Oct 062015

Seriously, does the world need another open source e-mail client?

Answer: Does America need another TRUMPeting mountebank with a weird hairdo?

In Silicon Valley, people (VCs) with tons of money far too frequently knock into entrepreneurs full of gusto and gumption but often short of creative brilliance.

Voila, a partnership is quickly formed, money changes hands and a new startup announces a few millions in funding.

Case in point – San Francisco startup Nylas with its N1 desktop open source mail client.

Nyla’s free N1 e-mail client does not leverage the familiar mail protocols SMTP or IMAP but relies on its custom Platform APIs.

This means your mail passes through Nyla’s cloud server, which is a huge no-no in today’s world of vulnerable security, inadequate privacy and constant snooping.

You can run the whole Nylas mail platform inhouse but that’d really be a big pain, wouldn’t it? Nylas’ server infrastructure runs on Amazon Web Services (a CIA contractor).

N1 is designed as an extensible product to let developers build plugins to add features to the cross-platform mail client.

Nylas touts N1 as compatible with hundreds of email providers including Gmail, Yahoo, iCloud, and Microsoft Exchange.

“N1 is for everyone,” trumpets the startup.

But I’m not convinced Nylas is a better alternative to Thunderbird, Evolution, Geary or the other open source e-mail clients available today owing to my security concerns.

In its earlier avatars, the startup, founded by Dropbox and MIT alums, was first known as Inbox and then Nilas before settling on Nylas.

The fledgling’s investors include Formation 8, SV Angel, Fuel Capital, Data Collective and Great Oaks Venture Capital.

Nylas hopes to make money by signing up businesses and enterprises that want more than 10 accounts (it’s free for up to 10 accounts).

Available Now – Not Really

I found download buttons for the N1 client on the Nylas web site but hit a wall when I clicked on it.

Although Nylas is ‘available’ for Mac OS and Linux, you can’t download it yet. When I tried to download the N1 client for Linux, this is the message that popped up:

Due to overwhelming interest, you’ll need to wait a bit before downloading N1. Leave your email address and we’ll contact you soon.

I expect the Windows version of N1 will also be ‘available’ soon.

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