Status Update for Devnet

For those of you who follow me here at Yet Another Linux Blog you might be wondering where I went the last month.  I assure you I’m still here and I still use Linux every single day.  I’m currently running both Arch Linux (32bit) and Unity Linux (64bit) on my main computer.

I’ve been working pretty hard through the holidays at my full time job where I am a server administrator for a medium sized hospital in the U.S.  Recently (in December), I moved 2000+ users from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2007.  We considered farming out our Exchange environment to the cloud or perhaps going with Microsoft Exchange Hosting services but in the end, upper management decided they’d rather underpay someone to work exceedingly long hours with minimal training on a system not built by him.  So, that’s why I’ve been pretty inactive as of late.  As you can imagine working with Microsoft technologies…I always have something to fix and things are always unstable.

I know that some of you might be saying “why not use linux based exchange alternatives in your enterprise?” and I’d say, why indeed.  But I inherited this beast and it’s been Exchange since Exchange came out.  Not only that, but the primary application for all departments (ERM app) runs completely on Windows and plugs into Exchange and nothing else.  Talk about vendor lock in eh?  Well, it’s a job.

I used to work with Linux when I worked for rPath but parted ways with them about a year and a half ago when I had to move away to help out after a death in the family.  I was very sad to leave but am very happy with the large pay increase that came with my current position.  However, migrations do take their toll…lots of hours worked and frustrations vented.  Now that I’m over the hump, I’ll be able to get back into a normal swing of things.

For those of you who might be Exchange administrators in your day to day work, I’ve begun blogging about my experiences and setup a community to share tips, tricks, powershell commandlets, and a place to talk shop.  I figure if I have to work with closed source at least I can open source some help.  Find my Exchange blog at http://teknologist.net

Thanks for hanging in there everyone, and sorry for the inactivity.  Now that I’ve hit 6+ years blogging (in December) here I have even more incentive to continue sharing great Linux help with everyone.  I’ve got some good tips directly in the pipeline and here’s to a great 2010!

4 Little Known Thunderbird Extensions

I recently searched through the mozilla thunderbird extensions website and found 4 extensions that I didn’t know about that actually prove to be quite useful. I use Thunderbird 2.0.0.12 on Foresight Linux and have tested all of these extensions and verified that they work on that environment. Hopefully, they’ll help someone craft a more enjoyable email experience 🙂

Search for Sender

If you’re like me, you like to group like items together in your inbox. With this extension, you can group emails from the same sender as quickly as a right click. Really, it’s just a shortcut that places the sender email up into the search box and searches for you. The nice part is, with this extension, you don’t have to type it. Quick, easy, and simple. This has quickly become an extension that I cannot live without.

SyncMab

SyncMab is an extension similar to foxmarks for Firefox. With foxmarks, you keep all your bookmarks on a central server of your choosing so that your bookmarks are the same across all computers you use that have Firefox installed. This is perfect for me since I have a set of work bookmarks and home bookmarks and like to be able to switch back and forth between them. But what about thunderbird? It doesn’t have bookmarks right? Exactly, but it does have contacts in your addressbook! So, you’ll be able to save your contacts to a server of your choosing and then on another computer with thunderbird you can synchronize your contacts by downloading that file using SyncMab. It’s brilliant and allows you to always have the same contacts across operating systems, across computers, and even to maintain multiple addressbooks 🙂

Display Quota

This extension will display a small graphic in Thunderbird that tells you how much space you have left in your IMAP mail account and can warn you when you get close to filling up. This might not be too useful for those of you that use IMAP with huge quotas (gmail) but for others, it may be. I have heard that some users do not like the popup that displays for warning on this extension. For those users, Thunderbird has a built in function you can enable:

Open your configuration editor in Thunderbird and find the following keys:

  1. mail.quota.mainwindow_threshold.show – % when quota should show up
  2. mail.quota.mainwindow_threshold.warning – % when quota becomes yellow
  3. mail.quota.mainwindow_threshold.critical – % when quota becomes red

Thanks to goddess-gate.com for information on how to do this.

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Zimbra or Google Calendar with Thunderbird and Lightning

The title sounds a bit Mythological eh? I originally published this entry on my work blog but felt that some people might be able to get some use out of this tip. To use it, you’ll need Zimbra or Google Calendar. I’ll cover Zimbra mostly and then give a link on how to setup Google Calendar at the end. For those interested, my work blog is here.

If you don’t have Zimbra, they have a free Open Source Community Edition available. It’s feature rich and quite configurable for your email. It can even be used to retrieve multiple email sources and bring them all into one place…it also has identity management so you can send from multiple accounts. Very nice stuff.

“I use Thunderbird for my email client. It’s quite speedy and nice. Coming from various places of employment that used Outlook and Exchange, I miss being able to schedule appointments via my email client (of course, with Zimbra, I’m able to do this via the web interface..but I like using Thunderbird for its ability to sort and
handle my email).

Enter Lightning, the sunbird-like extension for Thunderbird. So how does one integratelightning with say, Zimbra? It was rather simple and easy to do so. I’m posting what I did to get this up and running so that others won’t fumble through the Zimbra forums trying to piece various posts together finally arriving at a solution after banging heads against the wall repeatedly. Note that I’m assuming you use Zimbra/Thunderbird with IMAP.

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