modest development page



modest is a small e-mail program targetting hardware with modest resources, such as low-end PCs and Nokia N800/N810 internet tablets. Modest uses the tinymail e-mail framework.

At this moment, modest requires the Maemo 5 SDK for Nokia Internet Tablets; older versions ('Diablo') might work as well, but haven't been tested recently.


Show me the code

  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. Then, get the latest tinymail and modest code:

    Before cloning modest: follow these instructions

    • svn checkout tinymail
    • git clone
  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



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

mailing list

contributing and mailing list

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.


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.