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Is there any advantage to using Evolution over webmail? (Newbie GNU/Linux user!)

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For personal use, I have not used any email client for a few years. Once in awhile, I have tried to install different email clients and am always reminded why I have been 100% using Webmails (gmail, yahoo, ymail, hotmail).

Here are why I am 100% using webmail:

  1. As I like to experiment with different things on Ubuntu, there are many times when I totally crashed my system, that I have to reinstall everything from square one. By using solely on Webmail, I don't have to worry about Scaine's #1 and #3 disadvantage items.
  2. Mobility: Webmails allow me to check my emails from anywhere without having being restricted to my own laptop. I can check the emails from my cellphone, work laptop, etc.
  3. Consistency: I have owned the email accounts (gmail, yahoo, hotmail) for almost 10 years. I have not had the need to update anyone everytime I change my ISP and as the result changing the ISP based email addresses.
  4. Cloud Computing: this seems to be something of a buzz word lately. We are at the point now where the technology allows us to manage part of our life online, i.e. email, schedules, etc. My family lives all over the world and the way we connect is through online tools, i.e. facebook to share photos, emails for correspondence.
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The main advantage of using any mail client over webmail is that your e-mail is local to the computer you're using. So...

Advantages of local storage :

  • You don't have to be connected to the internet in order to read your e-mail offline. Some webmail clients offer this through add-ons, however, such as Google Gears for Gmail.

  • Assuming you use your own ISP's e-mail, then you'll gain some privacy from keeping your e-mail local.

  • You can run encryption tools like PGP to create digitally signed and/or encrypted e-mail. I'm not aware of any webmail that allows this (might be ignorant of them though).

  • You can easily backup/move your e-mail to other computers, or keep it on a central server and access it privately from multiple local PCs.

  • Attachments, since they're local, will load/run very quickly.

Disadvantages of local storage:

  • You're responsible for your own backups.

  • Your data is usually local to a single PC (unless you set up a NAS/Server solution)

  • Re-installing your PC will mean reconfiguring your client (unless you save then restore your /home data).

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If you use IMAP then backups are maintained on the mail server. So bullet points one and two for Disadvantages are invalid with IMAP – Marco Ceppi Jan 5 '11 at 1:24

you can use gmail in evolution too:

  • as IMAP
  • as POP3 - you will have a copy of your emails offline as a backup, you are getting notifications for new mails, you also can access emails via browser online from everywhere. You get the best of two worlds
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These are the biggest advantage to using local storage, the fact you can view your webmail offline. – lqlarry Apr 11 '12 at 5:48

What I find most advantageous about using Evolution is that you can connect to several webmail accounts and calendars simultaneously and see them all in the same window. This way you don't have to keep clicking back and forth between web pages to view your different calendars and email accounts.

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As so many have stated, it is a choice of local mail storage or cloud storage. But as also stated, that is not a clean decision since you can leave email on a server, and still use evolution to download the mail locally. That actually makes evolution a local backup of your mail while keeping copies on the server.

I use Evolution and own a domain, I use that domain as my "never to change" address so that argument does not apply. Also, evolution has the contacts/calendar/filtering and more functionality which competes with many other cloud and local applications. You can have evolution pick up email from many different accounts so you have all email in one mail tool. Many of the other cloud mail solutions can pull from different sources too so is also a weak argument, but one to consider.

But one really important thing, you have no idea of backups in the cloud. There are no guarantees. Yes they do a good job, but there is no commitment. Most savvy companies using the cloud realize they have a business continuity issue if they just trust the cloud to backup data. You should take a backup of your own, evolution can do that.

Also, if you download in evolution then you are moving your data out of the cloud. If you value privacy then that may be a deciding factor. If you do not care that your email is out there and vulnerabilities get exploited and your private emails made public, then this does not matter.

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