Any Evolution Mail users here?

Hi, hoping one or two users can be found here to comment:

  1. I want to move to a new email client, leaving Apple Mail while coming to Fedora. Evolution looks good from what little I can find out about it. however I can’t find out who or how to contact anyone involved to ask a simple question: Does it support LOCAL email folders?! I have spent 2 hours, found conflicting info online. So, firstly, can anyone who’s using it confirm if you can have local folders (i.e. not on server)?

  2. Second question - Is it something a non-dev can use? I have seen threads discussing it which went it great detail in Terminal, profiles, file permissions, all sorts of stuff that’s above my pay grade. I need something I can install, connect accounts, and use. Is it a more dev-type app or is it usable for non coders?

  3. Finally, if I do go ahead, if anyone knows how I would get 20 yrs of email folders/files from Apple Mail over to Evolution, I’d love to know please!


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It does work with local email. I haven’t used that in a while, but it looks like it stores local mail under ~/.local/share/evolution/mail/local (at least that appears to be how I had it configured at one time in the past).

Edit: Although the application keeps its copy of local mail under ~/.local/…, when configuring Evolution to accept locally-delivered mail, you should point it at /var/spool/mail/<username> as described in the link Ankur shared below. A separate program (such as Postfix, but there are several others) would typically be configured to listen on a network port (typically 25 (SMTP) for unencrypted connections, 465 or 587 (SMTPS) for encrypted connections) and place mail in /var/spool/mail/<username> for Evolution or some other email client to collect. You don’t have to have a local mail server running though. You could just use Evolution’s local mail folder as a place to drag-and-drop email messages to/from other non-local connections.

You should be able to do everything via point-and-click through its GUI. I cannot think of anything I’ve needed to tweak via the command line for Evolution Mail and I’ve used it for many years and I use a lot of the advanced features as well.

I have no idea about Apple Mail. I think some providers will let you export/download your email as a “mbox” file. That format should work with Evolution.

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I’ve used Evolution in the past (before moving to neomutt, and it worked very well for me. I still use it for my calendar etc.

I’ve never used evolution with local mail though because Evolution includes MTA/MSA support with POP/IMAP and SMTP. So I set it up and let it do its thing. It does have an import wizard, but I’m not sure if that supports importing from Apple mail:

This seems to be the way to set it up for local mail. I do see the various options in adding a new account:

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1 simple answer to all 3 questions : mozilla thunderbird

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That’s really off topic. Try to stay on topic, in this case “Any Evolution Mail users here?” would preclude discussion of alternatives.


Thanks everyone.
Thunderbird - good point that its’ not part of the discussion, but I would point out that is my current fallback position (Well, Betterbird actually). But I’d rather not use TB/Mozilla unless i have to, and I may!

Re the other answers - No, you’re all referring to “local mailbox” (which is all I could find when trying to research this). I am not talking about anything clever like that.

In Mac Mail I have imap folders (on server) AND folders “On This Mac”, aka “On This Computer”, aka NOT on server! I have hundreds of gig of email in those “local folders”.

All I am trying to find out is if Evolution has “Local Folders” functionality, as I found many email apps don’t these days. Thunderbird does, I know that much, hence it’s the fallback. But I heard Evolution plays nice with Gnome, contacts and calendar etc (not that I expect to use those, but could), so it makes sense to see if I can move to using Evolution.

How I get there from Apple Mail I still don’t know! But no point looking into it unless I know I can create local folders because I won’t use any mail app that can’t do that. thanks

The older POP (post office protocol) downloads mail from the server and stores it locally. It sounds like that is what you are asking about and Evolution does support that protocol. IMAP is a slightly newer protocol that keeps the actual mail on the server and just displays it locally when you run your client and have an internet connection.

Nope. Maybe I am just too old!

Nothing to do with POP, although local folders were more common back then.

I have IMAP accounts, several of them. Connecting an IMAP account (as you know) auto creates folders in any mail program, those are ‘synced’ network folders, so the folders stay in sync between mail app and mail server. (Inbox, Trash, Spam, , Drafts, Sent, these are usually the default folders I think)

But in Mac Mail, Outlook, Thunderbird, and many others (less and less though), you can create a “Local Folder”, which is a folder you can drag mail to so that it’s stored locally and not on server. This way, I can use a very cheap email service ( without going over limits on storage, as I have no need for email access from any other devices anyway. (Although I can of course see the network folders from any other device I want to check inbox and reply, like from my phone).

But the bulk of my business email (20 yrs worth) are all nicely stored in a myriad of nested folders/subfolders, which are all on my machine (local).

I wouldn’t know what a “local mail server” even is :smiley:

Yes, you can do that with Evolution. I have one such folder that I use that way. It is configured as a “maildir”.

I can drag-and-drop messages between the other IMAP connections and that local mail storage directory.


Thank you so much, I am getting so frustrated here but please don’t think it’s your fault. It’s mine. i am not explaining well enough.

What you are referring to there does not look like what I mean…

  1. You’re looking in preferences at the “Mail Accounts” tab. What i am talking about has nothing whatsoever to do with any kind of “Account”.

  2. You have a list of folders, just as I’d expect whenever you create a new email “account” in any mail software.

I am struggling to work out how to explain this. Ten years ago everyone would know what I am talking about, but in these days of “cloud computing” it seems nobody uses this any more!

This is just a SINGLE FOLDER i am looking for (actually I will need to create hundreds!) but a single one will do for explaining the point.

In Outlook, Mac Mail, Thunderbird and many others, you can usually just right click somewhere on the left folder pane and choose “New LOCAL Folder”. If you do it up in the list of IMAP folders it will create a new one ON the server. But if you choose the right ‘area’ (usually bottom of left pane) you can choose to create a local folder, which is presumably just a folder in system folders on the OS, where you can drop any mails and they will be stored locally.

It MAY be that what you’re referring to can provide similar functionality, but I don’t think it will work for me, as I will have hundreds when I finally get to exporting/important my mail data. 95% of which is all in local folders on my mac. And I don’t understand why it would create all those inbox, sent, drafts etc folders. They are only needed for a mail account, this is not an account, just a folder (or a hundred sub nested ones, same difference!)

Below is a screenshot of my Mac Mail. I have blurred the names but you can see the top 6 are ‘unified’ IMAP servers, so if I expand the one labelled “Sent”, I will get several Sent folders, one per IMAP account (I have several).

But the ones showing below “On My Mac” are all nothing to do with ANY account or ANY server, they are just storage folders which I can name, organise, move around, search within, delete etc, totally unrelated to any of my IMAP accounts.

Does this make sense and if so, do you see a difference between what I am looking for and what you screenshotted above? Thanks for your patience! I feel like I’m going mad, “Local folders” was a regular topic of conversation about mail programs in years gone by, maybe why i am going grey :smiley:

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Yeah, there is a small issue with the way the interface is designed in Evolution. Even though you create that local email directory via the “Accounts” menu and the wizard will ask you questions as though you are trying to set up a IMAP/POP connection to a server, it is possible (or at least it used to be) to create a purely local storage directory for the mail using that interface. It is unintuitive because they don’t want people to keep email locally anymore, but it is possible.

You can create additional subfolders under that “Account” to drag and drop messages between.

FWIW, here are screenshots of me walking through the whole process.

The following step is the only part that there was any real “trick” to. You need to give it an empty directory somewhere. I created a ~/bogusmail directory for this demo. There are files in the directory after the “account” has been created, but they are all hidden files (at least initially).

Oooh, that raises my blood pressure ever so slightly. I left Apple for that exact reason! But I am going to give it a go and see if it works well enough. One question I do have is "Can you delete those folders it created in that maildir? If not, I think I will leave Evolution to their ‘changing people for the better’ approach, and find something that actually allows me to choose how to manage my email. Rant over :smiley:

In all seriousness, everything I have seen of Evolution does look more attractive than TB at this point. Will read your next message with screenshots of the process, before deciding. THANK YOU for such generosity in replies

Thanks again, looked at screenshots now. So, it’s basically a ‘hack’. You’re pretending to set up an account, so it generates the folders that come with a new account by default.

I am not keen on that, not at all.

  1. Firstly on the principle of it, why not just give users the ability to store mail locally FFS?! (And I temper that with, maybe they do, I wanted to contact ‘them’ (whoever ‘they’ are) to ask, but couldn’t find any means to do so. Even the Gnome site’s “contact us” page is a 404. Maybe they ‘don’t want users to contact them any more’ :smiley: - don’t mind me, a saltier day than usual (perhaps :slight_smile: )

  2. Secondly, my low skill level with dev stuff, folder structures etc, is bad enough without giving myself to store up for later confusions! I can see this ‘account’ being a cause of head scratching in the future when my memory (swiss cheese) has lost record of this ‘hack’.

I will continue trying to find out if they can actually provide a “local folder” option, and if not will have to head back towards Thunderbird (Betterbird)

thanks again, you’ve helped me make real progress here, even if not in the originally intended direction!

Just chiming in to add that you can report bugs in Evolution here :

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Thanks HC - I run a mile from those pages, but I’ll sign up and hit the “new issue” button. Seems worth a ‘bug report’ to just ask why they don’t provide local folder functionality (if they don’t). It sure bugs the hell outa me so seems a reasonable way to ask :smiley:

Sure. Of course, if your local email is in one of the folders you delete, that will be gone too. Also, it probably goes without saying, you should back up that directory from time to time (especially if it has 20 years worth of email that you don’t want to lose).

? Sorry I am confused. I am not suggesting I delete my local folders once they have mail in. I am asking if you can delete one of those default folders it created on your end, as I’d want to get rid of those superfluous ones, which leads to a second question…

If you still have those default folders in your local account on sidebar, can you create sub folders inside them?

If not that wouldn’t work for me anyway, thanks

I can create subfolders at the top level and under Inbox. It does not, however, appear that any of the three default folders (Inbox, Junk, and Trash) can be deleted (at least not trivially through the GUI).