Thunderbird or Evolution: please help me make a choice.

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Thunderbird or Evolution: please help me make a choice.

Postby RedWillow » Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:28 am

All in the title really.

I have used yahoo mail for years as my primary email and the web-browser client interface is so good (for my needs at least) that I've never bothered with a host machine email client. Just recently I have changed ISP and would like to use the email boxes provided, but their web client is very basic. Hence the need to start using Thunderbird or Evolution. I've played with both in the past, got them both working, but not used them enough to make an informed decision, therefore I would be interested in other's experiences and views.

A particular point of concern to me: archiving and restoring. Last time I looked, the actual emails were kept in arcane databases deep within hidden folders. As I always re-install my main OS rather than upgrade when a new release comes out (currently Ubuntu, so this will be every six months), I am looking for a good export/import utility. Which is best for this? Also - I like to keep archives of everything. Are exported/backed-up emails from either/both easily viewed somehow without importing back into Thunderbird/Evolution?

Many thanks for any thoughts.
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Postby roseway » Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:49 am

I'm going to suggest an alternative: Claws Mail, a spin-off from Sylpheed. Its config files are kept in ~/.sylpheed, and the data in ~/Mail, so no problem backing up and restoring. It uses plugins for extra features, so you can easily choose what features you want, and it has no nasty habits.
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Postby stuartpalmer » Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:03 pm

You might find these reviews helpful:

http://email.about.com/od/linuxemailcli ... -fo---.htm

Personally I've been using Thunderbird for about 12 months (first under WinXP and now under OpenSuse) and really like it.

Particularly useful to me are the e-mail tags and (with the Lightning calendar add-on) the "events" pane listing the next few days' upcoming events.
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Re: Thunderbird or Evolution: please help me make a choice.

Postby MartyBartfast » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:31 pm

I use Thunderbird, I've used Evolution but didn't like it; no particular reason other than personal taste.

As for:-
RedWillow wrote:... Last time I looked, the actual emails were kept in arcane databases deep within hidden folders. ... As I always re-install my main OS ... I am looking for a good export/import utility.


Code: Select all
mv  ~/'hidden folder' /usbstick
install new OS
mv  /usbstick/'hidden folder' ~/
I have been touched by his noodly appendage.
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Postby nelz » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:51 pm

+1 for Claws Mail.

Do you have to use POP3? If you use IMAP4, mails are stored on the server, although also cached on your disk for speed. Alternatively, you could use a sane partitioning scheme that leaves /home unaffected by reinstalls.
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." (Albert Einstein)
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Postby RedWillow » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:59 am

Thanks all for your comments - much appreciated.

Whether or not I use a home partition, the important thing for me was to be able to export/import individual email folders + contents for archiving purposes on backup media. Particularly important since the email box I'll be using seems only to have POP, which surprised me. I've discovered by playing with Evolution and Claws that I can do this very easily by means of something called an mbox file (this is all new to me!). Interestingly, I find that Claws has the edge with usability for this aspect.

If Thunderbird has the ability to export/import mbox files in its menus, I have yet to find it, so I'm kicking Thunderbird into touch straight away. I've found the mbox files for both Evolution and Thunderbird deep within the labyrinth of their hidden folders and I can import these (with difficulty) into Thunderbird and with consummate ease into Evolution and Claws, so another reason not to use Thunderbird. But I'll be using the import/export menu items anyway.

Next step is to set up both Evolution and Claws for day-to-day use. Since it's so easy to export from one and import into the other I can use one for a week, transfer all my emails and use the other for a week and so on, and can take my time deciding which is better for me while still keeping all my emails together.

Thanks so much. It's being not confident that there's an easy import/export that's held me back before.
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Postby nelz » Thu Jun 16, 2011 11:58 am

Claws also has a mail archiver plugin for backing up old mails to compressed archives, although I've never used it.
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Postby RedWillow » Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:31 pm

nelz wrote:Claws also has a mail archiver plugin for backing up old mails to compressed archives, although I've never used it.


Thanks, I'll look into that.

One minor thing that disappoints me is the very limited text formatting you can do when you compose a message in either Claws or Evolution. Even Yahoo's webmail interface is more fully-featured than those. Seeing that Thunderbird is very good in this respect, I looked at this lack of mbox import/export issue in Thunderbird again. I found these:

http://kb.mozillazine.org/Importing_and ... _your_mail

http://www.nic-nac-project.de/~kaosmos/ ... rt-en.html

The plugin seems to work well. What I find extraordinary is that this functionality is not built-in and that the extension is not even to be found in the "official" addons/extensions to be found in Thunderbird -> Tools menu -> Addons. Anyway, I've posted the links in case they are of use to others and for myself if I lose the bookmarks.
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