A major new version of the Geary e-mail client is now available for Linux users to download.
Now, you’ll forgiven for feeling a sense of deja vu upon reading that as it’s only been a couple of weeks since the release of Geary 0.13 (itself the first update to the email app this year).
But there’s a reason why a new release has appeared so soon after the last…
As a leading GTK+ app, one incredibly popular with GNOME Shell users, Geary’s developers have chosen to align the app with the upstream GNOME release schedules and version numbering system, as the tool’s latest release announcement explains:
“From now on, we will be looking to put out six-monthly feature releases along with GNOME, including both odd-numbered unstable releases, and followed up by bug-fix point releases.”Micheal Gratton, Geary Developer
It’s hoped that the new release schedule will allow newer version of the app to appear sooner, bringing users new features with fewer issues, faster.
To accompany the latest GNOME 3.32 release comes the newly-renumbered Geary 3.32 (the previous release was v0.13.3)
Geary 3.32: What’s Changed?
The first think you’ll notice about Geary 3.32 is that it has a new app icon.
Geary’s new icon isn’t a major departure from the one it had before, but it has been updated to fit the design and styling of the new GNOME icons initiative:
Elsewhere, options which previously sat in the top-bar app menu have (as they have in other GTK apps) migrated inside the app itself. Just use the new hamburger menu to access them.
Integration with Folks, the contacts amalgamation library used by GNOME desktop, is also offered.
Sender images that appear in the Geary conversations list are fetched from the desktop address book (where available). Senders without a photo are given an auto-generated avatar based on their initials.
Finally, this release boasts improved server compatibility and applies custom CSS to the Composer view.
How to Upgrade to Geary 3.32
Here’s where things deviate from tradition.
Normally when a new version of Geary appears I advise those of you using Ubuntu, Linux Mint and similar distros to install the app using the official Geary PPA hosted on Launchpad.
But not this time.
In fact, not anymore.
The Geary PPA will not be updated with the latest release or and future releases in this branch, That’s according to its developer, Micheal Gratton.
Instead, the Geary web page now recommends that you, me, and everyone else, install Geary via Flathub, the Flatpak App Store.
Flatpak apps come bundled with everything they need to run on pretty much any Linux distro out there.
We have a guide on how to install Flatpak on Ubuntu and enable the Flathub repo for apps. If you don’t already have it set up, go do it!
One the one hand it’s nice to see distribution methods consolidated. Too many routes can be confusing for new users. But on the other hand, some of these new package formats still have their issues, be it desktop integration, performance drawbacks, or a mixture of both!
Personally, I’ll miss the ease and efficiency the Geary PPA provided. As an Ubuntu user it was handy to have. But if switching to Flatpak builds makes it easier for new versions of be released, and reach more people, it’s a minor hassle I can learn to cope with.
You can find Geary source code on Gitlab should you be up for building it by hand.
If you’re using Geary 0.13.x installed from the official PPA you do not need to uninstall it or do anything drastic. It’ll keep working and bug fix releases for this branch will (I’m told) continue for the foreseeable future.
But to get the very latest release, with all the latest features and benefits, you’ll need to use the Flatpak build, build it by hand from source, or wait for your distro maintainer to package it up for you.
Ubuntu 19.04, released next month, will have Geary 3.32 available in its repos — so if you’re suffering from Flatpakphobia, alternatives do exist.