What is Evolution?

Evolution is the official personal information manager and mail client for the GNOME Desktop Environment. It is Free and Open Source Software, licensed under the GPL.

It is usually distributed with the GNOME Desktop Environment with linux, making it likely available either upon installation of a Linux distribution that uses GNOME, such as Ubuntu, or available via your distribution’s Package Manager. Evolution is also available for Windows.

Evolution includes support for email, calendar, address book, contacts, and GPG encryption.

Install Evolution

  • Debian/Ubuntu Linux: Most likely, evolution is already installed. If not, sudo apt install evolution
  • Windows: Download and install the windows version.

Setup a New Account in Evolution

  1. Start Evolution (e.g. Press Alt+F2 and enter: evolution)
  2. If you’re running Evolution for the first time, you will be asked if you want to restore your settings from a backup file, if you have one.
  3. On the second screen enter your email along with other info you want to provide. Click to proceed.
  4. It will try to find the server settings automatically, if it fails enter the following information:
    Server Type: Choose either IMAP or POP. What is the difference between IMAP and POP email servers?
    Server: mail.riseup.net
    Use Secure Connection: TLS
    Authentication Type: Password
  5. The next screen offers several options regarding the connection. The defaults are quite reasonable, change them as you wish and click ‘Continue’.
  6. For outgoing mail:
    Server Type: SMTP
    Server: mail.riseup.net
    check Server requires Authentication
    Use Secure Connection: TLS
    Authentication Type: PLAIN
    username: your username
  7. Give the account you’re creating a name. This is only used for your reference when managing multiple accounts in Evolution and is not disclosed to recipients of your emails.
  8. Click Apply

You’re finished! You now can use Evolution to send and receive email through Riseup’s servers.

Enhance your email security

To prevent leaks like efail, you should disable rendering of HTML mails:

  1. Press Shift+Control+S
  2. Choose “Email”
  3. Click the HTML tab
  4. At the bottom select “Always show plain text”

To disable warnings when the editing mode for mails swiches from HTML to plain

  1. Click “Editor” on the left
  2. Click the confirmations tab
  3. Uncheck the last option “Before the editor changes to plain text” (or similar)

  • Encrypt your mail! For enhanced message security use Encrypted Email.
  • There are many vulnerabilities with how secure connections work. If you need high security, you should always connect to Riseup services using the Riseup VPN. This will prevent a long list of potential attacks against your communication.
  • To enhance connection security you can use Onion Service configuration to connect to Riseup’s .onion services for IMAP and SMTP. Look for the onion address for mail.riseup.net and smtp.riseup.net addresses and use those instead. Note: * SMTP port 465 is often blocked by exit nodes, but port 587 is less frequently blocked. If you have a problem sending mail, try port 587 or configure your client to use Riseup’s email hidden service in place of the regular mail.riseup.net domain. This is better than sending traffic through a Tor exit as it is MITM resistant, but it will generate certificate errors on the client side.

Setup OpenPGP Encryption in Evolution

All that’s necessary to work with encrypted emails in Evolution is to tell Evolution the OpenPGP KEY ID for your account and then to select encryption every time you send an email.

  1. First, Generate a OpenPGP Key pair, if you haven’t done so already.
  2. Go to EditPreferences
  3. In the Mail Accounts section, select the account you wish to link to your OpenPGP key and press the Edit button.
  4. Click the Security tab.
  5. Enter your OpenPGP KEY ID (See the Howto on OpenPGP Keys to find your KEY ID). Check Alweys encrypt to avoid accidently sending unencrypted mails. Always trust keys in my keyring when encrypting enables you to communicate with people in your keyring whose keys you haven’t signed. You can ignore the Secure MIME section. Please note: “Always sign” is not the same as “Always encrypt”; signing an email is different from encrypting it and does not make the message unreadable to third parties.
  6. Click OK

You are now able to encrypt and decrypt emails in Evolution!

Send Encrypted emails

  1. Compose a new email
  2. Select OptionsPGP Encrypt

The email you’re composing will now be encrypted upon being sent! You can always verify that your email is going to be encrypted by going into the Options menu and seeing if there’s a checkmark next to PGP Encrypt.