Software

Evolution: The Right Tool for the Job?

The Main Screen

By Jack Wallen

Evolution is the open source answer to Outlook. With all the necessary features necessary in a corporate environment, and the stability that comes along with seasoned open source software, Evolution just might be the solution for your Outlook blues.

Read a concise summary of Evolutions' strengths and weaknesses.

The Tool

The main window in Evolution is the Mail window. As you can see there are two side bars and two main panes. The two side bars are the folder tree view (on top) and the application switcher (on the bottom) which allows you to switch from one application to another. NOTE: The switcher panel is not active by default. In order to see this tool you have to go to View then Switcher Appearance and then uncheck the Hide Buttons option. The panes are: Email list which gives you a complete listing of the emails you have received and the Preview pane which is where you read your email.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

6 comments
SIBIT
SIBIT

Does it support full exchange server synchronisation ? In fact does anything apart from Outlook ?

smaffulli
smaffulli

Evolution syncs with Exchange server and it does a pretty good job at it. It's code is original, nothing was 'stolen' as the ignorant up there implied (unless he likes to think that Microsoft stole the UI design from Apple :))

lcoldonsr
lcoldonsr

Looks like the stole everything from Microsoft. I have been using Outlook for years and wonder why you say it's no good?

Jaqui
Jaqui

the name OUTBREAK ring a bell? MS Outlook is so heavily infested with that CRITICAL security hole called activex that it is insane to use it.

Alganon
Alganon

Hi Jack, I know you touched on import in the screenshots, but importing data from Outlook is not a trivial exercise. It can be successful, however, if the right path is chosen. The short answer is Outlook> import using (Win)Thunderbird>(linux)Evolution. T'bird imports from Outlook, Contacts and Email. Lightning imports Calendars. This takes the Windows proprietary formats and converts them to open formats like iCal and LDIF. Then Evolution can import those formats. Unless one is running multiple calendars, a calendar file is ONE file containing many events. So this part is taken care of in "Import a single File". If you have an organised individual who has lots of Local Mail Folders with nesting, then importing the Outlook mail to Evo via Thunderbird will be a chore, but worth it. Make a list of every mail folder, parent and child and replicate the structure in Evolution, (for a clever sys admin there may be a way to do that with a script), otherwise it can be a time consuming task making one folder at a time. Then copy the Windows Thunderbird files to the Linux desktop and import a single file (Mailbox folder) one T'birds file at a time into the equivalent Evolution folder. That's it. Tasks and todos each move as a single file, save them in Outlook as Windows.csv files then import to Evolution.

ricardoc
ricardoc

I understand about the migration of what you have to Evolution. But what about receiving invitations, meetings, etc on your Evolution from Outlook users afterwards? And vice versa, when you send a meeting request from your Evolution will Outlook users be able to open no problem? That's the main challenge for any new software that wants to compete: compatibility. If you make your move towards Evolution you still want to be able to communicate with other software's users. After all Outlook is still the most widely used, isn't it? If somebody knows how to do Evolution-Outlook back and forth please let me know or point me in the right direction please. Thanks