[Evolution] feedback on Evolution 2.8.1 from a Thunderbird user


I've been having some performance problems with Thunderbird, so I
thought I would give Evolution 2.8.1 a shot (on Ubuntu Edgy). 

I'm most concerned about the reduced keyboard usability of Evolution, so
I'll cover that first, and then provide miscellaneous feedback beyond

Although I had to install several extensions to accomplish it, I was
able to make Thunderbird 1.5 rather keyboard-friendly. I'd like to know
if there are Evolution shortcuts I'm missing to match the efficiency
I've found with Thunderbird. 

(An article about my Thunderbird setup is here:
http://www.summersault.com/community/weblog/2006/07/20/five-power-tips-for-thunderbird.html )

With TB, I can quickly label messages as Important, Work or Personal
with 1, 2 and 3. It seems to the do the same in Evo, I would have to

Shift-F10-L-M, (Important) Shift-F10-L-W, (Work) Shift-F10-L-P

Ouch. With the GmailUI extension, I can use just "y" to quickly file a
message to a default archive folder, like Gmail. Evo seems to have no
such concept or extension.  The closest I can come is "Control-Shift-V"
for "Move". And then *only if the folder name has been exposed*, I can
start typing "archive" to find the match. 

This limitation of only searching visible folder names this way was
especially frustrating when searching for the "evolution" news group.
The search feature does not good unless you have already selected "comp"
and then "gnome", at which point you've already found "evolution"!

Likewise, with the Nostalgy extension, I can type "g" and then any
unique part of a folder name to go there. In Evo, I first need to use F6
to go the folder pane, which I need to keep exposed for only this
reason. Then again, only if the folder is already visible (not
collapsed), am I able to use type folder name to search for it. 

Also, the missing ability to use an external editor is a huge blow to
keyboard-centric users. This is especially sad since someone did the
work to integrate vim with Evo three years ago:
The best alternative in Evo seems to be copy/pasting back and forth, and
using "Insert File" in some cases.

One more keyboard detail: When viewing a newsgroup list, TB does the
sensible thing with "Control-N" in this context and opens a compose
window addressed to the list. In Evol, there's "Post New Message to
Folder", but there's no keyboard shortcut for that, and the concept
seems wrong. I don't want to post to the folder, I want to post to the

With all the keyboard grumbling out of the way, I have some other
feedback to share, including some positive things. :)

- Well, so far I have definitely had better performance. The IMAP
performance seems to beat the pants of Claws-Mail, at least for the
initial load. I suspect this is because Evo is only loading folders "on
demand", while Claws-Mail tried to load all subscribed folders at once,
bogging down on some folders with thousands of messages in them.

On the other hand, sometimes NNTP performance was worse, because Evo
doesn't seem to have a limit to the number of messages downloaded like
TB offers, so it bogged down on some bigger lists.  

- Of course it's nice that Evo integrates very nicely with the Gnome

- Evo has a real, full-featured address book. 

- The plain test formatting toolbar through me off at first (I assumed
it was for HTML), but I like the concept. However, I quickly ran into
missing features that real text editors have, like "rewrap this

- I appreciated that my labels and colors from TB were preserved. 

- I like that encryption support came built-in. 

Aside from the important keyboard efficiency issues, I'm generally
impressed with the features and ease-of-use that Evolution offers.


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