Evolution vs Thunderbird email. Why Evolution as default?


Quick question here. I'm a recent Zorin OS adopter and for me, because of Mozilla and Firefox, I've installed Thunderbird Supernova. I've realized that I had Evolution email pre-installed.

I was wondering why Zorin did not pre-install Thunderbird as default email system, given that Mozilla Firefox comes pre-installed?

Also, I've looked at both email clients and I prefer the look and feel of Thunderbird. Just curious about the choice of default email clients.


Evolution was used by Gnome for certain system dependencies necessary for Gnome Calendar and other functions.

Given this, it may be a more minimal model to include Evolution, rather than having to include Evolution (or at least some of its packages) and install another similar app as default.
After all, the user can choose to install a different client.

This is reasonable feedback, though and if enough users agree with the idea that Thunderbird should be default, the ZorinGroup can include it. It may be interesting to see how many voices chime in.


I have used both and i also prefer Thunderbird. Evolution kept giving me errors when logging into my Gmail account that I use for unimportant email. Thunderbird easily let me set up both Gmail and Zoho mail and has worked fine ever since. I don't use the calendar function which seems to be the reason some people prefer Evolution.

You mentioned in another thread that having too many Linux distributions was confusing. With software it can be the same way. Having too many programs that follow their own design guidelines breaks the feeling of a unified and cohesive experience in the operating system. Even when those programs, on their own, are more appealing visually- and functionality-wise (both metrics that can be subjective).

I don't think that third party packages shouldn't be included by default, but I think they should be selected very carefully, and have as few as possible to give a good out-of-the-box experience. After all, you can always install and uninstall whatever you want or need at any point.
And although I didn't know that Evolution was needed, as long as it doesn't stay in the way, I don't really mind if I can't easily uninstall it. This problem is probably solved by using Flatpak packages... but that comes with its own particular set of considerations.

1 Like

Hi zenzen, thank you for your reply and interest. To be honest, I disagree with this statement. The number of quality Linux distros far surpass the number of quality (I insist on quality) desktop programs.

Here are a few examples. Web broswers. Firefox and Chrome are both undisputed as the top browsers that Linux has to offer. Yes, there are other browsers, but both of them are gold standards and should be included out of the box. Zorin only has Firefox.

Office suites: Libreoffice is the gold standard office desktop for Linux and a valid replacement for Microsoft Office in the Windows world. Included in Zorin.

Creative suites: I do not use this but I understand that GIMP is one of the best video editors out there. Included in Zorin.

Now, email clients: I was once a Linux Ubuntu user back in 2010 until Ubuntu turned full GNOME on that upgrade. I was uncomfortable with that drastic change, and went back to Windows. Thunderbird is considered as a Linux Gold Standard app and it should be included by defaut. Heck, I installed Thunderbird on my dads Windows computer. It is supported in part by Mozilla as well.

I never heard of Evolution before Zorin. If Zorin wants to go mainstream eventually, it should stick with out of the box gold standard apps, and it should include Thunderbird without needing to tweak it through Flatseal to be able to drag and drop attachments.

Last comment: if the Linux desktop community would support a limited number of distros and taking all that energy and focus on creating and supporting long term applications, Linux desktop could take over. I don't understand why the linux community in general is so focused on multiplying the number of Linux OS while the number of quality apps are simply not to the level of competitor desktops.

That's a valid point, there are quite a lot distributions to choose from. But it's worth pointing out that the vast majority are re-skins or slightly modified versions of their respective base distribution. At least as of today, maybe not much so in the past.

Choosing a distributions mostly comes down to choosing a good set of defaults. I think this is critical to the success of the project, and you can see examples in specialized distributions like Garuda or Kali, even though you can take ZorinOS and install whatever package and dependencies you need to have an identical setup.

Each person has their own needs and are used to a specific workflow. If the user needs additional packages, or replace existing ones, it's up to them to make those changes. Things like an email client are not essential to have since not everyone uses one. A browser on the other hand is something that virtually everyone does, so it makes sense to include something like Firefox.
Although maybe there's a case to be made that because ZorinOS is aimed at new users to Linux, coming from Windows, this may be a good addition to the software list.

This is one thing that I really love about Linux and open source in general. There are no shareholders to please, and no pressure to "take over" anything.

Linux desktop usage is currently at an all time high of around 3%. This is fantastic. More usage means more investment which is obviously very desirable. But even if it was 30% or 0.3%, one of the greatest strengths of open source is the ability to shift things around as needed. Sometimes, it's needed to have a new distribution or new desktop environment, or new email client, when things start to roll in the wrong direction. Plenty of that going on these days actually...


The more I use Zorin, the more comfortable I get. I really like the stability and usability of it. The issues that I have perhaps is with compatibility, and I think that getting towards the 30% would be better than to 0.3%. Let me explain.

For work purposes, I use Grammarly premium to draft documents. Unfortunately, there are no extensions for LibreOffice and Linux in general. I have to use Language Tools which is inferior to Grammarly. I did not purchase the premium version of it yet.

Also, when I go to my online cable provider to watch online TV, regardless of the browser, the system is incompatible with Linux, period. I'm sure that you can name multiple other limitations of Linux. If the market share rises, then providers will have to consider Linux and build around that.

To be totally honest, I believe that Zorin has everything to grow Linux, as it can attract Windows, MacOS and GNOME users. I considered LInux Mint cinnamon, but it is just that, only 1 desktop.

Hopefully, more talented people will join Zorin and make it grow, catering to the larger marketplace than Linux enthusiasts.

1 Like

Just to be clear, technically, these are not limitations of Linux but rather of the service providers that choose not to support it. Not that I blame them, I can understand their decision of not investing resources for such a seemingly small audience.

Although I would be surprised if something didn't work on the browser, as it's possibly the one piece of software that is made following a standard that is cross-platform. With perhaps the exception of extensions, I'm not too sure about that.

1 Like

You need to remember that Zorin has ambitions to get Business adopters, hence the valid choice of choosing Evolution. From lockdown in March 2020 until I retired in August 2021, I worked from home and Evolution is the only mail client that is compatible when connecting to Exchange Servers. True you can do that in Thunderbird but the extension needed carries a monthly price tag.

Personally I prefer Evolution over Thunderbird because the latter is controlled too much by Google (You can't delete the Google search engine within Thunderbird, it is hardwired into the mail client.) I have no issue with personal email as I use e.cloud.global and Evolution picked up the settings instantly.

As for GIMP I have used it for image editing but not video editing. For me the Gold Standard video Editor is KDEnlive, often described as the Sony Vegas of the GNU/Linux. It is my video editor of choice for all my Vimeo videos.

Undeniably, LibreOffice is the Gold Standard with regard to Office Suites as it is the only office suite that has more language support that even Microsoft cannot claim. However, Libre Office documents, even when saved as MS Word, they don't display correctly on Work Machines. For me, the only office suite truly compatible with MS is SoftMaker Office. Fortunately for me I had just paid for a 5 machine licence of SoftMaker Office in the November prior to the Covid outbreak for just under £25. It is available for all platforms. It's ribbon is more practical than that of MS. My workflow for Documents and Presentations was much more fluid and quicker than MS equivalents and when files were saved as MS ones they displayed correctly in MS Office at work. The only issues I had was with font spacing (% instead of Points) and no image compression, both easily worked around by creating font spacing in LibreOffice Writer then opening in SoftMaker to see what the percentage was, and simply copying document images into Writer, using the compression tool, then pasting back into TextMaker. The Windows version of TextMaker even has MathType integrated into it. Sadly not possible in Linux as Linux uses Unicode not ASCII.

In respect of browsers, I still use Firefox but again Google has too much invested in it. GNU/Linux is about freedom from mainstream ideas, adding mainstream apps to GNU/Linux erodes those freedoms. One of the biggest issues is the use of Java. Stallman advises we should complain about websites that use Java. I use image.bb for uploading images on boards/forums that don't allow images to be posted as image.bb doesn't write Java code all over their machine. Chromium is a better alternative for privacy, and for absolute privacy, Icecat. In terms of Firefox Zorin should be implementing Firefox ESR (Extended Service Release) especially for Education as ESR is the only version that can be locked down. Antix and Devuan both come with Firefox ESR by default.

Clawsmail is another good email client.

Forgot to mention that Gmail is the problem and not Evolution. Similarly KMail in KDE needs a code from GMail before it will work. But KMail is poor because of Akonodi which keeps making it crash, not stable at all. So who knows what 'spyware' GMail might be adding? I have a GMail account but don't use it much these days. I prefer @e.email and @protonmail.com (I signed up for parallel @proton.me but don't use it. My daily email is the e.foundation one.



I love your perspective and learned quite a bit from your reply.

I'll continue on my Linux - Zorin OS journey, and let's see what the future holds.

1 Like

Well I have been using these two TB extensions for Exchange email and they are available free of charge. Although you could donate.

They must be recent extensions, as the last time I looked there was only one, and I am talking 2020!

This applies to me too. Although extensions can add some of the compatibility to Thunderbird, it seems the protocol is better supported with evolution and nearly on par with outlook. I haven’t been able to easily add shared mailboxes and calendars to thunderbird. But maybe that’s just me. The company I with for has upped the security with MFA and as a result I have to log in again at every launch of thunderbird, similar to webmail.

I’ve mostly given up and just use thunderbird for private e-mail.

Well, here is a potential other solution. If you have access to Windows, even as a VM, and you use Edge to make a connection to secure website at work, it usually downloads a small .exe file that launches the Authentication screen(s). Very close to retirement I discovered that if I copied this .exe to a USB thumb drive, booted back into GNU/Linux (in my case it was Devuan 3.1.1) and launched Remmina. Pointed Remmina to the small .exe and I only had to enter my username, password, and domain once, instead of three times using Internet Explorer in a VM of Windows 7 Pro and later Edge on Windows 8.1 Pro. Once logged in I could access my z:/ drive (Work desktop), and also the 'shared resources' drive. But I can't remember if I could access Outlook!

This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.