Sync WM5 & WM6 with Evolution, without ActiveSync

Important Notice: SynCE now works without problems with WM6, and it is actually easy to make it work on Ubuntu. Follow this guide! I recommend the SynCE sollution, since it does not disclose private data to a third party (Mail2Web)

For those who have a PDA or a Smartphone with WM5, sync with Linux can be a complex operation. The SynCE project is trying, but make it work can be hard. Who already is using WM6, well… then it becomes harder. SynCE don’t even started to work on WM6 support. For me, I was using a virtual machine (VirtualBox) with Windows XP and ActiveSync 4.5 to at least have a backup of my PIM data and to edit the data with a real keyboard, but common… that is not an acceptable sollution.

Today I’ve found out, after a lot of research, a sollution that I’ll explain in this article. It is based on this article, from James, and some Evolution hacking.

The main idea, “stollen” from James article, is to use a free Exchange server from mail2web.com. WM5/6, obviously, can sync with an Exchange server. And the good news is that Evolution also can do it! That way, without ActiveSync, only with a PC and a PDA/Smartphone connected to Internet, you can sync your PIM data between them.

Of course, as it should be, it is not that easy because there is a small hack that needs to be done. Evolution will have some trouble with authenticating with Exchange server. But, good for you, the hard part of finding what you need to change I’ve already done.

What you need is:

  • A LIVE! account on maul2web. Its free! Sign-in. WARNING: Read the Terms of Service. Remeber you will be sharing private data with Mail2Web.
  • A PDA/Smartphone with Windows Mobile 5 or Windows Mobile 6.
  • Linux with Evolution and plugin Exchange Connector (it should be already installed on most distributions. Maybe you’ll need to activate it)

Configuring your PDA/Smartphone:

In Programs/ActiveSync, click on Menu and then in Configure Server. Put the host mobile.exchange.mail2web.com

Put your login (don’t forget @mail2web!!!) and your password. Select the options you want to sync and finish the PDA configuration.

That was easy, wasn’t it? With the PDA connected to the internet, you should be able to sync your data with mail2web webpage. If you have any problem, check your config.

Configuring Evolution:

Now is the hardest step. Evolution’s plugin Exchange Connector, in theory, works very fine to sync data between a Exchange server and Evolution, using Exchange’s OWA (Outlook Web Access) interface. You need only to create a mail account and select the type Exchange, and put in your login data.

Unfortnantly, mail2web has a small detail: In login you need to put not only your username, but you must inform your username followed by @mail2web.com. As you can show by trying on your PC, Evolution’s plugin ignores the @ and all after it, and can’t connect to mail2web.com.

There is an workaround. It costed me some hours to find it out, but it works, and works very fine. The main idea is to edit, using gconf-editor, the login data used by Evolution, and force it to use the @mail2wweb.com on login. It would be realy simple, if it was not another detail: The plugin does not allow you to finish the account creation with invalid data, without a succesfull authentication with the exchange server.

What we will do is the following: Create an IMAP account, using all default data, your real name and the USERNAME@mail2web.com info. Just put info needed to finish the wizard.

After that, close Evolution, and open gconf-editor. Find the folder apps/evolution/mail and edit accounts key. The info about accounts data is stored in XML format. Edit the last XML data item, related to the account you just created.

Now you just need to replace what is between <url> e </url> by the following data (and, of course, replace XXXXX with your username!):

exchange://XXXXX%40mail2web.com@exchange.mail2web.com/exchange;auth=XXXXX@mail2web.com;user=XXXXX@mail2web.com;auth=XXXXX@mail2web.com;save-passwd=true;owa_url=http://exchange.mail2web.com/exchange

Now you can start Evolution again, put in your password, and if all worked fine, you now should be able to sync data between your PDA/Smarthphone and Evolution!

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23 pensamentos sobre “Sync WM5 & WM6 with Evolution, without ActiveSync

  1. […] qroot wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptFor those who have a PDA or a Smartphone with WM5, sync with Linux can be a complex operation. The SynCE project is trying hard, but make it work can be hard. Who already is using WM6, well… then it becomes harder. SynCE dont even started to work on WM6 support. For me, I was using a virtual machine (VirtualBox) with Windows XP and ActiveSync 4.5 to at least have a backup of my PIM data and to edit the data easily, but common, that is not an acceptable sollution. Today I’ve found out, after a lot of research, a sollution that I’ll explain in this article. It is based on this article, from James, and some Evolution hacking. The main idea, “stollen” from James article, is to use a free Exchange server from mail2web.com. WM5/6, obviously, can sync with an Exchange server. And the good news is that Evolution also can. […] […]

  2. Ritesh disse:

    Thank you for the amazing tutorial. Worked like a charm, both for mail2web and my corporate exchange server!

    Thank you for the feedback! I’m happy to know that it helped!

  3. music disse:

    very interesting.
    i’m adding in RSS Reader

  4. lee disse:

    for some reason, I can’t get this to work. It continues to fail the authentication.

    Did you managed to sync your PDA with the mail2web webpage? What worked, and what didn’t worked?

  5. r00t disse:

    1000 thanks
    great solution works wonderful

  6. mastarna disse:

    My WM6 mobile exchanges with mail2web, and I succeeded synchronizing my calendar, but evolution doesn’t download anything

    Please check all the steps… Did you followed it all? Many people are reporting it works fine. Also post your linux distribution and evolution version.

  7. mastarna disse:

    Now it works! Great! Thanks a lot…
    It was just a problem of updating the exchange plugin…

  8. hdlacoste disse:

    hi… I make all the steps but … I restar the evolution and the software run again the wizard.

    Check if Exchange plugin is installed (and updated)

  9. wkustu disse:

    I’m confused about where to paste the new exchange info–I have TWO sections- one for the IMAP “send” and one for the SMTP “recieve”. I’ve tried pasting into both, and also tried pasting into just the IMAP. Both results the same: noerror messages, but no updated info in Evolution either.

  10. wkustu disse:

    Found my problem–I though you had an error in your posted info (I changed %40 to @), but you had it PERFECT–no need to edit anything except username. Now everything works perfectly. Thanks!

    I guess maybe something hanged on new versions of Evolution. Ill ckeck it later. %40 is the urlencode of @, it was needed on the version of evolution I was using when I wrote this article, just @ would not work😉

    Did you tried to just use the evolution plugin in the “default” way, that is, use the dialogs and wizards to configure it? If it worked with the @, maybe now all this hacks are not needed anymore!

  11. Pavel disse:

    Thank you, nice job.

  12. mfrerichs disse:

    Hello,
    it’s a good howto. Now I can Sync my HTC-Kaiser with Linux. Thanks a lot.

    But I still have one problem. Syncing WM6 to mail2web works fine.
    Including mail, contacts, calendar and task in Evolution works too. But marking the folders, calendars,… for offline work or syncing it for offline work appears in errors. I get the message that the folders do not exist.
    Using Multisync for syncing the mail2web contact, calenders,… from evolution to the existing offline calendars, contacts, … from evolution does not work too.

    Does anybody has an Idea?

    Greeting

    Malte

  13. gdiepen disse:

    I have to say that even in December 2007, we had a very good support for WM6 already. Currently installing is becoming easier for most distributions, with one distro that takes the lead: Mandriva 2008 Spring will have support for syncing WM5/WM6 devices out-of-the-box: The user will not have to manually installing anything at all anymore.

    Furthermore, I would like to point out my personal project SynCE-KPM, which does not do the actual syncing (that is done via the opensync/sync-engine combination) but enables an enduser to manage the WM5/WM6 device with an application resembling ActiveSync.

    With the latest SVN release of SynCE-KPM I am even able to show the user the progress of an ActiveSync session that is taking place on the phone.

    For providing an impression of this latest version of SynCE-KPM, I created a screencast of it in action, which can be found at my website

    I’ll check it when i have some time… but a good support is hard to say… Even with WM5 and following the (not easy) instructions, i wasn’t able to use synce to sync WM5. And I’ve read WM6 was not working when I wrote this article. I’ll give it a try again, thansk for the update

  14. gdiepen disse:

    Well.. It all depends on the distro you are using.

    Everything is “easily” available for Gentoo, for Ubuntu there is a PPA launchpad (and the guide on the Wiki has been updated recently and I am pretty sure it is almost foolproof😉 ), for Fedora Core Rawhide, everything is present, for Mandriva as mentioned really everything is working out of the box with the new version and for debian, we have almost everything in unstable (I believe that we still are missing one package named pyrtfcomp, because something went wrong with packaging it, but that is being worked out at the moment)

    The main problem for most distros is that a patch for the kernel is needed (we are still trying to work that issue out and get that patch in the mainstream kernel…). The fact that we need to replace some kernel stuff with patched versions results in the fact that the user will always have to do some manual steps.

    Furthermore, which guide did you follow? Because you wrote this post in December 2007, and I have my WM6 device already quite a bit longer than that and I have been working with everything almost since I got it.

    One of the major problems we have with the SynCE project is that so many different guides exist on the net and a lot of them are either wrong, or oriented to the WM2003 devices, which use a completely different method of connecting.

    But the guy doing the mainwork on our sync-engine is using the sync-stuff in a production environment, so it really works, I can assure you😉

    I was checking the Synce site, there are a lot of good howtos there now… I’ll try it at home, I don’t even bring my USB cable to office because it is not usefull to me ;)… Ans if I am succesfull, I’ll post a big warning on this tutorial saying that there IS possible to do it on Synce, and point to the howtos.

  15. gdiepen disse:

    Good to hear🙂

    In case you do run into problems btw, please let me know where you encounter them such that I can update the Wiki also to make it as good as possible (as I have done with the ubuntu stuff already as good as i could). You can contact me via guido _AT_ guidodiepen _DOT_ nl

  16. jjordan disse:

    Ok, well evolution 2.12.1 wont take this. The key contains 3 fields, I tried twice to paste in the above (using my username of course) clearing everything between the first and the last . Lots of fun trying to edit a 150character key in a dialog box that only displays 10 characters. When I restart Evolution the account is just gone. Open gconf-editor and it is gone there too. I think I’ll head back to KDE, if I wanted to dick with a registry I would have stayed with Windows, no stike that KDE 4.0 is a just a clone of crappy Vista maybe I can get Windowmaker and GNUStep running. I wish I could get an openMoko phone so that I could stop screwing with WM.

    Sorry, rant off / thanks for the effort it is a great idea and work-around, just wish I could get it to work.

    -j

    I’ve heard that SynCE can sync WM5/6 devices very well now. I need more time to check it out, when I do it i’ll post my results here… And it realy looks like this sollution isn’t working on Evolution anymore… THank’s for the feedback!

  17. wer disse:

    hi
    I have tryed but dosn’t work. hi say error when scanning contacts. I have tryed with eten m600+ end evolution on ubuntu 7.10

  18. Simon disse:

    Thanks for the effort. I was able to get it to work with evolution 2.12.1. gconf-editor wouldn’t work for me, i used gconftool-2.

    “gconftool-2 -g /apps/evolution/mail/accounts” to dump the account information out, there will be multiple keys if you have more than 1 account.

    Replace the as mentioned above, in the last item. To save the new setting, dump the whole thing back with your modification, all between the single-quotes — “gconftool-2 –list-type string –type list -s /apps/evolution/mail/accounts ‘[<?xml version= …………………]’

  19. […] Evolution only supports Palm devices, I opted to use an exchange server (mail2web.com) as detailed here. Both Evolution and my phone can successfully synchronize with the server, the problem is though, […]

  20. Prashant disse:

    It may be working bu idea of my contacts/calender and other embeded data on the web2mail dose’t go down well for me. You are putting all your personal data with somebody. Have you read the terms & Conditions of Mail2web ?

    Anyone has thought in this regard or I am the only one concerned with security??

    pad

    Well, I tought the “Important Notice” on the top of the article was enough, but maybe I should emphatize it more…

    Thanks for the opinion. I may put one more warning about the privacy concern.

  21. Jan disse:

    Very helpful instructions.
    Since both the gconf-editor and gconftool-2 solutions didn’t work for me, in the end I just edited the file ~/.gconf/apps/evolution/mail/%gconf.xml and restarted the X server.

  22. Cedrick disse:

    Very helpful, I’m looking for this solution since more than one year now and it worked in 5 minutes !!!
    Thanks a lot !!

  23. Jose disse:

    Mail2web has upgraded to Exchange 2007. Exchange connector is not compatible with this server. It seems that connector’s developers are not interested in solving the bug, so presently Evolution cannot connect with Mail2web … unless you only use mail; IMAP is an option, but you will loose contacts, tasks, …

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