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 GNOMEevery 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.


  1. Kirill Petrov says:

    You’re absolutely right. Evolution just keeps crashing for now reasons. The calendar evolution conduit crashes, installation of a file is a problem. When I used it Evolution with the Exchange server it was even worse. With all due respect to Evolution developers but it has more bugs then Outlook. Its junk filter feature is just junk. And the list can be a whole lot longer.

  2. Robin says:

    Hi, I’m wondering if you can help, I’m currently synching with evolution but would prefer jpilot. I’ve installed this but where are the conduits for it, gnome pilot still shows evolution conduits only

  3. craig says:

    For starters, you need to turn off gpilot in order to use jpilot. Jpilot has it’s own syncing system. You’ll also need to press the syncbutton on your Palm first, and then hit the sync button on jpilot in order to “prime the pump” and have the USB device get set up properly under Linux.

    If you have any specific questions, feel free to contact me, and I’ll help you sort them out as best I can.

  4. Robin says:

    Thanks for the advice Craig. As I’m only 2 weeks old on ubuntu where and how do I turn off gpilot, I couldn’t find anything on this through google. Cheers.

  5. craig says:

    How are you currently starting up gpilot? Are you using the applet? If so, just remove the applet, and it should just go away.

  6. James Murray says:

    Yes it is a shame that Evolution keeps getting worse at each release. I’m plagued by the “even after a sync” bug that has been there for FIVE years and gets more apparent in each new release. I’m first going to try reverting to a much older version and then might have to ditch it altogether.