A free, open-source future for Mailspring

I wish the project takes the attention it deserves. I am not a programmer so i can not have any valid opinion about the technical issues and the resourses that have to be available for mailspring to thrive.

But such a project can not be an one man show unfortunately. There has to be a dedicated team for that. And if making it open source is the way for that, then it’s probably the best solution.

During the last weeks i am struggling to find a usefull and reliable alternative to web Gmail. I ve tried

Outlook
Thunderbird
emClient
PostBox
Newton
Wundermail
Spike
Front
Mailbird
Shift

Most of these were fine for most of the users. But for me, templates-receipts-reminders-signatures are essential. I use a plugin for Gmail for these as Ben said, and i’d like an alternative.

One other advantage of Mailspring is the performance (with some exceptions) and the easy and simple interface.

I bought a paid plan only for Mailspring, because it’s closer to my needs - although not 100%. But i would like to remain a Pro User and wait for some things to get better in the foreseeable future.

From a Pro user perspective, of course the option of not using Mailspring ID will be excellent news for many users. But you should also focus on Pro users who don’t mind using your server in order to have the Pro features such as Synched Receipts-Temlates-Reminders-Send Later etc.

If someone uses only one PC, MailSpring Pro is Best In Class. The issues start when you have to use other PC’s as well.

I wish all the best to your efforts and hope i’ll remain a Pro user for a very long time

Came here to say thanks and once the ID requirement is lifted, and calendar support enabled I’ll donate and use Mailspring on Linux!

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Thank you for making this choice. :+1: :pray: :innocent: I will promote your project at my level :smiley:

Best news for a very long time!
Have now reactivated my Pro account

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Hey there, Mailspring-Libre maintainer here! First of all, a HUGE thank you to the whole Mailspring team and, of course, in particular to @bengotow for such a wonderful app. I know the decision to fully open up the source code must have been hard, but hopefully it brings some new contributors and some new Pro subscribers as well :‌-)

One more thing I’d suggest is – if possible from a legal and PR standpoint – starting to accept donations, or maybe allowing starting Pro subscription from website, without linking it to a Mailspring instance. I understand that donations will probably never be as profitable as selling actual features, but having a way to support the team behind a product you use is something really nice to have – I know I’d donate some $5/mo if I had a way to.

@CodeMouse92 @bengotow: I’ll get back to you next week regarding your collaboration proposal, sorry – this is just too huge of a news to me!

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Thank you a lot ! I’m using Mailspring for profesional use with ubuntu OS and i have bought a licence just to support your effort :slight_smile:

Are there any roadmap for calendar integration ?

Regards !

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It’s on the short-term. Right now, we have to fulfill our promises here about making Mailspring ID optional, and we need to fix some major sync stability issues with Mailsync for various email services. Once that’s nailed down, Calendar is squarely at the top of our priorities. Of course, it’s hard to promise dates — that’s indie software for ya!

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this is great news. Will actually give it a spin to see how it turns. Privacy question though: now that’s it’s open source without the ID, is everything done locally, even the special features as snoozing etc? No more going thru external servers?

PS, just downloaded the MacOS 1.8 version and still asks to set up ID…

Hi @ihubgit,

The Pro features that rely on the servers will continue to do so. (Some Pro features don’t go through external servers.) However, because Mailsync is open source, you’ll be able to audit what exactly gets sent up to the servers, and what doesn’t.

just downloaded the MacOS 1.8 version and still asks to set up ID…

Yes, we know. 1.8.0 was released prior to this announcement. There will probably still be a few minor releases before the ID is made optional. As Ben said, there is a tremendous amount of work to do in the code to make the Mailspring ID optional. It won’t be an overnight feature, purely because of the amount of work involved. It’s our chief priority (besides bugfixes).

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ok good luck then with coding that up !

This is great news. Super excited to see things on a good track for Mailspring. Just converted my lapsed monthly pro account to an annual pro, and mentioned this Discourse in the Slack channel.

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I would love if you offered an open-source self-hosted server for storing this metadata. Understandably it wouldn’t support all the feature (particularly if some features have recurring costs for you), but a basic self-hosted server to store the metadata for snoozing, send later, read receipts, etc. would be awesome for people that don’t want to rely on third-party servers.

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I can answer to that one a little bit. The primary reason we have no plan for this is because Mailspring is only viable as a product because we’re in a position to compete with proprietary email products with similar features, but in a privacy-oriented model. If we open-sourced the server, there would be nothing preventing any of those companies — some of whom completely ignore the terms of the GPL — from ripping off Mailspring as a service in its entirety at no cost to them.

Because Mailspring ID has been made optional, and because Mailsync is now open source, so you can understand what that metadata is, that satisfies nearly all privacy-related concerns regarding use of our third-party servers. Beyond that, we don’t want to jeopardize the future of Mailspring by open sourcing the server-side. It was surprising to me just how brutally cutthroat the proprietary email client landscape really is.

Totally understandable :slight_smile: Thanks for the reply.

That’s understandable, but at the same time, it’s inevitable that someone will eventually create a replacement server that’s API-compatible with the ‘official’ one to fulfill this use case (eg. similar to how Bitwarden has an unofficial port in Rust, bitwarden-rs) :slight_smile:

Well, if they do that, more power to 'em. But then, they’re always be either be mere imitators, or have a legitimately innovative idea that gives them a completely valid competitive edge with us. What we don’t want to do is to just walk into the competition and just hand 'em our entry, as it were. :wink:

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6 posts were split to a new topic: EWS/EAS Support (Donation-Funded?)

Such a great news! I have tried so many mail clients, during which mailspring is one of the best and it is my favirate. However, due to the network reasons (I am from China), I could not visit mailspring id without proxy, make mailspring id optional is so great!

Congratulations on your two steps towards a product with a real privacy advantage (client and sync)! Now you just have the important one left to gain a real advantage: the server.

While I’m sure you’ll get a cash boost while people are confused enough to think the whole project has gone open source, good luck maintaining the cashflow of a privacy market product once people realize that the server is still closed source and centralized. I believe that the founders really do mean well, but that this initial cashflow is likely to lead you to believe you have a more stable business model than you actually do. Here’s why:

Sorry, but no, you’re not. As long as you make it mandatory to have private data sent to someone else’s centralized, proprietary server, you don’t have a privacy oriented product. This is especially true for sending users info to a server owned by a US company bound by third party doctrine law. Right now the US government can read your users personal info under a gag order so no-one outside of your company knows. The most passionate and educated potential contributors don’t tend to like that.

No. It doesn’t. Privacy concerns are removed by avoiding sending people’s data to centralized, proprietary third party servers, especially servers based in the US. Privacy concerns are not removed just by letting people see the data you’re sending. Mine certainly aren’t. When I first read this announcement I was hoping to be able to endorse, share and contribute to your success. Knowing that the servers are centralized, proprietary US owned and mandatory to get all of the features eliminates this. Knowing that the client is just an onramp to getting people to use prevents me using, sharing and endorsing even the free client without the mailspring ID requirement. The project has missed the point.

The “innovative idea” that will give a valid competitive edge is being genuinely privacy oriented by not sending personal info to US based, centralized proprietary servers.

This is exactly what you’re doing, right now, even without requiring a mailspringID.

As hard as it is for most devs to understand, in open source, your advantage is not your code. Really, it isn’t. Code comes from people, the more numerous and committed, the better. It’s a strong community of users, customers and contributors, deeply committed to a cause larger than an app, namely privacy, security, sovereignty and helping the greater community and the world to have all these things.

By keeping the server closed source, you’re eliminating that community -your one chance to have something the competitors can’t easily clone. You’re leaving yourself with only the transitory people who haven’t realized yet that this project isn’t (yet - I still have hope) an open source project, and the people who just don’t care. Neither make for the strongest community of advocates and contributors, leaving this as just another quasi proprietary app with a nice interface but not much more.

Creating something fully open (including the server) allows competitors to clone your code, but it makes them dependent on you. Creating a rabidly supportive community of contributors with an opportunity to validate their ideals by supporting you monetarily is how you create the community, customers and contributions to be the next Nextcloud of email, rather than the next ownCloud.

I’m pleased to subscribe, but the downside is that paying customers expect support.

The key bottleneck is still how hard it is to set up using non-gmail accounts. Maybe create some template you can type your data into using straight text and then mailspring can be directed to, and make an Import routine. Then reinstalls would much less painful.