Thunderbird vs. Evolution?


I’ve been using Thunderbird as my main mail client since the very first releases back in 2003. Right now there’s a couple of serious bugs affecting it (GPG not working, missing context menus, translations disabled). I’ve read the corresponding bug reports, and since the package maintainers seem to prefer getting lost in philosophical debates, I guess it’s time to look out for a new mail client.

The last time I gave Evolution a spin must have been right around the release of the very first Ubuntu around 2004 if I remember correctly. And it’s also Red Hat’s default mail client in GNOME.

Before I go any further, just a general question. Are there any Evolution users out there? Is it an application that JustWorks™?

Here’s what I need in particular:

  • Multiple IMAP accounts
  • Ability to filter mails (on “From” and/or “Subject” fields)
  • OwnCloud sync for Contacts, Calendar and Tasks

Any suggestions ?

Hi @microlinux
It’s been at least as long for me since I used Evolution, but it does appear to be able to

In a quick search, it looks like it will sync to Owncloud contacts, calendars, and tasks, but I don’t have a definitive answer. I’m hoping someone who’s currently using Evolution will chime in on what they know.

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Evolution itself is a really good mail and calendar client, but it’s suddenly more difficult because of closed standards, closed source cloud providers forcing things like OAuth2 and Multi-Factor-Authentication. For “normal” email it should still be easy to use, but things like Office365 (with MFA) are more difficult, partly because Evolution wasn’t originally designed to interact with a web browser.

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Rocky has a “plus” version of thunderbird (in the tradition of centos) that brings back the gpg support that RH removed deliberately.

I’m using evolution at work. I was strongly advised to do so because it’s basically a M$ exchange world. Otherwise the idea wouldn’t have even occured to me.

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Another option for feature rich mail and news is the Seamonkey browser.

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If these are bugs, then despite the philosophical debates there is a decent chance that they will be fixed either in the upstream software, the downstream package or maybe via add-ons. Sometimes they can even be fixed in the configuration. How long to be patient, how much work is involved in trying things and/or sticking with a working version is up to you.
Given the recent major recent GPG and calendar-related changes, you may want to try different versions. Thunderbird is available in different versions on Flathub and in the Snap Store and probably well packaged elsewhere too.

That said, as another user of Thunderbird since very long ago, I like to try out other clients from time to time. The last one I tried was Geary quite a while back when it was missing features I want.

PS. “New users can only put 2 links in a post”, so you might have to track down GNOME’s Geary while I revel in being new again.

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I’ve used Thunderbird for quite some time (years). I’v tried other e-mail clients also Evolution. Whatever I try I go back to Thunderbird. It’s not fancy it just works.

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I’ve experimented some more, and the thunderbird package from the CentOS Plus repository does the job perfectly.

Note that Rocky also has a plus repository with thunderbird in it for Rocky Linux 8 and it is planned for Rocky Linux 9 sometime after 9.1’s release, pending changes to the peridot build system.

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This is the one I’m currently using (see my previous post). I’m a happy camper, and I salute the Rocky Team’s initiative here.

Sorry for being late to the show, but all I can say is that I have used Evolution to acess both my corporate (MS) Exchange email, contacts and calendar as well as multiple IMAP accounts and NextCloud calendars. Sharing the same core code, OwnCloud should work too for the WebDAV, CalDAV and CardDAV resources. For contacts, to be honest, I am not that sure.

Background being: I am using the gnome-online-accounts approach that takes care of pretty much everything that needs to be done to get Evolution speak to the outside world. Setting up accounts manually can turn out to be a PITA. Plus, Evolution when using Gnome Online Accnounts interacts nicely with the Gnome calendar thingy from the panel clock (shows agenda of upcoming events, etc.)

As far as I can recall, there’s not much that doesn’t work with Evolution (…when using Gnome Online Accounts). What I have seen though is that MSOffice365 calendar/contact subscriptions sometimes triggers false errors of “resource not available”. But that might also have been related to MS server-side setup issues with the company I worked for - not sure about that.

Hope that helps, feel free to bother me for “how do I…” questions on getting Evlolution to work with NextCloud/OwnCloud or Gnome Online Accounts.

Cheers, Thomas

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