Digg-ing Deeper for Linux News and Links

Apparently there’s some sort of conspiracy keeping Linux-related links off the front page of the popular link-sharing site Digg.com — or at least that’s what this recent Computerworld editorial would have you believe.

Whether it’s true or not there’s still a very healthy Linux community over there — my review of the Evolution email client currently holds the all-time record for the most reads in a single day, and virtually all of that traffic came from Digg!

If you’re looking for Linux-related news allow me to share two more worthy sites for your consideration:

Netbook Linux Screencaster Smackdown

If you’re using Linux you may have already read TuxArena’s excellent rundown of three highly regarded screencasting apps.

But what if you’re using a netbook like an Eee PC? Has anyone tested these apps and other alternatives on such a machine with a slower processor and limited RAM? I sure hope not, because that’s what I’m about to do here.

Tests were carried out on two machines, an Eee PC 900 & 901, both running the latest release of Easy Peasy. The subject of the screencast is a quick fix for volume issues in Easy Peasy/Ubuntu Netbook Remix.

Watch how fast contenders drop out of the race…

Stat-urday Links: A New One-Day Record!

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these… Here are the latest numbers for the top ten all-time posts on this humble WordPress.com blog:

  1. Canadian Cellular Contracts: Just Say No – 10,073
  2. Egypt According to Nokia Maps & GPS – 5,340
  3. Battle of the Mobile Barcodes – 3,992
  4. Nokia N810 – Can’t (iPod) touch this! – 3,374
  5. Evolution – The Default Email Client for Ubuntu – 2,696
  6. Vimio – The Mobile TV App Your Carrier Doesn’t Want You to Know About – 2,590
  7. Bell Canada’s Mobile Browsing Bomb: What You Need to Know – 2,500
  8. Nokia N82 Trial, Day 3: The Games – 2,254
  9. My HTC TyTN: Two Months In and Back in the Box – 2,074
  10. The Ultimate QWERTY Smartphone Smackdown – 2,033

Evolution – The Default Email Client for Ubuntu

Just as I’ve spent a lot of time at this humble WordPress address finding the perfect PIM 2.0 client, my previous blog had a fair amount of space devoted to traditional offline email clients. I’ve got email archives dating back some thirteen years, and I’ve moved them between various apps on OS X and Windows before finally settling on Thunderbird.

The original plan for my spiffy new Eee PC netbook was to dump my email archives on it, but the bundled email client for most Ubuntu-based Linux distributions is Evolution, an app I’ve never tried before.

Since there are barely any reviews of Evolution out there (that I could find, anyway), here’s a quick look…

Evoluion Mail Directory

Finding your mail files in Evolution is pretty straightforward if you know where to look. The default path is:

/home/(user)/.evolution/

In the “mail” folder you’ll find bog-standard .mbox files which you can import into any other email app worth its salt. Evolution also has a nifty backup and restore feature that will compress your data (email + addresses, calendars, contacts, notes & to-dos) into a handy (for Linux users) .tar.gzip file — and restore a full data set from the same file.

As for the actual interface, here’s how it looks in Easy Peasy 1.1:

Evolution Mail Interface

IMHO it’s not quite as efficient as Thunderbird (seen below, running in Xubuntu 9.04) in its use of screen real estate, which can be fairly critical if you’re reading your email on a 9-inch netbook screen:

Thunderbird Vertical View

Another thing I don’t like about Evolution is that there’s no obvious mailbox maintenance utility as there is in Thunderbird. When you’ve got email archives dating back to 1996 keeping them from getting corrupted is a pretty big deal!

But the deal-breaker for me came not from Evolution itself, but from SyncEvolution, a SyncML client written for it. Specifically:

The order of email addresses and phone numbers in the Evolution GUI is not preserved.

While this is actually a reported bug for ScheduleWorld.com only, I found it to be a problem with my own hosted SyncML service Memotoo, uh… too.

If you’re wondering why this is a critical issue, have you ever sent a text message to someone’s home or business line by mistake? Either it won’t get delivered at all, or — in the case of my carrier — will cost you extra and embarrass the hell out of you.

Evolution will also sync data to a Microsoft Exchange Server, but I didn’t bother testing that functionality, as the whole point of my move to Linux is to get away from proprietary software.

If you use Exchange at work and Linux at home, or if all you need is an offline PIM suite and email client then Evolution should suit you fine. Me, I’m sticking with Thunderbird and keeping my PIM data in the cloud.