Geary: A Simple Email Client For Linux That Supports Threaded Conversation

There are plenty of email desktop clients for Linux. Some are being integrated into the distro (such as Thunderbird, Evolution, Kmail) and used as the default email client while others require you to install manually. Geary belongs to the latter.

Geary is a simple and lightweight email client that supports email threading (some call it conversation mode). It is still in the early development stage, but it does show plenty of potential to become a great email client.

Being a simple and lightweight app, Geary has trimmed most, if not all, of the fat found in many other email clients. It is pretty simple in interface and features, and yes, it is also lacking some important functions like integrating with address book and connect to multiple email accounts.

Here’s the command to install Geary in ubuntu-based distro:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yorba/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install geary

The first time you run Geary, it will prompt you to setup your email account. There are three options in the “Service” dropdown: Gmail, Yahoo and Other. If you have enabled IMAP in Gmail and Yahoo, all you need to do is to enter your username and password and it will do the rest. For the “Others” option, you will have to configure the IMAP settings manually.

geary-setup

Once your account is authenticated, you should see your mails appearing in the main window.

The interface is pretty minimal. There are three columns that show the folders, email list and actual email content respectively.

geary-main-interface

At the top is a row of toolbar that allows you to reply, forward, compose and archive your emails and that are about all you have for Geary.

geary-toolbar

The best thing about Geary is the threaded conversation that makes the interface more compact and each email message easier to follow. The thread count is displayed in the email list and the conversation is threaded, just like the way Gmail does.

geary-threaded-message

There are also several other Gmail-like style, like the labels, starred, archive etc.

When it comes to composing email, it is pretty basic and lacking at the same time. You can compose in rich-text format, but you won’t be able to attach any file to the email. It doesn’t integrate with your contacts as well, so you have to manually type in the email address of the recipients. I wonder how many people actually remember all the email address of their friends.

As of this post, there is no easy way for you to remove the email account you have setup in Geary. The only way I can come up with is to go to the “~/.local/share/geary/” folder and remove the folder with your email address. This will effectively remove the email account in Geary.

The advantage of Geary lies in its simplicity. Being a lightweight application with Gmail-like interface (labels, starred, threaded conversation) makes it easy and pleasant to use, but the lacking of several features such as contacts support and file attachment etc have severely crippled the app. Noting that this is still a product in its early development stage, hopefully these important and necessary features will be integrated into the app. By then, it could become the default Gmail desktop app, much like the way Sparrow does for Mac.