In my search for a Google Calendar alternative, I looked at various options. My radar pointed to Fruux.
My criteria was several fold:
- No dependency on Google.
- Able to hook into existing Email clients, such as Thunderbird, Evolution, Outlook etc.
- Web Client for Desktop/Laptop.
- Android Client for Smartphone/Tablet.
My first search took me to a Cloud application called OwnCloud. I ran with it for awhile, but it proved too problematic across a couple of fronts, so it was eventually scratched off the list.
Next up was Baikal. It worked ok in several important areas, but it would not synchronise the Calendar well enough, when integrated with the CalDav protocol on Android. So it too went the way of the scrap-heap.
Which took us to Fruux, which is related to Baikal, but instead, is the ‘real deal’. Developed in Germany, this application has made me happier than a pig in s**t, so let me explain why I love it, and why you could too.
Calendar, Contacts and Tasks
Yes, you can utilise all three from within the Fruux environment. If you use the Pro version of Fruux, you can use the Pro (Individual) or Pro (Team) accounts to run your activity and business.
- Firstly, if you set up a Fruux account, you can access it via a web browser. Login, and you will see tabs for Calendars, Contacts and Tasks. These all operate in a traditional sense, and should be intuitive enough for you to enter in records against these three categories.
- When you install Fruux on Android for instance, you will be asked to synchronise to your Fruux account (email address via setup is the means to do this).
- Once done, you can then integrate to your Contacts address book and your Calendar app. When all of your Contacts are synced to Fruux, you can remove any that are tagged to Google.
- Likewise for Calendar entries, remove any that are tagged to Google, and check to see that your Fruux entries are coming through.
- Tasks can be accessed directly from the Fruux app.
Yes, you can connect to external email clients such as Thunderbird, Evolution and Outlook, though there is some editing required to make it work. This is done on the Fruux side thankfully, and there’s not too much in the way of remembering CardDAV and CalDAV connectors such as SoGo to join them up. A further in-depth article on how this works will soon follow.
This, taken from the Fruux website:
‘All your personal data is transferred using HTTPS and encrypted at rest using the industry standard AES-256 encryption algorithm, so your data is constantly encrypted, both in transit and ‘at rest’. We also aim to implement the latest security practices into Fruux such as the Content Security Policy. Making sure that your data is secure is our top priority and is more important to us than any new feature development.’
The basic Fruux account will enable you to use Fruux on two devices (say a laptop and a smartphone). If you migrate upward to the Pro account, it will cost you 4 Euro a month, and be enabled across 10 devices, should you use that many.
A Team account is 20 Euro a month for a small team of 5 users (4 Euro for each additional team member), which also enables team address books and collaborative team meetings. A useful feature if you can’t afford a tool like Microsoft Exchange Server for instance, which does the same thing but at an exorbitant cost.
There are many other tools out there, but not many can provide the collaborative environment, stitched-in capability, and ease of use – particularly as an interface between home computing and smartphones/tablets – when you are on the go.
If you want to step away from Google’s environment, Fruux is definitely one of the ways to go, and is well worth an investigation.