Google Calendar is one of the best internet Calendar solutions ever created. It works on pretty much every platform, is very reliable, and has an extensive set of features and abilities. Still, despite how popular it is, Google hasn’t made it easy to sync Google Calendar to the Linux desktop.
Sync Google Calendar – Thunderbird
If you need access to your Google Calendar agenda and to-do list on the Linux desktop, one of the best ways to access it is to turn everyone’s favorite open source Email program, Thunderbird, into an organizer of sorts. A lot of Linux distributions ship Thunderbird by default, but not all of them. To use the Lightning plugin, you’ll need to open up a terminal and install Thunderbird.
sudo apt install thunderbird
sudo apt-get install thunderbird
sudo pacman -S thunderbird
sudo dnf install thunderbird
sudo zypper install thunderbird
As stated earlier, the Thunderbird email program is among the most popular email clients on all of Linux, so there’s an excellent chance there is an installable package available on your distribution. To install it, open up Gnome Software, or your package manager in the terminal and search for “Thunderbird.” From there, install it using the correct commands.
If for some reason the program is nowhere to be found, you can download the code from this website and get it working that way.
Install Lightning Add-On
When you’ve got Thunderbird installed, you’ll also need to install the Lightning add-on. Without this plugin in the mail client, Thunderbird has no way to interact with Google services and fetch your calendar data. Copy the link from your browser, and paste it into an email. Mail the link to yourself, and click on it within Thunderbird. It should open directly in the mail client and allow you to install the add-on.
Along with the Lightning add-on, you’ll need to install the Provider for Google Calendar companion add-on.
If the above method doesn’t work and you’re not able to open the links, an alternative way of installing them is to click on “menu,” then “add-ons.” Inside the add-ons area, click “get new add-ons,” and use the search tool to find and install Lightning, and the Provider add-on. Be sure to restart Thunderbird once both add-ons finish installing.
Note: you may need to click “see all” in the add-on store to get to the search page in Thunderbird.
To sync Lightning in Thunderbird with Google Calendar, restart the program. When it opens up again, you’ll see Google sign-in window. Enter your account details, and allow Google to interact with Thunderbird.
When everything is complete, go to the top-right hand corner of Thunderbird and click on the Calendar icon (the one with the number in it). When you’ve made it to the calendar area, look to the side-bar on the left for “Calendar” and right-click with the mouse. In the right-click menu, select the “New Calendar” option to open up the setup wizard.
The setup wizard walks users through the process of adding a new Calendar to Thunderbird. In the wizard, select the box next to “Network,” then look for “Google Calendar” and click on it. When the wizard is filled out, you should see all of your Google Calendar items in Lightning in Thunderbird.
Google To-Do Lists
Google Calendar for the web has a built-in task-list of sorts. With Lightning, you’ll be able to access these “to-do’s.” First, click the “synchronize” button while in the Calendar area to make sure that the add-on is up to date. Then, look to the right sidebar. Under “tasks” all of your Google tasks from Calendar should be there. It’s also easy to quickly access this list by clicking the Calendar icon with the checkmark on it.
Sync Google Calendar – Gnome Online Accounts
If you’re not interested in using Thunderbird and don’t much care to go through the entire setup of installing Lightning, there’s another great way to sync Google Calendar with Linux. It’s the Gnome Accounts feature, and with it, you’ll be able to see Google Calendar items right in the drop-down Gnome Calendar menu, as well as the Gnome, Email client.
Note: this method works best with Gnome Shell, but if you install Gnome Evolution mail, syncing may work on alternative desktops (Xfce, Cinnamon, Mate, etc.).
Open up the Gnome activities window by pressing the windows button on the keyboard (or by clicking activities) and type in “online accounts.” Look for “Google” and click on it. Selecting the “Google” option will open up a sign-in window. Enter your user details, and connect it to your account.
When Google has access to the desktop, Gnome should be fully connected and start to sync all Google Calendar items, as well as other Google-related services like Drive, etc.
To disconnect Gnome from your Google account, re-open the Online Accounts area and click the minus button to remove.