~:: kalyan ::~

May 23, 2007

Using Thunderbird instead of evolution

Filed under: General, Linux, open-source — skalyanasundaram @ 1:47 pm

I generally keep changing things. Desktop place, Window manager , applications…

So this time i have tried out thunderbird as a replacement for evolution

It looks pretty in some feature but not in every aspects.

The features i like

  1. Each account is maintained separately, the mails which are not falling through any filter sits in inbox of that account. But in case of evolution it is different. There will a common inbox there all unfiltered messages will go which i dont like to organize them manually.
  2. The second damn thing i like is themes. Evolution cant support this feature. Look at my vista look at linux 😉 thunderbird-vista
    Just for a change. I can show up to my windows friends. 😉 The firefox users feel more comfortable with this theming feature it is as same as firefox
  3. The third feature i like is add-ons. There are lot as usual . The add-ons i am using is
    • Talk back — http://talkback.mozilla.org/
    • Splash screen — Just show splash screen fully customizable even the image , text , color, font(http://splash.mozdev.org/)
    • Signature switch – If you have multiple signature you can add them. (http://mozext.achimonline.de/)
    • Provider for google calender atthunderbird (http://mozilla.kewis.ch/) It works really. 🙂 I think there is small bug it always set thing one hour late. Yes it uses the xml address (ORANGE one). But in evolution it uses the ICL address (GREEN one). But after adding up the address in evolution it gives read only calender. Not sure it is bug or some configuration. I have clearly checked it.
    • Gmail UI — to provide gmail effect like archiving and searching. I think it works with small bugs. Not using much. I always want my mails to be classified. Not interested to put everything in a single archive folder.
    • Contact side bar – this is another good addon. I liked it. Shows the address book in the left pane. Quick add when a new mail is sent.
    • Filters i like it. Filters are associated with the account and they are not global like evolution. In evolution many times i had this problem of missing of mails. It just goes to some other folder due to the misconfiguration of filters.
  4. The other feature i like is lightening . Yes a calender program. Ofcourse u can configure with sunbird as a separately application. But who wants to maintain one more application. So lightening comes handy , it is a add-on on thunderbird. It works well i guess. I have not faced any problem. I have configured google calender and worked with it.
  5. Display mails as thread. It shows a tree view with a vertical dot view. That looks nice. Eyes just need to follow the link when the thread is too big. But in evolution there is nothing provided. Only arrow button to show it has child mails and indentation is maintained which i felt little difficult.

As of now i have not configured IMAP on both the mail client. So let it be with my groupwise.

The feature which i dont like or which i feel missing in thunderbird comparing to evolution

  1. Task maintenance is missing out in thundebird which evolution provides perfectly.
  2. Online LDAP servers can be used. ( i think it is available in thunderbird also)
  3. Integration with gaim accounts and system calender. I have just said in evolution sync with gaim. It is done simply. The task i can and appointments i can see in my gnome calender. It is just cool. Thunderbird has to add these feature
  4. Evolution can export the address book vcard format or as csv (evolution-addressbook-export –format=csv >contact_list.cvs
    ). There should be ldif format supported. But i felt difficult converting them to thunderbird. Thunderbird was showing some field matching for exported CVS formated address book that mostly goes bad. Somhow from google i exported the CVS file and that mostly worked except for few contacts
  5. When i send a mail evolution does it silently. It first keep it in outbox and send it in the background. But thunderbird keep running in front. There will be progress bar running and showing connected to this outgoing server and sending. Which need to be done at the back. (Does any setting available for that, i guess i have not missed it out)
  6. It will have more support on groupwise accounts probably (I have never tried it but seen ppl using it like johnny) because groupwise and evolution is supported by Novell and i am an employee of Novell 🙂
  7. Finally evolution looks native. 🙂 may be used to be it.

Lets see. For now i am using thunderbird. Heared some new features are coming out in the lattest build (labeling like gmail, layout changing which already in thunderbird. I like the task management and contact detail syncing feature from evolution. I will switch back to evolution after some time when i feel i need a change or when some attractive feature available which ever comes first



  1. For the labeling support in evolution, snakar has written a patch and it’ll be in the next release for evolution. And evolution has amazing layouts (i like the wide mode ) and you can have complex rules for sorting your mails. 🙂

    So evolution rocks 🙂 ( u know y i say that )

    Comment by Johnny — May 23, 2007 @ 4:27 pm

  2. i can eliminate the progress bar when sending mail in thunderbird: open “advance options” and search for “progress”…

    Comment by lior — May 21, 2008 @ 4:23 pm

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