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I have a network which consists of linux server and a combination of WinXP, Win7 and linux clients. All the systems are given dynamic IP addresses by the router which connects them all together. The server hosts an IMAP mail server. On Win7 and WinXP Thunderbird can access the IMAP server without any problems. On the linux client, using the same IMAP parameters, Thunderbird is unable to connect to the server.

How do I get Thunderbird to find the server? I'm not sure if this is a linux system configuration problem or a Thunderbird issue.

Additional note: The linux client is running Gnome, the server has a series of Samba shares defined. In the client, doing Places->Connect to Server and selecting Windows Share and specifying the server name, the Samba share is mounted OK.

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How is Thunderbird configured to connect to the server. Is it by name or by IP address? – John Gardeniers May 25 '10 at 13:09
@John: By name, I think. I've not seen any options to define which method to use - where would I expect to find it? – Skizz May 25 '10 at 13:21
have a look at the email account configuration within Thunderbird. I don't use it, so can't tell you exactly where to look. – John Gardeniers May 25 '10 at 21:29

You probably want your imap server to have a fixed address if you can do that.

If you cannot, then you probably want it to update your DNS with its name and current IP address.

If you cannot do that, then you cannot do what you want.

The reason Samba shares work is that the SMB protocol, while it uses IP, doesn't really use DNS. It's older than that, and each server just announces its presence periodically.

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A static IP would certainly work, but what bothers me is that Thunderbird running in Windows can connect to the server without any problems, which seems like Windows is getting information the Linux client isn't and I was wondering what that something is. – Skizz May 25 '10 at 18:39
Netbios name resolution possibly. In any case, this is a good case study for "why servers have fixed IP addresses" - because client software is unpredictable. – RobM Jun 2 '10 at 18:54

I would suggest running wireshark or tcpdump, filtered first to the IP address, and for later captures the MAC address of client system.

  1. Start the capture running, filtering on a windows box. Launch thunderbird. See what comes up.
  2. Start a new capture running, filtering on the linux box. Launch thunderbird. See what comes up.
  3. Iterate, filtering out stuff that seems obviously not related to the differences between the IMAP connection between the two machines.

Eventually, you will see some kind of traffic sent by the Windows box which is not sent by the Linux box. I wonder if WINS is somehow involved.

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