Moving from Evolution to JPilot / Thunderbird: A solemn farewell

I've been a long supporter of the Evolution Personal Information Management (PIM) application. For years I used version 1.4.6 under Redhat 9, and it served me well. I liked the interface, and I loved the integration between calendar, contacts, and mail. Sure, it had it's warts, but I managed to cope with them.

Then I upgraded to Fedora Core 5.

In the span of three years, Evolution moved through versions 1.4.6, 2.0, 2.2, and 2.4. The latest stable version for Fedora Core 5 is Evolution 2.6. The developers have adopted the GNOME "every six months" release schedule, where a new release is prepared roughly every six months. It's great for getting people to work towards a goal (instead of the relentless 0.17.99 alpha gamma delta release candidate 23 versioning of some projects). Unfortunately I think Evolution has taken a turn for the worst, by chasing after cool features at the expense of functionality. In one upgrade, my love for Evolution deteriorated in crash after crash. Palm integration with Evolution broke so horribly that it took several attempts to get a full sync between Evolution and the Palm. Crashes and data loss prevented success every step of the way. Dialog boxes asking for bug reports popped up moments after the application inexplicably disappeared quicker than you could say "segfault". I had to come to terms that the application I once loved and revered had become a festering piece of shit in three years time. Worse, Evolution is so integrated into GNOME that simply removing it is not possible. There are dependencies between applications that prevent me from eradicating this menace off of my machine.

The one silver lining in this story is that I could have spent time debugging the software; after all I do have access to the source code. Unfortunately I'm not THAT good with C, and I don't understand all of the inner workings of GNOME applications, least of all Evolution. I also need to use my Palm (I'm a GTD aficianado, and not having my Palm synced with my computer is like not having clothes and shoes available for a public walk - unthinkable).

I started using jpilot and Thunderbird, and haven't looked back.

It's disheartening to see the downturn of Evolution. What once would have been a great Outlook replacement now lives as a shell of it's former self. No longer is it the great application that handled my e-mail, my next actions lists, and my calendaring. Now it stands as a monument for how an open-source application can be so thoroughly corrupted

So long, Evolution. Hello jpilot / Thunderbird.

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