I've just upgraded to Ubuntu 11.10 which has Thunderbird as default mail client.
In Evolution I can configure it for using it with MS Exchange 2007, is that possible with Thunderbird too?
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Exchange MAPI support is available for Evolution but it is a dog in my opinion, much work to be done in order to implement in most Exchange scenarios. I imagine maybe compiling yourself would yield better results...
I have Thunderbird 9.x working very well using DavMail Gateway: http://davmail.sourceforge.net. For the most part its documentation and setup instructions are pretty thorough. It uses CalDav/CardDav to pull/push calendar and contacts from exchange using EWS/OWA and localhost as the gateway.
I have it pulling contacts via LDAP directory that I setup in Tbird. The details are a little vague on that - you need to know your Base DN, CN and OU's which are different between Exchange Editions like Standard and Small Business Server so keep that in mind.
If you need help beyond the setup and configuration docs, let me know and I can help you... Maybe, some people's systems just can't be helped :p
If you cannot open IMAP port, you should try CalDav, that access to Outlook Web and give IMAP and SMTP protocol to standard apps.