Chapter 4. Synchronizing a Handheld Computer with KPilot


4.1. Conduits Used by KPilot
4.2. Configuring the Handheld Connection
4.3. Configuring the KAddressBook Conduit
4.4. Managing To-Do Items and Events
4.5. Working with KPilot


Handheld computers are in widespread use among users who need to have their schedules, to-do lists, and notes with them everywhere they go. Often users want the same data available on both the desktop and the portable device. This is where KPilot comes in—it is a tool to synchronize data on a handheld with that used by the KDE applications KAddressBook, KOrganizer, and KNotes, which are part of Kontact.

The main purpose of KPilot is to allow sharing of data between the applications of a handheld computer and their KDE counterparts. KPilot does come with its own built-in memo viewer, address viewer, and file installer, but these cannot be used outside the KPilot environment. Independent KDE applications are available for all functions except the file installer.

For communication between the handheld and the different desktop programs, KPilot relies on conduits. KPilot itself is the program that oversees any data exchange between the two computer devices. Using a particular function of the handheld on your desktop computer requires that the corresponding conduit is enabled and configured. For the most part, these conduits are designed to interact with specific KDE programs, so in general they cannot be used with other desktop applications.

The time synchronization conduit is special in that there is no user-visible program for it. It is activated in the background with each sync operation, but should only be enabled on computers that use a network time server to correct their own time drift.

When a synchronization is started, the conduits are activated one after another to carry out the data transfer. There are two different sync methods: a HotSync operation only synchronizes the data for which any conduits have been enabled while a backup operation performs a full backup of all data stored on the handheld.

Some conduits open a file during a sync operation, which means that the corresponding program should not be running at that time. Specifically, KOrganizer should not be running during a sync operation.

4.1. Conduits Used by KPilot

The conduits used by KPilot can be enabled and configured after selecting Settings+Configure KPilot. The following is a list of some important conduits:


This conduit handles the data exchange with the handheld's address book. The KDE counterpart for managing these contacts is KAddressBook. Start it from the main menu or with the command kaddressbook.


This conduit allows you to transfer notes created with KNotes to the handheld's memo application. Start the KDE application from the main menu or with the command knotes.

Calendar (KOrganizer)

This conduit is responsible for syncing the appointments (events) of the hendheld. The desktop equivalent is KOrganizer.

ToDos (KOrganizer)

This conduit is responsible for syncing to-do items. The desktop counterpart is KOrganizer.

Time Synchronization

Enabling this conduit adjusts the handheld's clock to that of the desktop computer during each sync operation. This is only a good idea if the clock of the desktop computer itself is corrected by a time server at fairly frequent intervals.

Figure 4.1. Configuration Dialog with the Available Conduits

Configuration Dialog with the Available Conduits