Work on Evolution

So I got into GSoC 2014, and what am I going to work on?

My project is for Evolution, a personal information manager from GNOME. Among the many features it provides, it can manage contacts and send encrypted and signed email to them.

To send encrypted mail you need to have your addressee’s certificate at hand, and that’s when trouble comes up. You need to have the certificate in a place where NSS can find it, as Evo uses it as its backend. Certificates installed in NSS certificate database can be used to encrypt mail, but if it is somewhere else, like in an Evo contact, Evolution will fail to encrypt the email. NSS can also look for certificates in installed PKCS#11 modules. PKCS#11 modules can be seen as providers of cryptographic keys and certificates.

That’s where the proposed module comes in, connecting NSS to Evolution address book.
The module will receive queries for certificates issued for a specific email, and will return the certificate if found amid the contacts.
There will be some work on answering the queries so that NSS understands the module’s answers, the module should be simple and minimalist, so required functions will be implemented as needed; then some work on searching for certificates in Evolution’s address book, here there may be some access control issues; and then making Evo load  the module on NSS .

More details to come…


5 thoughts on “Work on Evolution

  1. Thanks for working on Evolution in GSoC 2014. While you are at it, may I suggest you have a look at TLS/IMAPS too, especially with self-signed certificates and client-certificate authentication. I have never been able to make that work with Evolution nor anyone else I know who tried. The same certificates work fine with Thunderbird but not with Evolution. These days it’s all about security so your work in that area is much appreciated. Let’s hope that TLS and IMAPS will soon also work with Evolution.

  2. This is why, despite the objections of some, the work on top-to-bottom integration is so valuable. It’s not enough to have a good desktop and good apps and a good kernel, etc – all of them need to work well together.

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