Ubuntu – How to port email from evolution to thunderbird


I updated ubuntu to 11.10 using the update notification. I am also switching from Xubuntu to ubuntu – gnome interface. I have been using evolution for years and would like to port the emails to thunderbird.

I have looked at the similar questions with no luck and the thunderbird help on manually importing. Most of these assume that the evolution file structure is similar to the evolution file structure.

When I set up thunderbird it seems to have imported the contacts from evolution (and actually removed them from evolution. However no mail got transferred. I found the evolution mail in ~/.local/share/evolution/mail/local . this has folders.db and 3 directories – cur ,tmp, and new. then there are the hidden files and directories. Each directory has three related files with extensions .cmeta, .ibex.index, and .ibex.index.data. Then all the directories had files that seem to contain the individual messages. I have not looked at rhyme or reason to the file numbering/naming scheme.

is there a nice way to import these files?

Best Answer

  • Since the solutions above didn't work for me and because I think this should help a lot of users. Without guarantee ;-)

    Why the problem is still relevant

    I've had the same problem and unfortunately Evolution was not able to export the mails correctly as mbox files. So I searched a good amount of time and finally found a solution.

    I have a lot of folders and really a lot of messages. For some reason Evolution created mbox-files being really big (about 2GB for 100MB of mails). The size wouldn't be that problem, but Thunderbird couldn't import that files.

    The solution

    So fortunately there is this python script which gives advanced users the opportunity to move mails from Evolution to Thunderbird.

    The solution is described here:


    I used: Thunderbird 12.0.1, Evolution 3.2.3, Ubuntu 12.04.

    Using the python script to convert from maildir to mbox you can create a mbox-structure that is imported with only a couple of clicks:

    1. Better safe than sorry: Copy your maildir structure from ~/.local/share/evolution/mail/local/ to a directory of your choice - let's say /tmp/mail-copy/local
    2. $ cd /tmp/mail-copy/
    3. Use the script $ python maildir2mbox.py local LocalMbox
    4. Open Thunderbird (should be installed and Import/Export Tools too)
    5. Right click on your Inbox and select Import/Export->Import mbox file->Import one or more mbox files, with its/their subdirectories and select the /tmp/mail-copy/LocalMbox file
    6. Enjoy your thousands of old mails :-)