I spent last Thursday and Friday in Montreal for a Calendaring Roundtable sponsored by the new Calendaring and Scheduling Consortiumand hosted by Oracle.
The purpose of the roundtable was to get some of the major players in the calendaring software world
around the same table to see if we could make some concrete forward
progress towards real interoperability.
Bob Morgan, Michael Gettes (Duke), and Jeff McCullough (UC Berkeley), and I attended from
CSG-member higher ed institutions. Many of the commercial companies
with calendaring products were represented – The big-guns (IBM, Oracle,
Novell, Yahoo), the open-source community (Mozilla Foundation,
OSAF), and the smaller companies (Stata Labs, Cyrus), as well as one
other major player who did not want to be named in public communiques.
Noticeable by their absence at this gathering, though they
were invited, were Microsoft, Sun, and MeetingMaker. A person from the
Outlook group at Microsoft had intended to participate, but was told
two days before the meeting that he did not have corporate approval to
participate. MeetingMaker responded that they were not interested in attending at this time.
The meeting went extremely well – there was a great deal of enthusiasm
towards achieving short-term progress in interoperability, and people
generally seemed to be ready and willing to get on with working
together on the nuts and bolts. While it’s hard to tell whether this
will be sustained with real ongoing effort, the folks at the table
appeared to be willing to commit real resources towards this end.
There was general agreement around this table that the CAP protocol has
proven to be unworkable and may now, for all practical intents and
purposes among this group, be considered at least moribund, if not
Several of the companies represented (Mozilla, Stata, Novell) have
reverse-engineered the method Apple uses for publishing calendars from
its iCal product to the web. There was an agreement to work on
documenting that method so that others can more easily implement it.
There was a very general enthusiasm for the new CalDAV proposal , and
several of the companies represented are starting to code to the
current document, while acknowledging that their implementations may
have to change as the draft evolves. It seems possible that we may see
some early test implementations as early as next spring. Future
CalConnect events will include interop bake-offs to demonstrate the
state of success (or issues arising) of this approach.
There was agreement that the activities of the Consortium would be
complementary to IETF work in this area. There will likely be an IETF
Working Group on revising the base calendar formats, and there may be
one on CalDAV.
This event will likely be followed by an interoperability event in January.
I think we all came away feeling like a log-jam in the calendaring
standards world might at long last be breaking apart, and we came away