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GNOME Evolution

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GNOME Evolution
Original author(s)Ximian
Developer(s)The GNOME Project
Initial release10 May 2000; 24 years ago (2000-05-10)[1]
Stable release
3.52.2[2] Edit this on Wikidata / 24 May 2024
Written inC (GTK)
Operating systemUnix-like
Available in53 languages with more than 80% translation[3]
TypePersonal information manager
LicenseLGPL-2.1-only[a] and others[4]

GNOME Evolution (formerly Novell Evolution and Ximian Evolution, prior to Novell's 2003 acquisition of Ximian) is the official personal information manager for GNOME. It has been an official part of GNOME since Evolution 2.0 was included with the GNOME 2.8 release in September 2004.[5] It combines e-mail, address book, calendar, task list and note-taking features. Its user interface and functionality is similar to Microsoft Outlook. Evolution is free software licensed under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL).


Evolution's calendar software
An older version of Evolution

Evolution delivers the following features:[6]

The Novell GroupWise plug-in is no longer in active development.[10] A Scalix plug-in[11] is also available, but its development stopped in 2009.[12]

Evolution Data Server[edit]

Evolution Data Server (EDS) is a collection of libraries and session services for storing address books and calendars.[13] Other software such as California[14] and GNOME Calendar[15][16] depends on EDS as well.

Some documentation about the software architecture is available in the GNOME wiki.[17]

Connecting to Microsoft Exchange Server[edit]

Depending on which version of Microsoft Exchange Server is used, different packages need to be installed to be able to connect to it. The documentation recommends the evolution-ews package (which uses Exchange Web Services) for Exchange Server 2007, 2010 and newer. If evolution-ews does not work well, it is advised to try the evolution-mapi package. This supports Exchange Server 2010, 2007 and possibly older versions supporting MAPI. For Exchange Server 2003, 2000 and possibly earlier versions supporting Outlook Web App the package evolution-exchange is recommended.[18]


Ximian decided to develop Evolution in 2000. It felt there were no e-mail clients for Linux at the time that could provide the functionality and interoperability necessary for corporate users. Ximian saw an opportunity for Linux to penetrate the corporate environment if the right enterprise software was available for it. It released Evolution 1.0 in December 2001 and offered the paid Ximian Connector plug-in which allowed users to connect with Microsoft Exchange Server. Evolution itself has been free software from the start, but Ximian Connector was sold as proprietary software so that Ximian could generate revenue.[19] This changed after Novell's acquisition of Ximian in August 2003. Novell decided to integrate the Exchange plug-in as free software in Evolution 2.0 in May 2004.[20]

Novell was in turn acquired by The Attachmate Group in 2011. It transferred Novell's former Evolution developers to its subsidiary SUSE. In 2012 SUSE decided to stop its funding of Evolution's development and assigned its developers elsewhere. As a consequence only two full-time developers employed by Red Hat remained.[10] Later in 2013 Red Hat dedicated more developers to the project, reinvigorating its development. The reasons given for the decision were the cessation of active development on Mozilla Thunderbird and the need for an e-mail client with good support for Microsoft Exchange.[21]


As a part of GNOME, Evolution is released as source code. Linux distributions provide packages of GNOME for end-users. Evolution is used as the default personal information manager on several Linux distributions which use GNOME by default, most notably Debian and Fedora. Ubuntu has replaced Evolution with Mozilla Thunderbird as the default e-mail client since Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot.[22]

Defunct Mac OS X and Windows ports[edit]

In the past, Evolution was ported to Apple Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows, but these ports are no longer developed.

In 2006, Novell released an installer for Evolution 2.6 on Mac OS X.[23] In January 2005, Novell's Nat Friedman announced in his blog[24] that the company had hired Tor Lillqvist, the programmer who ported GIMP to Microsoft Windows, to do the same with Evolution. Prior to this announcement, several projects with the same goal had been started but none of them reached alpha status. In 2008 DIP Consultants released a Windows installer for Evolution 2.28.1-1 for Microsoft Windows XP and newer.[25] Currently it is only available for download from the project's page on SourceForge.[26]

A slightly more recent (2010/2011) experimental installer for Evolution 3.0.2 is provided by openSUSE.[27][28] Users have faced difficulties getting this version working.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ LGPL-2.1-only or LGPL-3.0-only


  1. ^ Icaza, Miguel de (10 May 2000). "Evolution "Prokaryote" 0.0 has been released". evolution-hackers mailing list. GNOME. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  2. ^ "Evolution 3.52.2 2024-05-24". 24 May 2024. Retrieved 24 May 2024.
  3. ^ "Module Statistics: evolution". Damned Lies. GNOME. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  4. ^ COPYING-File in the Sourcecode-repository of Evolution
  5. ^ Cumming, Murray; Charles, Colin; Madeley, Davyd (15 September 2004). "GNOME 2.8 Release Notes". GNOME. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  6. ^ "Evolution Mail and Calendar documentation". GNOME Library. GNOME. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  7. ^ "Support markdown in composer (#449) · Issues · GNOME / evolution · GitLab". GitLab. 18 May 2019. Retrieved 2022-08-25.
  8. ^ "evolution-kolab". GNOME Wiki. GNOME. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  9. ^ "Evolution RSS Reader Plugin". Evolution plugins. Archived from the original on 28 March 2013. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  10. ^ a b Barnes, Matthew (19 September 2012). "What's New in Evolution 3.6". evolution-list mailing list. GNOME. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  11. ^ "Scalix Connect for Evolution". Xandros Corporation. Archived from the original on 9 January 2013. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  12. ^ "Git log of evolution-scalix". GNOME Git. GNOME. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  13. ^ "Evolution Data Server Reference Manual". GNOME. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  14. ^ "California". GNOME. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  15. ^ "GNOME Calendar".
  16. ^ "gnome-calendar in Debian with dependencies".
  17. ^ "Apps/Evolution/EDS_Architecture - GNOME Wiki!".
  18. ^ "Choosing the right connector". GNOME Library. GNOME. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  19. ^ Barr, Joe (3 December 2001). "Ximian Evolution 1.0 links Linux to Exchange". The Register. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  20. ^ "Novell Announces Evolution 2.0 and Release of Connector for Microsoft Exchange Server Under Open Source License". Novell. 11 May 2004. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  21. ^ Ruiz, Alberto. "Evolution needs your help!". Silicon Island. Archived from the original on 31 March 2017. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  22. ^ "Oneiric Ocelot Release Notes". Ubuntu Wiki. Ubuntu. 12 March 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  23. ^ "Evolution 2.6 for Mac OS X". Novell. Archived from the original on 28 May 2007. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  24. ^ Friedman, Nat (17 January 2005). "Evolution for Windows". Nat Friedman's Blog. Archived from the original on 15 April 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  25. ^ "Evolution for Windows". DIP Consultants. Archived from the original on 19 December 2009. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  26. ^ "Evolution", SourceForge (project)
  27. ^ Strba, Fridrich (25 May 2010). "Experimental Evolution installer for Windows". Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  28. ^ "Experimental Evolution 3.0.2 packages for Windows". openSUSE. 28 August 2011. Archived from the original on 14 November 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  29. ^ "windows Evolution doesn't start: libglade*/libgdk*/libg*.dll missing". GNOME Bugzilla. GNOME. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 26 January 2013.

External links[edit]