Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

This is totally amazing. An open source, P2P, email, IM, calendar... total personal information management system with "The Dream Team." Even Andy Hertzfeld is on the team. We've been talking about how cool something like this would be for years. Finally someone is doing this. Where do I sign up? This totally relates to blogs as well. Dan told me about it this weekend, but I waited until his article came out before I blogged it. The Web Site for the Open Source Applications Foudation has more information.

Dan Gillmor

Posted on Sun, Oct. 20, 2002
Software idea may be just crazy enough to work
By Dan Gillmor
Mercury News Technology Columnist

this is an excerpt from the middle

If the software lives up to the developers' plans, it will have wide appeal. It should be highly adaptable to personal tastes, with robust collaborative features. I'm especially hopeful about a feature to build in strong encryption in a way that lets users protect their privacy without having to think about it.

The Chandler architecture builds on other open-source projects. These include Python, a development language and environment that's gaining more and more fans among programmers, and Jabber, a communications infrastructure that started life as an instant-messaging alternative but has evolved into a robust platform of its own.

One of the Chandler developers, Andy Hertzfeld, is volunteering his services. Hertzfeld is well-known in the software community, partly for his key role in creating Apple's original Macintosh and Mac operating system. An open-source company he co-founded a few years ago, Eazel, died during the Internet bubble's immediate aftermath.

``I hope we make a great application that I love to use myself, and that eventually millions of people will enjoy using,'' he says. ``Hopefully, we'll be able to make e-mail a lot more secure, without encumbering the user with technical detail. We can make accessing and managing information of all kinds more convenient if we're lucky. And we'll be helping to pave the way for free software to displace proprietary operating systems at the center of the commercial software industry.''


BoingBoing says "you get the picture: it's Outlook. Except it won't suck." That's a HUGE market. ;-)

This is great - I think of a reason to trash Outlook about once a day, but I didn't see much alternative. IF they can design some elegant specifications, and it becomes as useful as Mozilla has turned out to be, then I'll be elated to see it proliferate, and start better sharing information with my friends. Truly shared calendars and contact information has been promised but unweildy for almost a decade it seems.

What does this mean for weblogging? Well if it's truly open source then calendars, personal information, chat and email can be linked into the broad datastreams, and then it's just a matter of figuring out how you want to package your bits.

This is an exciting idea, and it's coming around at the same time as a a great deal of activity around weblogging - hopefully these will converge in the coming months. Nice to see some promising technological innovation emerging, even after the recent demise of so many technology companies!

Interesting that Mitch Kapor is leading the effort. Though he denies it, he might have reasons to do so given his feelings towards MS.

Jabber has been talked about as an interoperable IM platform but it practically connects only to MSN, which supports outside efforts to connect to MSN Messenger. AOL/ICQ are impossible to connect to while the interoperability debate continues.

Its ambitious for a start up to try to replace the MS Office standard and so kudos for the brave effort!

Neeraj: Its ambitious for a start up to try to replace the MS Office standard and so kudos for the brave effort!

At the heart of MS Office is Outlook, at least for me - it's my "always-open" application. So that's what they're promising to replace - personal/business communications (not necessarily word processors and spreadsheets). And you're right - it's a bold move and I wish them luck also!

Hopefully, since this Open Source PIM will be open standard, it can be made to cooperate and inter-operate with other software - web-browsers, RSS readers, weblog publishing tools. Then it will simply be the central hub for our mind-sharing technology. If it succeeds, this software should evolve much faster than this stale out Outlook XP I'm using!

Neeraj:Interesting that Mitch Kapor is leading the effort. Though he denies it, he might have reasons to do so given his feelings towards MS.

My take on it is that PIMs have always been Mitch Kapor痴 first love. After having great success with Lotus 1-2-3, he tried to follow up with the ultimate PIM, Lotus Agenda. For it痴 day, it was a great PIM even before PIM became a software category. Agenda痴 downfall was that it very difficult to sell, simply because it was so sophisticated and like no other piece of software. Some sample applications were included with it but it was far more powerful than your average 1-2-3 user was ready to handle at that time.

Even in the late 1980's, it already anticipated information overflow and had a rule based categorisation of data which gave it an almost uncanny ability to take an imported email and categorise it by it痴 content alone. Just importing a mail with the text, 杜eet Fred at noon on Wednesday could place the entries in the categories 擢rederick Bloggs, 擢red痴 Deli, 溺eetings and 徹ctober 23rd 2002. (This also worked in several European languages!)

Unfortunately, after Mitch left Lotus, it was quietly dropped and Lotus Notes, a conceptually completely different information manager was it痴 upgrade path. For many years, Notes had the ability to import Agenda structured data though it痴 unlikely many people used it.

Agenda was Mitch痴 baby. He probably thinks the world is ready for it now.

A more eloquent write up about Lotus Agenda

A more eloquent write up about Lotus Agenda

(Oops..bad tag)