Sometime last year the Yorba website was subtly changed from “Yorba is a non-profit free software group” to “Yorba was…”. This made us very, very sad at elementary. Before that, we’d been working on building a better relationship with Yorba. We spent time at their offices designing and discussing Geary, a (still) very popular email app. At the time of writing, it’s been 11 months since Jim Nelson uploaded the last version of Geary: 0.10.0. As soon as we heard the news of Yorba’s demise, we started planning our next steps and within a few days we had adopted the Geary code base. While it’s very unfortunate that Yorba didn’t make it, their dream of providing great native apps lives on. We’re proud to formally announce elementary Mail.
Built for elementary OS
Since November, we’ve been working on a lot of little things. Geary’s codebase was massive. It included support and workarounds for very old Linux distributions and wasn’t taking advantage of modern toolkit features. We’ve been pulling out thousands of lines of old spaghetti code and replacing it with new code that’s much easier to read and maintain. The build system has been ported to CMake. We’ve removed options that don’t make sense on modern desktops like controlling notifications from inside the app (elementary OS, GNOME, and other desktops all provide these options in their System Settings), and we’ve added options that do make sense like the ability to always load images. We’ve addressed a bunch of issues related to translations and, as is our specialty, we’ve been working on making the UI more organized and creating new iconography. Mail feels more at home than any version of Geary before it.
But available for everyone else too
Just recently, we’ve fully completed our fork from Geary. This means that you can install Mail alongside Geary without conflicts, to compare the two and get a real feel for the difference. But it also means that Mail is available to package for other Linux distros like Arch. Also, instead of hard-coding icons and styles, we’ve been working on using the system themes as much as possible. This will not only make it more consistent and easier to maintain for us, but it will also open the door for third-parties to make Mail feel at home on their systems. We’ve also updated the AppStream metadata file to the latest specification so Mail can really shine in new app stores like GNOME Software.
We’re just getting started
Mail will make its official debut in the next version of elementary OS: 0.4 Loki. Until then we’ll continue to clean up old code, fix bugs, and add new features to get it ready. We’re pretty excited about having more control over the future of this particular app. Mail is an essential part of many people’s daily workflow and has recently become a space that many people are innovating in with apps like the late Mailbox, N1, and even Google’s Inbox.
We’d love your help!
If you’d like to help us work on Mail, now is a great time! You can grab the source code from GitHub here. Be sure to check out the README for some detailed information on how to build Mail and contribute branches back to its development. Don’t forget to look at the issue tracker to see what’s on our todo list.
As always, thank you everyone who’s bought an app on AppCenter, our supporters on Bountysource and Patreon, and those who’ve purchased a copy of elementary OS or merch from our store. Every contribution helps make all of this possible, and we wouldn’t be here without you. If you’d like to help improve elementary OS, don’t hesitate to Get Involved!