April 20, 2014

Best Linux PIM: Kontact or Evolution? - page 3

Interfaces and Performance

  • July 2, 2009
  • By Bruce Byfield


Kontact's To-do List application is closely integrated with the Calendar. It includes start and due times and a 15 minute reminder, and can be set to recur. You can assign each task to a general category, and update its state of completion. If a task is a group one, you can add a location and privacy settings. You can also include a list of people to send it to, their proposed roles, such as chair or observer, and even a time-zone setting when you need to coordinate remotely. When information about it is complete, you can view it from both the Summary and Calendar.

Evolution's Tasks are nowhere near so detailed. They consist of a single line entry field, and appear in a pane of the Calendars modules, unattached to specific dates or participants.

Verdict: Kontact. Evolution's Tasks are so basic that they seem an afterthought.


You might expect Evolution to support a GNOME sticky note applet like Tomboy or Gnote. But instead, Evolution uses a Memo module that consists of a list of memos in plain text. This module might be a remnant of the days when Palm Pilots roamed the streets and had nothing better.

Whatever the reason, the Notebooks in Kontact are far more usable. They include light text formatting, and an editable table of contents that gives you the option of organizing them into books.

Verdict: Kontact. Evolution's Memos seem another afterthought.

The final decision

Neither Kontact nor Evolution strikes me as ideal. For me, the perfect PIM would be a combination of both their features.

However, when you look at them closely, a pattern emerges. Neither Kontact nor Evolution has a clear advantage in general design or in email readers. Since these are probably the most important considerations, you might conclude that they are interchangeable, although in practice one feature or another might sway your preference because it is important to you.

But when you look at other aspects of PIM, the story changes dramatically. In almost every instance, Kontact has more features and is easier to work with. The sole exception is with calendars, and there Evolution's advantage is only temporary. Probably, it will not exist a year from now.

In general, while Evolution seems focused largely on email, Kontact takes other tools seriously. Kontact has added tools such as RSS Feeds that seem a natural addition to a PIM, while Evolution has not added a new module for several years. More than anything else, this difference explains why Kontact beats out Evolution in my analysis by a score of five to three.

Evolution and Kontact are not the only the PIM tools available for GNU/Linux, of course. Some users prefer not to use a centralized PIM at all, opting for individual, often lighter applications.

But if you are looking for a centralized PIM, then my recommendation, with only minor misgivings, is Kontact. Its current features are more extensive, and its design makes it more likely to add new functionality as needed. Despite the name, Evolution seems to have lost the evolutionary advantage.

Verdict: Kontact 5, Evolution 3.

Article courtesy of Datamation

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