Geary crowdfunding: What’s next?

geary-yorbaThirty days comes and goes faster than you think.  The Geary crowdfunding campaign’s 30 days are up, and unfortunately, we didn’t make our target amount.  That means Yorba will take in none of the $50,860 pledged by 1,192 generous donors over the past month, who will receive refunds.

I’d like to thank each person who pledged to the Geary campaign.  That money represented more than dollars and pennies, it represented trust in Yorba and the work we’re doing to bring high-quality software to the Free Desktop.  $50,860 is not small potatoes, and 1,192 donors in 30 days tells me we’re doing something right.  Even if we “failed” I like to believe we succeeded in some sense.

What’s next?  In some ways, it’s back to business for Yorba.  We’re still coding.  In fact, we released new versions of Geary and Shotwell (even Valencia!) during the crowdfunding campaign, which has to be some kind of record.  We’re working now to find other sources of income to cover our costs.  All options are being considered.

That said, please consider giving directly to Yorba.  If you pledged and are going to receive a Paypal refund, you can still donate some or all of that money to Yorba knowing it will be put to good use.  Every dollar we take in is a little more oxygen for Yorba to continue developing free software.  Just follow this link to donate:

Thanks everyone!

47 thoughts on “Geary crowdfunding: What’s next?”

  1. Keep moving.
    I think the main problem is the start amount for the donation, maybe if start with 1$ or maybe 3$ can make more little steps to the finish line.
    Good luck and good work.

        1. It’s not an issue of goals or features, it never was. It’s an issue of paying staff, rent, etc.

          If we can’t do that — i.e. if we only have 1/3 of what it costs to run Yorba — how would we implement even a single feature?

          1. All I can say to that is some money is better than no money. Seeking 70k from other sources is slightly easier than seeking 100k. Who said you can only crowd fund once? Do it once for 30k. If you meet the goal and people seem enthusiastic… Do it again. But 100k on one shot makes people doubt your goal. I think you all may have scared some people away with the big number. I wish you all luck and truly hope Geary comes to life as both you and we all envision.

  2. I am experiencing your mail client into Elementary OS.

    It is beautyful, working perfectly, a very good mail client! It do the basic job that I ask it to do: show me mails and conversations.

    I am testing it since 2 days.
    After few days, I will consider donate you and eOS team directly.

    Thank you for the great job you’ve done, you’re on the right way 😉

    Is that possible to make Geary and Maya (eOS calendar) working together?
    My gMail account is linked with a calendar that I use everyday with my Android phone.

    1. Glad to hear you’re having good experiences with Geary so far!

      Geary doesn’t yet offer any type of integration with calendar apps. It’s something we’d like to do, and is ticketed here.

  3. I know you said $100k was the “bare minimum” and when I first saw the campaign launched, I did think it was a little too much and unfortunately you didn’t get any.

    Once my exams out the way, I might try to donate code-wise 🙂

      1. Compared to what could have been successful. What could you have done with $50,000? I don’t think the answer is “nothing.”

        1. True, but there’s a catch 22 when you ask for donations to develop software.

          The fact is we may not have gotten $50k pledged if we hadn’t promised features like search, GPG support, calendar & contact integration, etc. But if we’d only gotten $50k, we wouldn’t have been able to implement those anyway!

        2. A question I’ve asked elsewhere: How much do you think it cost to build Thunderbird? Now take that figure and halve it. Do you think they could’ve done it with *that* amount?

          I feel your sentiment (which we’ve heard a lot recently) is based on the idea that we should take whatever money we can get and scrape by. I like to believe the future of open source isn’t so dim that that’s the only alternative.

          1. Instead of a single $100.000 campaign, you could have done three $40.000 campaigns, because i may not have $100 to give you NOW, but i can give you 120 distributed in 3 collects. Just saying.

          2. I think the real question is how much did it already cost to build Evolution and Thunderbird and why can’t we build further on that. I find it sad that almost all of the features proposed in your funding drive are already provided by Evolution (and by Thunderbird).

            That said, I applaud your goal of building software entirely in the public interest (without any personal profit incentive), I’m not sure it can be made to work without being financially independent from the start.

          3. @Desiderantes: So, for one, the fundraiser was supposed to be able to finance v0.4 of Geary only. So what we would have seen if this fundraiser had succeeded would be further fundraisers asking for another 100000 Dollars.

            And then, I don’t quite agree with your conclusion that more fundraisers are better. Personally I am not sure I would have given the same amount (or anything at all, actually, since I felt I was giving far too much already for a type of software that would normally pay somewhere between nothing and five Dollars usually).
            I think this whole asking-for-money thing wears off quite fast.

            That said, I love Geary for its simplicity and the fact that it copies just the right things from Gmail without me having to open a Gmail tab.

  4. Sorry to hear that you guys didn’t make it to your goal. Sent you my donation anyway. I really appreciate the work you guys are doing. Perhaps next time you should do a fund raiser for Shotwell? It seems like something that a lot more people use and might gather more interest. Just an idea …

  5. I am an Ubuntu user, but if this was positioned as a mail client for MacOS (and possibly windows) as well .. on Kickstarter – then you might well have hit the target.

    I know the reasons you didn’t use Kickstarter, but there is just more $ there.. doing builds for MacOS (where their used to paying) would also help things a lot.

    Not sure if you can tweak how long there is to raise the $, but more might help.

    1. I’ve made some headway on a Mac OS X port (ticket is here) but I’m not a Mac expert by any means. It doesn’t seem like a Mac version is too far off.

      We also have a ticket for a Windows port here. That one is a bit more of a challenge; in theory it should be possible to compile and build everything on MinGW. But that’s more of a challenge than it sounds!

      BTW, any help with these ports is appreciated.

  6. Just made my donation to Yorba’s donate page, I’m only sorry I can’t give more. I know how hard you all work, and appreciate so much everything that you do. Here’s hoping for even more donations directly to Yorba!

  7. I would have donated if this was on kickstarter, wasn’t about to sign up for yet another service for just one thing.

    Please try again on Kickstarter!

  8. I made a donation, its not much, but i hope it helps. You could add a button for “subscription” too. I would pay every month, if only it is 1$. Maybe other will do the same…

  9. Sorry to see your crowdsourcing campaign fall short. I don’t think asking for 100K was excessive as it is a relatively small amount compared to what some of the other crowdsourcing efforts take inn. I do wonder if it would have helped using Kickstarter instead, the barrier to putting in money is less if you are already registered with a site and I know a lot of games have gotten significant funding from the Linux crowd on Kickstarter by promising linux support.

    That said I also think we need a trailblazer here, a crowdsourcing effort that takes off in a similar vein to how the Double Fine Adverture kickstarter took off and cleared the path for a lot of other game crowdsourcing efforts. I think once we have one such open source crowdsourcing project trailblaze it will be a lot easier to do other successful kickstarters in the wake of that.

    I will take my contributing though and send it directly to Yorba as suggested, you guys do a great job there.

  10. Sad that this didn’t work out – I very much hoped it would. Anyway I will make sure to donate directly to you, even if that’s not solving anything in the long term.

    Thinking about the reasons why it didn’t work, I have a feeling that a mail client just doesn’t have as many people caring about than multimedia-related software. As someone said, it would have been interesting to see whether a campaign to implement some sexy stuff for Shotwell would have succeeded – I think it would have.

    Keep up the good work, guys, and good luck with other funding sources.

  11. Okay, so Geary didn’t get funded. So how about Stury, simply because it’s a Portmanteau of Stu and ‘Geary’?

  12. Please try again on Kickstarter !

    1) set a lower target amount
    2) but specify “stretch goals” (as in the OpenShot KS)

    FOr the future : what about a way to fund Yorba’s developments a bit like Ardour’s developer ? He says : I need $x to make a living and continue developing Ardour : please subscribe $y per month (or make a donation), I keep everyone informed about the amount of money gathered.

  13. I wasn’t able to donate, sadly… I have my own bills to pay. But, one thing that I think prevented a lot of people from donating, is (in the video) you said “You won’t even know it’s open source” which implies all open source sofware is bad. While I know there are a lot of bad OSS out there, look at Firefox and (well) Thunderbird. FF is, and Thunderbird was (before Mozilla dropped it), great software. I think you could have gotten more donations by not saying that thing about not knowing its open source.

    Another thing, a ton of people, myself included, would rather pay 100K to see a fork of Thunderbird upkept, then have to learn yet ANOTHER interface.

    Lastly, I think Geary is great. I have two irks with it, though: A.) It doesn’t have a simple “Check Mail” button… not even under the “Gear” button. B.) On my 17.5 inch screen (a fairly decent size), I can’t have Geary on Maximize, becuase it cuts off the right side of my email. I have to have it in window mode, and have to resize the window in order to read the whole thing. I think this is something that needs to be fixed. (Example of the error: )

    1. That comment in the video was a mistake on my part which I regret. We did remove it after the first day of the campaign.

      If by “upkeep” you mean something more than just security updates (which Mozilla is doing), $100K would not pay for the upkeep of a Thunderbird fork. If it did, Mozilla would do it themselves.

  14. Sorry it didn’t pan out. Unfortunately I have not used Geary. I’ve been interested and keeping up-to-date on it’s progress, but it never reached feature parity for my needs. I think you guys make great software. I hope you can find the funding you need to continue the development.

  15. Your crowdfounding experience shows us great lessons about the issues of getting payed for working on open source software. Adam Dingle mentioned many times how hard is sustaining an open source project just from donations income only, and the need of a feasible funding strategy that employs the crowdfunding model effectively.

    The fact is that current crowdfunding services like Kickstarter or Indiegogo aren’t well suited for open source projects. While social causes and charity could easily collect hundred of thousands of dollars in a short period, FOSS projects were hardly to get noticed in the middle of those “flashy” and “cooler” campains related to arts and electronic doo-dads.

    So I think that is needed a crowdfunding site specialized in software projects, taking into account that software donors behave different from those insterested in charity of arts: they’re more exceptic and want to get some benefit in retribution for their contributions, but those compensation shouldn’t be just cheap souvenirs. Instead, they want to get involved and influence proactively the development of FOSS projects for getting done the features that they expect from that software. Crowdfunding should evolve into an Open Innovation system that connects developers and users more deeply. Only in that way peple would be more motivated to give their contributions in FOSS.

  16. Have you thought about putting geary on Ubuntu’s Software Center and charging for the software. Its a straight forward method of collecting “donations”. Ubuntu users can have geary updated through their package management system without having to install the PPA (which I know is super easy). I would suggest than taking down your own PPA so that it gives an incentive for people to purchase geary through Software Center. The source code can still be made available online and developers can still download, compile, and contribute.

    1. We’ve considered charging for Geary in USC, but it’s unclear if that would make enough revenue to sustain Yorba. So far, USC hasn’t had any success stories that we’re aware of.

  17. Perhaps the problem is that Geary’s most unique features are already available. The promised features from the campaign are absolutely important, but aren’t very sexy. They were the things that are already available in other clients.

    It’s like how my old school district has no trouble passing technology levies to raise money for every student to have an iPad, but can’t get operations levies passed to keep their teachers on the payroll. The fancy new stuff gets wallets to open, even if the boring stuff is more important.

    Sorry that the target wasn’t hit–Yorba might be the best thing to happen to Linux since Ubuntu. I donated my refund, and I hope we have better luck with the next fundraiser.

  18. 1. I’ve been paying attention to this effort. I don’t really know if its better to take nothing than 50K if you are building the software and moving forward anyways.

    2. The way to think about how to sell Geary and have it make money is to package it with a premium email server/collaboration gateway…if you make it platform agnostic…as it appears to be where you are headed there will be a greater chance of people selling particular mail servers (based on open source software or maybe even not) reselling it for you as an add-on package…but the bottom line is that there aren’t that many great email clients out there…Thunderbird is very functional but the design on geary seems easier and smarter…why are most mail clients so boring hard to want to look at?.

    The problem is that its all cart before horse, you need to product to be able to pull these kind of deals.

    3. The other way to think about this is the enterprise market…i know it seems hard to crack but thats the sector where email usage is increasing. Add in some features that let companies brand their clients easily and I think you would have a winner.

    integrate a chat client into the geary itself…that is something that people want very badly and would pay for on a kickstarter campaign as part of a group of features you would offer.

    anways…sorry you didn’t get funded…I liked the idea of this project a lot…

  19. Hi,

    i’ve been using geary for a couple of days now, and besides a few bugs, it has the “sparrow” spirit i’m searching after switching from mac to linux. I’m also fond of shotwell for the first time i’ve used, shotwell is one of the reasons i want to be on linux.

    Crowdfunding is maybe too much fashioned nowadays : too many projects, and only a few rewards. I see gimp began to have a good flattr score, maybe it’s a better approach if it’s for paying bills : regular micropayments, each month, are more valuable for a opensource project, imho.

    i won’t mind if some parts of the software were granted only for backers too. Or a powerpack like Alfred do.

    Maybe people that search for simple great apps are the kind to pay for an app in the ubuntu store. FOSS say free as open doesn’t mean free as no money. maybe the most open part of linux users would be willing to buy apps, music or products just to pay developers for making open source code. maybe Canonical don’t made an awful choice when quitting gnome and trying to build a hybrid sourced system.

    1. The Ubuntu Software Center sounds appealing, but it’s still an unproved platform — the best selling app in May sold only 78 copies!

      1. Maybe a serious app (for now, the store sells nothing but cheap games) can beat the score ? I dunno if it’s lot of extra work to appear on their store, but if it’s easy, be the exception 😉 (by the way, all ubuntu unity users know shotwell, so the audience is easier to convince).

  20. Have you checked ? Here’s a nice article by Bryan Lunduke:

    Because that site is being devoted to open source, you might be luckier next time.

    I also support the idea of developing cross-platform (including tablets and phones). I don’t think Vala and GTK+ are the better tools for that, though. I’m pretty sure a QML/Qt based project would be much easier to develop for multiple platforms, but I understand you have heavily invested in your language and toolkit choice already.

    Good luck anyway.

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