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Radicale (Calendar and Addressbook)

Radicale icon

Available since: version 0.9

With Radicale, you can synchronize your personal calendars, ToDo lists, and addressbooks with your various computers, tablets, and smartphones, and share them with friends, without letting third parties know your personal schedule or contacts.

Why should I run Radicale?

Using Radicale, you can get rid of centralized services like Google Calendar or Apple Calendar (iCloud) data mining your events and social connections.

How to setup Radicale?

First, the Radicale server needs to be activated on your box.

Note, that only users with a FreedomBox login can access Radicale.


If you want to share a calendar with only some users, the simplest approach is to create an additional user-name for these users and to share that user-name and password with them.

Radicale provides a basic web interface, which only supports creating new calendars and addressbooks. To add events or contacts, an external supported client application is needed.


Now open your client application to create new calendar and address books that will use your FreedomBox and Radicale server. The Radicale website provides an overview of supported clients, but do not use the URLs described there; FreedomBox uses another setup, follow this manual. Below are the steps for two examples:

Synchronizing over Tor

In FreedomBox, setting up a calendar with Radicale over Tor is the same as over the clear net. Here is a short summary:

  1. When logged in to FreedomBox interface over Tor, click on Radicale, and at the prompt provide your FreedomBox user name and password.

  2. In the Radicale web interface, log in using your FreedomBox user name and password.

  3. Click on "Create new address book or calendar", provide a title, select a type, and click "Create".
  4. Save the URL, e.g., https://ONION-ADDRESS-FOR-YOUR-SERVER.onion/radicale/USERNAME/CALENDAR-CODE/. Items in italics need to be changed to match your settings.

These instructions are for Thunderbird/Lightning. Note that you will need to be connected to Tor with the Tor Browser Bundle.

  1. Open Thunderbird, install the Torbirdy add-on, and restart Thunderbird. (This may not be necessary.)
  2. In the Lightning interface, under Calendar/Home in the left panel right click with the mouse and select "New calendar".
  3. Select the location of your calendar as "On the Network".
  4. Select CalDAV and for the location copy the URL, e.g., https://ONION-ADDRESS-FOR-YOUR-SERVER.onion/radicale/USERNAME/CALENDAR-CODE/. Items in italics need to be changed to match your settings.

  5. Provide a name, etc. Click "Next". Your calendar is now syncing with your FreedomBox over Tor.

  6. If you have not generated a certificate for your FreedomBox with "Let's Encrypt", you may need to select "Confirm Security Exception" when prompted.

Synchronizing with your Android phone

There are various Apps that allow integration with the Radicale server. This example uses DAVx5, which is available e.g. on F-Droid. If you intend to use ToDo-Lists as well, the compatible app OpenTasks has to be installed first.

Follow these steps for setting up your account with the Radicale server running on your FreedomBox.

  1. Install DAVx5
  2. Create a new account on DAVx5 by clicking on the floating + button.
  3. Select the second option as shown in the first figure below and enter the base url as https://<your.freedombox.address>/radicale/username/ (don't miss the / at the end). DAVx5 will be able to discover both CalDAV and WebDAV accounts for the user.

  4. Follow this video from DAVx5 FAQ to learn how to migrate your existing contacts to Radicale.

Synchronizing contacts

  1. Click on the hamburger menus of CalDAV and CardDAV and select either "Refresh ..." in case of existing accounts or "Create ..." in case of new accounts (see the second screenshot below).
  2. Check the checkboxes for the address books and calendars you want to synchronize and click on the sync button in the header. (see the third screenshot below)

DAVx5 account setup DAVx5 refresh DAVx5 account sync

Advanced Users

Sharing resources

Above was shown an easy way to create a resource for a group of people by creating a dedicated account for all. Here will be described an alternative method where two users User1 and User2 are granted access to a calendar. This requires SSH-access to the FreedomBox.

  1. create a file /etc/radicale/rights

    • [friends_calendar]
      user: ^(User1|User2)$
      collection: ^.*/calendar_of_my_friends.ics$
      permission: rw
      # Give write access to owners
      user: .+
      collection: ^%(login)s/.+$
      permission: rw
    • [friends_calendar] is just an identifier, can be any name.

    • The [owner-write] section makes sure that owners have access to their own files

  2. edit file /etc/radicale/config and make the following changes in section [rights]

    • [rights]
      type = from_file
      file = /etc/radicale/rights
  3. Restart the radicale server or the FreedomBox

Importing files

If you are using a contacts file exported from another service or application, it should be copied to: /var/lib/radicale/collections/user/contact file name.vcf.

Migrating from Radicale Version 1.x to Version 2.x

During the month of February 2019, radicale in Debian testing was upgraded from version 1.x to version 2.x. Version 2.x is a better version but is incompatible with data and configuration used with 1.x. Automatic upgrade mechanism in FreedomBox, handled by unattended-upgrades does not automatically upgrade radicale to version 2.x due to changes in configuration files. However, FreedomBox version 19.1, which is available on February 23rd, 2019 in testing will perform data and configuration migration to radicale version 2.x. Typical users require no action, this will happen automatically.

If for some reason, you need to manually run apt dist-upgrade on your machine, then radicale will be upgraded to 2.x and then FreedomBox will not be able to perform its upgrade (due to upstream project deciding to remove migration tools in radicale 2.x version). To avoid this situation, the following process is recommended if you wish to perform an upgrade.

sudo su -
apt hold radicale
apt dist-upgrade
apt unhold radicale

However, if you already happen to perform an upgrade to radicale 2.x without help from FreedomBox, you need to perform data and configuration migration yourself. Follow this procedure:

sudo su -
tar -cvzf /root/radicale_backup.tgz /var/lib/radicale/ /etc/radicale/ /etc/default/radicale
apt install -y python-radicale
python -m radicale --export-storage=/root/radicale-migration
cp -dpR /root/radicale-migration/collection-root /var/lib/radicale/collections/collection-root/
(remove this directory if it already exists. Or perhaps merge the contents.)
chown -R radicale:radicale /var/lib/radicale/collections/collection-root/
apt remove -y python-radicale
if [ -f /etc/radicale/config.dpkg-dist ] ; then cp /etc/radicale/config.dpkg-dist /etc/radicale/config ; fi
if [ -f /etc/default/radicale.dpkg-dist ] ; then cp /etc/default/radicale.dpkg-dist /etc/default/radicale ; fi
(After FreedomBox 19.1 is available, goto FreedomBox web interface and set your preference for calendar sharing again, if it is not the default option, as it will have been lost.)



1. If you are using FreedomBox Pioneer Edition or installing FreedomBox on Debian Buster, then radicale may not be usable immediately after installation. This is due to a bug which has been fixed later. To overcome the problem, upgrade FreedomBox by clicking on 'Manual Update' from 'Updates' app. Otherwise, simply wait a day or two and let FreedomBox upgrade itself. After that install radicale. If radicale is already installed, disable and re-enable it after the update is completed. This will fix the problem and get radicale working properly.

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