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Friday, February 3, 2012

Using Communicator 2011 on a MacBook

Here’s how to do it.

1. Download Microsoft Communicator for the Mac 2011. I got mine from my MSDN subscription. I don’t think it’s available as a public download. I also don’t know if it’s part of the Microsoft Lync Server download (I’ve not been involved in the setting up of the Lync server).

2. It’s an iso file, so just mount it and install it in the usual way on your Mac. When it asks you for your login details, ignore it and cancel out.

3. Now the fun step. It seems you have to install a certificate as a root certificate on the Mac in order for Communicator to work securely (briefly: the TLS connection needs an X509 certificate to authenticate the server). Azret gave me the URI on our NAS for ours, so I just double-clicked it from within Finder. A Keychain Access dialog came up asking me if I trusted the certificate. I clicked “Always Trust”, and... nothing happened. The certificate wasn’t added. If I tried to login with Communicator (you need your email address, user id, and password), I got this:

Screen shot 2011-01-12 at 7.01.47

Obviously that’s not the way to do it, so I did more searching.

3 bis. This is where it gets squirrely. A lot of the advice out there is for the earlier Leopard version of Mac OS X or is for earlier versions of Messenger for the Mac and talks about having to add the X509Anchors keychain to the list in the Keychain Access utility (although it’s there by default in Leopard) and then adding your company server certificate to that. Sometimes, this advice forgets to add the word “Leopard” making it seem as if it’s valid for all versions of OS X. Since the keychain by default is restricted to writing, you have to issue chmod commands and such to open it up for modification. (See here for an example of such advice, although it does talk about SnowLeopard. Here’s a TechNet article that also sent me down another rabbit hole.)

The answer for SnowLeopard is actually very simple: open Keychain Access (it’s in /Applications/Utilities, although I tend to just use Spotlight to find apps); drag the root certificate to the login keychain; on the dialog that comes up click Always Trust.

4. Start up Communicator for the Mac, type in your email address, user id, and password (I also click the remember password checkbox) and click Sign In. Communicator starts up.

5. (This one’s a bummer.) It seems that Communicator for the Mac does not use Growl for alerts but instead uses its own system. Yah. Boo. Sucks.

Screen shot 2011-01-12 at 7.26.18

As you can see, I set the dock icon bounce to Continuously (the default is Once Only). That way, if I miss someone pinging me immediately, at least I have a better chance of seeing it fairly quickly. I prefer Adium’s bounce once every 5 seconds option though.

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