by June 30, 2004 0 comments

MS Exchange Server is widely used in many corporates as a collaboration platform. Windows users using an MS Outlook client can avail of the collaboration features. Linux desktop users, too, can connect to a backend Exchange server and use the same collaboration features. You will need to use the Ximian Evolution mail client for this. 

Evolution is available as a downloadable installation (installs as it downloads) from While this does need a live Internet connection, it does away with issues of dependencies, etc. To get the latest Ximian Evolution, give the following command from a terminal window on your Linux desktop. (You need to have root access. Type in the root password after the su command if you are logged in as another user). The Web installation is supported only on a few versions of RedHat, Suse and Mandrake. If you are using PCQLinux, there is a workaround. On your system, go to /etc and open the file ‘redhat-release’ in a text editor. Here, replace the line ‘PCQLinux 2004 (NewDawn)’ with ‘Redhat Linux Release 9 (Shrike)’, save and then close the file.

Desktop Linux users who want to connect to MS Exchange servers
Linux users can use MS Exchange

#wget -q -O – | sh 

If you are using a proxy, Novell recommends the following command.

env http_proxy=http://host:port/ wget -q -O
- |sh 

Here, ‘host’ is your proxy host and ‘port’ is your proxy port number. The command will connect you to the Ximian website, where you will be asked to select the mirror location from where you’d like to download the packages. After downloading a few initial files, you will get a GUI Ximian installer. Click on the Forward button till you get an Installation Methods screen. Here, you will get four installation methods (Ximian Red Carpet Express, Ximian Mirror Sites, Local Media, Other Network Sites.) Select Ximian Mirror Site and click on Forward. Now, you will get a screen where you need to fill in your network proxy settings if it exists, otherwise click on Forward to continue. On the registration form screen that you will get, fill the registration form and again click on Forward. Now you will be given a list of Mirror FTP sites. Select anyone from where Ximian Installer will download its packages. Click on Forward and you will get the package list. Select Ximian Evolution and click on Forward. You will get to the components screen. Select ‘Ximian Connector for Exchange Server’ and click on Forward again. Now, the Ximian Web Installer will download the required files from Ximian FTP mirrored site and automatically install them for you.

Once the installation is over, you’ll find an Evolution icon on the task bar. Click on this and you will be ready to configure it for your Exchange server. Open Ximian Evolution from the task bar. If you are a new user, Ximian Evolution will ask you to configure a new mail account using a wizard. On the first configuration screen, it will ask you to fill the details of your mail account, such as display name and e-mail address. On the next screen, you have to select the connector. Select ‘Microsoft Exchange’ from the drop-down list and come to the ‘Exchange Server’ text box. Here, fill in the IP address or server name of your Exchange server and click on Forward. 

If you are already an Evolution user, you would have configured Ximian Evolution for receiving your POP3 e-mail. In this case, Evolution will be upgraded, and you can directly configure it for your Exchange mail account. For this, select Tools>Setting from the menu bar. This will open a window for e-mail configuration. Here, select ‘Mail Accounts’ icon on the left pane of the window. This will start the same wizard as mentioned above. You can add your Exchange server address here.

With this you will no longer be locked out of your corporate Exchange server just because you run Linux on your desktop.

Sanjay Majumder

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