Frequently asked questions about GeneralSync

This document provides answers to common questions regarding GeneralSync and accompanying services. If you have further questions, feel free to contact us.

If you have questions regarding user interfaces or basic concepts of GeneralSync, also refer to the guides for an explanation of commonly used features.

Questions regarding Synchronization

Is it required for devices to be switched on simultaneously in order to sync?

GeneralSync transfers your data between your devices only. Due to that principle, any exchange of data requires at least two devices to be powered on and connected to each other. It is thus essential that each device is occasionally switched on simultaneously with another device.

In practice, however, this is rarely a problem: smartphones, for example, are usually powered on and connect automatically to saved wireless networks.

Is a (W)LAN connection required to access GeneralSync?

No, all data managed by GeneralSync is locally accessible independently of your network connection, both for reading and writing. Changes will be distributed as soon as the network connection is restored.

What happens on contradictory changes on different devices?

GeneralSync recognizes changes made in parallel and marks them as conflict. Afterwards, you can select which change should persist. Of course, your selection will then be synced automatically.

Questions regarding the Android app

I disabled "sync" in Android's settings. Why doesn't GeneralSync work?

Android permits users to disable automatic synchronization for all Apps. You can usually find this setting in the "Accounts" category of Android's system settings. Some devices also feature a separate icon in the quick settings, permitting to toggle the setting more easily.

If automatic synchronization is disabled, Android will no longer notify GeneralSync of changes you made in other Apps, and will in some cases prevent GeneralSync from writing changes made on other devices. Your changes are, however, not lost: pending changes are processed once you re-enable automatic synchronization.

Why are my changes (e.g. calendar color) not visible in other apps?

Android delays the execution of sync adapters until a network connection is present. As GeneralSync is using such adapters to provide content to other apps, your changes will be applied once you have re-established a network connection.

Another potential cause for the same problem are apps overriding data from GeneralSync. For example, some calendar apps permit you to choose a custom calendar color. If you choose a color in the app, the color configured in GeneralSync is never displayed in that app.

Why do some apps permit to alter read-only address books?

The Android operating system permits apps to write in address books even if they are marked as read-only. Apps thus need to actively check whether a given address book is supposed to be writeable. For that, some apps (e.g. the preinstalled Contacts app on most devices) only check whether the address book belongs to an app that is technically capable of providing writeable address books. As GeneralSync is capable of that, they permit editing even if the address book is not marked as writeable.

Any edits to a read-only address book are dropped and reverted by GeneralSync, usually within few minutes (if a network connection is present).

I don't use Google Play. Can I download the app directly?

Yes! On the download page, you can download the Android app as apk file. If you enter your license code in the app's settings, GeneralSync will even support automatic updates without Google Play. Note that the App delivered through Google Play does not include this feature, otherwise they're identical.

Questions regarding the Thunderbird add-on

Why are some contacts not listed in mailing lists?

Mozilla Thunderbird requires contacts in mailing lists to have an email address and does only support one contact per email address and mailing list. If a contact doesn't have an email address or has the same mailing list than a present contact in the same mailing list, GeneralSync thus can't add the contact to the list.

How can I enable event invitations?

To use event invitations, Thunderbird needs to know the email address(es) your calendars belong to. You're prompted to select one when creating a new calendar and can change the address by double-clicking on a calendar in the calendar tab: select another address in the E-Mail field and confirm your change by clicking OK.

Questions regarding pricing and licensing

Why can I name my own price for private licenses?

We aim to provide fair pricing to all customers, independently of their financial situation, cost of living and other related factors that are hard to include in a fixed pricing schema. We thus base our prices on a single, simple question: what do you consider a fair price for your intended use of GeneralSync?

You can thus select how much to pay. There is only a small minimum covering the direct cost of accepting your payment. To keep this option avaliable in the future, we depend on you: please don't abuse our trust.

Why can't I choose not to pay?

Not paying would always be a more convenient option than paying. If payment would be optional, most people would thus skip paying for convenience. That wouldn't be fair to us.

If you consider GeneralSync worth something but cannot pay for some reason, contact us with details about your situation. We might be able to figure something out together.

I don't like subscriptions. Why is a one-time payment not sufficient?

In order to keep working, GeneralSync needs to get adjusted for new versions of supported applications and operating systems. So even without any new features, there is a significant amount of work involved in keeping GeneralSync running. There are also recurring costs for support, servers and other parts of the infrastructure.

With one-time fees, there are three main options to provide the sustained revenue stream necessary to keep GeneralSync running smoothly:

For a product requiring perpetual updates, any of these options is a bad deal for the customer: either the project dies at some point or there is some form of recurring payment hidden behind the advertised one-time-fee.

A subscription is way more honest than pretending that there is a one-time fee, which effectively must be paid in arbitrary, undisclosed intervals. In addition, subscriptions are easy to calculate: users and developers both know in advance how much money will flow and can plan accordingly.

How do you count users or devices?

Commercial licenses are priced based on the number of users or devices. You can freely choose how to divide between users and devices: a single user or device either covers all devices exclusively used by a single user or a single device used by an arbitrary number of users.

Example: you want to sync data between three office workers. Each one has a desktop computer and possibly additional devices (smartphone, laptop, ...). In addition to that, you need to sync some of the data to a single PC in the production department, where it is accessed by five other employees. In that situation you have four users or devices: three office workers (with one or more devices each) and one PC in the production department (with five users).

Read the full legal agreement for the legally binding definition.

Are there family licenses?

The regular private license also permits to use GeneralSync on the devices of your relatives, as long as they live in your household. If you need a family license, you can thus simply choose a fair price for your whole family when ordering a private license. Read the full legal agreement for details.

Is GeneralSync open-source?

The term "open-source" can be used to describe two different properties of software: the software being licensed under an open-source license or the software's source code being available.

GeneralSync is not licensed under an open-source license, as development and maintenance cannot reasonably be paid from occasional donations and paid support contracts alone. The used licenses are, however, quite liberal compared with other proprietary licenses. For example, you are allowed to modify GeneralSync as long as you don't sell or otherwise distribute the result to a third party.

While some parts of GeneralSync's source code are included in our releases, other parts are not. As we don't use any obfuscation, you can, however, easily analyze all affected components. Furthermore we do provide source code access for paying customers upon request, contact us for details.

To sum it up: GeneralSync provides a similar level of security and extendibility to open-source software. However, the distribution of GeneralSync is bound to more restrictive rules. More details are available in the respective license agreements.