BM 4.0 beta + Outlook: step by step

BlueMind v4.0 beta is finally out ! Time to test and learn. Don’t hesitate to request a trial subscription to make the best out of the new version.

Making a big announcement is great, but showing software that actually works is better. We’re still putting the final touches to BlueMind 4.0, in the meantime we’re releasing a beta version so you can test, use and abuse its native Outlook support. It’s all yours!

But first, a few caveats. BlueMind 4.0-beta:

  • Is available for new installs only
  • Must not be used in production: updates will not be available
  • Requires a trial subscription for Outlook support

About this last point: BlueMind’s most significant new feature – native Outlook support, which this article is about – is included in the subscription. If you don’t need Outlook support, you can try BlueMind 4.0-beta without a subscription – in which case you don’t need this article either 😉.

Warning

We make every effort to make BlueMind administration tasks easier. However, some of the operations described in this article require a minimum amount of technical knowledge: specifically, about certificates and network configuration. 

We also recommend that you work on virtual machines and use snapshots so that you can go back if you encounter an error.

Installation

You can find our installers at BlueMind Download. Make sure you select the latest version 4.0. Installation instructions are the same as for previous releases.

The only extra pre-requisite is a second computer running the latest version of Windows 10 and Outlook. Important: Outlook must be 2013 or above. You need to have admin rights on the system, and all systems (BlueMind, Windows/Outlook) must belong to the same local network (e.g. two virtual machines from the same provider).

Make sure you keep note of the external url you are using during installation: you will need it to setup Windows access. In this step-by-step I am using bluevm.test.loc. Also keep note of the server’s IP address, in my case 192.168.33.10.

The bm-mapi packages

You must install the bm-mapi package before you create Outlook users. The optional bm-plugin-core-mapi-support enables push notifications from bm-core, you should install it too.

Contact us to get a trial subscription, which will give you access to BlueMind’s fee-based ressources, including this package.

Deploy your subscription on the server, then install the bm-mapi package using aptitude or yum depending on your distribution. This package adds native Outlook support to BlueMind.

Trial users

You can now log in as administrator to create your first user. Be sure to set up an email account for them!

Setting up Windows

ROOT CERTIFICATE

If you’ve set up an authentic certificate (e.g. LetsEncrypt) you can skip this step.  

BlueMind uses HTTPS, and self-signed certificates are generated upon installation (these are obviously replaced in production by certificates issued by a certification authority, but it isn’t the case in this instance).

The root certificate is available on the server:

  1. /var/lib/bm-ca/cacert.pem

You can copy this file on the Windows computer and import it into the “Trusted root certificate authorities” store. To do this:

  • Rename it in cacert.cer (Windows 10 does not recognise the pem extension by default)
  • double-click the file, “Install Certificate”, “Local Computer”, “Place all certificates in the following store”, select “Trusted Root Certification Authorities” and confirm.

HOST files

If the Windows system has direct access to the external url you have used to configured BlueMind, you can skip this step.

You now need to edit the file C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts to add entry points and save you having to set up a DNS.

You need to add the following code line:

  1. 192.168.33.10 bluevm.test.loc autodiscover.test.loc

Make sure you change the IP address, the external url and the auto-discover url! To get your autodiscover url, replace the first member of your external url with autodiscover.

The moment of truth

If everything has gone smoothly until now, you can start Outlook:

  • Create a new Outlook profile for the trial
  • Enter the email address of the user you’ve created earlier.
  • Select “Exchange” as account type
  • Enter the user’s password by checking “Remember my login credentials”

After a little while, Outlook will inform you that the account has been created. Click “Finish”.

You’re good to go! Outlook now communicates natively with BlueMind! Enjoy your testing!

Final tweak (for perfectionists)

To be perfectly honest, there’s one more setting you can specify for Outlook to work better in the long term (although your trial installation isn’t designed to): in your Outlook account settings, “keep mail offline”[must be set to “All” (maximum time).


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