Ensuring Evolution survives a distro upgrade

Armijn Hemel, June 24, 2009, 6317 views.

One of the most vital components of the modern desktop is a mail program. A popular mail program on Linux desktops is Evolution. If you upgrade your distribution you want to take special care to ensure that no data is lost.

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Recently I upgraded two desktop machines to Fedora 11 from previous versions of Fedora. As my prime mailer I use Evolution, mostly because I have been too lazy to start looking for a better alternative and Evolution is good enough for my daily tasks, for now.

Evolution keeps its data in a user's home directory in a directory called .evolution. Inside this directory it keeps information such as contacts, configuration information, mails (for POP accounts) and headers for mails (IMAP accounts).

If you upgrade to a new version of Evolution you should not simply copy this directory and expect things to work, since the format in which this information is kept is not ensured. In fact, in Evolution 2.26 the format was changed and copying .evolution from an older version of Evolution will not correctly import all information, which I found out the hard way on one machine (running Fedora 9). On another machine (Fedora 8) I exported all Evolution configuration the way it is supposed to be done (via File -> Backup settings in the menu), installed Fedora 11 and imported the backup file from Evolution. Everything was up and running within a minute without almost no effort.

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