10 December 2009

Stopping development on Nomad PIM

I will stop contributing to Nomad PIM. It took me a long time to make this decision, but I am confident that it is the right decision for the following reasons:

First and most importantly, over the last two years I did not have much time to work on Nomad PIM, and I don't think that this will change anytime in the future.

Second, a strong trend towards cloud computing and keeping private data on the web has emerged over the past few years. Furthermore, the devices that are used to access that data, e.g. smart phones & desktop computers, are becoming more diverse. I believe that this trend is fundamental, because it is very convenient to be able to access and modify data, especially personal data such as notes and contacts, from different devices in different situations (e.g. on the bus) without the need for manual synchronization. Nomad PIM is a desktop application for notebooks and desktop computers that stores the data locally. It would need a complete rewrite to make it available as such a cloud-based application, and there would the major obstacle of providing a cloud-based service that is hard to accomplish for an open-source project.

Third, Eclipse technology has changed since I started developing Nomad PIM in early 2005. The first version of Nomad PIM was developed for Eclipse 3.0 - now Eclipse 3.6 is under development, and Nomad PIM is based on Eclipse 3.3 (the development version is based on Eclipse 3.5). The Eclipse Modeling community has created a very good set of technologies and tools in the meantime, especially EMF, and a major part of the framework underlying Nomad PIM would need to be changed to leverage those technologies - which is important to facilitate future development as an Eclipse application, and has been on my todo list for a long time. Unfortunately, this would require a major work investment and I never found myself having the time to do it. Furthermore, e4 is now on the horizon, which would require even further changes.

As I am the main contributor to the project, this will mean the development of Nomad PIM is discontinued. If anybody is interested in taking over as project lead, please let me know by email (lars.grammel@gmail.com). I plan on using Nomad PIM for at least the next two years, and I will still be providing fixes to critical bugs. I will also provide detailed guides how to migrate your data to other services or applications (for the services / applications I migrate my data to). Please be aware that because Nomad PIM stores your data as human-readable XML files, your data is not locked in and you can use freely available tools such as XSLT processors to convert it into formats that can be imported into other services.

It was a great experience developing Nomad PIM. I would like to thank all contributors, especially Frank Ganske and Philip Ritzkopf.

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