Thunderbird as client for Microsoft Exchange 2010 server on Ubuntu 15.04


A while back I posted a howto on running Thunderbird on Ubuntu 11.04 (64bit) as a fully functional client for the Microsoft Exchange 2010 server. There has been a few improvements since then, so this is a complete HOWTO for Ubuntu 15.04.

Back in 2011, I was able to connect my company’s Microsoft Exchange 2010 server from my beloved Mozilla Thunderbird client thanks to a link posted by tanstaalf to a French project named DavMail. The solution lies in installing an Exchange gateway called DavMail.I’ve set this up to run on localhost, but this can naturally be set up on any host. I’ve been able to verify connecting successfully to the following services: Email, Calendar, Active Directory for shared and private address lists.

Install DavMail on Ubuntu 15.04 (64 bit)

Install Java if it is not already installed:

$ sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jre libswt-gtk-3-java

If you still want the Oracle (Sun) version, you can follow this HOWTO.

Download and install DavMail:

$ wget -O davmail_4.6.1-2343-1_all.deb "http://downloads.sourceforge.net/project/davmail/davmail/4.6.1/davmail_4.6.1-2343-1_all.deb?r=http%3A%2F%2Fsourceforge.net%2Fprojects%2Fdavmail%2Ffiles%2F&ts=1425894743&use_mirror=heanet"
$ sudo dpkg -i davmail_3.9.7-1870-1_all.deb

DavMail is now installed. Let’s configure it.

Configure DavMail

Since Ubuntu 13.04, most apps were blacklisted from the systray. According to this thread, this can be fixed by whitelisting all apps to the systray by installing dconf-editor and setting a parameter called Desktop->Unity->Panel, but I can’t find that path nor the key named «systray-whitelist». I therefore prefer to run DavMail in headless mode, and create a .davmail.properties file in my home directory that looks like this:

#DavMail settings
#Mon Oct 06 20:47:52 CEST 2014
davmail.allowRemote=false
davmail.bindAddress=
davmail.caldavAlarmSound=
davmail.caldavEditNotifications=false
davmail.caldavPastDelay=90
davmail.caldavPort=1080
davmail.clientSoTimeout=
davmail.defaultDomain=
davmail.disableGuiNotifications=false
davmail.disableUpdateCheck=false
davmail.enableEws=auto
davmail.enableKeepAlive=false
davmail.enableKerberos=false
davmail.enableProxy=false
davmail.folderSizeLimit=
davmail.forceActiveSyncUpdate=false
davmail.imapAutoExpunge=true
davmail.imapIdleDelay=
davmail.imapPort=1143
davmail.keepDelay=30
davmail.ldapPort=1389
davmail.logFilePath=
davmail.logFileSize=
davmail.noProxyFor=
davmail.popMarkReadOnRetr=false
davmail.popPort=1110
davmail.proxyHost=
davmail.proxyPassword=
davmail.proxyPort=
davmail.proxyUser=
davmail.sentKeepDelay=90
davmail.server=false
davmail.server.certificate.hash=
davmail.showStartupBanner=true
davmail.smtpPort=1025
davmail.smtpSaveInSent=true
davmail.ssl.clientKeystoreFile=
davmail.ssl.clientKeystorePass=
davmail.ssl.clientKeystoreType=
davmail.ssl.keyPass=
davmail.ssl.keystoreFile=
davmail.ssl.keystorePass=
davmail.ssl.keystoreType=
davmail.ssl.nosecurecaldav=false
davmail.ssl.nosecureimap=false
davmail.ssl.nosecureldap=false
davmail.ssl.nosecurepop=false
davmail.ssl.nosecuresmtp=false
davmail.ssl.pkcs11Config=
davmail.ssl.pkcs11Library=
davmail.url=https\://webmail.computas.com/owa
davmail.useSystemProxies=false
log4j.logger.davmail=DEBUG
log4j.logger.httpclient.wire=WARN
log4j.logger.org.apache.commons.httpclient=WARN
log4j.rootLogger=WARN

Now, start DavMail from the main menu:

Press the Alt+F2, and type "davmail"

You should now see a java process running davmail that looks like this:

$ ps -fuax|grep davmail
11393 gz 1.6 3.5 09:18:13 java -Xmx512M -Dsun.net.inetaddr.ttl=60 -cp /usr/share/davmail/davmail.jar:/usr/share/java/swt.jar::/usr/share/davmail/lib/activation-1.1.1.jar:/usr/share/davmail/lib/commons-codec-1.3.jar:/usr/share/davmail/lib/commons-collections-3.1.jar:/usr/share/davmail/lib/commons-httpclient-3.1.jar:/usr/share/davmail/lib/commons-logging-1.0.4.jar:/usr/share/davmail/lib/htmlcleaner-2.2.jar:/usr/share/davmail/lib/jackrabbit-webdav-2.4.3.jar:/usr/share/davmail/lib/jcharset-1.3.jar:/usr/share/davmail/lib/jcifs-1.3.14.jar:/usr/share/davmail/lib/jdom-1.0.jar:/usr/share/davmail/lib/junit-3.8.1.jar:/usr/share/davmail/lib/log4j-1.2.16.jar:/usr/share/davmail/lib/mail-1.4.3.jar:/usr/share/davmail/lib/slf4j-api-1.3.1.jar:/usr/share/davmail/lib/slf4j-log4j12-1.3.1.jar:/usr/share/davmail/lib/stax-api-1.0.1.jar:/usr/share/davmail/lib/stax2-api-3.1.1.jar:/usr/share/davmail/lib/woodstox-core-asl-4.1.2.jar:/usr/share/davmail/lib/xercesImpl-2.8.1.jar davmail.DavGateway
14975 gz 0.0 0.0 11:26:31 grep davmail

DavMail is ready to go. You can check out the logs by tailing the davmail.log file in the home directory of the user that owns the davmail process.

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

Thunderbird 31.0

In Ubuntu 15.04, Thunderbird is the default email client, so you don’t need to install it.

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 might 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

Install the Lightning extension via from Tools -> Addons -> Extensions in Thunderbird. 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 the 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:

If you’re not able to see any «LDAP directory…» under the File->New menu, simply go through Thunderbird’s «Edit->Preferences» dialog, and select the Addressing Tab under the Composition section:

LDAP 1 LDAP2

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

Now, test it out by creating a new message:

Set up personal address book

According to the CARDDAV installation manual in the DavMail pages, you need to do the following to get the personal address book to work with the exchange server.

Download the SOGO connector plugin from http://www.sogo.nu/fr/downloads/frontends.html and install the file the connector through the Thunderbird Extensions tab, and restart Thunderbird:

CARDDAV2CARDDAV3

After restarting Thunderbird, open the Address Book manager and create a new personal address book like this:

CARDDAV4 CARDDAV6

Refresh the view and you’ll see the contacts in your private address book.

CARDDAV-last

References

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