Why does Ubuntu keep shipping with Evolution?

The Evolution mail client has been the default such application in Ubuntu since I got to know of Linux. Sure it is the default GNOME mail/calendar application, but I really am of the view that Ubuntu needs to drop it in favor of say Mozilla’s very brilliant Thunderbird
For one thing running Evolution on my machine makes me wonder if it is IE in disguise. It is, for starters, very heavy on my system resources. My hdd light keeps blinking to hell when I click on that application at any time. It also seems to take an eternity to respond to my mouse clicks.
And worse of all, it is only once that I remember ever being able to access my Gmail account via Evolution. Since that time, whenever I enter my mail credentials, it just sits there, tells me it is reading and fetching the mail. That’s it. Nothing else. It just does nothing else again after it shows me those messages in the status bar.
It may be that I am just unlucky with it. Or that my 1GB memory (that is what I use) is not for it. Mozilla’s Thunderbird on the other hand, just begs me to add my mail credentials and it takes less than a minute for it to connect to my Gmail account and fetch me my mails, including all my folders. And it is very much system resource efficient.
Evolution has become one of the first applications I remove upon every fresh Ubuntu install, replacing it with Thunderbird. If we are going to keep priding ourselves on how well Linux does on older hardware, then it would be wise to stop shipping some really fat applications like Evolution.

13 thoughts on “Why does Ubuntu keep shipping with Evolution?

  1. AC says:

    I'm no fan of Evolution either. I guess the Linux Foundation is to blame?

    The only justification for it that I can think of is that it (supposedly) supports Microsoft Exchange, which I'm no fan of either…

  2. Anonymous says:

    At least it's not based on Mono…+100 for keeping Evolution going and being productive. Personally I use Thunderbird.(natch)

  3. bigbrovar says:

    When I was a gnome user, I hated evolution just like the next guy. Even Mark Shuttleworth once said in an interview that he prefers and uses Thunderbird for managing his emails. However as bad as evolution is It has a number of things going for it.

    Gnome Integration: Ubuntu is a gnome based Linux distribution, and evolution is the default mail client for gnome (just as kmail is for kde) Hence Evolution has perfect integration with gnome. It uses the gnomekeyring for password encryption and storage. plus its also integrated with the gnome calendar applet (e.g when u double click on a date in the gnome calendar applet. It would open evolution todo for that date, and all the dates with calendar entries are highlihgted) Even the gnome contact application is based on evolution. Further more evolution has integration with pidgin which allows it to import all your pidgin IM contacts into your evolution contacts. This and many others (like UI consistency with gnome) are some of the Integration which evolution brings to gnome/Ubuntu which are not available with any other mail client.

    Enterprise Features: Thunderbird does not even compare to evolution when it comes to the number of enterprise features. Evolution is not just a mail client. It is a complete PIM suite with compose a calendar, todo, contact managements. and ability to connect to remote calendars and even a directory server. Although clients like thunderbird have supports for some enterprise features (via 3rd party addons) They always lack integration with gnome and often not as comprehensive with that offered by evolution. In the end the decision to stick with evolution becomes a no brainer. The good thing about Linux is the user can choose to customize his system the way he wants. and you can always remove evolution and install thunderbird.

  4. sinaisix says:

    Hi Andrew, great to see I'm not alone in my dislike for Evolution.

    Anonymous, sure it's not based on Mono alright. But like you, I now use Thunderbird too 🙂

    Bigbro, you got your points right on. But as we talked about, this in itself brings out the strength of Linux in that one can customize as much as they see fit

  5. Raseel says:

    I'm not a fan of Evolution either. And I say this after using it for a good year or so.
    However, I do not agree with the author's crib about the pitfalls of Evolution.
    I simply think that Thunderbird is a better client and so it should be the default client in Ubuntu.

  6. The Mad Hatter says:

    This suggestion is a perennial in the Ubuntu forums, the Ubuntu idea site, and on the Gnome mailing lists.

    First off, Evolution was designed to be part of Gnome. They could be uncoupled, but it would be a bit of work. Second, Evolution, Gnome, and Mono are all projects that Miguel de Icaza is involved in. Evolution is his baby, and as long as he is still involved with Gnome, well, we are stuck with it. It's one of the reasons I no longer use Gnome.

  7. sinaisix says:

    The Mad Hatter: Yea. I think it is more a case of take it if you want style. Myself I'm beginning to consider moving from GNOME to LXDE or Enlightenment

  8. sinaisix says:

    Wow, Moonos looks really cool. I will give it a try. downloading it right away. Seriously you just whet my appetite for the Enlightenment DE. Just one more push. 🙂

  9. Corfy says:

    I stick with Evolution for a reason not mentioned. I still have an old PalmOS phone (specifically, a Palm Treo 755p), and I can sync my calendar, contacts, tasks, etc. very easily with Evolution. Thunderbird does not have that capability. Of course, I will probably be upgrading my phone shortly, so that may not be much of an issue for me for much longer, but that is the main reason I have stuck with Evolution so far.

    Although I have to agree with most of the comments… Thunderbird is a much better email client than Evolution.

  10. andre klapper says:

    @The Mad Hatter: You are wrong. Miguel has no influence whatsoever in technical decisions in GNOME nowadays. It's the release-team and the developers (and Miguel is nowadays active on Mono and not on GNOME development anymore).

  11. The Mad Hatter says:


    In that case why don't they uncouple Evolution from Gnome? I moved to Linux (Ubuntu originally) because of the freedom I thought I was going to get, and then I found out that I wasn't free to remove a package that I didn't use, and didn't like.

    Does this make sense to you? If so, explain why it makes sense to you.

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