Endless quest for the perfect mail setup

One of the “joys” of moving to a new job is getting your mail set up. In the past I’ve pulled mail from the central server using fetchmail, piped through procmail and spamassassin for sorting, set up an IMAP server on my box and connected to that with a variety of clients. Fun for a while, educational and informative but frankly, rather a lot of hassle.

My new workplace has a central IMAP server and runs spamassassin on off-campus mail, so that just leaves us with the question of the client. For many years I was a happy user of mutt – great for mail and contacts as simple email addresses, but I found a need for a more full-featured address book facility than .aliases. I know there are options for mutt, but I find manipulating contact details as plain text a bit cumbersome. I’ve been using Evolution for quite a while, but it’s starting to annoy me – in particular, it crashes when I edit contact lists or signature files. Yeah, I use Debian unstable and it’s probably a Gnome/GTK issue but it’s annoying and judging by some Googling, I’m not alone.
So I thought I’d give Thunderbird a go. It’s easy to set up accounts, I like the interface and there are some nice themes available. The only drawback is its rather limited address book import facility, which handles only LDIF or delimited text formats. How to get all those contacts I’ve accumulated in Evolution?
Not too difficult. Select all your Evolution contacts and save them as a vcard file (evolution.vcf). Then head over to this website and grab yourself a copy of the vcard2ldif converter Perl script. Run “./vcard2ldif evolution.vcf evolution.ldif” and import your LDIF output into Thunderbird. Worked perfectly for me.
Just need to go through this process when I finally get a work box and I can get down to some real work.