Use Evolution with Microsoft Exchange : Ubuntu (6.06 / 6.10)

By | 2006/10/24

My office, in its infinite wisdom, decided that Microsoft Server 2003 was the best investment they could make. Well, I’m sure most of you understand why I think that’s probably the worst idea in the world but, on the bright side, at least I don’t have to use Outlook .

I am using Evolution to connect to the Exchange Server and everything works just fine. As far as I know it is the ONLY program (Windows or *nix) that will work with Exchange, except for Outlook or Outlook Express. For those of you that have to deal with another of Microsoft’s joke of a product here is how you can use Evolution to access your mailbox.

In Evolution select Edit > Preferences > Accounts > New

  • Identity: Set your basic information here. Name, email address, reply-to, etc.
  • Receiving Email:

Server Type: "Microsoft Exchange"
Username: domain/username (ie; your windows domain and user account)
OWA URL: The URL for your office / domain webmail. (ie;
Authenticate: Use this to verify the information is correct for your system
Receiving Options: GAL / Active Directory settings. This is the local config that you'd use to setup Outlook on-site. (This is optional. Mainly used for company calendar and contacts.)

I have been using this for months now and I don’t have any trouble. Occasionally it complains about not being able to access the calendar or company contacts but I’m fairly sure that is the fault of the Exchange Server itself (it, as you might guess, is fairly unreliable).

I would much rather use Evolution to access my office email (and I also use it to retrieve my gmail and other accounts). Before I set this up I simply used the webmail interface. I refuse to use Outlook. I hope this is helpful and anyone else needing to connect to an Exchange Server can use a reliable Linux app to do it.

I’m sure this would be more helpful if I included some screenshots but I don’t have the time for that just now. Feedback is appreciated on how I can better outline the steps. It isn’t too difficult once you have the right information, but finding that is tricky sometimes.

41 thoughts on “Use Evolution with Microsoft Exchange : Ubuntu (6.06 / 6.10)

  1. Sebastian Ivan

    My company will do the same “intelligent” move in a couple of months.
    Currently I use evolution and thunderbird to get my mail from the IMAP server.
    Evolution is much faster then thunderbird but lacks good LDAP support.
    I filed a bug yesterday on launchpad and I asked for escalation to rise the interest and sensibility in LDAP. (
    do you use LDAP? how contacts are managed in MS Exch? Do you have also web access to mails? what’s the idea behind this “intelligent” proprietary closed source mail server called Exchange?
    I appreciate if you can spare some more time to get back with some answers/feedback and status so far.

    1. zhoubaosheng

      I am using Evolution to connect to the Exchange Server and everything works just fine,I want to mail stored locally rather than on the server, it should be how to do it,

  2. minchyp

    yawn – if I hear another person giving off about Exchange being crap and everyone should use Mac mail or some such.

    Exchange & Outlook have their faults, but real people (ie. not you reading this probably) are more effective on Exchange.

    Personally I use ubuntu & evolution and can feel techy and smug, but I wouldn’t force it on anyone.

  3. Jesse

    Can I set up Evolution to retrieve Exchange webmail from home where I am not networked?

    1. Jponce

      Yes in deed . You can access the webmail trough the OWA

  4. Doug

    I don’t see Microsoft Exchange in the server types. Everywhere else I see talks about purchasing a connector. Can I connect to Exchange for free?

  5. Ubuntu Tutorials

    Doug – if you are using the default installation from Ubuntu it should be in there. You may want to check for the ‘evolution-exchange’ package and install that.

  6. ILMW

    Thanks for the great tutorial! But I have a question:

    “This is the local config that you’d use to setup Outlook on-site”

    what does this mean? I always get “Error loading address book” when using gal. Any solution to this? Thanks!

  7. ILMW

    Just got it. For my server, the GAL is the same as owa url w/o http://. Thanks!

  8. miguelan

    Using Evolution on a laptop with Windows as OS, I can make a connection to the Microsoft Exchange Server and authenticate my account. No problems doing this and no error messages and/or warnings whatsoever. However, in my evolution program, I cannot see any email. I just have an empty (white) screen with no emails. Meanwhile, I continue receiving email and I can read them in Outlook. Has anybody enocountered this problem before?


  9. Joe Burns

    Does Evolution allow the facility to share or open shared calendars etc?

  10. Ed Guy

    I get this error when I authenticate

    “The Exchange server is not compatible with Exchange Connector.

    The server is running Exchange 5.5. Exchange Connector supports Microsoft Exchange 2000 and 2003 only.d”

    But I know I’m on Exchange 2003… any ideas

  11. Brian Peterson

    I’m having the same issue reported by Ed Guy. Evolution’s Exchange Connector worked fine with Exchange 2003, but refuses to connect to Exchange 2007, giving the error:

    “The Exchange server is not compatible with Exchange Connector.

    The server is running Exchange 5.5. Exchange Connector supports Microsoft Exchange 2000 and 2003 only.”

    any ideas?

  12. dnaiel

    Hi, i’ve trying this many times, but unfortunatelly my web exchange mail is behind a rsa security logon page.. i wonder, are there someone have same problem, any advise?


  13. Aris


    Great information. If I don’t have OWA on my Exchange server (5.5), what should I put on the OWA options?


  14. Claudio

    Hi, I have evolution working with outlook but i can’t see GAL.
    What conector do you use for evolution and exchange 2003?

  15. Christiene

    That’s an excellent implementation of the software. But for those who are web-based junkies, then maybe a better microsoft exchange alternative would be

  16. Julian

    Hi mate

    I love a bit of linux but come on –

    “Occasionally it complains about not being able to access the calendar or company contacts but I’m fairly sure that is the fault of the Exchange Server itself”

    You make that claim with no event logs or evidence. Couldn’t possibly be Evolution has an issue. Love your dedication 🙂


    Hi there. Thanks for the post.

    I am trying to set this up with ES2007 and obviously it’s not working because it’s not supported, yet.

    So now I am using IMAP and SMTP, which works nicely except I can’t get the LDAP contacts to show me anything from the AD server.

    Any ideas on how to make this work?


    Shannon VanWagner

  18. elthazor

    dear all,

    my server use MS. Exchange Server 2007 and deactivate IMAP and POP access just the MS. Exchange protocol, when i configure my evolution with your tutorial, i have the error message like this :

    The Exchange server is not compatible with Exchange Connector.

    The server is running Exchange 5.5. Exchange Connector
    supports Microsoft Exchange 2000 and 2003 only.

    any solution for resolving that problems ??

  19. Gary Morris

    I’m an IT guy in a mid sized business that’s just completing the migration from a Debian server running IMAP to Exchange. Seriously guys its night and day. Shared calendars, server side stored contacts and calendars, OWA 2007 is awesome, etc etc. The list is huge. Users in a corporate environment love it. If you want to run whatever at home or in a Mom and Pop shop go nuts. But corporately it can’t compare.

  20. me

    well ‘duh’, gary. Running IMAP on linux is not the equivalent of Exchange. There are many solutions on Linux that bring that functionality, i.e. Zimbra, OpenExchange, etc.

    That said, MS owns the protocols and doesn’t play nicely with everybody else so if you’re already an AD/MS shop, Exchange is a nobrainer if can pry your wallet open that much.

  21. Eduardo

    “The Exchange server is not compatible with Exchange Connector.

    The server is running Exchange 5.5. Exchange Connector
    supports Microsoft Exchange 2000 and 2003 only.”

    Has anybody found resolution to this issue?

  22. Wattanapong

    There is a problem installing the mentioned package. Solution is under way.

  23. Mummba

    I love the exchange server and Outlook on my XP office computer. Fast, can do everything I need and it really never gives me any problems at all. My problem is my laptop that happens to be a Mac, and Entourage on the Mac doesn't support task/event synchronization. Since Macintosh is nothing but a joke in real life, I'm thinking about dropping OSX once and for all and just run Ubuntu on it instead (that way I can keep a nice looking laptop without having to rely on the unstable and slow OSX ever again; can't wait to be honest!). My question is, how does Evolution work with Outlook and the exchange server? I need to be able to share calendars, accept calendar events, etc with people using Outlook. Can I do that? What about global address books? Cheers, M

  24. Ron

    Don't know what you have against OSX, It's the best OS there is. period. I typically only reboot my Mac when an OS upgrade requires it. If OSX is slow, it's because you are running MS Office which appears to be designed to consume every OSX cpu cycle possible.

    Entourage, at least the version I have, is a joke. I know people with MacBook Airs that use a newer version and it's supposed to work much better. The latest version of Office for OSX is doing away with it in favor of an OSX version of Outlook.

    I love Ubuntu, use it every day, but if you think Evolution will be any better than Entourage you will be disappointed. The problem is the MS proprietary protocols that must be reverse engineered. If you are forced to use Exchange Server in a serious way, you would be served much better by Parallels and MS Office for Windows or maybe upgrading to a newer version of Office for OSX

  25. Line Noise

    I gave up on Evolution ages ago. Too slow and buggy. I got so tired of typing "evolution –force-shutdown;rm -rf ~/.evolution/mail/exchange/*" 5 times a day just to make my INBOX show up that I wrote a script to do it for me!

    Then I found DAVMAIL ( It's a Java applet that proxies the Exchange WebDav protocol as IMAP, SMTP, LDAP and CalDav protocols. It means you can use any E-Mail clients that support IMAP to read your Exchange E-Mail, even if Exchange has IMAP disabled!

    I've been reading my mail and managing my calendar in Thunderbird ever since and it is awesome!

  26. jponce

    Great. Can you give me more information about davmail and the way that you use it?

    Thanks a lot for any clue.

  27. ohassidi

    this is only when the MAPI is enabled

  28. Venkat Mantirraju

    Thanks to Line Noise for this wonderful and nice tip for the ubuntu folks. I installed the DAVMail gateway and it is downloading the messages from the Outlook 2007 rightway. My company moved to exchange 2007 on Microsoft’s hosted server just two days back. The exchange doesnot support IMAP. So, I had to go with OWA URL. This little mail gateway is the best thing and I was able to download my messages. It says 976 out of 1952 messages are downloaded. Cool tool.

    My email client: Thunderbird.
    My OS: ubuntu 9.10.

    But I essentially would love and also look after evolution plugin for exchange 2007 🙂

    Venkat Mantirraju

  29. Venkat Mantirraju

    Here is another update
    I was able to get the same things worked on evolution also with DavMail.

    My settings:
    Ubuntu 9.10
    Exchange server: Microsoft hosted Exchange server.
    Email client: Evloution 2.28.1
    DavMail email gateway: downloaded this little piece of software from

    I started experimenting with the same set up of DavMail.
    Here are the settings.
    DavMail Settings:
    local POP port: 1110
    local IMAP port: 1143
    local SMTP port: 1025
    CalDav http port:1080
    I did not want to change these default values for my Davmail gateway client.


    Then lets go to evolution mail settings:
    I had used POP and SMTP settings for my email.

    POP server settings:
    Please note that in evloution mail client there is only one text box for server. There is no entry for port. Hence I kind of used the server as “localhost:1110” (without quotes)
    Server: localhost:1110
    User: [email protected]

    Also in Receiving mail options:
    Please check the “leave copy on the server” option as checked. Otherwise, this will delete the mails on the server.

    Sending Email tab:
    SMTP settings:
    username: [email protected]

    That’s all Let the Davmail server running.
    And evloution mail client picks the email up. You will also be able to send the emails using the Above SMTP server settings.


    Coming to the calendar settings:

    Please choose a Caldav settings as

    caldav://localhost:1080/users/[email protected]/calendar

    where [email protected] is your actual email address in all the above references I used.

    Thats it. Your calendar will pick the events from the Exchange server and it shows up on your evolution client.


    Enjoy using your Ubuntu and your evolution for ever. 🙂

  30. John Kesterson

    I have been using Evolution on Ubuntu to connect with our corporate exchange 2003 server. Yes, it does have glitches and I do need to use evolution –force-shutdown on occasion. But for the most part – it works. Sometimes my in box doesn’t show all the emails in it if Outlook client is running on another machine; but if I only run one at a time, then it is pretty reliable. The main problem that requires forcing shutdown is if the connection is interrupted (wireless…).

    But recently our company installed a tool called Vipre. When someone sends me an email that has been scanned by it, then the email still shows up in evolution, but the header information is not discernable by evolution. It merely places question marks in the From, Subject, and Date fields. If I click on the email in quesition, the header information is there, but in the list of emails, it is not.

    So I got curious as to why this happened with some emails and not others. I printed out the email sources (using view message source), and header information from evolution and can basically see no difference. So on an outlook client on another machine, I looked at the header on the same email, and it only shows a line that says X-Vipre Scanned. This is true for every email for which evolution will not display the from, to, and date information on the email list window.

    Has anyone seen this and is there a solution to correct it.


  31. MarkE

    Another unix is better than any microsoft bashing post that once again is full of lots of guff about how to “techy” your way around a working solution. when someone writes a native interface to Exchange that works as well as outlook/exchange then corporate world will listen, until then these solutions are cludges. I like Unix, in it’s place, but I’d love to see all these “I know better, exchange is crap” people supporting an alternative in a real business.

  32. Bel

    Hello their! Thanks for sharing this kind of tutorial. I’ve been able to configure the exchange as above but when I compose and send it I don’t recieive it. Any ideas?

  33. EHM

    Using the Ubuntu Package Manager, look for ‘evolution-mapi’. It allowed me to successfully configure Evolution for use with Exchange 2010.

  34. KTJ

    I have Ubuntu running with evolution-mapi connecting to Exchange 2007. E-mail works fine except for GAL. It appears empty. Searches appear to just not work. Nothing returned, not even an error.

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