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Hiri is Your Best Bet for Using Microsoft Exchange on Linux

Warning!

Despite being a promising application, it seems Hiri is not actively developed and maintained even for paid customers. The developers seem to be unreachable. You have been warned!

Previously, I have written about the email services Protonmail and Tutanota on It’s FOSS. And though I liked both of those email providers very much, some of us couldn’t possibly use these email services exclusively. If you are like me and you have an email address provided for you by your work, then you understand what I am talking about.

Some of us use Thunderbird for these types of use cases, while others of us use something like Geary or even Mailspring. But for those of us who have to deal with Microsoft Exchange Servers, none of these offer seamless solutions on Linux for our work needs.

This is where Hiri comes in. We have already featured Hiri on our list of best email clients for Linux, but we thought it was about time for an in-depth review.

FYI

Hiri is neither free nor open source software.

Reviewing Hiri email client on Linux

Hiri email client review

According to their website, Hiri not only supports Microsoft Exchange and Office 365 accounts, it was exclusively “built for the Microsoft email ecosystem.”

Based in Dublin, Ireland, Hiri has raised $2 million in funding. They have been in the business for almost five years but started supporting Linux only last year. The support for Linux has brought Hiri a considerable amount of success.

I have been using Hiri for a week as of yesterday, and I have to say, I have been very pleased with my experience…for the most part.

[irp posts=”25352″ name=”ProtonMail: An Open Source Privacy-Focused Email Service Provider”]

Hiri features

Some of the main features of Hiri are:

  • Cross-platform application available for Linux, macOS and Windows
  • Supports only Office 365, Outlook and Microsoft Exchange for now
  • Clean and intuitive UI
  • Action filters
  • Reminders
  • Skills: Plugins to make you more productive with your emails
  • Office 365 and Exchange and other Calendar Sync
  • Compatible with Active Directory
  • Offline email access
  • Secure (it doesn’t send data to any third party server, it’s just an email client)
  • Compatible with Microsoft’s archiving tool

Taking a look at Hiri Features

Hiri can either be compiled manually or installed easily as Snap and comes jam-packed with useful features. But, if you knew me at all, you would know that usually, a robust feature list is not a huge selling point for me. As a self-proclaimed minimalist, I tend to believe the simpler option is often the better option, and the less “fluff” there is surrounding a product, the easier it is to get to the part that really matters. Admittedly, this is not always the case. For example, KDE’s Plasma desktop is known for its excessive amount of tweaks and features and I am still a huge Plasma fan. But in Hiri’s case, it has what feels like the perfect feature set and in no way feels convoluted or confusing.

That is partially due to the way that Hiri works. If I had to put it into my own words, I would say that Hiri feels almost modular. It does this by utilizing what Hiri calls the Skill Center. Here you can add or remove functionality in Hiri at the flip of a switch. This includes the ability to add tasks, delegate action items to other people, set reminders, and even enables the user to create better subject lines. None of which are required, but each of which adds something to Hiri that no other email client has done as well.

Using these features can help you organize your email like never before. The Dashboard feature allows you to monitor your time spent working on emails, the Task List enables you to stay on track, the Action/FYI feature allows you to tag your emails as needed to help you cipher through a messy inbox, and the Zero Inbox feature helps the user keep their inbox count at a minimum once they have sorted through the nonsense. And as someone who is an avid Inbox Zeroer (if that is even a thing), this to me was incredibly useful.

Hiri also syncs with your associated calendars as you would expect, and it even allows a global search for all of the other accounts associated with your office. Need to email Frank Smith in Human Resources but can’t remember his email address? No big deal! Hiri will auto-fill the email address once you start typing in his name just like in a native Outlook client.

Multiple account support is also available in Hiri. The support for IMAP will be added in a few months.

In short, Hiri’s feature-set allows for what feels like a truly native Microsoft offering on Linux. It is clean, simple enough, and allows someone with my productivity workflow to thrive. I really dig what Hiri has to offer, and it’s as simple as that.

[irp posts=”27249″ name=”Tutanota: Encrypted Open Source Email Service for Privacy Minded People”]

Experiencing the Hiri UI

As far as design goes, Hiri gets a solid A from me. I never felt like I was using something outdated looking like Evolution (I know people like Evolution a lot, but to say it is clean and modern is a lie), it never felt overly complicated like KMail, and it felt less cramped than Thunderbird. Though I love Thunderbird dearly, the inbox list is just a little too small to feel like I can really cipher through my emails in a decent amount of time. Hiri seemingly fixes this but adds another issue that may be even worse.

Geary is an email client that I think does layouts just right. It is spacious, but not in a wasteful way, it is clean, simple, and allows me to get from point A to point B quickly. Hiri, on the other hand, falls just shy of layout heaven. Though the inbox list looks fantastic, when you click to read an email it takes up the whole screen. Whereas Geary or Thunderbird can be set up to have the user’s list of emails on the left and opened emails in the same window on the right, which is my preferred way to read email, Hiri does not allow this functionality. The layout either looks and functions like it belongs on a mobile device, or the email preview is below the email list instead of to the right. This isn’t a make or break issue for me, but I will be honest and say I really don’t like it.

In my opinion, Hiri could work even better with a couple of tweaks. But that opinion is just that, an opinion. Hiri is modern, clean, and intuitive enough, I am just obnoxiously picky. Other than that, the color palette is beautiful, the soft edges are pretty stunning, and Hiri’s overall design language is a breath of fresh air in the, at times, outdated feel that is oh so common in the Linux application world.

Also, this isn’t Hiri’s fault but since I installed the Hiri snap it still has the same cursor theme issue that many other snaps suffer from, which drives me UP A WALL when I move in and out of the application, so there’s that.

[irp posts=”13640″ name=”Top 9 Best Email Clients for Linux”]

How much does Hiri cost?

Hiri is compatible with Microsoft Active Directory

Hiri is neither free nor open source software. Hiri costs either up to $39 a year or $119 for a lifetime license. However, it does provide a free seven day trial period.

Considering the features it provides, Hiri is a good product even if you don’t have to deal with Microsoft Exchange Servers. Don’t take my word for it. Give Hiri a try for free for the seven day trial and see for yourself if it is worth paying or not.

And if you decide to purchase it, I have further good news for you. Hiri team has agreed to provide an exclusive 60% discount to It’s FOSS readers. All you have to do is to use coupon code ITSFOSS60 at checkout. 

Get 60% Off with ITSFOSS60 Coupon Code

Conclusion

In the end, Hiri is an amazingly beautiful piece of software that checks so many boxes for me. That being said, the three marks that it misses for me are collectively too big to overlook: the layout, the cost, and the freedom (or lack thereof). If you are someone who is really in need of a native client, the layout does not bother you, you can justify spending some money, and you don’t want or need it to be FOSS, then you may have just found your new email client!

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  • (Note to web-admins: Third time is the charm. My second post had two versions and incorrectly stated this review was the “first” return to a search for reviews on Hiri. More accurately, it’s one of the first. I’ve since revised. Please post this instead of the other two posts. Thank you!)

    TLDR Version: I purchased Hiri based on the advice in this article among other reviews. Excluding games, it was the first, and likely last, time I will purchase proprietary software for Linux. The software is buggy and the developers give precisely 0 f—’s about their user base, spending time ramping up their website and advertising campaign, while letting this garbage pile slowly burn down, unattended and unsupervised. Spend your money elsewhere and support real FOSS projects and developers.

    Yes, I know this is an old article. Yes, I realize there is now a warning at the top, as well as other advisory/cautionary posts from users, but I wanted to echo https://itsfoss.com/hiri-email-review/#comments/342918. This is a scam. Do not buy it.

    I further encourage the web maintainers to take this article down and replace with only a warning. Better yet, write an article panning the developers and this project. This article is the one of the first Google hit most people will get if searching for a review of Hiri on Linux. Instead of praising the software with a short warning in the front (a warning that does not appear in the preview text on the search results), ITSFOSS should expose Hiri for the shameless attempt to exploit the Linux community that it is. It’s not FOSS in any sense of the acronym and there is a chance you may prevent others from throwing away money to these crooks that could go to reputable, good faith FOSS developers, projects, and teams.

    I purchased Hiri when I was relatively new on my Linux journey. I had mostly excised MS from my life, including my gaming, but my job requires nearly 24 /7 attention to an Exchange Inbox that is overflowing with mail. I can’t stand Outlook or Thunderbird’s UI and I was looking for a progressive, feature-rich but UI-lite email client that simply got out of my way and let me work. This article (which was missing a warning when I read it), among others, convinced me that Hiri was exactly what I was looking for.

    Based on this article and others like it, posted on community-focused, reputable platforms, I paid money to get something for Linux (that wasn’t a game) for the first time.

    Despite some initial good first impressions, I can now confidently say that was a huge mistake. Don’t get me wrong – the UI is cleaner than most other email clients and there some good ideas buried in its implementation, such as using some crude AI to help you sort and prioritize email.

    But the charm wore off as I noticed problems copying emails to sub-folders. The “UI/UX Lite” approach advocated by the publisher more and more felt like a distraction from the fact it was too lazy to implement basic features, like expanded rich text formatting, found in most email clients since Y2K. There is no way to archive or save the emails to a local drive, which his particularly frustrating for people like me who are looking to bail from the platform. (Perhaps others can show me what I missed. For the sake of anyone who has purchased this client, I sincerely hope I’m wrong because the lack of this feature is utterly inexcusable in 2020.)

    Perhaps my worst experience came when Hiri started sporadically locking down emails. The emails that I spent the longest time composing would get stuck in the Outbox after I hit send. I was unable to retrieve those emails, despite triggering the send/receive function, digging around on the local-host for temp or cached versions of those documents. Nothing worked. The only way “fix” to this problem was to uninstall, then reinstall, Hiri. But unfortunately the email was lost. And the problem would sporadically occur again.

    My profession requires that I bill by the hour, and I am not cheap. This comment probably cost me several hundred dollars in lost time. But it’s worth it to me if I can stop just one person from buying this software. Instead, you should be donating to your favorite dittos. But don’t stop there, remember that your distro is nearly worthless to the *average* user without a good GUI (by average user, I mean a typical PC user who is Linux curious. If you have written a bash script that does . . . anything, you do not fall into this category). Give the folks at KDE or Gnome some money. XFCE needs new developers to keep up. But don’t stop there! What are you viewing this on? Firefox? God knows Mozilla needs the money. Do you use LibreOffice? Have you stuck with Thunderbird after making the (wise) decision to stay away from this flaming garbage pile? They need your help now more than ever.

    Just don’t spend your money on this. Hiri is best used an example to refute the pernicious doubt that haunts even the most ardent FOSS advocate: is proprietary software better because you paid for it? Just like bottled v. tap water, (https://www.selfcarehub.com/blog/blindtastetest), the answer is conclusively “no.”

    Please let me know if you are aware of anywhere else that I can share my opinion on Hiri that might make a difference. I chose ITSFOSS for my first post because of its otherwise good reputation in the community and also because it is one of the first sites to come up when searching for information on Hiri.

    • It was a ‘promising’ application 3-4 years back. Something happened and the product is not being developed anymore. 2-3 years of inactivity will surely accumulate a huge pile of problems.

      When we first reviewed it years ago, the writer shared his experience. Hiri is not a good product anymore for the lack of support and development.

      • Thanks for the response, Abhishek! I don’t mean to denigrate the author at all. There’s no way he could have predicted this would turn into a total s-show.
        ,The reason its problematic is that, though development has ceased, the advertising has not. As I’m writing this, their website had a countdown running to get the software for 50% off (Spoiler: It’s not worth it.)
        ,
        For this reason, and for all the reasons in my prior post, I think ITSFOSS should consider taking the review down completely.