As I had problems to use Zimbra collaborative messaging correctly without using the web client interface, I decided to find a really useable solution.

I was using Mozilla Thunderbird 2.0 on my Ubuntu laptop to read all the emails from all my mail boxes. I tried Lightening 0.8 for Zimbra calendar management, but there were some bugs and problems to connect to my Zimbra Calendar. I tried Zimbra Desktop too, but there were some problems with searches in shared folders. There are even some tricky things with the emails trapped into server filters.

Then I tried Evolution because it has all the features I needed:

  • Multiple emails accounts
  • Calendar
  • Shared contacts

The only problem was to make it work properly with Zimbra. There is an evolution connector for Zimbra, but it isn't present in Ubuntu Feisty Fawn repositories. Hopefully I found this interesting blog article explaining how to build it.

There are some more things to do for it to work:

  • Install all the dependencies: they aren't all listed in the article and I can't remember which one I have installed. Don't worry the configure program will tell you what is missing!
  • Edit the configure.ac file to change the evolution version to the one matching your installation. In my case I changed into this because the version 2.10 wasn't taken into account by the script:

           EVOLUTION_VERSION=`pkg-config --modversion evolution-shell-2.10 2>/dev/null`
            if test -z "$EVOLUTION_VERSION"; then
                AC_MSG_ERROR(Evolution development libraries not installed)
            else
                EVOLUTION_API_VERSION=2.10
                EAPI_MAJOR_VERSION=2
                EAPI_MINOR_VERSION=10
                CAMEL_API_VERSION=1.2
                EDS_API_VERSION=1.2
            fi
    

After the usual make and make install steps I have a new Zimbra account type in the wizard. Adding a Zimbra account adds the email account, the zimbra contacts and the calendar. Zimbra shared email folders are normal folders in Evolution. For an offline use, there is only to select the folders to use offline. I still have to see how the appointment attempts are done by emails.

The only things I could reproach to this Zimbra - Evolution connector are:

  1. the Evolution tags are viewed in Zimbra as $Label1, $Label2, etc. It could be much better to be able to reuse Zimbra tags in Evolution and vice-versa.
  2. the connector doesn't show the shared calendars of Zimbra: only the user calendar