Geary (e-mail client)

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Original author(s)Yorba Foundation
Developer(s)The GNOME Project, Elementary
Initial releaseMay 4, 2012; 11 years ago (2012-05-04)[1]
Stable release
44.1[2] Edit this on Wikidata / 17 August 2023
Written inVala (GTK)
Operating systemUnix-like
TypeEmail client
LicenseLGPL-2.1-or-later Edit this on Wikidata

Geary is a free and open-source email client written in Vala and based on WebKitGTK. Although since adopted by the GNOME project, it originally was developed by the Yorba Foundation. The purpose of this e-mail client, according to Adam Dingle, Yorba founder, was to bring back users from online webmails to a faster and easier to use desktop application.[3]

Pantheon Mail was a fork initiated by the Elementary OS community after the demise of Yorba, though it was later rewritten from scratch so that the only remaining references to Geary in the Pantheon code base are in some translations.[4]


  • Supports Gmail, Yahoo! Mail,, and popular IMAP servers.
  • Mail organized by conversations.[5]
  • Support for sending as another identity.[6]
  • Full-featured HTML mail composer.
  • Support for reading TNEF attachments.[7]
  • Fast keyword search with values like from:john, is:read, is:unread and is:starred.[8]
  • Desktop notification of new mails.[9]
  • GNOME Keyring integration to store passwords for email accounts.[10]

Implementation to support GPG had been started,[11] but is still incomplete as of 2019.[12]

Technical information[edit]

Geary internally uses an SQLite database to store a local copy of emails and for indexing. It uses a fully asynchronous GObject-based IMAP client library. One feature that distinguishes Geary from other open source email clients is its focus on the conversation view. Both Geary and Pantheon Mail are using gettext for translations.[8]

As of April 3, 2016, Pantheon Mail has not been migrated to WebKitGTK+2 yet. The developers decided first to migrate the code managing the conversation view to use native GTK widgets (Gtk.CSS and Granite, a GTK+ library used as part of elementary OS). This offered several advantages, including minimizing the use of webviews, reducing the code, supporting hardware accelerated animations, and supporting RTL languages.[13][14] They also removed the use of custom GTK bars like PillHeaderBar which were making the code complicated and difficult to read.[15][16] Geary uses WebKit2 since at least version 3.32.0.[17]


Historically, Elementary OS directly supported[18] the project and Geary became the default application in that Linux distribution.

On March 25, 2013,[3][19] Jim Nelson, executive director at Yorba, launched a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo to gather US$100,000 that would have been used to pay the 3 full-time Yorba engineers that were working at that time on Geary.[20] Unfortunately, on April 23, 2013, only US$50,860 were gathered from 1,192 backers. The amount was not met and the campaign failed. According to the rules set by IndieGoGo, Yorba did not receive any of the money that had been pledged.[21][22][23]

After this failure, Jim Nelson declared in a blog post that the crowdfunding campaign was kind of an experiment to see if that route was enough to sustain open-source development. He reaffirmed Geary had been created to improve the Linux experience, and therefore had no chance of being ported to macOS or Windows platforms.[18]

As the Yorba Foundation had stopped its activities and GNOME had not announced any plans about this project at the time, the future of Geary was unclear. As a result, to these uncertainties, due to previous design disagreements with the old Geary team and because elementary OS was actually using Geary as the default mail client (though in a heavily patched version), Danielle Foré, the leader of Elementary OS, decided to fork the project on November 18, 2015 and continue with the development as a fork. The project was renamed Pantheon Mail during the process.[24][25] Pantheon Mail replaced Geary in elementary OS 0.4, which is codenamed Loki.[26]

In March 2016, Michael Gratton applied to become the new maintainer of Geary.[27] His main goal was to try fixing pressing issues like the dependency on the old WebKit1GTK, collaboration with Pantheon Mail, better support for non-GMail servers, mailbox management, the account UI, extending search, etc. Contributing to Geary as a GNOME project requires the maintainer to become a GNOME member. After a discussion with Adam Dingle, Yorba's founder, both agreed to wait for Gratton to fulfill GNOME membership application requirements. In the meantime, Gratton will post his patches to the GNOME Bugzilla instance and Adam will commit them for him.[28]

On May 15, 2016, version 0.11 was released,.[29] Version 0.13 was released on February 18, 2019.[30] In March 2019, with version 3.32, the version scheme was changed to match GNOME's release schedule (note the difference in even/odd version numbers).[31]


The initial name "Geary" coincides with the name of the Geary Street, because all Yorba's products were named after streets in San Francisco. However, according to a former Yorba employee, the application was not named after the address where Yorba Foundation was located.[32] That was actually a coincidence. The first beta of Geary was released in May 2012, and Yorba was still located on Capp Street at the time.[33][34]


  1. ^ "GEARY 0.1 RELEASED". May 4, 2012. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  2. ^ "44.1 · Tags · GNOME / Geary · GitLab".
  3. ^ a b "Geary: a beautiful modern open-source email client". YouTube. March 28, 2013. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  4. ^ "elementary/mail". GitHub. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  5. ^ "Geary". Gnome. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  6. ^ "Re: [Geary] Sending mail from Alias identities". June 14, 2016. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  7. ^ "TNEF (winmail.dat) parsing support via libytnef". June 15, 2018. Retrieved June 6, 2019.
  8. ^ a b "[Geary] Fixes needed for Geary search translations". May 1, 2015. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  9. ^ "Geary". Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  10. ^ Jain, Manish (2018). Beginning Modern Unix: Learn to Live Comfortably in a Modern Unix Environment. Apress. p. 186. ISBN 9781484235287.
  11. ^ "PGP Support". May 12, 2015. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  12. ^ "PGP Support". November 22, 2015. Retrieved November 22, 2015.
  13. ^ "+Corentin Noël is getting really close with his native conversations branch f..." March 6, 2016. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  14. ^ "Gtk+ Conversations View has now landed in Mail trunk! Woo. You can see that ..." March 14, 2016. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  15. ^ "Re: [Geary] port to WebKit 2?". April 3, 2016. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  16. ^ "Ding dong the witch is dead! Finally killed pill-toolbar! May it burn for all..." March 17, 2016. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  17. ^ "Geary meson build definition". February 26, 2019. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  18. ^ a b "GEARY CROWDFUNDING: WHAT WENT WRONG?". May 2013. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  19. ^ "GEARY FUNDING CAMPAIGN IS LIVE ON INDIEGOGO! DONATE TODAY". March 25, 2013. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  20. ^ "Geary: a beautiful modern open-source email client". April 25, 2013. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  21. ^ "Open-Source E-Mail App Geary Enters Final Days of Fundraiser". April 22, 2013. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  22. ^ "GEARY CROWDFUNDING: GPG PRIVACY, CALENDAR INTEGRATION, AND MORE". April 5, 2013. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  23. ^ "GEARY CROWDFUNDING: WHAT's NEXT?". April 25, 2013. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  24. ^ "Code : Mail : "elementary Apps team" team". Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  25. ^ "Today I learned that Yorba went under. Which sucks. Several of us were aware ..." November 19, 2015. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  26. ^ "RE: Geary". February 21, 2016. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  27. ^ "[Geary] Geary maintainership". March 6, 2016. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  28. ^ "Re: [Geary] Geary maintainership". March 21, 2016. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  29. ^ "Index of /sources/geary/0.11". May 26, 2016. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  30. ^ "Geary 0.13.0 released!". Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  31. ^ "Geary 3.32 released!". Retrieved 2020-03-14.
  32. ^ "Donate to Yorba". Archived from the original on September 20, 2015. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  33. ^ "On the name "Geary"". July 6, 2016. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  34. ^ "About Yorba". Archived from the original on May 2, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)

External links[edit]