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Zimbra and external GAL sync’ing in Thunderbird

Gnarls Barkley – Smiley Faces

Zimbra is targetted at a mix of web-based and corporate clients such as Outlook and mobile devices. Standards-compliant email clients and personal information managers (PIMs) don’t have native connectors but can hook up in standard ways such as IMAP or POP.

Two of the big features that Zimbra brings to the table, however, is an LDAP based Global Address List (GAL) and Calendaring.

As far as Calendaring in Thunderbird goes, install the Lightning plugin and configure it. As far as getting contacts from the LDAP directory goes… well… you could setup Thunderbird to poll LDAP directly, but that’s a bit involved for joe normal user. And what about when Joe Average is offline but wanting to queue up some emails in their outbox? How do they poll LDAP then? And isn’t this causing a bit of needless polling on the LDAP server?

The Outlook connector routinely syncs the GAL, presumably with a local copy. This makes offline addressing possible while reducing load on the LDAP directory.

Zindus achieves the same goal in Thunderbird. It’s quick to setup, and quicker to configure, and after the initial sync it’s very quick. No need for longwinded LDAP configuration instructions, no need for exporting and importing .csv’s, just results. This is the kind of user-friendly extension that Zimbra needs to advertise to promote greater integration for Thunderbird.

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