Exchange Calendar Sync
Back to Linux How-tos
Syncing University of Nottingham Exchange 2007 Calendar to Thunderbird + Lightning
Works under SuSE 11.4 (and presumably later versions), running Thunderbird 13 or 14 (not 15 at the moment, see above). If Thunderbird isn't installed, then install it from within Yast, or use zypper ("zypper search thunderbird" to find it, then "sudo zypper install MozillaThunderbird"). See Getting Email Working for instructions on how to set up email.
From within Thunderbird, go to Tools --> Add-ons. Search for and install Lightning (version 1.5.1 works) then restart Thunderbird. Go to Tools --> Add-ons again, search for "exchange". The one you want is "Exchange 2007/2010 Calendar and Tasks Provider" (version 1.8.5 works). Install it, and restart Thunderbird.
You should now have an extra panel down the right hand side of your Thunderbird window, with today's date at the top. There is also an extra "Events and Tasks" menu... from there, select "Calendar" and a new tab will open. On the left there is a monthly calendar, underneath that is the word "Calendar" and probably the word "Home". Right click somewhere in the empty space below that, and select "New Calendar..."
- Select "On the Network", click "Next"
- Select "Microsoft Exchange 2007/2010", click "Next"
- Give your calendar a name, e.g. "Work calendar" or "Exchange calendar"
- Make sure the correct email address is shown, e.g. "firstname.lastname@example.org" and not one of the other email addresses you might have set up Thunderbird for (like gmail). Click "Next"
- Make sure "Use Exchange's autodiscovery function" is NOT checked.
- For "Server URL" enter: https://legacy.nottingham.ac.uk/EWS/Exchange.asmx
- For "Mailboxname" enter: email@example.com (but obviously, replace eexzzz with your own username)
- For "Username" enter: eexzzz (but obviously, replace eexzzz with your own username)
- For "Domainname" enter: ad
- Leave "Share FolderId" blank
- Click "Check server and mailbox" which should by now have appeared. You will be asked for your username and password. Use ad/eexzzz for your username (it should already be correctly populated)
- If successful, then straight away a couple more fields will appear, with values already selected: "Folderbase" (which says "Calendar folder") and "Path below folderbase" (which says "/"). Leave these alone.
- Click "Next"
- Your calendar should be created. It may take a short while for any existing events to be loaded.
That's it! Have a play around, it's fairly intuitive.
You can set up a Tasks calendar in the same way but by choosing "Tasks folder" instead of "Calendar folder" for "Folderbase".
A further possibility is viewing calendars belonging to other people. To do this, use the username of the other person when entering "Mailboxname". All other fields should be the same. This will allow you to see when someone is busy, but not what they are doing. It is possible to grant full visibility to another person through outlook, but I don't know how to do that in Thunderbird. ~~ Roger
Most of the information I got on how to do this, I got from a handy CERN website.
Update, 31/8/12 (Thunderbird version 15)
This is old information that has been fixed in later versions of the add-on. I'm leaving it here in case it is still useful. Ral 10:14, 30 October 2013 (GMT)
NOTE: the Exchange add-on does not work with Thunderbird version 15, see this bug report. If you find out that Suse has updated Thunderbird and you can no longer see your calendar, then... well, not sure what to do at this point. The options seem to be downgrading to version 14, using the web-based interface for the Exchange calendar, or going back to a paper diary. Arse. (Steve, 31/8/12).
How to downgrade to Thunderbird 14 and Lightning 1.6
Chances are you were caught on the hop by this. You'll have started Thunderbird, a window popped up saying "checking compatibility", then something about "Lightning 1.6 won't work, do you want 1.7?" and of course you tick yes. Then some weird error messages pop up and no calendar.
Until the guy who wrote the Exchange calendar extension finishes updating his code to make it compatible, your options are defined above - downgrade, web-based calendar, or paper diary. Downgrading wasn't too tricky. Here's how:
- Quit Thunderbird
- Start Yast
- Software Management
- Search for thunderbird
- Select MozillaThunderbird
- Find the "Versions" tab in the lower half of the window
- Select version 14
- Click "Accept" bottom right
- A window will pop up about solving dependencies. Select "downgrade of MozillaThunderbird-translations-common...."
- Click "OK -- Try Again"
- Another window will pop up telling you of some other things it will do... click "OK"
- Software Management will make the changes, then quit.
- Open Software Management again, search for thunderbird again
- Right click on MozillaThunderbird and select "Protected - do not modify". A padlock should appear.
- Do the same for the MozillaThunderbird-translations-common package
- Quit Software Management and Yast
- Open Thunderbird
- If Lightning 1.6 is still installed then you're good. The following assumes that Lightning got upgraded to 1.7 when you ran Thunderbird 15.
- It might well tell you that Lightning 1.7 is not compatible. It does not offer 1.6 (which is).
- Go to Tools -> add-ons
- Remove Lightning 1.7
- Next to the search bar at the top of the add-ons manager tab, there's a little picture of some sliders, this is an options menu. Click it
- Select "Install Add-on from File..."
- Navigate to /home/share/suse_hacks/extra_packages/
- Select lightning-1.6-sm+tb-linux.xpi
- Install this, restart Thuderbird
- At this point you might be ok, or you might have to reinstall "Exchange 2007/2010 Calendar and Tasks Provider," and/or you might have to set up your calendar again, i.e. follow the instructions below.
Once "Exchange 2007/2010 Calendar and Tasks Provider" has been updated to make it compatible with the latest version of Thunderbird I will remove/archive these instructions. At that point, you'll have to remove the locks you added to MozillaThunderbird and MozillaThunderbird-translations-common. You can either do this with Yast -> Software Management, or (as root):
zypper rl MozillaThunderbird MozillaThunderbird-translations-common
("zypper al" adds locks, "zypper ll" lists locks)