[Evolution] What's New in Evolution 3.6

I've never been very good about posting release announcements, but
Evolution 3.6.0 is set to be released next week and it's a pretty big
release for us.  I just wanted to highlight a couple major changes so
you know what to expect.

Hello, WebKit!

We're in the process of abandoning our ancient HTML renderer (GtkHtml)
for WebKit/GTK+.  We're spreading this across two releases just because
it's such a large workload.  Dan VrÃtil did most of the WebKit porting
and he's an absolute superhero for doing so.

Evolution 3.6 will render received mail using WebKit/GTK+.  That means
HTML mails containing CSS will finally be displayed correctly, since our
old HTML renderer had no CSS support.

The email composer in Evolution 3.6 will still use GtkHtml, but Dan
already has a branch ready to merge which ports the composer to WebKit,
so we'll spend the entire 3.7 development cycle testing that and shaking
out the bugs in time for Evolution 3.8 next spring.

Goodbye GConf!

Evolution mostly moved from GConf to dconf (aka GSettings) in 3.4, but
account settings were still kept in GConf in those nasty XML blobs that
everyone hates, including myself.  This is because I was taking my sweet
time to finish a complete overhaul of our account storage format, which
I had actually started all the way back in the GNOME 2.32 era.

Evolution 3.6 will move your account data to plain text files which live
in $HOME/.config/evolution/sources.  Evolution-Data-Server 3.6 will also
introduce a new D-Bus service which will serve these files to Evolution,
GNOME Contacts, GNOME Shell and any other E-D-S client, and also handle
various other miscellaneous chores like talking to GNOME Online Accounts
and cleaning up old data after you delete an account.

WARNING: Because our data migration is always one-way only (forward),
         and because Evolution 3.4 does not know the new account storage
         format or the new storage location in 3.6, downgrading from 3.6
         back to 3.4 is going to be problematic.

         Similar to when we moved files from $HOME/.evolution to the
         standard XDG base directories back in 2.32, downgrading from
         3.6 won't technically lose your account settings, but older
         versions won't be able to find them.  So be aware of this.

Smaller Development Team

And now for some sad news.  Since Evolution 3.4 was released we've had a
significant reduction in our development team.  SUSE decided to cut all
funding of Evolution development and reassigned its (formerly Novell)
Evolution developers elsewhere.

That leaves just myself, Milan Crha and Dan VrÃtil (all Red Hatters).
However Dan is in the process transitioning over to Red Hat's KDE team,
leaving myself and Milan as the only remaining full time developers for
the moment.

Red Hat does have an open position in the Brno, Czech Republic office
for a new full-time Evolution developer [1], if anyone is interested.

Unfortunately this staff reduction caused a few software causalities:

* Evolution-GroupWise is now unmaintained and will not see a 3.6
  release.  The SUSE team had been maintaining this prior to their
  reassignment, and unfortunately we just don't have adequate resources
  to keep it going.  If anyone would like to take over maintainership,
  I'd be happy to assist with getting the module back up to speed.

* Evolution-Exchange is also cut for the same reasons.  That's the old
  Ximian Connector, which talks to Exchange 2003 via Outlook Web Access
  but doesn't work with Exchange 2007 or later.

  For Exchange integration, most of our development focus is now on the
  Exchange Web Services module (Evolution-EWS), but Evolution-MAPI is
  still being maintained since it works with Exchange 2003 as well as
  2007 and 2010.

  With only two full-time developers left, we just felt that maintaining
  three different Microsoft Exchange backends was getting ridiculous and
  was not the best use of our time.

No worries though, we will soldier on.

Matthew Barnes

[1] http://blogs.gnome.org/uraeus/2012/09/13/interested-in-joining-the-red-hat-desktop-team-here-in-brno/

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