Why Evolution?

On Groklaw PJ asked:

Why, exactly, is it so hard to get rid of Mono, if Evolution doesn’t require it?

I think that PJ’s question should have been, why is it so hard to get rid of Evolution, if Gnome doesn’t require it?

Think. An email client is not a necessary part of a desktop. An email client isn’t even a necessary part of a Linux Distribution. Oh, they can bs useful in some cases, if you wish to use one. But for those who want an email client, each has their own favourite, and this being Free Software, there’s a wide range available, each with it’s own special capabilities.

And then you have Evolution. It’s integrated into the Gnome desktop, to the point where removing it is impossible from a practical point of view. Oh, you can remove it. But when you do, your desktop becomes unstable. It was just like running Windows again as I watched the computer reboot for no apparent reason. Which got me thinking, doesn’t the close integration of Evolution into Gnome remind you of how Internet Explorer is closely integrated into Windows, to the point where it cannot be easily removed (if at all?)

When staff at the Gnome project were asked about removing it, and given reasons why removing it was desired (you don’t leave unused software installed on a business system), the response was on the lines of “Live with it”, and “Removing it will ruin the ability to install updates”. This may not seem very important, but consider the following scenarios:

1) Business or Consumer uses webmail only – no need for desktop email client
2) Business of Consumer uses different webmail app – no need for Evolution

Every business I know installs ONLY the software required for the employee to do the job they are assigned to do. This makes support a lot easier for IT, so the ability to customise in this way is very desirable. Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, and Outlook Express are all “integrated” into Windows and can’t be removed. With most Linux distributions you can remove almost anything, which makes Linux superior for business use. Unless you pick the Gnome desktop, where for some insane reason the Gnome project has decided to integrate Evolution in the same manner. In effect by making this choice, the Gnome project has declared it isn’t interested in being used as a business desktop.

So why is Evolution so tightly integrated info Gnome? I don’t know. I do know that Evolution is a Novell project, and my trust of Novell as a company is at an all time low due to their sponsorship of the Mono and Moonlight projects. I know my paranoia is showing by saying this, but if Novell is deliberately trying to poison Free Software through Mono and Moonlight (or just too stupid to know what they are doing), what’s to stop them from doing the same thing with Evolution?

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4 thoughts on “Why Evolution?

  1. Man, you guys are dumber than a rock.Mono and Evolution have nothing in common, and you guys keep trying to trump each other to see who can say the dumbest thing.

  2. Yes they do. Both are unnecessary. Evolution is already integrated into Gnome in a way that makes it impractical to remove. Mono is being pushed for inclusion for no good reason. So why is Evolution integrated into Gnome the way Internet Exploder is integrated into Windows?

  3. From it's inception (apart from a short-term flirt with the idea of a portal) that's exactly what evolution was always intended to do.Be a standard service which is available to all desktop applications. It's not surprising some of them used it. And really, if a company is going to sponsor years of work on some component, the 'community' would probably like to leverage that in some way, if there are re-usable parts of it.The addressbook and calendar being a standard service could be quite handy. It's not a lot different from a 'web' service doing the same thing, but on a local/isolated level instead of world-wide. The problem is the implementation isn't very good at implementing a service to start with …And you have to remember this stuff was thought of some time ago and from a different mind-set. e.g. distributed individual users with no access to delivery platforms.I would suspect many of the developers still use local clients for all of their mail – and some of them have tons of it (hundreds of folders and many gigabytes of data).To be honest, just about every major decision in GNOME turned out to be not as good as it was imagined. Still in the end it still does more and more conveniently, than most alternatives, so you have to put up with the crap for the gains.And as much as I dislike the whole forcing everything to use IE … if you've got the component in a re-usable state (and lets face it, there's a truckload of code that needs to go into a browser, most of which could be re-usable), why shouldn't you use it in all the applications you write? You'd be silly not to, assuming you needed such functionality.

  4. NotZed said… From it's inception (apart from a short-term flirt with the idea of a portal) that's exactly what evolution was always intended to do. Be a standard service which is available to all desktop applications. It's not surprising some of them used it. And really, if a company is going to sponsor years of work on some component, the 'community' would probably like to leverage that in some way, if there are re-usable parts of it. The addressbook and calendar being a standard service could be quite handy. It's not a lot different from a 'web' service doing the same thing, but on a local/isolated level instead of world-wide. The problem is the implementation isn't very good at implementing a service to start with … And you have to remember this stuff was thought of some time ago and from a different mind-set. e.g. distributed individual users with no access to delivery platforms. I would suspect many of the developers still use local clients for all of their mail – and some of them have tons of it (hundreds of folders and many gigabytes of data). To be honest, just about every major decision in GNOME turned out to be not as good as it was imagined. Still in the end it still does more and more conveniently, than most alternatives, so you have to put up with the crap for the gains.Actually you don't. Decouple Evolution and you don't have to put up with the crap. And as much as I dislike the whole forcing everything to use IE … if you've got the component in a re-usable state (and lets face it, there's a truckload of code that needs to go into a browser, most of which could be re-usable), why shouldn't you use it in all the applications you write? You'd be silly not to, assuming you needed such functionality.Actually you'd be silly to use it. Microsoft has this horrible habit of changing things. Next version your code may or may not work. Relying on Evolution is probably safer I'll admit, Free Software programmers don't change things for reasons of fashion, but, suppose I want to run my program on KDE or Enlightenment as well? They don't include Evolution, so relying on it being there would be really stupid.Relying on Internet Exploder for functions means your code isn't portable. You can only use it on Windows. Which means that you can't sell into the OSX marketplace. Which is really silly, because OSX users spend more money than Windows users, and there's a hell of a lot of them.Me, I like portable code. If you can't use it on more than one desktop and/or operating system, it's useless. This is the good point of Mono, if you write generic code, you can run it on Windows and Linux. Of course if you wrote it in generic C, or Java, you could run it on OSX, BSD, and Solaris systems too, which you can't do with Mono.So I'd vote for decoupling Evolution from Gnome. Those who want to rely on parts of it can pull those modules in as dependencies. That option is always available. There's no reason to have an Email client integrated into the desktop. It's not necessary. It should be in the repositories of course, just like Thunderbird, and all of the other available email clients.

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