Sync your Evolution contacts with UbuntuOne

Jack Wallen
Aug 13, 2010
Updated • Dec 11, 2012

How many machines do you have? How many contacts do you have? How many machines do you try to keep your contacts in sync on? There are a lot of ways to do this. You could copy those contacts on a flash drive and move them back and forth, making sure you add the new ones when you make any changes. But that is far more complicated than it need be. OR you can use a contact syncing tool to make this process automatic.

One such tool for Ubuntu Linux is Ubuntu One. UbuntuOne is not just a music store or a means to sync pictures and music. With UbuntuOne you can also keep your contacts in sync. This is especially easy when you are using Evolution (there is something to be said about using the default applications). In this article I am going to show you how you can keep your Evolution contacts in sync with UbuntuOne so you can use those same contacts on any Evolution groupware suite that happens to be connected to your UbuntuOne account.

First things first

The first thing you have to do is make sure you have yourself a UbuntuOne account. NOTE: For more information on UbuntuOne check out the UbuntuOne content on Ghacks. After you have your account set up make sure you add your machine to your account. To do this open up the UbuntuOne Preferences window (click System > Preferences > UbuntuOne) and then click "Manage account" from the account tab. This will take you to your UbuntuOne account page where you can then add your machine to the account. Leave the UbuntuOne Preferences Window open (you're not done with it yet).

Once the machine is added click on the Services tab in the UbuntuOne Preferences window. In this tab you will see a few services that are available for the account (Bookmarks, Broadcast Message Archive, Contacts, File Syncronization). You will need to make sure Contacts is checked (You can enable any of those services you want of course).

Now that you have the service set up, let's start working with Evolution.


Click on the Contacts tool in Evolution. You should see two different sets of contacts by default:

  • CouchDB (UbuntuOne)
  • On This Computer (Personal)

CouchDB is a document-oriented database that UbuntuOne uses for contacts. Select that database (click UbuntuOne) and see if you have any contacts listed. If not you need to copy your contacts from Personal to UbuntuOne. To do this follow these steps:

  1. Select the Personal contacts by clicking Personal.
  2. Click Actions > Copy all contacts to...
  3. Select UbuntuOne.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Walk through the various steps either adding or merging a contact to ensure you don't duplicate your contacts.

Now you have to start using the UbuntuOne contacts as your default. If you do not do this you will continue to add contacts to your Personal contacts which will not be automatically migrated to your UbuntuOne contacts. To do this follow these steps:

  1. Click on the UbuntuOne address book.
  2. Righ-click the UbuntuOne contacts and select Properties.
  3. Check "Mark as default address book".
  4. Make sure Desktop CouchDB is selected under Server.
  5. Click OK.

That's it! You will want to do the same thing for all of your machines that use UbuntuOne and you want to keep your contacts in sync.

Final thoughts

Keeping your contacts in sync will go a long way to keep you from having to always take extra steps to make your work more efficient. If your machine is already attached to your UbuntuOne account, it's a no-brainer to make the switch to syncing your Evolution contacts.


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