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  • December 20, 2000
  • By Joshua Drake
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The contact manager looks a lot like Microsoft Outlook. I am sure this is intentional, because one of the goals of Helix Code is to make Linux friendly for the desktop. If you are going to promote Linux for the desktop at this time, you make things look (but not act!) like Microsoft software. In other words, make the transition easy, but don't crash a lot.

The contact manager supports all the standard features, including fields for Full Name, Job Title, Company, Primary E-mail, etc. It doesn't support PGP or GPG signature storage, however. I think it would be interesting to see Evolution adopt a universal encryption standard like PGP/GPG. The ability to view a contact from the contact manager, hit Compose, and have it automatically grab that contact and sign the e-mail for that contact would be fantastic.

Additionally, Evolution supports LDAP-based directories for searching for e-mail addresses. Personally, I have only found these useful when looking for mass quantities of e-mail addresses. If you are unaware, several large directories on the Net contain information about you. No, this is not confidential information; usually it is just your name, e-mail address and possibly your physical address. That can be useful if you are looking for an old friend; but, on the other hand, it is an easy way for spammers to get a large quantity of e-mail addresses.

An item I would like to see in the contact manager is an external database connector. It would be nice to have the ability to set up an SQL server somewhere and have it host all the contact information centrally. You could do this with the LDAP functionality, but it does not support live viewing. It supports a query and add functionality. If my co-worker makes an addition to the address book and categorizes it into a public group, I would like to be able to view it immediately. This feature does not have to compete with any standard; it could even complement the existing iCalendar and vCard standards.

Evolution is a reasonable application, weighing in at 17 MG of RAM during normal usage. This is tiny in comparison to the recently released Netscape 6 e-mail client. I am starting to miss the days when an application that used only three or four MG of RAM was considered large. If Helix Code continues to develop Evolution in its current direction I would expect to see great things overall. I am not a Gnome user--I prefer KDE--but I may use Evolution anyway.

I am currently writing a series of articles on Linux groupware for OpenSourceIT. Over the next couple of weeks you'll see articles on Magellan, TWIG, and the new beta of OpenMail 7. The Magellan product is essentially Evolution for KDE; TWIG is a Web-based groupware application, and OpenMail 7 is a Microsoft Exchange drop-in replacement for Linux from HP. We will see how all these stack up in the grand scheme soon.

About Author

Joshua Drake is the Webmaster of the Linux Documentation Project and the owner of Command Prompt Inc., a Linux and e-commerce company. Command Prompt can be found on the Web at http://www.commandprompt.com.

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