Before I upgraded from 10.04 to 10.10 (I formatted my harddisk and installed it), I used thunderbird.

Now I wanted to test out evolution. I think it's pretty good, because there are integrated notifications and encryption methods. Another thing is that there's a calendar integrated in evolution, but I can also install a calendar addon for thunderbird.

What do you think about it? Can you tell me the pros and cons of thunderbird and evolution? I don't know which program I should use.

I never used evolution before 10.10, I always installed thunderbird.

Should I move to evolution, or stay with thunderbird? I like both of them, I just need some pros and cons.

If you think both email programs are bad, tell me a better one.

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    Good question, I used to use Thunderbird some years ago under Windows and Linux and never really used Evolution after switching to Ubuntu. I'll appreciate some pros cons too. – Maxime R. Apr 12 '11 at 14:28
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    @Maxime You misunderstood me :P I was Ubuntu 10.04 user, then 10.10, then 11.04 beta tester and now 10.10 again (I hated unity). – omnidan Apr 12 '11 at 14:40
  • I know my use case is a little bit different but i'm still interested by this question. And I'm using Gmail now ;) – Maxime R. Apr 12 '11 at 15:19
  • @Maxime Okay, I'm a gmail user too, and I really like the calendar features of evolution, because it works with Google Calendar. Another good thing is that evolution builds a tree-like structure of my mails. That's really useful, because I'm in many mailing lists :) – omnidan Apr 12 '11 at 15:33

13 Answers 13


If you are going to use MS Exchange mailboxes , evolution is the mail client. Thats the pro for evolution.

If you are using IMAP, POP accounts, thunderbird is better. Thunderbird also has an addon for the osd notifications. It is faster than evolution in retrieving emails and you get a lot of useful addons with thunderbird . Plus , in evolution, tables created in ms outlook are not shown. I think evolution does not read them but thunderbird does.

So my vote goes for Thunderbird.

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    What about the calendar? I know there's an addon, but are there osd notifications for the calendar addon of thunderbird? – omnidan Apr 12 '11 at 10:29
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    afaik, the osd notification works for mails . there is a window pop up for any alarm or a meeting reminder. – Ubuntuser Apr 12 '11 at 10:41
  • @Ubuntuser Yes I know that there's a popup, but is there also an osd notification? – omnidan Apr 12 '11 at 10:58
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    I've found Evolution extremely slow with IMAP ... that was my big reason for going back to Thunderbird. – Nerdfest Apr 12 '11 at 12:27
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    @Nerdfest: I completely agree. I think they need to rewrite the application! – Ubuntuser Apr 12 '11 at 13:40

Thunderbird is likely to become the default mail client as soon as its issues with calendar, contacts and messaging menu are solved. There aren't any blueprints on this yet but Maverick's one suggests this change in the future. So if you don't want setup Evolution now and then Thunderbird in the future, then I would go with the latter one.

  • +1 for Thunderbird as standard mail client. I really like thunderbird, but I like the integration of evolution. – omnidan Apr 12 '11 at 14:06
  • Notifications for ThunderBird are available ... works nicely, although I'm not sure about in 11.04 yet: launchpad.net/libnotify-mozilla/+milestone/1.1 – Nerdfest Apr 19 '11 at 0:29

I used both before, but now I stick to the trio fetchmail + mutt + msmtp, to retrieve, manage and send e-mail respectively.

Regardless of the pros/cons with Evolution VS Thunderbird, there isn't all that much difference between using any of the two (Evolution being slow with IMAP annoyed me though). Therefore, I suggest you have a look at mutt to see for yourself how a mail reader can be completely different.

  • for sure it is different!!! (I am a bit scary to try it...) – bob Oct 5 '12 at 5:09

Try both, I use evolution, I prefer it. I have used Thunderbird, it is good as well but does not work the way I want it to. So I use evolution. Use each one for at least a week. Then decide.

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    I tried both, I think Thunderbird is a bit better :) – omnidan Apr 13 '11 at 13:10

I'd +1 for Thunderbird, because its so simple to move the whole profile around (found this very userful when working with different computers + OS).

Also, as mentioned above, I found IMAP to be "slow" in Evolution - does Evolution support IMAP idle?

"Lightning" for Thunderbird + Google-calender Provider works perfectly for me, and with "Thunderbird Indicator App" ( ppa:ruben-verweij/thunderbird-indicator ) you get the tray-icon + notifications.


I like Evolution better, but like the man said. Try them both. Evolution is intregrated into the desktop well. It has a nice working calendar (which I need on a daily basis). And it handles pop3 accounts much better than Thunderbird (which is not pop3 friendly).


Obviously you need to try both. I have done so and here is my opinion: I used Evolution with Ubuntu for about 5 years (because I like its integration with Ubuntu) but have very recently changed to Thunderbird (I use both a gmail account and an Ms Exchange Server account). Gmail is fine with both Evolution and Thunderbird but the former is terrible with IMAP (very slow and inconsistent and I finally ran out of patience and time). There is a MAPI plugin for Evolution but even with the help of the maintainers of our Ms Exchange Server I could not get it to work. Thunderbird is much more sophisticated and faster and has a number of items that I find very useful. The most valuable for me is something very simple: the ability to save replies in the same folder as the original e-mail. I find this invaluable, especially as I deal with huge amounts of mail. I requested this as an enhancement to Evolution about 3 years ago but nothing has happened. The only downside with Thunderbird is its lack of integration with Ubuntu. However, this is coming: I already have an extension that puts Thunderbird on the bar in Ubuntu 11.04 and it will be better integrated with the next version of Thunderbird (see http://mikeconley.ca/blog/2011/03/15/my-campaign-to-get-thunderbird-integrated-into-ubuntu-natty-narwhal-continues/). In summary: I find that I can manage my mail much more easily, efficiently and quickly with Thunderbird, despite its currently imperfect integration with Ubuntu.


I have used Evolution before, and I find it can be a little slow at times, but any app can be like that :-)

Certainly, I would just suggest to use the one you prefer, I prefer the good old internet, but I think I may switch to Evolution. It means it would take less time than open Firefox, open Gmail, Look through the list, wait for each email to load, while Evolution just downloads them in 'chunks'. Never really tried Thunderbird before, but meh.


I thought Thunderbird was going to be integrated with Natty's Messaging menu. http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2011/02/thunderbird-messaging-menu-integration-ready-for-wider-testing/

For me the integration is a big reason to choose one over the other. Personally I've always used Thunderbird because I find it to be more intuitive and easy to figure things out. Maybe it's cause I'm used to Firefox?


If your email server uses IMAP, then you don't need to commit to any one client. Try them all. Personally, I prefer the Gmail web interface.

  • I'm now using the web interface with a browser notification addon ;) – omnidan Apr 19 '11 at 8:10

I find Thunderbird to be lightweight compared to evolution. Sometimes trying to do too much isn't the best solution.


If you have a mobile device or other kind of thing like a palm pilot, THUNDERBIRD WILL NOT WORK WELL WITH IT. The other thing you may want to consider is that Thunderbird does not integrate seamlessly into the display theme, last I checked. There are some problems on laptops or desktops with smaller than a 16.3" display and certain drivers for ATI mobile and legacy Nividea cards.


Thunderbird worked best for me. I hope this helps someone - http://adhocshare.blogspot.in/2012/10/setting-up-thunderbird-16-on-linux-with.html

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