Saturday, August 24, 2013

Connecting to Exchange Server from Linux

This has been one of the problems facing me every time I tried to fully switch to Linux. I can't properly connect to the corporate email, which uses MS-Exchange Server.

Currently there are two solutions available, that can provide some functionality to that area. The first, is Gnome's built-in Online Accounts (GOA); which does, theoretically provide means to access email, contacts and calendar, and make them available for the GOA-compatible applications; and the exQuilla, which is a Thunderbird addon, to connect to exchange mail servers.

I've tried the GOA, but it seems to be working randomly. It worked with some one of my accounts, but refused to work with the other, without any apparent reason. On another distro, it works with both of them, but on occasions needed to restart once or twice to connect, and gets disconnected on next boot.

On the other hand, exQuilla provides a better way to connect to exchange server for email access.

Setting up and exchange account using exQuilla is a straight forward process using its own menu item. A good help is presented to the used following installing the addon.

Although exQuilla provides a good way to connect to exchange mail servers, it lacks the calendar and contacts integration. Also, the use of Thunderbird doesn't give you a direct way to send Outlook-compatible meeting invitations or replies to meetings.

UPDATE: looks like exQuilla is "transitioning to a be a payed service". Which takes it out of my spotted services, as I'm deeply into FOSS. The hope now is for Gnome Online Accounts to get fixed, and overcome all the bugs.

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