modest development page



modest is a small e-mail program targetting hardware with modest resources. It's developed currently for Gnome/Moblin desktops and Nokia N900 mobile computers. Modest uses the tinymail e-mail framework.

Modest offers two user experiences:

  • Maemo5/Fremantle based one, targetted to Nokia N900
  • Gtk/Moblin based one, targetted for Gnome and Moblin desktops.


Show me the code

Now Modest git repository lives in Gitorious. The project is

For building in Maemo 5 platform

  1. Make sure you have the Maemo 5 SDK installed, and activate it.
    • Make sure you install packages:
      $ fakeroot apt-get install gnome-common gtk-doc-tools wpeditor-dev
  2. Get the latest tinymail and modest code:
    • git clone git://
    • git clone git://
    • For building the current stable releases for N900, please use tinymail-1-2 branch in tinymail and modest-3-2 branch in modest.
  3. Then compile and install tinymail and modest with:
    • export CFLAGS="-ggdb -O0 -DDBC -DDEBUG" (optional, for debugging)
    • export PKG_CONFIG_PATH="/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig:$PKG_CONFIG_PATH"
    • ./ --with-platform=maemo --with-toolkit=hildon2 && make && make install
  4. Now, run modest (inside scratchbox) from the Extras menu, or with:
    • /usr/local/bin/modest -s

Gtk/Moblin port is experimental. Ask developers in #modest IRC channel in freenode for build instructions




In addition, there's of course the documentation for GTK+/GLib and Maemo.

contact and mailing list

contribute and contact Modest team

You are of course very welcome to contribute to our efforts! Please take a look at the HACKING-file in the source distribution to see what conventions we are using.

Of course it's also good to discuss your plans/suggestions etc. on the modest mailing list; modest-devel is for development issues, while modest-users is for end-user discussions.

We also have an IRC channel in channel #modest

try modest

  • For Nokia N900, Modest is preinstalled, it is the default mail application.
  • For Ubuntu distributions karmic and lucid we have the Modest PPA. Follow instructions there to install Modest.


modest is available under a BSD-like license. tinymail is available under the terms of the LGPL. Please refer to the source code for the details.