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Free Address Book and Calendar Server Apps
For several years before Apple included their own offering with OS X Server I have been working on a solution to sync contacts and calendar events between networked Mac. Up to now I have been selling the product via my website.

I previously tried to submit a hint about being able to share contacts and events without the need for OS X Server or MS Exchange. However at that time it was reject as it was more a advertisement for a commercial product then a hint. However since the 4th of July 2011 anyone can request a free key via the website.

I am also hoping to get other developers interested in participating on this project and wonder if you would be happy to add a brief note to this hint to that effect. Please note that this is not a time limited free offer but a sincere attempt to build a community around this project.

From the 4th of July you can get your own free Address Book Server running on your network. No need for OS X Server, you don't even need a Mac to host your server. Any old Linux or Windows computer will do as well as most (10.4 onwards) PPC and Intel Macs. With Address Book Server you can synchronise your contacts, events and tasks between networked Macs as well as access the records via the server's web interface.

Each client has a synch services enabled client component installed which synchronises the records with the central server. Access to the server can be made available via the Internet by opening a port on your firewall.

On the backend of the server is a relational database. The embedded database used by default can be replaced with MySQL or PostgreSQL if you want to access your data from different applications.

There is lots of potential for improving on the current offering. The project would like to invite any interested developers to join and contribute.

The project website is : You can download the software from here. The Mac Disk Image includes installers for both the server and the client, as well as the documentation.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. I just followed the QuickStartGuide and got it setup in just a few minutes. The server uses port 8080 as a default, and advertises the service over Bonjour.

With the eventual demise of MobileMe it's possible that people will be looking for alternatives to iCloud, I suppose. This could be one. I suspect the project would welcome some iOS and Android developers to create a client for those platforms, and Mac developers to extend the feature set, and ensure Lion compatibility. I'm publishing this hint in that spirit.]
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Free Address Book and Calendar Server
Authored by: karog on Jul 08, '11 08:24:26AM
About a month ago I put the Radicale CalDAV server on my ASUS RT-N16 router with attached USB hard drive. Like many CalDAV servers, Radicale is written in Python so I run python3 under Optware on my router. This requires the 0.6 version which is not officially released yet but is available on the master git branch

Radicale is an open source project (free) and I have no relation to it other than trying it. It is a work in progress that only syncs calendar events and todos currently. CardDAV for address book sync is scheduled for the future. It is a modest server which is what I was looking for so that it could run on my always on low power router.

One can also look at CalDAV on Wikipedia to find many other servers including the now open source Darwin Calendar Server, an open source licensed version of Apple's iCal server which is also written in Python. It is much more full featured.

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Free Address Book and Calendar Server
Authored by: pengu on Jul 08, '11 08:45:24AM

The Calendar and Contact servers that ship with OS X Server are open source -

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Free Address Book and Calendar Server
Authored by: fulmar2 on Jul 08, '11 09:10:50AM

The skeptic in me sees this as a great way to collect email addresses. Regardless, you can do this for free without installing any software on your computer if you already have a (free) Gmail or (free) Yahoo! email account. Both of these accounts come with calendars, so you can sync your calendars as well. This is how I keep everything synced amongst 3 computers and a smart phone.

Here are instructions for Snow Leopard, This technique also works for Leopard, but not sure about Tiger.
Go to the accounts, via iCal > Preferences, and then choosing "Accounts" in the window pane.
At the lower left, click on the "+" to add a new account
In the next dialog box, fill out this information:
[**]Account Type: CalDAV
[**]User name: <your GMail address>
[**]Password: <your GMail password>

Then, enter server settings
[**]Server address (for GMAIL):
[**]Server address (for GMAIL): /calendar/dav/YOUREMAIL@DOMAIN.COM/user
[**]Server address (for YAHOO):
[**]Server address (for YAHOO): /principals/users/YOUR_YAHOO_ID/

Replace in this URL the part in bold with your full E-mail address.
Leave the rest of the URL alone, even the "user"!
Click "Create"
If ever prompted for Kerberos authentication, leave it unchecked.
In the account info, you can select all calendars you can see in iCal under the delegation tab.

Now, for Contacts - even easier!
Go to the accounts via Address Book > Preferences, and then choosing "Accounts" in the window pane.
Check the box that says Synchronize with (google or yahoo), and then click the configure button.

Now, to get it all working:
1) Go to Applications > iSync
2) Go to iSync > Preferences.
2) If it isn't already checked, check "Enable Syncing on this computer" I always check Show Status in menu bar (if you right click the sync wheel in the menu bar, you can sync at will). Also, I always show data change alert when any of the data will be changed.


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Free Address Book and Calendar Server
Authored by: LostInSpace2011 on Jul 08, '11 05:43:23PM

This is exactly the point of Address Book Server. Rather then me or anybody else hosting a server for you. You can host your own server on your own computer. So your data never leaves your network. You obviously haven't tried it otherwise you would have seen how it works. You suggest to use a service which hosts your data on a server somewhere on the internet where you don't even know what jurisdiction it falls under. Nor do you know who has access to it. I don't want to start scaring people too much, but like you suggest these are all valid considerations.

Might want to give it a try.

Have fun

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Free Address Book and Calendar Server
Authored by: wallybear on Jul 09, '11 05:53:32AM

"The skeptic in me sees this as a great way to collect email addresses"

But the client and server apps resides on _your_ computers, so it's unfair to say such a thing about this program.

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Authored by: David on Jul 08, '11 09:53:14AM

Is it just me, or are the hints being posted here getting less and less "hint-y"? I've been reading this site a long time (looks into it and realizes that it has been 10 years) but I no longer check the site RSS feed nearly as quickly as I used to. Oh well, I guess the times are a-changin'

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Authored by: audiophil on Jul 09, '11 07:14:39PM

I have used the Mac OS X Server calendar server, The gmail service, and toyed with davical.

The Mac OS X server solution was always contingent on a company having osx server for other reasons (calendars alone was never enough to justify installation). .and many of my client have transitioned to gmail. Poor timing for apple, I say with the server suddenly becoming cheaper.

And yeah. .seem to be more slow weeks over here hint-wise.

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Free Address Book and Calendar Server
Authored by: mikec964 on Jul 08, '11 12:03:55PM

I've long wanted an alternative to syncing through Google or any other service with no real promise of security or privacy. This project looks very interesting from that point of view.

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Free Address Book and Calendar Server
Authored by: LostInSpace2011 on Jul 08, '11 05:57:54PM
I started work on Address Book Server several years before the various DAV implementation became mainstream. At one stage I considered adding a DAV interface to the project, but after looking at the complexity I opted not to. What sets Address Book Server apart is that records are held locally on each of the clients as well as on the server in a relational database. Having records locally allows them to be accessed by other applications which are not DAV enabled. There is also an iOS app out which can be used to access the server directly.

In the past Address Book Server was available as commercially however from July 2011 onwards license keys are available for FREE (no strings attached) from the project website. In future the need for a license key might well be phased out. Currently it is still required to ensure only your clients which have the matching key are allows to sync with your server.

We have a forum where you can raise any questions specific to Address Book Server if you want to find out more.


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Free Address Book and Calendar Server
Authored by: comodin on Jul 09, '11 10:33:45AM

I use because:
- server ist free ( Not only for 10 users, it is unlimited free!)
- server runs on all plattforms who can run PHP and pgSql
- no need for a iOS client, because the iOS itself support the server and you can use the and who shipped with the iOS or OS X.


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SOGo is free + Open Source
Authored by: petersconsult on Jul 09, '11 10:51:11AM
There is a multiple-platform alternative to this product that is free, open-source, and works flawlessly for iPhone and Mac Calendar and address book sharing;
The name of the project is SOGo
I've been using it for several clients with great results; it doesn't rely upon the Java framework, so that means it's lightweight and fast...
BTW... I've no particular connection to this project, other than being a satisfied admin, providing several companies with this service all from one remote server...
Hope this helps
Be Well

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SOGo is free + Open Source
Authored by: LostInSpace2011 on Jul 10, '11 07:33:25AM
Address Book Server is also FREE as of July. Currently we are not open source as there are no interested developers contributing. So with nobody looking at the code there is little point in open sourcing the project. In spirit the project is open source in as much as if anyone is interested in contributing towards improving Address Book Server I would be more then happy to share the source. This has always been the case since the project started back in 2007, and goes back even further back to the days I worked on ABxLDAP, AB4LDAP and AB2LDAP. This is also the reason the project is going to be available for FREE from now on which will make it hopefully easier to get other developers interested in joining.

After all what is the point of open source if nobody else is looking at it. It is not about getting software for free, but getting free software. Might be interested in reading what RMS has to say on this:

Just to comment on your suggestion for SOGo. We also have support for iOS via ABCMobile (from the AppStore). Our web interface still has lot of potential for improvement, but is functional. In particular the reports allow for interesting analysis, such as google earth reports to map the location of all your contacts, birthday reports etc.

Have fun

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SOGo is free + Open Source
Authored by: StrawHousePig on Jul 10, '11 11:03:24PM

These really differ in their intended audience. Not to speak for the OP, but ABServer is a personal solution where SOGo is enterprise. SOGo, like the Darwin packages, has several of its own dependencies and needs more hands on skill to install and administer than ABServer.

I must admit I've always been leery of Java daemons and I remember looking at ABServer years ago, though I'm not sure how to take the news of it becoming freeware. Makes me a little sad to hear a Mac developer must take such drastic efforts to keep their software alive. I certainly wish you the best of it.

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SOGo is free + Open Source
Authored by: LostInSpace2011 on Jul 10, '11 11:37:51PM

Quite a few businesses are using Address Book Server in a enterprise / commercial environment. The the ability to sync a subset of groups in Address Book was added especially of this market. Also one of my larger customers is running around 60 Macs on a single server. I have to admit in this case we had to move to a move from the standard embedded database to the more powerful PostgreSQL. Similarly the ability to host more then once server instance on the same system without using substantial more resources has also been added to address the needs of the enterprise market.

I fail to see the issue and fear with Java processes. Most major blue chips use java for their system. The language is mature and has great frameworks and support. Java and the various enterprise frameworks (J5EE) provide great scalability.

Even though getting started with Address Book Server may be simpler than other alternatives, there are lot of options available. Maybe take a look at the WIKI page : for some of the more advanced features included.

The reason we are going free is that is it not viable to compete with Apple (MobileMe, iCloud and their own ABServer), Microsoft with Exchange, Google / Yahoo (free sync). Being essentially the only developer working on this I guess it was always written on the wall. At one point a fellow from Germany did some great work and put in several hours which helped a lot. I am most grateful for his help. Others helped out with graphics which I also appreciate. Other this this the rest was done by yours truly. I don't want to brag as I enjoyed the work. Yet I have come to the conclusion that if Address Book Server is going to succeed the only way forward it to get other developers, marketeer etc involved. The tricky bit is to achieve this without the financial resources of the competition. So I am guess the only way forward is the give the software away for free and see if this helps to attract others who are willing to contribute. I might turn out to be a mistake, but since I have been trying to attract other developers in the last years, I might as well try that and see what happens :-)

Hope I don't sound to melodramatic. Address Book Server has so far been good fun for me and I hope it will continue in the same way as it did so far.

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SOGo is free + Open Source
Authored by: petersconsult on Jul 16, '11 12:00:39PM

Hi LostInSpace2011,

Honestly, fear of the unfamiliar is what keeps me from implementing Java on my 'nix servers.
As for AddressBook Server, i can assure you i will take another look at running it on my CentOS/MySQL machines... i do remember that my choices for a suitable -dav platform came to your product and SOGo, and i chose SOGo for its readiness.
In any case, i wish you all the luck and success this world has to offer!
Be Well,

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