The Mailspring email client is now available as a Snap application on Ubuntu and other Linux distros.
The part-Electron, part C++ mail app works with most major email providers, lets you add multiple accounts, has fast mail searching, and offers some advanced features, like read receipts and quick reply templates.
Mailspring is a fork of the (now defunct) Nylas Mail app by one of the original Nylas developers. But unlike its predecessor Mailspring does not store your emails on its own servers. It also has a native C++ core, and uses around 50% less RAM than Nylas.
Excited to try it out? You can; it’s now just a snap install command away.
Why Use Mailspring?
Thunderbird is the default email client on Ubuntu, and for good reason: it’s well known, well tested, and a well featured desktop email client – doubly so when paired with some add-ons and the Monorail Thunderbird theme.
But as lauded as it is it’s not for everyone. Maybe it’s not for you. If you’re looking for a more modern looking desktop email app with built-in features for mail snoozing, read receipts and the like, you should check out Mailspring.
The core Mailspring features at a glance:
- Multiple account support
- Works with most mail providers, including Gmail
- Unified inbox
- Keyboard shortcuts (including Gmail shortcuts)
- Responsive search
- Various layout options
- Supports themes
The app does require you to create and use a (free) Mailspring account. This is used to power some of the application’s advanced features (regardless of whether you want to use them) and make it easy to support development of the app by upgrading to a Pro account.
There are a couple of drawbacks in using the Snap build over the one you can download from the Mailspring website (which is pictured at the top of this post)
For example, the Snap version doesn’t follow your system theme at all. This results in the totally gorgeous use of Windows 3.1 era styling for the menu bar and context menus, as you can see to the right.
The Snap is also (on my system at least) incredibly slow to launch. The app takes an age from clicking the app icon to presenting me with a useable window.
Notifications also didn’t work for, the tray icon didn’t appear until I installed the TopIcons Plus GNOME Shell add-on, and I didn’t get a fancy unread count on the dock item despite the ‘show unread badge’ option being checked in the app.
Finally there’s the “size” of the Snap: 154MB in total. I get “why” (it has all its dependencies bundled up) but it’s almost twice the size of the standard download (68MB).
If you’re on a metered connection you may want to skip installing the Snap at all. As is the case with all snap updates, future versions will be downloaded and installed silently, in the background.
Mailspring’s Ben Gotow told us they are excited to be distributing the app as a Snap because “it fixes issues around installation and autoupdate that have always made Linux a hard platform to target!”
“With Snapcraft, we can offer a single package format to all Linux users and the app runs inside a sandbox which is great for security. We can release updates [and] the snap daemon automatically downloads and installs the update across all Linux distros within a day. We also don’t have to release other formats (.tar.gz, an ArchLinux PKGBUILD) to target smaller Linux variants.”
Download Mailspring for Ubuntu
Mailspring is available to install on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and up from Ubuntu Software. Just search it out.
If you’re a fan of traditional software management methods you can also download Mailspring for Ubuntu from the Mailspring website:
If you’re Exchange reliant you may prefer to try the Hiri email app, which is also available as a Snap application.
Ubuntu Mailspring Theme
A few tips: if you’re using the Ambiance GTK theme you may want to enable the “ubuntu theme” in Mailspring > Edit> Change Theme for a near-seamless look (as pictured at the top).
If you’re an Arc Dark user there’s an Mailspring Arc theme available to download on Github, as well as one for Adapta. To install a Mailsrping theme just select the .zip folder in Mailspring > Edit > Install Theme.