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What's the best Linux messaging software for migrating from Outlook?

What is the best Linux desktop mail client to use when switching from MS Outlook to Linux on the desktop? Is there one that will allow a successful import from Outlook for things like contacts, calendar and mail folders?

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What you really want is more than an e-mail client -- you want a PIM (Personal Information Manager) which also handles your contacts and calendars and your notes and task lists.

The Linux e-mail client that most resembles Outlook and can import all your PIM data is Novell's Evolution. You can see some screenshots here.

Evolution works very well for e-mail and calendaring; it also includes the ability to connect to Exchange and synch with Palm OS devices. The place I feel that Evolution falls a little short is the ability to drag and drop from e-mail to Contacts, Tasks and Calendar. Otherwise it is very feature-rich and supports most open standards for mail including POP, IMAP and SMTP.

Another good choice is KDE Kontact, which is billed as a Personal Information Management Suite. The Kontact PIM Suite is made up of components like the Summary Component that would be analogous to the Outlook Today page in Microsoft Outlook. E-mail is handled by KMail. Unlike Evolution, which is an all-in-one type of presentation, the Kontact suite supports drag and drop from one component to another. Their "Kontact" manager is also very good and is supplied by the KAddressbook component.

Now if you are looking to migrate your settings I would suggest you look at:

These three programs can automate the transfer of Windows settings to a file that can then be automatically extracted into the program of choice on the Linux desktop.

This was first published in June 2005

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