Thunderbird as client for Microsoft Exchange 2010 server

Looking for the instructions for Ubuntu 11.10? Click here.

Thanks to a link posted by tanstaalf to a French project, DavMail, I was finally able to connect to my company’s Microsoft Exchange 2010 server from my beloved Mozilla Thunderbird client. The solution lies in installing an Exchange gateway called DavMail. I run this on my localhost, but this can naturally be set up on any host.

I can verify connecting successfully to the following services: Email, Calendar and Directory.

Install DavMail on Ubuntu 11.04 (64bit)

Looking for the instructions for Ubuntu 11.10? Click here.

I run a pretty standard Ubuntu 11.04 64 bit OS (download here). If you have a different distro, or run a 32-bit version, you can still use this HOWTO, just adapt the parts that are 64-bit specific.

Install the prerequisites:

$ sudo apt-get install sun-java6-bin libswt-gtk-3.6-java

Download and install DavMail:

$ wget
$ sudo dpkg -i davmail_3.9.5-1805-1_all.deb

DavMail should now be installed. Continue to the next section.

Configure DavMail

Now, start DavMail from the main menu:

Applications -> Internet -> DavMail

You should now see an icon in your system tray that looks like this:

Right click on the icon, choose settings and set the URL to your OWA (Exchange) server (e.g.

Save, and DavMail is ready to go. You can check out the logs by right clicking on the icon and selecting «Show logs».

DavMail is made to work for any email client. Here are the instructions for Thunderbird.

Ubuntu 11.04 (64bit): Thunderbird 3.1

Thunderbird is not part of the default installation in Ubuntu 11.04, so you need to install it manually:
$ sudo apt-get install thunderbird

Set up new email account

Open Thunderbird and configure your email servers like this:

Your Username must be in the following form: DOMAIN\USER

The email client will complaint that you are using an insecure connection to the server, but that’s allright, as it runs on localhost.

Configure an existing account

In Thunderbird, go to Edit -> Account Settings, and edit the Server settings, so they look like this:

Your Username must be in the following form: DOMAIN\USER

Also, edit the SMTP server settings, so they look like this:

Your Username must be in the following form: DOMAIN\USER

Set up calendar

Download lightning.xpi og gdata-provider.xpi, og install the extensions from file in Thunderbird (Tools -> Addons -> Install):

Now, restart Thunderbird, and open the Calendar.

Add a new calendar and use a URL like this: http://localhost:1080/users/<YOUR FULL EMAIL ADDRESS>/calendar :

Important note! If you leave the Email set to None, no invitations will be sent to other participants when you arrange meetings.

Set up Directory Service (Active Directory)

Open up the Address book in Thunderbird and add a new LDAP directory like this:

Note: The Bind DN must be in the following form: DOMAIN\USER



34 tanker om “Thunderbird as client for Microsoft Exchange 2010 server

  1. Howdy! I just wish tto give youu a big thumbs up for your great information you have gott right here on this post.
    I am returning to yoiur blog ffor more soon.

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  4. Tusind tak for a good guide!

    Thanks to it, I’m now happily using icedove and iceowl (unbranded Debian provided versions of Thunderbird and Lightning) for my Exchange 2010 access combining my Google calendars with my Exchange calendar, great stuff! 🙂

    The only thing I would suggest is to provide links to download pages instead of the actual packages (xpis and debs) which would make it easier for people to find the latest versions.

    Also, a good trick to get the dependencies right when installing external debs is to do a simple ‘dpkg -i’ of the package you want to install … it will fail if it has unmet dependencies, BUT you can then do a ‘apt-get install -f’ and have apt to figure out the dependencies 🙂

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  6. Ok, I solved both my questions. First, you can run multiple instances of davmail by calling different config files at the command line (e.g. davmail .hotmail.dav & davmail .work.dav). I was able to get contacts by changing the address of my exchange server. My company has two different addresses for it. As you said though I still can’t get contacts offline…not such a big deal! Thanks again for introducing me to this!

  7. I’m having a bit of trouble getting contacts to populate in. I entered the Directory Server Properties exactly as you did, but they are stil not showing up. I tried Download Now on the Offline tab as well, which states ‘Replication succeeded’ but still no contacts show up. Is Base DN something that needs to be customized? Sorry, I don’t know much about LDAP.

    • I actually never got to see the contacts locally, but they show up when you start typing in an address in an email. Sorry, but I don’t have a solution right away. I will look into it over the summer, though.

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  9. Awesome post. Thanks!
    I was stuck on Evolution for a long time, but it’s always been so unstable. I’ve gotten Thunderbird up and running like a charm.


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  11. Tilbaketråkk: Thunderbird as client for Microsoft Exchange 2010 server on Ubuntu 11.10 « Ad-hoc knowledge

  12. Maybe you can do «sudo dpkg –configure –force-depends davmail» to configure it instead of «sudo apt-get -f install».

  13. Hi again.
    I tried the OpenJDK route with no luck. The command «sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jre» does install the OpenJDK, but the subsequent install of DavMail (via dpkg -i) fails with plenty of errors.

    Using «sudo apt-get -f install» actually removes the davmail package…that’s what apt-get says, though the package is never properly installed.

    I tried the above steps in Ubuntu 11.10 64-bit.


    PS: And I fsck* hate Outlook, Evolution…

  14. Hi.
    Just to let you know that in Ubuntu 11.10 the package sun-java6-bin does not exist anymore. It has been renamed to ??? (I’m still trying to find the package).


    • Hey Jernej!

      Thanks for the heads up! 🙂 I guess it was only a matter of time after Oracle bought Sun that this happened. Oh, well.

      I found this statement: «Oracle Java (JVM/JDK) will not be available in the Debian / Ubuntu repositories anymore because Oracle retired the «Operating System Distributor License for Java» (JDL) and the only release available in the repositories will be OpenJDK.»

      Here’s a HOWTO installing the Sun (Oracle) JDK:

      However, if the openJDK works well, I’d like to stick to that, especially due to admin simplicity:

      $ sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jre

      I’ll update this HOWTO as soon as I can verify that the OpenJDK works as expected. 🙂


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