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Providing Exchange Server Access to Linux Desktop Computers

We want to provide Microsoft Exchange Server access to Linux desktop computers in our organization. How can we accomplish this?

You have several options for giving Exchange access to Linux machines; the method you choose will depend on the tolerance level of your users and how much money you can afford to spend. Here is a list of possible methods.

  • Give users a copy of the rdesktop open-source client for Windows 2000 Server Terminal Services and Windows NT Server, Terminal Server Edition (WTS), which is available for free at, so that they can run Microsoft Outlook on a terminal server. No one supports rdesktop (especially not Microsoft), and in my testing it proved to be unstable. Depending on your organization's licensing situation, this approach might require you to purchase additional Terminal Services Client Access Licenses (CALs).
  • Use the Linux version of Citrix's terminal server client. This method requires that you have an application server available, along with appropriate licensing.
  • Set up your Linux machines to use Ximian Evolution (, an Outlook clone that handles the IMAP4 and POP3 protocols and includes an integrated calendar program.
  • Combine Ximian Evolution with Ximian Connector to make Evolution work with Exchange 2000 Server in much the same way that Windows Messaging API (MAPI) clients do. Note that this product costs about $70 per seat and doesn't do everything Outlook does: no public folders, no delegation, and no Notes or Journal folders.
  • Set up your Linux users to use an existing Linux IMAP or POP client, such as Netscape Communicator.
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