Monday, September 24, 2007

Exchange Connector & Evolution 2.12

Another milestone in the journey of Evolution mail client - 2.12 is released. This is srag's (Srinivasa Ragavan - Hope I got your name right, this time - Srini) maiden release and it rocks. Good job, Srini. A preview of what it provides is here.

This release is special, personally, as:

This is the best release made after the initial 1.x days of Ximian Connector. It all started from the days of SLED Betas - getting Beta customers to test and report issues, fix and provide packages to reverify. Exchange connector has become quite stable and just like other softwares, with some bugs. Connector has a better summary support, optimized n/w bandwidth usage, majorly rewritten folder loading/refreshing techniques, on-demand-public folder loading and newly implemented mail/calendar delegation feature that enables your colleague to handle your mail/appointments when you are away from office .

Thanks to all the customers/community users who provided test accounts to debug complex issues that are otherwise not possible to debug and fix. Remarkable improvement has gone into Connector in this release, especially in a state where people started recommending to use IMAP to access their Exchange mails instead of Connector.

Special thanks to Dan Winship for his time and help in answering my libsoup and connector related questions.

Okay. I haven't yet mentioned why this is a special release to me. ;-) This is my maiden release as Exchange Connector Maintainer. I took up the task with solving performance and stability issues as number-one-priorty than adding features and with much pride I declare this to be one of the best releases of Exchange Connector.

Some of the performance work that has gone into this release, for your joy.
[1] - Folder loading optimization
[2] - On demand loading of folders (esp. public folders)
Watch out for more optimization work to be done in Exchange connector module.

Onething, I tried hard to accomplish is the Exchange 2007 support - which will be a part of 2.14 release of Evolution.


baffle said...

I'm looking forward to seeing your future work on the Exchange Connector. Hopefully you will be able to fix all the annoying bugs currently present.

The bugs that has plagued the previous releases still seem to be present, like loosing connectivity to the exchange backend, randomly being able to connect to exchange during startup of Evolution and the long wait when you delete the first message after the initial connection.

"evolution --force-shutdown" sure is still used a lot. :-)

Max said...

I'd love to test Exchange 2007 implementation for you. We've been using Exchange 2007 for a few months now and I just moved to Ubuntu Gutsy from Vista.

I've been working with Jules Colding on trying to get his Brutus connector working in Evolution and have had nothing but problems, even getting it built. When I finally do get it built, I'm getting CORBA errors.

Finally using a "native" connector to Evolution will be a welcome change, even if there are bugs.

If you'd like help in testing, please email me at max(at)advantechcny(dot)com


Torgeir Waterhouse said...

I suspect I should know this, but is there a roadmap & time frame for the 2.14 release?

I was hoping for Exchange 2007 support in 2.12, and I'm really looking forward seeing this released.

Dave Brown said...

There are certainly still problems with the connector. When setting up a new exchange account in evolution the authenticate button seems to authenticate the new settings with exchange fine but once the changes are committed the evolution mail reader fails to authenticate properly.

Veerapuram Varadhan said...

@baffle: Thanks for your comments. Yes, still there are issues that need to be resolved. Exchange 2.12 was focussed more on improving performance and to some extent, stability as well. I think, I was able to do a decent job there and plans are to make Exchange more robust in 2.14.

The "first delete" is fixed, however, "very first" delete is yet to be fixed; TBH, may be hard to fix, let my try my best there.

Veerapuram Varadhan said...

@max: Yes, a native Exchange 2007 support has been planned and we are working towards it.

Thanks a lot for your support thus far and looking forward for the same in future as well and Yes, definitely we would need lot of users trying and reporting bugs on our Exchange 2007 support effort.

Veerapuram Varadhan said...

@torgeir: We follow GNOME schedule.

Veerapuram Varadhan said...

@dave: Would you mind reporting a bug or adding your comments to any existing bug?

Anonymous said...

I love that the connector now natively supports the use of an ISA server, however with M$'s disregard for capitalization in filenames, evolution looks for CookieAuth.dll and my corp ISA server shoots out cookieauth.dll. I have to edit source and rebuild.

maybe there is a way to ignore capitalization in the URL?


Veerapuram Varadhan said...

@mikef187: Ah! that one can be easily fixed, if it is valid/safe to ignore case while comparing for URL. In general, URL comparisons are case sensitive, as ignoring case can end up giving away credentials to any hacked/false sites. There should be a way to enforce MS ISA server to honor case-sensitivity.

no said...

Will you be using the exchange 2007 web services to implement the connection to exchange 2007? It seems like it would be more stable than screen scraping owa.

When will 2.14 be out? There are threads on Ubuntu with thousands of reads waiting for super-stable bi-directional connection with exchange 2007. For many folks, its the last thing keeping windows on their desktop machines.

Veerapuram Varadhan said...

@no: Yes, indeed - however, we have taken another route to implement the 2007 support using OpenChange's libmapi. Its a WIP and can be found from

Yuen-Chi Lian said...

> One thing, I tried hard to accomplish is
> the Exchange 2007 support - which will
> be a part of 2.14 release of Evolution.

It's good to know that. Here are a bunch of frustrated people:


deRegen said...

i've to open port communication to access GAL (Global Address List) 3268/tcp,