Thursday, August 04, 2005

Evolution vs Thunderbird

Kumar Appaiah comments "If you are really bothered about resource-hungry Evolution, how can you prefer Thunderbird, which is, if anything, worse than Evolution when it comes to resources?". Well, that's not been my experience. Evolution starts other processes in the background (evolution-alarm and evolution-data-server) besides launching it's own copies of spamd if I turn on junk mail checking. Still, I decided to give it another try and configured three IMAP accounts and a usenet account (same as my thunderbird) and here's the resource usage

30984 rganesan  16   0  170m  79m  17m S    0.0 15.8   1:37.58 evolution
 8428 rganesan  16   0  223m  51m  22m S    0.0 10.2   1:36.69 mozilla-thunderbird

Even though the VM size comes up smaller, combined with the other background processes, evolution's VM size comes up much higher. Besides, I guess it doesn't really make sense comparing the VM size, it's the RSS which really matters. Evolution also shows up other quirks when talking to Myrealbox IMAP server. Myrealbox's IMAP server doesn't appear to be fully standards compliant but still Evolution's quirks are very strange. Some folders appear twice and the Sent folder doesn't show up at all. The second quirk is especially annoying and strange because when I try to subscribe folders the missing folder shows up as already subscribed. On my other E-mail account on Fastmail, Evolution does not appear to take into account the folder prefix that I give (I tried both INBOX and INBOX.). Any way, despite these issues, I am actually beginning to like the look and feel of Evolution. It's a really polished UI, I'll probably play around with it some more.

I switched to using IMAP because I wanted an account accessible from multiple machines (I don't like carrying a laptop). But IMAP has the added advantage that I can easily switch between mail clients as I please :-). Kumar also comments that he prefers mutt any day. I like mutt too and I use mutt for all my pop accounts (including gmail). However, mutt's IMAP support is not good enough for me because, first it doesn't cache and second working with multiple folders is not easy.


Kumar said...

I'd agree with you about mutt's IMAP support. Mutt, as they say, is an MUA, and isn't meant to do IMAP. But for those of us coming from an MUA+MTA+IMAP/POP3 user agent, mutt is a bit of a change and takes time to get used to.

Anyway, all clients are good or bad in some ways, so is mutt! It's a matter of settling for the one which suits us most.

Ganesan Rajagopal said...

I am a long time fetchmail/procmail with mutt and VM (Emacs) user. I've gave up on VM a while back and recently (about a year back) switched to IMAP for many accounts because having folders on the network was very convenient.

I totally agree that mutt sucks less than most mail clients. However, handling the volume I get at work is impossible without a quick view showing folders with new mail. Unfortunately, that means I am stuck with a GUI Email client.

I am perfectly happy with reading news and mailing lists in gnus which also needs a similar folder view (i.e. different newsgroups). gnus caches pretty well, so may be I should it give it a shot for my normal mail too. There's a project for me for a rainy day ;-).

Partha said...

Usage of mail has come a long way, and so have mail clients. Mutt, pine and a lot of other older mail-clients provide the basic functionality of mail. And are probably the stablest as compared to any GUI mail clients.

But this is the age of the Linux Desktop. And IMHO thats where we (as developers and users of GNU/Linux ) are striving for - Seamless desktop capabilities. And the way i see it GUI mail clients are here to stay, for the good of human-kind.

Ganesan is mighty right, that although Evolution shows lower RSS/VM numbers as compared to Thunderbird, it actually has multiple processes associated with it. But then again, Evolution is _not_ just a mail client. It is much more that that. With calendaring, Tasks and Address book ofcourse.
Moreover, Evolution tightly integrates with the Gnome Desktop. Thats again probably a disadvantage.

Thunderbird scores upper hand over Evolution in a couple of things:
* Async model between the UI and the backend (IMO, this is where thunderbird scores)
* gecko for their html rendering.

These apart, Thunderbird is mightily slow and not feature rich.

At the end of it all, keeping with the free and open spirit of the GNU/Linux philosophy, the user has a 'freedom' to choose what he/she pleases :) ;).