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

Where can I find my calendars and address books?

In Thunderbird, you need to explicitly add the calendars and address books you want to see.

For calendars, right-click on the calendar list in the calendar tab, choose New Calendar... and select Decentralized via GeneralSync. You can then select your calendar from the list.

For address books, open the address book window and choose File|New|GeneralSync Address Book... to bring up a similar list for address books.

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. If you created your calendar with an old version of GeneralSync or didn't specify an address while creating the calendar, event invitations are disabled for that calendar until you select an address.

You can change the address by double-clicking on a calendar in the calendar tab: select another address in the E-Mail field and confirm yor change by clicking OK.

Questions regarding pricing and licensing

Will GeneralSync always be free?

No, a paid subscription will be required to use GeneralSync after the open beta has finished. The free one-month licenses we provide as part of the beta will continue to be valid for a transitional period of at least one month after paid subscriptions become available.

How will GeneralSync be priced?

We'll provide separate plans for private and commercial users, but the exact rates are not yet determined. We'd be happy to take your suggestions into account, feel free to contact us!

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 publicly 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 license is, however, quite liberal compared with other proprietary licenses. For example, you can 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 is included in our releases, the majority of the code is not yet released. As we don't use any obfuscation, you can, however, easily analyze all affected components. In addition, we plan to provide source code access to paying customers in the future.

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 license terms.