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Initial Impressions, questions, and thoughts

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Last seen: 10 years 12 months ago
Joined: 2008-04-03 03:14
Initial Impressions, questions, and thoughts

Hi - I am a relative newcomer to the world of portable apps and Toucan so please bear with me. I mostly work in the Linux world but must from time to time also use Windows. So I am looking for tools such as Toucan to help keep things consistent for me as I move about from one computer to another. To accomplish this I bought a 4gb USB memory stick and loaded it with many of the portable apps/suite which seems like a fine idea/concept at first but actual usage is beginning to raise a few questions....

When I first brought up Toucan, under Linux, an apparent bug immediately presented itself so just an FYI - All the tabs were pure black squares, no text or images appeared. Took a bit of blind hunting to figure out the last tab allowed me to set the tabs to just present text and not the images...

This appears to be a one man project? If so, that is a bit worrisome, are there others around who are working on/capable of continuing this project in case something happens to Steve who, from his comments, appears to be an overloaded student?

I don't find any documentation about the drive model that Toucan is using. Under the Secure tab I noted an initial list of 7 drives labeled c:, f:, g:, h:, x:, y:, z: which strikes me as very Windows centric. How does one determine what these are mapped to in the Linux world? And for that matter in the Windows world because I do not have those drive letters there either? It certainly appears to have nothing to do with the mount points I defined in my fstabs or Samba files so I do not understand how to use them within Linux...

The documentation mentions some predefined portable variables. I don't see these in the pull down menu or displayed in the portable variables tab page. So again how does one learn what the predefined portable variables - @drive@ and @doc@ really map to on each machine from which I run Toucan on? To understand the usage of these portable variables and drive letter mappings, one needs to be presented with a guide to the underlying model and I don't see this documented or presented in the GUI anywhere.

A far more serious synchronization problem I have, (and I am sure others must face it also) is how to handle synchronization of email across multiple computers. I am trying to use the portable Thunderbird on my USB stick but am discovering that it has some serious problems. (DON'T get me started on mbox mail storage, I do NOT like it, and especially on slow flash memory it is very clumsy, slow, and prone to crashing/disk corruption. And it is no wonder with all the compression and summary file creation that goes on! I would much prefer maildir format but unfortunately Thunderbird does not provide that option.) This causes me to use the "native" versions of Thunderbird, under their respective OS more often, rather than using the portable app version, as the "native" versions are much faster and more reliable to use. But that causes a divergence in what mail each of the clients collect, for which I need a tool to resynchronize them. (an yes before you ask, I am stuck with using POP mail servers and do not have the luxury of keeping my mail stored on the server...)

That said, from what I understand, Toucan synchronization is strictly file oriented and cannot handle synchronization of mbox mail storage. So I wonder, has any thought been given to providing a plugin interface to Toucan? (I haven't looked at the source code sorry, not enough time...) If it had one, then perhaps one could write a script to explode an mbox file into separate files in a maildir, call it from Toucan automatically, do the synch, and then write and call another script to repackage up the maildir back into an mbox file and continue on. There are utilities around that already do most of this conversion from mbox to maildir formats and v.s. (keeping in mind though there are in fact several different mbox formats floating around for different email clients. Good grief!) If you know what mbox format your email client uses then using such an "plugin" should be doable... Just an idea, perhaps others have different thoughts?

Sounds like another version of Toucan is coming (any ideas on when?) so perhaps it will be a bit more polished...


Steve Lamerton
Steve Lamerton's picture
Last seen: 10 years 9 months ago
Joined: 2005-12-10 15:22
Wow, big

post! I shall try my best to answer!

  1. Yeah, Toucan isn't supported under WINE at the moment, however a native Linux released is planned shortly after the 2.0 release
  2. Yes it is a one man project, sadly like many open source projects I have not received any offers of coding help, however with regards to work the busy spell is now over, in fact I have two pretty much free weeks coming up and I hope to get 2.0 practically finished in that time.
  3. It uses the standard windows drive model, and as mentioned I do not support Linux at the moment.
  4. The help file isn't that great, and documentation help would be much appreciated, but it does say what they map too in the help file.
  5. Yes sync is file based only, and like I have said, with no offers of help I haven't seen much point in writing a plugin system, however in 2.0 there is scripting support, so if you did have such a program then you could set it up to run before syncing without any trouble.
  6. Yep, 2.0 has taken so long because I have majorly restructured it to make it far easier to use, but also for me to maintain, expect the first pre-release in the next couple of weeks (hopefully).

Hope this helps, if you want any more info please say and I will try my best.

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