How To Migrate From Evolution To Thunderbird In Ubuntu Intrepid

While Evolution is a useful email client for Gnome desktop, it is just not as extensible and flexible as Thunderbird. For those who are facing unpleasant incidents with Evolution and wish to migrate to Thunderbird, here is how you can do so in Ubuntu 8.10

First of all, if you have not installed Thunderbird, type in your terminal:

Open your Thunderbird (“Applications -> Internet -> Mozilla Thunderbird”).

It will first prompt you to import setting, select “Don’t import anything” and click “Next”.

It will then ask you to setup your email account. Go ahead and set up your email account.

First, we will migrate the Evolution mails that are stored locally in your hard disk.

Open up two Nautilus windows (if you like, you can open two tabs instead of two windows). Press “Ctrl + H” to reveal the hidden folders. In one window, navigate to the “.mozilla-thunderbird” folder. You should see a folder with name similar to “i7bqvbzk.default”. Click on that folder, followed by “Mail” and “Local Folder”s. You should see some files like “Inbox”, “Trash”, “Unsent Message” etc.


In the second window, navigate to “.evolution -> mail -> local” folder. Similarly, you will find files such as “Inbox”, “Outbox”, “Sent”, “Trash” etc.


Now copy the five files “Inbox”, “Outbox”, “Drafts”, “Templates”, “Sent” from the Evolution folder to the Thunderbird folder. If it prompts you whether to replace the existing files, click “Replace All”.

If you have used any subfolders in your Evolution, you should see a folder with a “.sbd” extension (such as “#evolution.sbd”). In your Thunderbird folder, create a similar folder with the same name. Back to your Evolution folder, copy and paste all the files in the subfolder that don’t have a file extension to the Thunderbird subfolder.

That’s it. Restart your Thunderbird. You should see all your Evolution mails imported over.


Thunderbird does not come with a calendar function by default, so we need to install the “Lightning” extension to give it the calendar functionality. As the “Lightning” extension in the Ubuntu repository is outdated, we will have to download the extension and install it manually.

Go to “” and download “Lightning 0.9”.xpi.

Some of you who have installed Lightning 0.9 before will find that you won’t be able to add entry to the Calendar and Task section. This is a common bug as the Lightning extension still uses the old “libstdc++5” dependency file while Ubuntu Intrepid comes with the newer “libstdc++6”. Thus, before you install the “Lightning” extension, first install the libstdc++5 dependency file.

sudo apt-get install libstdc++5

Now, in your Thunderbird, go to “Tools ->Addons”. Click on the “Install” button to install the “Lightning” extension. (If you have already installed Lightning extension, you will need to remove and reinstall again).

Restart the Thunderbird. The “Lightning” extension should detect the presence of Evolution and prompt you to import the calendar from Evolution.


Make sure the box is checked and click “Next”. It should import your Evolution calendar over.

Lightning does not import the Task list from Evolution, so you have to do it manually.

In Evolution, click on the Task tab. Right click on the “Personal” (or whatever name you give to your task list) and select “Save to disk”. Navigate to the location and save the task list in “.ics” format.


In Thunderbird, first click on the “Calendar” tab, then go to “File->Import Calendar”. Select the file that you have just saved. Thunderbird will prompt you where to save the calendar. Pick the one you want and click “OK”. Your Evolution Task list will now be imported to Thunderbird.


Importing address book from Evolution is not an easy task since Thunderbird does not support the importing of “.vcf” format. To overcome this, we have to install the “MoreFunctionsForAddressBook” extension.

Go to and download the “MoreFunctionForAddressBook” extension. Install it in Thunderbird (and restart Thunderbird).

In Evolution, click on the “Contacts” tab. Right click on your contact list and select “Save As vCard”. Select a location and save the contact list in “.vcf” format.


In Thunderbird, click on the “Address Book” tab on the icon bar to load up the Address book window. Right click on the entry area and select “Import vCard/vcf”. Select the .vcf file that you have just saved.



You have now completed the migration from Evolution to Thunderbird, you might want to enable tracker indexing so that your mail in Thunderbird can be indexed and searched by tracker.

Download the tracker extension here.

Install the extension in Thunderbird and restart thunderbird.

On your Ubuntu desktop, go to “System -> Preferences -> Search and Indexing”. Make sure that the “Index delay” is set to at least 45 and the box beside “Enable Indexing” is checked.


Next, go to “System -> Preferences -> Sessions”. Make sure that the boxes beside “Tracker” and “Tracker Applet” are checked.


Close everything and restart your computer.

Once it is booted up, start your Thunderbird and go to “Tools -> Tracker Indexer Setting”

On the “Indexing” tab, make sure that the “Enable Indexing” box is checked.


On the “Privacy” tab, click the “Drop everything” and “Reset index status.” Tracker will now re-index your Thunderbird folder.


That’s all. Enjoy!