I have never really liked Outlook, Windows Live Mail or any other email program as much as I like Thunderbird. It has to do with the same reason I only use Firefox – extensions. With extensions you can make Firefox or Thunderbird do anything you want. One thing that Thunderbird does not have from the start is a calendar but Mozilla has been working on this with a extension called Lighting. It takes there stand alone calendar program Sunbird and integrates tightly into Thunderbird.
The only problem with using a desktop email program with a calendar is what if your away from your computer? Getting your email when your away from your computer is easy. I use Google Apps for this domain and have my email setup as a imap account. So even if I check my mail from computer, my phone or even someone elses system online its always the same. But how do you keep your calendar sync up?
The key is the extension called Provider for Google Calendar. It allows bidirectional access to Google Calendar so you can read and write. Once added to Thunderbird you have log in to your Google Calendar and pick what calendar you want to share. To do this click on the drop down arrow and pick Share this calendar. This will bring up the details and at the bottom is Calendar Address. Pick the iCal link and copy the link.
Open your calendar in Thunderbird and go to Calendar and add a new calendar. From there pick On the Network. The format is Google Calendar and put in the link that you copyed. Thats it.