Lightning vs. Exchange Server 2003

For discussing the Mozilla Calendar, Sunbird and Lightning projects.
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Joined: April 27th, 2006, 11:56 am

Post Posted April 27th, 2006, 12:05 pm


I'm in the process of configuring Thunderbird/Lightning to work with Exchange Server 2003 as a replacement for Outlook. I've got mail working through Exchange's IMAP service, the address book working through Exchange's LDAP service, but as yet no luck with the calendar through WebDAV.

I simply have no idea what to give as the WebDAV URL to the calendar when I add a new calendar. I've made a few educated guesses but simply get javascript errors when it tries to read the calendar entries.

Has anyone managed to configure Lightning with Exchange and if so how?



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Joined: March 25th, 2005, 4:53 pm

Post Posted April 27th, 2006, 2:20 pm

Hi Dan,

I haven't been able to read the exchange calendars yet either. I'm hoping this is fairly high on the fix list.

How did you get LDAP working? We haven't been able to get LDAP to authenticate anyone other than the admin account and then it's rather sporadic at best. I've searched quite a bit trying to find info on configuring LDAP both at the exchange server and at the domain controller without much luck.

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Joined: April 27th, 2006, 11:56 am

Post Posted April 27th, 2006, 11:55 pm

If you know what should be the correct settings could you post them anyway for when the next version comes out?

You can add a new address book with the following properties:

General tab:

Name: ...
Hostname: <exchange server>
Base DN: dc=company,dc=com
Port number: 389 (non-secure) or 636 (secure)
Bind DN: YOURWINDOWSLOGONDOMAIN\yourwindowslogonuser

Advanced tab:

Don't return more than [ 100 ] results
Scope: Subtree
Search filter: (objectClass=person)

If your organisation is large you may have to change the Bind DN so it only returns your unit (e.g. ou=yourdept,dc=company,dc=com) as otherwise Thunderbird may decide to act a bit strange.

You can force a read by clicking the Download Now button on Offline tab, although you won't see any contacts afterwards, you have to search in the Compose window.

If you still get no joy you can download and install Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 Support Tools and run ldp.exe against the exchange server. You don't even need to install it if you decompress with WinRAR (or possibly WinZip) and look for the executable.

That way you can find out the Bind DN and search filter. First use Connection > Connect against the server, then Connection > Bind with your user and password then use View > Tree with a blank string and you can find a tree view of your Base DN and go into departments and retrieve user data to find out their objectClass if it's not person.

Finally in Tools > Options > Composition > Addressing tick Automatically add outgoing e-mail address to my [ Collected Addresses ] as it's much faster than searching the server.

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Joined: April 30th, 2004, 8:46 pm

Post Posted May 23rd, 2007, 6:00 am


Thanks for this info! I was able to use your method to connect to our Exchange address book at work.



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Location: London, KY

Post Posted May 23rd, 2007, 9:24 pm

I just learned that my company may be going to an Exchange server in the future for calendar sharing and other functions. At the moment we do not have anything specific setup other than plain pop3 mail accounts. I hope Lightning/Thunderbird become more Exchange friendly in the near future if this takes place. I'd hate to have to use Outlook at work. At the moment we use what we want, but the IT guy was telling me about the Exchange server idea floating about last week and he noticed I was using TB2+Lightning.


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Location: Helmond, Netherlands

Post Posted May 23rd, 2007, 10:33 pm

Don't blame Lightning for not being able to connect to exchange :-) MS is the one who locks others out though with the rulings of the european parliament may change this in the future. Perhaps the calendar-proxy of Viraj ( will work. Other then that there are some propieraty-solutions which may help you ( for instance). Why is your company going to exchange, why not use another (probably cheaper) solution. There are several groupware-servers which have (almost) the same functionality, for instance communigate, opengroupware and citadel.

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Joined: September 13th, 2004, 1:24 pm

Post Posted May 24th, 2007, 5:38 am

In my own big telco company, we have moved from Notes to Exchange servers + Outlook 2003, but they have left the IMAP access open.
Thanks to that, I'm able to use TB for my mail. And I'm also using Lightning for calendaring as it is able to exchange iMiP invitations with Outlook (but my calendar is standalone, it is not shared centrally).


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Post Posted May 29th, 2007, 9:55 pm

I think the main reason our company is even considering the Exchange server is because the IT guy is a hired consultant who purchases everything through his own computer company. I certainly do not blame Lightning. At this point it is just speculation, but with him mentioning it to me he has obviously talked about the abilities of having an Exchange server installed on the facility network to the CEO.

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