As we pointed out last week, Netrunner isn’t just any Linux distribution, it’s a truly web enabled experience. As such it recognizes that in the modern world most users don’t store their contacts or calendars on their local hard drives, rather this type of information is stored in the cloud.
Dryland Second Edition provides the necessary tools to be useful in this new world, not only by offering ways to sync your cloud stored data with it, but rather making it as straight forward as possible. While applications like Kontact have always support this kind of integration, these features were obscured from the view of the common user. Web Accounts, instead, is really easy to setup, and is sitting right there in the desktop the first time you boot Netrunner, this is how it should be, and is in fact the way smartphones and tablets do it.
The first time you open Web Accounts you get the see the supported services. So you just select the ones you want to sync with. So let’s start by simply clicking on Google Accounts, as soon as we do, Web Accounts will ask for access to KWallet, by clicking Allow Always we’ll grant this application permanent access.
Then you just need to enter your personal information and click next. A web dialogue prompting you to login will appear with your information in, just click sign in.
After doing so, you need to grant Akonadi Resources for Google Services access. Let me apologize for the localized dialog you’re about to see. Follwing this, you just need to tick the services you want to sync with your installation of Netrunner Dryland Second Edition, click finish, and allow it access to KWallet.
Adding a Facebook account is as simple, you get back to Web Accounts, and click on the plus icon or in New Account, and pick Facebook. Similarly, you will need to enter your personal information. And login into facebook and grant access to KDE Connector. After doing so, you just need to select what you want to sync. Adding a Runners-ID account is obviously easy, in fact, it saves you the hassle of granting access to it.
So what are the benefits? Let’s start by opening Menu > Internet > Telepathy, right there the user will encounter with a ready to chat IM, moreover, instead of having a tab opened with Facebook or GMail, or two different application, all of your currently online contacts are shown:
By opening Menu > Internet > Kontact you’ll see the extent of how well integrated everything is. All of your calendars, either from Google, Runners-ID or Facebook are shown, you can tick and untick them on the fly, and everyone of them is assigned a specific color (which you can change if you want).
A calendar is one of type of application you always want to be connected and synced, as you may not always be close to your laptop or desktop computer. Instead you may be waling in the street with nothing but your phone in your pocket, so if anything comes up, or anything came up while you weren’t using your phone, you want this two devices to talk, so you don’t miss anything because of the lack of interoperability. Thanks to Web Accounts, you can expect any event you create from your computer right away in your phone:
Contacts and your friends from Facebook are as integrated. Facebook contacts can’t be modified, obviously as the information depends on your friends, but your Contacts on Google and Runners-ID are modifiable and again.
Any changes will reflect on all of your devices:
Of course, if you decide to enable it, email works as well as the others.
Emails, replies, and drafts will all sync automatically among all your connected devices.
All of this features combined with Runners-ID seem to make a compelling case themselves for Netrunner. There are thousands of Linux Distros, some amazing, some decent, some bad. But there’s none I know of with such a easy and well designed way to integrate into today’s modern and mobile life.