{Latest update: 14 August 2003}

What is it?

Several years ago, when I could still afford it, I had a Palm Pilot that I routinely synchronized with jpilot. One day though, my Palm Pilot started to malfunction and the adventure started. I had to search for a replacement PIM application that combined the same things jpilot had in a very convenient package: contacts, appointments, calendar, todo list organized by categories, and notes. Yes, I tried the typical suspects: Ximian's Evolution, KOrganizer, ical... None of them did the job though. They were either too bloated, included functionality I did not care about such as an email client, or lacked certain key features (especially the nice way to categorize todo items in different priorities and groups). No, jpilot was it. There was no doubt about that. Yet, a problem remained: how to synchronize the application database files between my system at home and the one at work? Well, txfrpilot came to fix that, at least to some extent. It is a short Tcl/Expect script that I use to synchronize the database files by using an account on a public FTP server.


You will need a Linux system with Expect, which can be found here if you are looking for the RPMs.

I have tested txfrpilot on Red Hat 8, Red Hat 9, Debian, Fedora Core 1, Fedora Core 2 and FreeBSD.

How to install and configure

To install the RPM packages I provide here, simply download the file to your hard drive, log in as root, and run:
rpm -Uvh [packagename]


The man page is already explicit enough, I think. All you need to do is create your own ~/.txfrpilotrc configuration file (an example config file can be found with the package itself, and it usually gets installed under /usr/share/docs/txfrpilot-[version] in the case of RPM based distributions. Just make sure you change the permissions to 600 so nobody can read your username and password, and then run txfrpilot push to upload your database files to the FTP server for the first time. When you want to download the files from the server, simply run txfrpilot pull.


There is a very important caveat for the regular usage of this simple tool: since one never synchronizes with an actual Palm Pilot device, the jpilot databases keep growing and growing. You will notice this yourself as you download or upload the files to your FTP server. I assume you are bound to run into a limit somewhere, or perhaps jpilot will start experiencing problems sooner or later due to the sheer size of the database files. All I can say is that I have not run into this problem yet... and yes, there may be a way to hack that too. I just did not have the time to analyze the source code for jpilot and understand its binary format. I may be able to do this some day.


Here are the latest files available: