Switching mail clients

ThunderbirdI’ve finally come to the end of my tether with the Evolution mail client.  It seems to have been getting less reliable over time, to the point that it is now no longer letting me update my inbox.  Deciding it was time to try out Thunderbird again, I have taken the plunge and migrated all my email as well as my address book.

Migrating the email was fairly easy.  Thunderbird doesn’t know how to do it on its own, but both Evolution and Thunderbird use mbox format so I just had to close Thunderbird, copy my
.evolution/mail/local/* folders into
.thunderbird/…/Mail/Local Folders, then start Thunderbird again.

The address book was harder to migrate.  I ended up following these instructions: export the contacts list in vcard format and convert it to ldif format using a perl script.

UPDATE: The perl script can lose addresses!  Use with care…

7 Responses to “Switching mail clients”

  1. Looks like something Mozilla needs to take a look at improving. If it is difficult to transfer from Open Source app to another, there is a problem.

  2. tim says:

    Yes. It had an option for migrating email from Netscape Communicator 4.x (as if anyone is still using that).

    It is a shame they don’t have a common address book format though, but to be fair I’m not sure if Thunderbird ought to be able to import vcard format or whether Evolution ought to export in ldif format — I’ve no idea which format is best.

  3. axelilly says:

    Welcome aboard the Thunder Bird train! I’ve been using Thunder Bird for my work related email for years and always have been very happy with it. I find it’s flexibility and message threading to be very powerful and fulfilling. I think you’ve made a wise move.

  4. Bucky says:

    I try Evolution again with (almost) every new Fedora. It’s the only client that’s ever bothered supporting R/W LDAP addressbooks (and it’s done it for YEARS). Its calendar is pretty slick, too.

    I lasted almost 2 months this time out, which is a record.

    The things that made me give up…AGAIN:

    The thing where you get a notice of an incoming email–you see a big bold (1) in your mailbox, but nothing will appear in your messages list (workaround: quit, do killev, erase ~/.evolution, and re-launch).

    The thing where it won’t connect to your mail server for some reason (workaround: delete the account, muck around for AGES deleting key after key after key with gconftool, and re-create the account).

    The thing where you’re having a quiet afternoon, and somebody asks you if you’ve read their email, so you quit and re-launch Evolution, and there are a dozen new emails starting from mid-morning to the present.

    The thing where somebody sends an email saying, “I’ve highlighted the important items in red” — which Evolution helpfully converts to black.


    I, too, am back using Thunderbird. I have to use a web client and copy and paste to add things to an addressbook (welcome back to the 12th century), but Evolution’s just too unreliable to use for work.

  5. […] 当然,邮件联系人就没这么简单迁移了,但是,你可以在 Evolution 导出联系人为 vCard 格式,然后使用这个小小的 Perl 脚本 转换成 Thunderbird 的 ldif 格式再倒入就可以了。via […]

  6. Chasd says:

    Check out the Evolution address book export script –

    rpm -ql evolution|grep export

    It’s in a libexec directory, so it isn’t in a normal $PATH. It doesn’t have a man page, but running it without arguments spits out usage info.

    I use it to export the Evo address book data in CSV format, then bring that into OOo to move the columns around so it matches up with the order T-Bird wants. The T-bird CSV import dialog will show you the order. If I remember, there may be columns Evo uses that T-bird doesn’t, or the other way around.

    The other advantage to opening the data in OOo allows you to quickly scan the data and prune out cruft.



  7. tim says:

    This is probably the same as exporting to CSV from the user interface I would guess. Anyway, it’s probably easiest to go through CSV, as you say, and use OOo to reorder the columns.

    Wish I’d known that when I did the conversion. 🙁