Evolution Mail Account LDAP Backend For GConf

This is a special-purpose backend for GConf which enables default mail accounts, addressbooks and calendars for evolution to be configured using each user's LDAP entry. By setting each user's mail address, incoming/outgoing mail server addresses and addressbook/calendar addresses in the user's LDAP entry, Evolution will be automatically configured to use these addresses.

The code can be found the GConf CVS module here

Getting it Going

Once installed, you first need to point the backend at the appropriate LDAP server. Edit /etc/gconf/2/evoldap.conf:


<host> should be pointed at your LDAP server, <port> should usually be left blank (it defaults to 389, the standard port for LDAP) and <base_dn> should point to the location in LDAP where your user entries are stored.

You then need to store the mail account and addressbook/calendar information in your user's LDAP entries. Using the default template (see below for details on the template) you need to install the LDAP schemas from in your LDAP server evoldap.schema.

How you install the custom schema depends entirely on the LDAP server you're using, but with the openldap server, you can just edit /etc/openldap/slapd.conf and add

    include /etc/openldap/schema/evoldap.schema

somewhere near the top of the file. You then install the .schema file in /etc/openldap/schema and restarted slapd.

Once the schema is installed, you need to modify the LDAP entries to add the "evolutionMailAccount", "evolutionAddressbookSource", "evolutionCalendarSource" and "evolutionTasksSource" objectClasses and set the cn, mail, evolutionMailSourceURI, evolutionMailTransportURI, evolutionAddressbookURI, evolutionCalendarURI and evolutionTasksURI attributes. You can use any method you like to modify the LDAP entries e.g. a graphical LDAP editor like "gq" or a slapd.replog script with ldapmodify:

ldapmodify -x -W -D cn=Manager,dc=blaa,dc=com -h ldap.blaa.com <<EOF
dn: uid=markmc,ou=people,dc=blaa,dc=com
add: objectClass
objectClass: evolutionMailAccount
objectClass: evolutionAddressbookSource
objectClass: evolutionCalendarSource
objectClass: evolutionTasksSource

dn: uid=markmc,ou=people,dc=blaa,dc=com
cn: Mark McLoughlin
mail: markmc@blaa.com
evolutionMailSourceURI: imap://markmc@mail.blaa.com/;use_ssl=always
evolutionMailTransportURI: smtp://mail.blaa.com
evolutionAddressbookSource: FIXME
evolutionCalendarSource: FIXME
evolutionTasksSource: FIXME

You should then be able to verify that the backend is generating the correct value for the /apps/evolution/mail/accounts GConf key:

[markmc@blaa ~]$ gconftool-2 --direct --config-source=evoldap:readonly:/etc/gconf/2/evoldap.conf -g /apps/evolution/mail/accounts
Resolved address "evoldap:readonly:/gnome/head/INSTALL/etc/gconf/2/evoldap.conf" to a read-only configuration source at position 0
None of the resolved addresses are writable; saving configuration settings will not be possible
[<?xml version="1.0"?>
<account name="markmc@blaa.com" uid="1113478550.9037.0@blaa"
        <name>Mark McLoughlin</name>
        <signature uid=""/>
      <source save-passwd="false" keep-on-server="false" auto-check="false" auto-check-timeout="10">
      <transport save-passwd="false">
      <auto-cc always="false">
      <auto-bcc always="false">
      <pgp encrypt-to-self="false" always-trust="false" always-sign="false" no-imip-sign="false">
      <smime sign-default="false" encrypt-default="false" encrypt-to-self="false">

Finally, in order to make GConf pull from this configuration source, you need to add it to the GConf path file in /etc/gconf/2/path by adding the configuration source address - "evoldap:readonly:/etc/gconf/2/evoldap.conf" - after the user's configuration source - e.g.

# Give users a default storage location, ~/.gconf

# Pull default Evolution account from LDAP

Getting More Complex

Although this default method of setting things up should work for most people, the configuration file does give you a fair number of options if e.g. you didn't want to (or couldn't) add the custom evolutionMailAccount schema to your LDAP server or if you wanted to have multiple default accounts per user.

The default template looks like:

  <template filter="(&amp; (uid=$(USER))(objectClass=inetOrgPerson)(objectClass=evolutionMailAccount)(objectClass=evolutionAddressbookSource)(objectClass=evolutionCalendarSource)(objectClass=evolutionTasksSource))">
    <account name="$(LDAP_ATTR_mail)" uid="$(EVOLUTION_UID)" enabled="true">
        <signature uid=""/>

The first configurable part is the "filter_str" attribute. This can be any valid LDAP filter which the backend uses to query the LDAP server using the base DN specified earlier. You can test the filter from the command line with:

ldapsearch -x -h ldap.blaa.com -b ou=people,dc=blaa,dc=com "(& (uid=markmc)(objectClass=inetOrgPerson)(objectClass=evolutionMailAccount)(objectClass=evolutionAddressbookSource)(objectClass=evolutionCalendarSource)(objectClass=evolutionTasksSource))"

(Note that you need to unescape the ampersand and use a valid username when testing the filter)

The next configurable part is the variables sprinkled around in the snippet above. There are three types of variables:

  • $(USER) is the username of the user running evolution
  • $(EVOLUTION_UID) is an account UID generated by the backend in the same format as Evolution uses
  • $(LDAP_ATTR_*) is the name of an LDAP attribute

Each of these variables can be used anywhere in the filter - well, you can't use the $(LDAP_ATTR_*) variables in the filter - or template <account>.

The value of the /apps/evolution/mail/accounts key is generated by applying this template to each of the LDAP entries returned by searching using the filter string in the specified base DN. The value of the $(LDAP_ATTR_*) variable is determined by looking up the attribute value on then entry to which the template is being applied.

Effectively, this means you can don't need to use the custom schema, you can store the account data anywhere in the directory and you can have multiple accounts per user.


  • In the short term, the configuration file format, schema etc. are all still subject to change
  • This hasn't yet seen much testing. If you try this out, feedback is much appreciated whether it be good or bad.

Apps/Evolution/GConfLDAPBackend (last edited 2013-08-08 22:50:04 by WilliamJonMcCann)