default mail client

Bryan Clark clarkbw at
Thu Feb 21 23:49:30 UTC 2008

On Thu, Feb 21, 2008 at 5:58 PM, Pete Zaitcev <zaitcev at> wrote:
> On Thu, 21 Feb 2008 11:48:36 +1000, Jens Petersen <petersen at> wrote:
>  > For a long time (actually as long as I can remember;) I wondered why
>  > Evolution was our default Mail application (MUA).
>  IIRC it was a Havoc's decree, together with the attempt to hoist
>  Epiphany upon us as a part of the over-arching Open Source Architecture.
>  The main merit of Evo is the integration with calendaring and LDAP.

There was a long discussion about the default web browser with the
choices of Epiphany or Firefox and the decision for choosing Firefox
came from a number of factors beyond the OSA.  There were customer
needs weighed against the best browser for our users, weighed against
the amount of developer resources needed to maintain either choice.
Ultimately the decision fell to Firefox, at the time I wasn't in
agreement with that decision but it was made using the correct data
and feedback; now I completely agree it was the correct choice.
Though ephy was my first love...

And at the time of that decision Havoc spelled out this future in an
eerie prophetic tone about how a future email fight will come sometime
after this web browser fight.  Welcome to the future!

>  > So what are the arguments for keeping Evolution as the default Mail
>  > application in Fedora?  This question seems particularly relevant now
>  > with things like the Lightning calendar extension and the launch of
>  > Mozilla Messaging.
>  Let's see if it moves beyond words. Several fractions tug onto
>  the Thunderbird's feathers. If it turns into an all-integrating
>  bloat monster, might as well keep Evo.

Watching this thread and knowing both email clients fairly well I'd
have to say that consensus seems split and changing a default is a
tough uphill battle.  There needs to be a significant enough
difference between the old default application and the new default for
the switch to be worthwhile.  It would probably be good for the new
default to have a system for converting people from the old default,
not that we did that for epiphany to firefox...

Here's how I'd sum up the situation.  There are lots of different bugs
and issues in both apps, t-bird has an advantage of being cross
platform so there little learning curve and recognition for people
coming from other OSes (this is a often a large boost for firefox).
Evolution has the advantage of being better integrated into GNOME with
the contacts applet, calendar, and other apps that use the data-server
component as well as a fully integrated calendaring system.  Evo also
has an exchange connector which makes it attractive to companies
running an exchange server with a linux client.

Since bugs will always be present and should be reported in bug
trackers instead of on mailing lists so we need to ignore that in this
kind of decision making.  Thus in my mind TB would have to at least
offer integration points to the desktop similar or better than
evo-data-server does now; i'm hopeful this can happen.  As for the
exchange connector I'm not so hopeful for that, but who knows.  An evo
question might then be around working windows and mac clients such
that users could switch to a linux desktop with some recognition and a
low learning curve; i'm not so hopeful this will happen.  But I'm
wrong all the time and the future is far away!  So lets see what
happens to t-bird and evo in the future.

>  I use Sylpheed because it's the only mail client in existence never
>  to chew patches. Not arguing for making it default or anything,
>  but it's not all Evo all the time since we had Fedora Extras.

I'm marking that down as an idea for a future thunderbird extension,
better patch handling.  :)

~ Bryan

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