Evolution and the Global Address List

At work I generally use Windows XP. For a recent project I needed to use a full blown Fedora installation. I would have preferred to use Debian but it wasn’t my choice.

I tried using Evolution at home but I didn’t like it. I used the recent version in Debian unstable. It would crash very often when I closed the app. There was a lot about it that I didn’t like including the feeling that it was over engineered (GLOVES!). I am now trying out Thunderbird. I’ve been a longtime user of mutt but I want to try new clients.

Anyhow, running Fedora at work gave me the opportunity to try Evolution connecting to an Exchange server. This is integral to many businesses and if I’m ever going to run Debian at work I need this ability from a mail client.

Generally it went well. I was able to send and recieve messages and even edit my calendar without problems. The one stumbling block that I ran into was that the global address book wasn’t available to me. Even after entering in the hostname of the global catalog server I still couldn’t access the GAL.

Finally this post gave me the information I needed to get it to work. The trick is to enter your domain name with your username. The format of this field does not follow typical Microsoft notation. The Microsoft notation for this is $DOMAIN_NAME>$USER_NAME. The Evolution developers chose to use a forward slash. In addition it never occurred to me that I would need to enter the domain name information. I was able to access my email using just my username but I couldn’t access the Global Address List without the domain name. The username field in Evolution is located in the Account Editor on the Receiving Email tab. You also need to enter the hostname of your global catalog server (often the domain controller) on the receiving options page.

After entering the above information correctly and suffering a couple of crashes from Evolution things started to work right. Now I have address completion for every contact in the company as well as my personal contact list. I’m impressed that the Evolution developers were able to interoperate with Exchange but I would prefer something that isn’t such a blatant clone of Outlook.

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