in Technology

Make Evolution really filter spam in Ubuntu

The default Ubuntu installation contains the Evolution personal information manager. It does have anti-spam filtering capabilities, but I had some problems getting it to filter any mail at all.

When incoming mail arrives, it does say “checking mail for junk” and when I mark the mail as spam it just says “learning junk” as everything is fine and dandy. The problem is that it just doesn’t do anything and it took a while before I figured out why that happens.

The anti-spam dialog looks like the following, and there are no indications that there is something that is not working properly. It doesn’t even mention anything about external tools or anything like that.


The Evolution manual states:

Evolution uses SpamAssassin as the default spam-filtering application. Before you really start using spam-filtering, ensure that SpamAssassin is installed to enable Evolution’s junk mail filtering feature.

Great, so to filter messages I have to enable the universe repository and finally install the spamassassin package. Okay fine, I can manage this, but new users shouldn’t have to worry about these kind of things. Everything must just work, or at least indicate that something needs to be installed.

These small irritations are vital to fix to make Linux as a viable option for normal users. It seems like this bug is reported in Launchpad, so something will hopefully happen in the upcoming release.



  1. Fortunately it works when installing Spamassassin, but it still has some performance issues compared to Thunderbird.

    I do prefer Evolution over Thunderbird even though it has some other irritating bugs as well. Like when moving messages, at times, they just disappear.