Aethera 1.2.1 review

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Aethera is a pim application, i.e

License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
File size: 7529K
Developer: TheKompany
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Aethera is a pim application, i.e. it handles all kinds of personal information: email, contacts, notes, tasks, todos, journals. It has various communication features regarding: send/receive email, send/receive task requests and appointment requests via email. It can help you to know quickly the world's news and weather.

Aethera is a new cutting edge communications and personal data management software written with Qt and deployed for Linux, Windows and Macintosh. By PIM we mean Personal Information Manager, by PDR we mean Personal Data Repository, the rest should be obvious.

Aethera supports all the standard messaging protocols such as POP and IMAP with full synchronization capability as well as support for multiple identities. All the features you would expect to find in an industrial strength email system are part of Aethera. In addition there is a personal calendar and schedule, as well as "sticky" notes, "To Do" lists, an address book, groupware compatibility via Kolab, and optional plug ins the extend the idea of collaboration beyond the bounds of typical groupware with instant messaging, whiteboarding and voice over IP (VoIP). The combination of Aethera with Kolab provides you with a very powerful combination that can realistically replace Outlook/Exchange and in some cases Lotus Notes, for only the price of the hardware to install it on. There are no per server costs or per user costs unless you want the optional plug ins, which are all priced at trivial amounts. Since Aethera runs on virtually any operating system you are likely to use, it doesn't require that you make any changes on the desktop.

The Groupware portion of Aethera can be as simple as sharing your personal schedule to arrange meetings and discover scheduling conflicts, sharing your contacts or even your ideas using notes and images. There is support for Kolab Groupware server, a good solution for people who need synchronization and instant access to information. Aethera is also a GPL, this means you get the source code with the application to do whatever you want. We don't charge for Aethera, however we do have the optional plug ins that we charge for, but you are free to create your own plug ins for your own use or to give away to other people and companies.

We are available to build plug ins or add functionality on a time and materials basis if you wish to have specific customizations in a timely fashion, just contact us at . Aethera uses advanced functionality that we developed that allows you to add new plug ins with relative ease across operating systems, making Aethera truly unique and extensible. Our use of Qt from Trolltech gives us the ability to easily make the user interface multi-platform, and we take care of the rest.

Aethera is well suited, and designed, around the idea of collaboration and information management. So let's talk about what's there now, what we'd like to do in the future and what is possible to do.

Through our creative use of Jabber we've been able to integrate not only an instant messaging client, but also the worlds only collaborative whiteboarding application built on top of Jabber. This allows you to rapidly communicate with friends and co-workers anywhere in the world and be able to easily share visual ideas. Our Jabber client is also the only one currently available that supports file transfers between clients with no problems with firewalls. Now an extension of this idea would be to allow you to share any object within Aethera to people you are Jabbering with, for example: Say you are in a one on one chat, or better yet, a MUC (Multi User Chat in Jabber terms) and you drop a Contact from Aethera in to the chat, everyone can have that automatically load in to their contact list, or maybe it is a file, a picture, etc. This is all theoretically possible today with the technology that exists in the framework, it just hasn't been written yet.

We've added what we call the 'aethera-command' extension. This allows you to essentially script Aethera externally. So for example on Windows, you could have a VBA script that was part of MS Excel that could populate your Address Book with the data out of Excel. Some of the things we're talking about here can be solved with aethera-command, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Another useful tool that could be done in a relatively short amount of time would be a CRM module, this is "Customer Resource Management" and is invaluable for sales people. If you've ever seen ACT! or Goldmine, this is what we are talking about, but far more flexible and better integration between all the modules. The design is done, but resources are thin to do everything we want.

Aethera could also be enabled to create discussion forums and knowledge bases within the enterprise or across the Internet. Aethera will also supports sophisticated work flow management through a graphical interface that allows you describe the flow of work through a process. Perhaps a document needs to be reviewed by, and signed off by several different people in a particular sequence. When that is done, then a copy is faxed or printed or emailed to another recipient at another location, and the task is then flagged as completed and notification is sent to the task manager. A web interface is also available so that you are never out of touch with your information. Eventually Aethera will integrate with our Project Management software as a fully integrated solution.

The PDR portion of Aethera will allow for new, and to our knowledge, completely unique features for managing your personal information. How many places do you have to organize information? You have your disk drive where you create directory structures and save information. You have web pages that you save in the bookmarks of your web browser, and you have your email. How often have you saved a bookmark only to have the link go away later, or you can't remember why you saved it? How often have you saved an email, and then can't remember why? Two very exciting pieces of Aethera address these issues for you.

We've been designing a component on Linux that will allow any enabled application to save it's information into the Aethera virtual file system. This one step allows you, but does not require you, to save any and all files into a single hierarchy that is easily organized, indexed and searchable. You will even be able to use Aethera to save your bookmarks through Konqueror and have multiple sorting criteria so that you can easily find and use them. A plug in for Konqueror will also allow you to save whole, or in part, web pages into the Aethera VFS instead of just saving the URL. This becomes even more useful with the next piece. It is conceivable to provide the same level of functionality through Internet Explorer on Windows and Safari on OS X.

The companion piece is the Annotation Tool. This component allows the user to add any personal notes to any piece of information being saved. So now you can save off that web page and make some notes on it when you save it as well as maintain the original URL information if needed. You can now file away your emails into folders and put your own notes and thoughts with them, ensuring that you will always know what your various correspondence were about in case the thread is lost. Anything that is saved into the VFS will have the ability to be annotated, giving you ultimate control over your personal information.

The VFS can easily be swapped to a SQL compliant database backend, which provides for better data security and more robust searching capability, not to mention better speed as your data repositories grow. You could then use any type of database tool to browse and report from those data structures (provided you have security clearance).

We hope you are starting to see and understand the vision of Aethera, what it can do today, and what it can do tomorrow.

What's New in This Release:
What's new:

Groupware (Kolab1, Citadel)

Aethera can use even empty Shared Folders (Kolab1 compatibility).
The jabber chat logs can be saved in Notes Shared Folders (Kolab1 compatibility)


Sound support for notifications, you can use the autodetect mode or just choose your player.
Sound support can be disabled if you want to hear only your music :).
More translations available (Greek support in progress). The current supported languages are French, German, Russian and Portuguese (BR).


The notification system has been improved and you will get notifications as popup messages, as sounds or as status bar messages depending on the situation.
Now it's more comfortable to know about your new instant messages from your contacts or file transfer status.
Now it comes with a system tray support (Linux only) which works very well with the new notification system.
Better support for unicode, so that you can communicate with friends all over the world.
The management of chat logs has been improved with a search mechanism and with groupware support.
There is a new search line which let you see only the needed chat logs.
The groupware support (Kolab1 compatible) helps you to store your chat logs on the server for sharing it with other people or just to have your important data available from different location.
The chat list view has alternative background color for a better visibility.
You can send/request authorization when you need. Adding a new contact will manage the authorizations automaticaly. The layout for authorization dialog has been fixed.

Improvements and fixes:


ICAL format support has some fixes.
The automaticaly saving options works now.
The sound option for events alarm works now. It is using the new sound support.
Removing a calendar with Delete key isn't possible anymore.


VCARD support is reading/importing both VCARD2 and VCARD3 data format and it exports data only in VCARD3 format. In this way more people will be able to import their old contacts in Aethera.
The support for phone field is fixed (even as a SIP type).
The Kolab support is better too.
The contacts view list is using alternative background for a better visibility.

Aethera 1.2.1 keywords