Using DavMail with Exchange for Linux

My one bone of contention in using Linux has been the paucity of Exchange-compatible clients. I have the inclination to blame M$, but hey–my Android phone client works just fine. Evolution, Thunderbird, KMail–sure, I can get IMAP mail, but none have worked to the point of syncing with my appointments. Enter DavMail. I’ll show you how to install it and set it up to work with your company’s Exchange server.

First, some background: DavMail’s basically a server, written in Java, running on your local box or somewhere else. It used Outlook Web Access to get your mail, calendar, and other stuff and then re-sends them using standard protocols like IMAP, LDAP, CalDav, etc. A post with an explanatory graphic is here.
Disclaimer: These instructions assume you are using Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick) with at least Java 5 installed.

Installation

  1. Go to http://sourceforge.net/projects/davmail/files/ and click the Download link for the .deb file. After downloading, install the .deb.
  2. Start DavMail by entering davmail in a terminal. You will see a yellow circle in your notification area.
  3. Right click the DavMail icon and select Settings….
  4. Enter your webmail’s URL in the OWA (Exchange) URL field. It will be something like https://mail.yourcompany.com/owa/.
  5. Make note of the Local IMAP SMTP, and LDAP port settings, and then close the dialog.

E-mail configuration

  1. Start your favorite email client, and configure a new account with the following settings:
  2. Incoming server type: IMAP
  3. Server name: localhost
  4. Port: <The port from DavMail’s Local IMAP port setting>
  5. Username: <Your corporate email address> note-you may need <Domain_name>\\ on the front of this, depending on which version of Exchange you are on.
  6. No connection security, and set authentication method to whatever your corporate exchange server’s authentication method is.
  7. Outgoing (SMTP) server name: localhost
  8. Port: <The port from DavMail’s Local SMTP port setting>
  9. Username: <Your corporate user name> note-you may need <Domain_name>\\ on the front of this, depending on which version of Exchange you are on.
  10. No connection security, and set authentication method to whatever your corporate exchange server’s authentication method is.

Calendar configuration

Clients vary on how to configure calendars, but I’ll give the general settings.

  1. Start your favorite email client, and configure a new calendar with the following settings:
    1. Calendar type: CalDav
    2. Server name: localhost
    3. Port: <The port from DavMail’s Local CalDav port setting>
    4. URL: http://localhost:1080/users/mail@company.com/calendar
  2. Save the calendar.

That should do it! Hit me up if you run into any snags. I have tested both sending and accepting event invitations in Thunderbird with another Ubuntu/DavMail user, and all my Calendar events–even from before the install–show up correctly. Bonus: it works outside any corporate firewall.

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About buffalobillion

Web Developer, JavaScript Balrog, Java dude, Ruby/Rails enthusiast. Guitar Playa.
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