Evolution mail and calendar is an alternative to Thunderbird with Lightening.
Evolution provides an email client and a calendar. Evolution is an alternative to Thunderbird with Lightning.
Download Evolution from projects.gnome.org/evolution. Evolution is developed for GNOME on Linux and is available for some other operating systems but you have to work hard to find the others. Evolution is not recommended for someone using Windows who wants to convert to an open source application in preparation for a conversion to Linux.
Thunderbird is the better choice for someone on Windows considering the move to Linux. Claws Mail is another alternative but less appealing than Thunderbird. Thunderbird requires the Lightning add on module to use a calendar.
Evolution has some add on modules for various uses. Thunderbird and Claws Mail both have equivalent add on modules. There appears to be no advantage of Evolution in the add on area and Thunderbird has many add on modules not available for Evolution.
Evolution users report great success with huge volumes of email when they use LDAP and keep their mail on a fast LDAP server. In that situation, you might as well use a Web mail application. Thunderbird users experience great performance with huge volumes of email on their local computer downloaded from LDAP, POP, or any other type of server. The email client really does not perform much work when you use LDAP.
Both Evolution and Thunderbird users prefer the user interface in Thunderbird. Many Evolution users say they use Evolution because of a better integration with GNOME but hate the space wasted in the Evolution screens. The reports of problems with Thunderbird and GNOME all appear to be based on old versions of Thunderbird.
The integration of calendaring and mail in Evolution is equivalent to the integration of calendaring and mail in Seamonkey, a prebuilt merge of Thunderbird and Lightning. The conversion to Thunderbird is many times the conversion to either Seamonkey or Evolution and finding the answer to Thunderbird related questions is far easier.
If you have only ever used Linux, Evolution is a good choice. For everyone else, Thunderbird with Lightning is the easier option.