So I talk a lot about both open source software, and the preciousness of one's own data. I rail against vendors who promote lock-in. I tout the benefits of open source software. So, here is a real life example of someone with a measly 195 records in her contacts database.
As you might recall, I migrated from a Mac desktop to a Linux desktop a month and a half ago. There are still some, shall we say, hanging chads. One big one was my address book. I used to have this great system where I used the Mac Addressbook, which would nicely sync with my cell phone. It also integrated well with Mail.app and iChat. It was great.
First problem: Linux address books ... suck. I hate to be so blunt, but it is true, at least in comparison to the ones on the Mac. There are basically three options. 1) Since I'm using Thunderbird as my email client, I could use that as my addressbook. Except... it sucks. Really it does. Not enough fields, not a good ui. Ick. 2) KAddressBook. It's not as bad as Thunderbird, except, of course, it doesn't integrate with Thunderbird. It's just a bit more polished. More configuration, more options, but still not good. 3) Evolution. It would mean switching my email. It might be worth it. But the last time I tried Evolution, it was a horrible experience. But, that was 4 years ago. Open source projects do get better.
Actually there is a fourth option. I could dump all my addresses into one big flat file, and use grep. Right. Errr. NOT.
So my next task is to really try out evolution, and see how it works for me. I'll keep you posted.
But, there is more...
In order to use one of these address book options, I have to get my data out of Apple's addressbook. Turns out, there's no "export" menu item. Yeah, talk about lock-in! There is, luckily, a handy-dandy tool that will do it for you. Otherwise, you have to either write your own, or, worse, hand enter all those addresses again.
<Insert sound of Michelle chewing on Purina Dog Chow.>