Oct 242010

orageOriginal article by: Francesco Di Leo

I found this article by francesco very interesting, because at work I use Thunderbird with lighting extension, while at home I use my trusted Xubuntu (with integrated Orage), so thanks to his article I saw how to integrate the two objects.

But what are Lighting and Orage ?

Lightning brings the Sunbird calendar to the popular email client, Mozilla Thunderbird. Since it’s an extension, Lightning is tightly integrated with Thunderbird, allowing it to easily perform email-related calendaring tasks.

Orage provides a calendar which integrates nicely into the Xfce Desktop Environment. It is highly configurable and supports alerts based on dates. It warns you with popup or audio alarm. As it is an application for every day use it launches itself in the background as a daemon and can be accessed using the Orage Clock plugin for the panel.

The initial difficulty is that Lightning stores informations in a format that can not understand Orage, as the latter adopts the iCal standard. But a shortcut is possible: In Lightning create a new calendar by selecting it as a network location, the next screen you choose where to place your ical file that we will create by writing the address, for example, file:///home/username/FILE.ics, and then next and next, and the final finish.


The file should not exist in reality and as first thing set a new appointment in the new calendar, and save. Now the file will be created and visible.

let’s move to Orage now: click on the Orage calendar that you will find on the application list, once you’ve launched it, click and pop up the calendar window



from the File menu choose “exchange date” and go to the “orage files” tab under “orage main calendar file” in “New File”, choose the ics file previously created and saved with thunderbird. You’re done.



After several tests I noticed that Orage may crash if you change the calendar from Thunderbird, but nothing happens if you do the opposite. Go between the properties of the previously created calendar in Thunderbird and put the checkmark in the “Read Only”. The calendar from now on, is directly managed by Orage that in his feature has the possibility of notifications of upcoming appointments (and this is done also by thunderbird but only if you launch the program) and the lightness of program.

Keep the ICS in sync between different computer

A good method to keep the .ics file automatically synchronized between your computers is to use dropbox, just put the file in the dropbox directory, and the dropbox daemon will take care of sync that file between your working and the central storage, and once you boot your second computer it will sync with the updated calendar automatically (just keep dropboxd starting at boot).

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