resolve to buy some groceries and make a real dinner
    6:00PM-6:10PM - Realize that Jack in the Box is faster, just get something there.
    6:10PM-1:00AM - Worlds of Warcraft
    1:00AM-7:45AM - Fitful sleep, plagued by dreams where nobody can read your chat messages in game.

    The GPLion
    9:30AM - Wake up, play some TuxRacer.
    9:32AM - Check for updates to KDE, hit slashdot.
    9:50AM - Finish writing screed defending Stalman while untarring a new nightly build in the background.
    9:55AM - Start a new kernel compiling, then head off to CS class.
    10:00AM - Listen to stupid Microsoft-loving professor tell me about stuff I'll never need. What do I care about 'big-endian' crap, this is COMPUTER SCIENCE, not freakin' Gulliver's Travels.
    11:15AM - Get out of class, eat the macaroni & cheese I brought in tupperware.
    12:00PM-2:45PM - Various classes about stuff I'll never use. Why do I need an english class? I _SPEAK_ english!
    3:00PM - 4:00PM - Spent telling the TA who runs the computer lab why their PSP is inferior to my Samsung phone that runs linux, demo java TuxRacer.
    4:00PM-6:00PM - Kernel has finished compiling at home, spend time trying to get computer working again.
    6:15PM - Post comment to blog about how easy it was to get the new kernel going, and how you don't understand the problems other people are having.
    7:00PM-10:00PM - Xena marathon! Watch on my MythTV setup. With this transparent weather overlay over the screen, I can totally tell what the weather is like outside, even if the audio is out of sync, it's STILL better than a goddamned tivo.
    10:00PM-11:00PM - Porn.

    The Hipster
    7:00AM - Wake up with gentle alarm clock
    7:15AM - Bagel and LOX down at the coffee house.
    8:00AM - Bicycle to work while listening to all my podcasts on my Apple iPod(tm)
    9:00AM - Start work, be sure to check all my RSS feeds.
    12:00PM - Lunch. Did someone say sushi?
    1:00PM - Back to work, adjust my square DKNY glasses and buckle down for at least an hour of email, then back to websites.
    2:00PM - Boba/Bubble tea break!
    5:00PM - Outta work, begin bicycling home.
    6:30PM - Get home.
    7:00PM - Dinner time, zagats sez to try that place on 14th.
    9:00PM - Start watching all my Tivo'd shows, all PBS of course. I don't keep the idiot box for anything but PBS. Oh, and maybe Lost, and the Simpsons, but don't tell.
  • Even though us geeks tend to see little value in having a calendar bolted to an email program, there are lots of people out there who just can't seem to live without it. So this is a good first step.

    But don't go looking for the one big server app that's going to be the "Exchange Killer" that goes with it. That's not how the open source world is answering that challenge. Exchange will not be a Goliath felled by David, it will be more like a Gulliver restrained by multiple Lilliputians. This is because p
  • F'n finally? I get the outlook itch when I want some calendering done, and anweb browser extension or stand alone app just isnt cutting it. I need it intergrated into my email client when I'm actually, you know, emailing people about dates and events.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @01:37PM (#14965207) Homepage
    One huge problem in the Linux world is that there's no standard approach to inter-application communication. The Windows world has had a single solution for fifteen years. (One can argue that COM isn't very good, but it's always there.) OpenOffice uses their own implementation of CORBA. Firefox and Mozilla have some private intercommunication scheme. Most other programs don't talk well at all.

    This is an old, old problem with UNIX. In the beginning, there were pipes, which are unidirectional. There were signals, which were badly botched in early UNIX, resulting in several redesigns, all different, with the end result that nobody could trust signals. Then came sockets, which were bidirectional but oriented towards talking to services on remote machines, not interprocess peer to peer communication locally. There's still no standard, always-there way for one program in the UNIX world to call another and get an answer back. There are about five CORBA implementations, there's OpenRPC, there's Java RMI, and there are a few other schemes not used much. But mostly, there's not much talking back and forth, other than at the file and pipe level or to a remote server.

    I often wonder how UNIX history might have been different if a facility for this had been there from the early days. In UNIX, one program can invoke another, passing a set of command line arguments and environment variables. But all that comes back is a return code. How different it might have been if you got back output arguments. Then programs could have called other programs as subroutines.

    Or if UNIX/Linux had had good interprocess communication from the early days.

    • In UNIX, one program can invoke another, passing a set of command line arguments and environment variables. But all that comes back is a return code. How different it might have been if you got back output arguments. Then programs could have called other programs as subroutines.
      You can do just that. You call a program, write all input data for it to its stdin, and get the processed result from its stdout. You even get a separate channel for OOB error reporting.
  • What, so this is sunbird [mozilla.org], but as a Thunderbird extension? It looks the same.

    What do I gain (or lose) using the extension instead of the Sunbird client?

  • The old way of calendaring is to have calendar on your PC/laptop that you then "sync" with your PDA. Nice, but it is possible to do much better.

    Any real calendar app must store your data on the web, allow you to share events with selected other's calendars, and provide multiple easy ways of hooking up (adding events, seeing, and being notified) by the calendar.

    So far, 30boxes and some others have come close to that.

    I can share share my calendar with my wife so that we can add stuff to each other's calendars
  • Don't Build It In (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ThatDamnMurphyGuy ( 109869 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @01:54PM (#14965352) Homepage
    > Thunderbird that will eventually (once it becomes more mature and stable) be built into Thunderbird.

    God I hope not. The whole point of splitting out Thunderbird and Firefox from the Uber Mozilla Suite was to keep each part simple, non bloated, and good at what they do on their own. Thunderbird is an email client, not a scheduling client. If people want to download an extension for scheduling, fine. But don't lather up Thunderbird with something that it probably doesn't need for most poeple.

    Along the same lines, Firefox doesn't need to be a scheduling client either.
  • It may be confusing but there are some differences between calendar and Sunbird. As explained here [mozilla.org],
    Calendar is the calendar extension for Mozilla products such as Mozilla Firefox,Mozilla Thunderbird, Seamonkey and the Mozilla Application Suite.

    Sunbird is the standalone form of the calendar extension, which means that it doesn't need one of the above mentioned applications to run. Sunbird and Calendar use the same base code so their functionality is virtually the same and they share the same bugs and bug fi
  • Too little (Score:2, Insightful)

    by thsths ( 31372 )
    too late. I mean really, the calender in Mozilla sucked since it came out with Netscape Communicator 3.0 or so. There are other programs that fill the niche (Kalendar, evolution), but they are not perfect.

    Having a good calendar application in Mozilla would certainly be nice. But at this glacial speed of development, I don't see it going mainstream any time soon.

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972