On transferring settings…

Why is it not easy and obvious to transfer settings from one computer to another? One example is transferring Evolution’s mail filters. There seems to be no easy approach. I want to click Backup Evolution's Settings and it generate a file which I can transfer to my second machine, click Restore Evolution's Settings, and everything be working. Its the same version of Evolution, and the same distro – stuff like this should be easy. But no, I instead enter the misery of setting up stacks and stacks of mail filters manually. :(

Imagine then expanding that to the desktop. Take a dump of GConf and provide some glue to restore everything. Surely that was the idea?

  • lexual

    $HOME/.evolution/mail/filters.xml ??? Does copying that file work?

  • http://www.aigarius.com Aigars Mahinovs

    Acctually it was supposed to be very easy – just copy $HOME/.evolution to the new PC and you should be done, but GConf messes all that up royally. Yay for registry! 👿

  • Stijn Hoop

    Even better, make it so that I can go back to storing my settings in subversion (ie export gconf to a text format). svn co on a new computer & presto, I’m set up. That would be cool.

  • http://www.vuntz.net/ Vincent

    There’s still work to do, but here’s a start: http://code.google.com/p/session-backup/

  • http://www.david-web.co.uk/ DJ

    Unfortunately copying GConf is not easy; you can just copy your .gconf directory, but there’s ONE FILE that is specific to your hostname and so things break if you move the files to another system.

    As for Evolution, file a wishlist bug 😀

  • http://www.nunoaraujo.com Nuno Araujo

    Well, I made my home made script using unison to sync my desktop and my laptop. The limitations, you should be disconnected from your session when you do it, and you must kill evolution-data-server.

    My script syncs the .evolution folder and the gconf settings from evo.

    But the sooner something is “integrated” in the gnome desktop, the better

  • mossholderm

    …Maybe what is really needed is some method for storing configuration/profile information A) centrally and exportably and B) in a host independant manner. That’s one of the thing that has always killed me a Gnome user… it’s not easy for me to be logged in as the same user on multiple systems sharing a home directory. 😥

  • Peter

    I think that structure and files are here in the place. What is needed is migration tools – with GUI and comand line versions. I think Python + GTK + several days should do the trick.

    Aigars, gconf is not that bad :)

  • http://mitechie.com Rick

    This is specific to mail filters, but I’ve moved to using imapfilter to do the sorting for me. It’s a single rules file I keep in my /home and then in subversion. That way when I check my mail through webmail when away it’s still filtered properly.

    I do agree that settings are an often forgotten thing when transferring between machines. I guess most people figure it’s the one time cost of doing business to get things setup.

  • http://therning.org/magnus/archives/213 therning.org/ magnus » Yes, GConf synch would be good!

    […] Jono is complaining about moving Evloution setting between machines. GConf can’t be synched easily between machines. Maybe the GConf diff tool could be a start of a proper synch tool for GConf? […]

  • http://www.qdh.org.uk Karl Lattimer

    There really needs to be some work on this, something like a cross between sabayon but able to gather more information about a currently active profile and a methodology of creating an archive of that profile, bunging it on a USB storage device, across a network or firewire or [insert obscure connectivity method here]

    Broken down into 3 chunks would probably be best,

    • desktop configuration, themes, general settings etc…
    • user specific configuration, like mail, IM, keyrings
    • system configuration which applies only to the current machine

    Having some kind of autostart method for usb devices could be cool, e.g. i plug in my usb storage device, gnome spots a file called .gnome-configuration.tar.bz2 and it pops up a dialog saying Gnome has detected a desktop configuration profile on the attached device, would you like me to apply the configuration to this desktop? With 3 checkboxes for each of chunks of configuration and a yes/no or something like that. Similarly, if you create the configuration profile on one machine, you could start up the transfer utility on another and through some kind of magic (smb/http) you could tell the settings transfer app to import settings from that machine.

    MacOS has something like this, but even that doesn’t go as far as it could, for instance you can only synchronise between two computers via firewire (not even an ethernet crossover is supported), to accompany this there should also bet a way of backing up your entire profile including your user files and any dot folders not processed by the sabayon-like-settings-transfer-wizard-thing in order to smoothly upgrade from one desktop to another, hacks should then be incorporated to transpose configurations between gnome 2.4 and 2.16 for instance. This gives the user both an easy upgrade path and a way of synchronising their settings between workstations.

  • http://www.kagou.fr Kagou

    This script allow to backup completely your evolution to another place : http://www.tux-planet.fr/blog/?2006/05/19/76-evolution-backup-script

    But in fact i don’t understand why there is no : “export your settings” or “export filters” or “Make a backup” in evolution

  • http://linuxactivist.gmail.com Jim (linuxactivist)

    This is definitely a problem.

    Outlook, ostensibly Evolutions rival in the workplace, makes it very easy to back up your settings and data to a single file that can then be copied to another machine and imported.

    Even nicer is that you can export sections of your outlook data so that contacts, mail, etc can be in separate files. Say you want to share your contacts with someone, you just export you contacts to a pst file and they can import it. Very nice.

    Evolution should be this easy or easier to use.

    Before you think I am just bashing Evolution, it has had some features that Microsoft just got around to including in Outlook within the last few years. Evolutions vfolders are great. I used examples of how I use them to explain in Evolution to explain how they might use Microsoft’s implementation (which is a tad confusing).



  • chris

    There’s always the OS X way. Something like

    ~/Library/Application Support/Evolution/filters.xml

  • Sankar

    Copy and paste your $HOME/.evolution/mail/filters.xml

    It is better to back up your entire ~/.evolution and move it wherever you want to migrate.

  • http://tola.me.uk Ben Francis

    This is why mail filters need to be server-side! In fact, I’m in favour of making clients thinner and servers fatter, keeping all your settings centrally on the network. This has its disadvantages of course, mainly the “offline problem”, this needs resolving.

  • http://u32.net Scott Bronson

    Amen Ben. Filters absolutely do need to be server-side. The biggest problem that I see is making a good, consistent interface to configure them. Sieve is a truly horrid language. Unfortunately, nothing else exists! Courier Maildrop, procmail, yampl, these are all meant to be used by administrators, not users.

    So… Maybe Hula will demonstrate how to solve this problem?

  • http://blog.twisty-industries.com/users/cliff Cliff Wells

    For those who keep suggesting it, copying ~/.evolution doesn’t work. It’s pretty damn annoying and I’m all for Evolution dropping the whole registry (gconf) stuff. It used to be (in a happier day) that you could simply copy your home directory to a new box and be 90% done. Hell, even Microsoft has suggested that perhaps the registry isn’t the best place to keep application data, why are GNOME applications repeating their mistake? I fail to see the advantages over flat files but the disadvantages are painfully clear whenever you need to upgrade or move to a new machine.

    As for server-side filters, this doesn’t work on all servers (specifically, managing virtual mail accounts where users probably don’t have a shell account). Besides, this is tangential to the issue under discussion which is the ugly Windows-like road GNOME (and GNOME applications) are taking with Gconf.

    It makes me miss Unix.

  • Comcastuser