Configuring an Address Book in Thunderbird

To configure Thunderbird to connect to Rhodes' LDAP address book, do the following:

  • Go to the Tools menu and select Options
  • Select the Composition tab, and then choose 'Addressing' from the sub-tabs
  • Tick the Directory Server: checkbox
  • Click on Edit Directories...
  • Click on the Add button to add a new directory
  • On the General tab, configure the following:
  •  Name: Rhodes University
  • Hostname:
  • Base DN: o=RU
  • Port number: 389
  • On the Advanced tab, add the following:
    • Scope: Subtree
    • Search filter: (objectclass=inetOrgPerson)
  • Click on the OK button to close the Directory Server Properties window
  •  Click on OK to close the LDAP Directory Servers window
  •  Now select Rhodes University from the Directory Server: dropdown
  •  Click OK to close the Options dialog

Names don't display properly

Once you've done this, you'll be able to search Rhodes' address book. You'll notice, however, that people's names are not displayed properly. This is due to a bug in Thunderbird; it does not correctly honour the displayName preference.

Whilst there's a workaround for this problem, its somewhat complicated. You can either accept it as it, or you can try the following to fix it:

  • Shutdown Thunderbird
  • Find Thunderbird's profile directory. On Windows, this is usually in C:\Documents and Settings\yourusername\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles
  •  Now find the profile in use. It'll probably be be the one that ends in .Default User
  •  Edit or create a file called user.js, and add the following lines:
  user_pref("mail.autoComplete.commentColumn", 2);
  user_pref("ldap_2.servers.RhodesUniversity.autoComplete.commentFormat", "[ou] ([cn])");
  user_pref("ldap_2.servers.RhodesUniversity.attrmap.DisplayName", "displayName,fullName,cn,commonname");
  user_pref("ldap_2.servers.RhodesUniversity.autoComplete.nameFormat", "[displayName]");
  user_pref("ldap_2.servers.RhodesUniversity.autoComplete.filterTemplate", "(&(|(displayName=%v*)(cn=%v*)(mail=%v*)(sn=%v*)(givenName=%v*)(fullName=%v*)(preferredName=%v*))(objectClass=inetOrgPerson))");

(Note that this assumes you've created a profile called RhodesUniversity as above.)

  • Start Thunderbird and check if it works
  • If not, go to Tools / Options / Advanced / General and click on the Config Editor... button
  • Check that the lines above appear in the config, and that the profile name is correct.

Last Modified: Mon, 28 Oct 2013 12:15:24 SAST