In early 2013, Geary asked for $100,000 to build a mail client and stalled. Six months later, Mailpile did the same and the world could hardly hand over money fast enough. The difference? Edward Snowden.
…OK, there are a few other differences. Like Geary, Mailpile promised a Gmail-ish sleek design with fast search. While Geary is a GNOME app (which is not necessarily an exciting prospect for Windows or Apple users), Mailpile is a web-based client.
The Mailpile team of 3 is based in Iceland. Their fun campaign certainly struck a chord, as they reached their target well before deadline. During their campaign mail host Lavabit shut down rather than comply with a request to turn over their private security keys to the FBI. They had so much money pouring in that Paypal froze their account. Undoubtedly the extra coverage from that event didn’t hurt, either. As well as hundreds of individuals, Mailpile won support from many companies as well.
From the start the Mailpile team had their eyes turned towards the long-term. Donating $23 or more made one a member of the Mailpile community. These members
get to have a say in the long term direction of the project. When we aren’t sure what features to work on next or need to make some other major decision, we will seek input from the Mailpile Community…. This is the Mailpile business model. As long as members of our community are willing to fund development (we will ask you to renew your membership in a years’ time), we will dedicate ourselves to Mailpile and build the secure web-mail client you want.
- Campaign: Indiegogo
- Campaign date: 2013-09-10
- Campaign status: successful
- Campaign backers: 3639
- Campaign raised: US$163,192 of 100,000
- Project type: prototype
- Project license: AGPL, Apache
Their website lists the current status of development of various features. Their roadmap written shortly after the close of the campaign listed January 2014 as the goal for an “alpha release”. Their alpha release was launched on February 1 at FOSDEM (although it still requires installing from source) and on their website have hosted a demo.
- Slides (pdf) from Bjarni Rúnar Einarsson’s launch of the Mailpile campaign
- Mailpile – well, they’re half right – Blog post from a security company arguing that creating another email client fails to address mail server security problems
- Techcrunch coverage
- Mailpile blog – Turning money into code (after the target amount had been reached)
- Mailpile blog – A rough budget and alpha roadmap (after the campaign had closed)
- Interview (video and transcript) with Bjarni Einarsson
- Wired: Open Sourcers Pitch Secure Email in Dark Age of PRISM
- Mailpile blog – Alpha Release