Remember Geary, the lightweight mail application for GNOME which failed to hit its Kickstarter target earlier in the year? Developer Yorba went ahead and carried on working on it anyway, and has released the first update since April.
If you’re not a Linux user, you’re probably not aware of the problem with mail. The only really reliable mail client out there is Thunderbird, but its a big program these days and while customisable with add-ons, it’s still very old fashioned. While Gmail and Apple mail have been teaching us to use email without a lot of cruft on our phones, Thunderbird – and Outlook – are still densely populated interfaces with lots of features you’ll never use.
Plus, with two large IMAP mailboxes, Thunderbird quickly becomes a resource that can lock up the desktop and chomp down on battery life on an Ubuntu laptop.
Enter Geary. Clearly modelled on Apple’s mail client for OSX (which in turn borrows from Gmail’s web client): it’s lightweight, has card-like styling and large message previews that give you a good sense of whether or not you’re going to want to read the full mail before you begin.
It makes the Ubuntu desktop feel more modern by its presence, and by extension everything else looks old.
The new version – 0.4 – which I’ve been testing today, seems very stable and includes all the essential features I can think of – including the previously absent search and ability to drag and drop attachments onto a mail. Basic stuff, but missing from earlier builds.
It’s noticeably faster than Thunderbird, loading up both my private and work mail almost instantly, somehow spooling up weeks of mail in what felt like seconds. Certainly faster than I realised I should be timing it. Search seems fast too.
The only thing I’m missing now is the ability to create calendar events from within a mail – something that’s apparently on the roadmap, along with native PGP support, and can be done from Thunderbird with the Lightning add-on. Is it essential though? I can see Geary and Rainlendar quickly becoming my two essential tools of choice.
I genuinely hope Geary gets adopted by one of the big distros as a default client, guaranteeing it resources for more rapid development in the future.