Upgrade for Runbox 4 users

Although Runbox 5 was launched in 2009 we have continued supporting Runbox 4 despite having to maintain an extra set of servers and software.

At this point we are going to have to make some changes, though…

Runbox 4 and the recent database upgrades

We have been planning to retire Runbox 4 for a while now, but some of you who have been with us for a long time have grown to love the trusty but perhaps a bit clunky interface. So we postponed the decision and wanted to do it slowly and gently at some point in the future.

However, when completing the database server replacement today, we realized that some of the software powering Runbox 4 is no longer compatible with the new database servers. We have tried upgrading that old software, but it’s proving very difficult.

Runbox 5 and the even newer Runbox 6

Since we think it’s better to spend time improving the new Runbox 6 instead, and because Runbox 4 is so old it’s starting to be a security risk, we have decided to upgrade those still using Runbox 4 to Runbox 5 Basic.

Runbox 5 Basic works very similarly to Runbox 4, but it looks a lot nicer. Runbox 5 is the standard Webmail while we finish the new Runbox 6, which is still in testing.

You can find more information about how Runbox 5 works here: Runbox 5 Upgrade Guide

We hope you will like Runbox 5 while we keep working to finalize Runbox 6!

Drafts in Runbox 4 vs Runbox 5

In Runbox 5, drafts are stored in a different way that lets them be synchronized with an email client over IMAP. Unfortunately, this also means that drafts stored in Runbox 4 are not available in the Runbox 5 interface.

However, for those of you who have saved drafts in Runbox 4 we can most likely convert them to Runbox 5 if you contact us via https://support.runbox.com.

fast.runbox.com and light.runbox.com

The text-only Webmail at fast.runbox.com was also running Runbox 4 software. We have a new, similar webmail powered by Runbox 5 available at light.runbox.com for those who want that: http://light.runbox.com/mail

fast.runbox.com will therefore redirect to light.runbox.com from now on.

24 thoughts on “Upgrade for Runbox 4 users”

  1. I understand the need to upgrade systems, but if people wanted to be on Runbox 4 there was probably a reason for it (you opinion may be that Runbox 5 looks nicer, but I don’t agree with you).

    As for the changes to fast.runbox.com – I used that for my mobile phone but I don’t think it will be able to handle light.runbox.com. As there doesn’t seem to be much choice, can you at least tell me where the logout button is in the light interface?

    1. Suzanne: We really appreciate that some of you still prefer Runbox 4 — we’re a bit nostalgic about it too (I designed it myself back in 2002).

      We would keep running all the old versions of Runbox forever if we could, but the problem is that they rely on old versions of a lot of other software (such as the Linux operating system).

      That makes Runbox 4 really difficult to maintain, both because it needs to talk to a central database that also has to be compatible with the newer software powering Runbox 5 and 6, and because it poses an increasing security risk. Old software that is no longer updated with security patches will sooner or later be compromised, and that would be bad for all of our customers.

      We have fixed the problem with the Logout button in the light.runbox.com interface now. If you use email on your phone a lot, we recommend setting up IMAP instead of using Webmail — please see this page for more information: http://doc.runbox.com/twiki/bin/view/RunboxHelp/IMAP

  2. Thank you for the reply, Geir. I apologize if my comment was a little snappy, but the changes were very unexpected. I suppose I’ll just get used to it.

    I do appreciate that the logout button was fixed though, and I’ll think about switching over to IMAP on my phone. Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings to the Runbox team.

  3. Hi,

    As another orphaned R4 veteran I would like to throw my 2p. The only thing that kept me with that functionally obsolete interface was the look and feel of R5 version, which I do not like at all.

    Sorry guys, but in my humble opinion it looks plain bad. Menu buttons are horribly incompatible with the rest of clickable widgets, icons are very ugly and the whole page composition looks disjointed and amateurish. I think that the web premium client should not bring to mind a self-decomposing page from an early stage of Internet. But that’s exactly the feeling I cannot resist while contemplating the now enforced R5 skin.

    Why can’t you invest some money and bring in a decent designer to help you transform this wooky mess into something neat, tidy, attractive? You are not a bunch of geeks writing a freeware Linux torrent client – you run serious business offering a premium product and aesthetics (should) play an important role in the package.

    Of course, de gustibus non est disputandum, but I would love to hear what other clients think about it.

    Merry apocalypse and happy new year.


    1. Jakub: Thanks for your feedback. As the person who designed both versions I cannot help but disagree slightly — but I appreciate your perspective. We have been working hard this past year to upgrade all the hardware and software that powers the Runbox Webmail, which means that we’re now in a really good position to improve the actual user interface.

      It still looks like Runbox 5, but the new Runbox 6 now in testing at https://rmm6.runbox.com will be the next generation of Runbox Webmail. We’ve upgraded all its software modules from the ground up and created a deployment system that will enable us to improve it much more easily.

      In the meantime, perhaps you’d like the simpler and lighter interface at https://light.runbox.com. 🙂

  4. Been here since 1999, and always enjoyed almost all interfaces, and being myself an IT guy, I fully understand the need to go forward and obviously its desirable.

    Nevertheless I’ve never been very fond of runbox5, nor my pentium 4 (yep.. shame on me).

    I have used fast.runbox.com for a while, but I missed the https that I enjoy so much… Seems to me that light.runbox will lack the same secure mode.

    Looking forward to see what runbox 6 has to offer
    Merry Christmas

  5. fdias: Thanks for staying with us all this time!

    We do have a lightweight interface for Runbox 5 available at https://light.runbox.com now — why not give it a try!

    By the way, fast.runbox.com will redirect there as well from now on.

  6. I was using RMM5 (in classic mode I think it was called) rather than RMM4 but it went away as well.

    On the positive sided, I think RMM6 looks tolerable. The new 5 is pretty darn bad looking.

    You announced an oil change, but my steering wheel is now on the opposite side of the car, so now my head hurts…

    Let’s not make a habit of this…

    And on a questioning note:
    While my phone can handle https://light.runbox.com it is not formatted for a small screen. Is there any mobile web version of Runbox? I do use the mail client on my phone, but web has several advantages. Actually I think my phone can handle the full site but the size format question remains.

  7. Hmmm, I just had to turn on referrer logging to post my comment above. Otherwise I got a 404 error.

    The 90s called, they’d like their code back, give it to them please.

  8. Sorry guys, but to me light.runbox.com is not even worth to be called “light”: exactly the same UI with a stripped CSS.
    Sorry to say that, but this way of managing the web UI is very poor: there is a number of different URLs for (completely) different versions of the same service. This is enormously bad.

    A few important suggestions:

    0. ONE and ONLY ONE codebase for the webmail application
    1. ONE and ONLY ONE URL for the webmail service
    2. httpS scheme should be the default choice, period. If the user doesn’t agree, he has the chance to opt out
    3. afraid of security holes? Open the webmail app and push it somewhere with an OSS license, have quick dev cycles and pull down updated code steadily
    4. afraid of security in general? Two-way authentication, OTP and per-application-passwords. We’re almost in 2013.
    5. Again: be quick to develop and push new code in production: this whole stuff seems to be stagnating. If you need help see point 3): open source the freaking app and get help. Personally I’d be super happy to contribute.

    1. Thanks for the feedback and suggestions!

      M.Ds.: We are working to consolidate our services, and retiring Runbox 4 was a big piece of that puzzle. Our goal is to standardize on Runbox 6 for our main domain runbox.com with just light|fast.runbox.com as an alternative for low bandwidth and mobile devices.

      If you have concrete suggestions for improving the light.runbox.com interface we’d be interested in them — as you say it’s currently just a stripped down version of the regular interface.

      We’ve spent a great deal of time upgrading both the hardware and software platform powering Runbox, and have created a deployment system to develop and manage our codebase (and all its dependencies) much more efficiently. We’re now finally ready to move forward, and we’d be thrilled if you’d like to contribute.

      We have been considering open sourcing our code as well, but that’s a two-way street — to be useful to the community we’d probably have to release the entire system and not just the web app, and that would take some more preparation.

      And yes, SSL is default for Runbox 6.

  9. I have been using Runbox since many years now. I have been based in Asia (Singapore and China) for the past ten years. Key reason for using Runbox has been its fast and reliable service which has made up for the lack of efficient search functions.

    Since being upgraded to RMM5, the speed has dropped significantly. In fact, the performance of the system has dropped to a level where I will have no choice but to shift to another provider within weeks if it is not improved.

    The screen update is slow. Buttons react with a delay when cursor is placed on top. Formatting issues. The most annoying part is that there is a delay is upto 2 seconds between my typing and the text appearing on the screen!!

    Please do something soon or I will have to end my long term relationship with you guys.


    1. Thomas,

      Could you try the new Runbox 6 at https://rmm6.runbox.com, please? It’s an upgraded Webmail running on a more powerful server, and it’s where we’ll continue the development of Runbox (it will also be the default version running straight on runbox.com soon).

      The delay you’re describing sounds like it might be related to your browser, though — could you try restarting your browser and possibly emptying its cache?

  10. I worked in software development I understand the problems of maintaining legacy code and needing to move forwards. I’m also a PAYING customer and I object to being involuntarily migrated a beta platform having consciously opted out of testing previously.

    Bugs to date;
    1) Default BCC in my preferences doesn’t apply to when replying to emails (works fine for new emails)
    2) email filters which worked reliably under V4 are hit and miss in their implementation under V5.
    3) automatic refreshes / save as draft regularly reports as communication errors in the UI.
    4) missing email validation emails when I change my email address in preferences.

    UI feedback;
    1) drag and drop email messages to file is very clever but far slower than the old radio fields buttons and an accessibility nightmare.
    2) seeing ‘beta.runbox.com’ every time I access my email just reminds me of where I fit into runbox’s vision.

    I respectfully suggest runbox invest in some serious testing of the platform they have forced upon users.

    1. Hi Alan and thanks for taking the time to detail the problems you’re experiencing. And thank you for understanding the virtually impossible task of keeping every platform or piece of code alive forever.

      You might not be happy to hear it at this point, but we have a new version of the Runbox interface available at https://rmm6.runbox.com — but it’s almost identical to Runbox 5. The major difference is that we have upgraded all the code, dependencies, and underlying platform, readying it for further development and improvements. This address is only temporary and Runbox 6 will be the default interface running on runbox.com in the near future. At that point we will move all our Runbox 5 users to Runbox 6.

      Since all development now occurs on the Runbox 6 platform, some of the bugs you’re reporting should be fixed there (1, 3, and 4). The email filter problem we would need further details in order to investigate, so please open a support ticket at https://support.runbox.com with the time, sender, and subject of the message(s) in question. Since the Mail Transfer Agent and your account’s filters are the same regardless of the user interface it sounds strange that filtering would have different results depending on the interface you’re using.

      Regarding the drag-and-drop feature: This can be disabled by clicking the “Switch to Runbox 5 Basic” at the bottom of the folder list in Webmail.

      As mentioned we are actively working on Runbox 6 only, including bug fixes and enhancements, and consolidating our various interfaces to just one platform will make this work much easier. And when we gather all our interfaces on just one domain, our customers should have an easier time too.

  11. Hi Gier,

    Thanks for the late night response (I think this highlights yet again the responsiveness of the runbox team; after nearly 10 years with you I don’t have any complaints with respects to that!).

    I would still offer the clear feedback that the migration of V4 customers should have been to a _finished_ V5 or perhaps V5 without the bells and whistles.

    I can see the path to a unified V6 just try to not make the journey so bumpy you shake off customers like me along the way 🙂

    Thanks again for listening


  12. Hi,

    More issues detected after the forced migration to the Beta 5 (I am using “basic” mode):

    1. non-western characters (like ńść) get distorted while replying to an email which contains them (still unresolved ticket XLT-650-48314 from two weeks ago) – IMHO it is a serious bug

    2. the option for selecting encoding no longer available in “preferences” – why?

    3. left-side “folders” menu gets reordered when entering mail composition/reply – a very annoying effect

    Could you at least take care of quick solving the first bug?


  13. I am using runbox 6 on Windows 7 and now cannot access it at all – I get a message

    internet explorer cannot display this webpage.

    What to do? I need my runbox to access business/private emails.

  14. Hi Geir,

    Thanks for explanation and addressing the bug.

    The problem has been partially solved in both V5 and V6 – all incoming emails with non-western characters encoded in UTF-8 are properly handled. However, if an incoming email has a different encoding (say, ISO-8859-2), such characters still get broken while replying.

    As for left-side “folders” they still get reshuffled when composing/replying an email in either version. I am switching to V6 Basic by default and awaiting more updates.

    Thanks again!


  15. Jakub: Could you open a support ticket at https://support.runbox.com an provide an example message so we can have a look?

    The folder order problem sounds very odd. Could you empty your browser’s cache and force-reload the page, please?

  16. Hi Geir,

    I have reopened the ticked XLT-650-48314 (encoding) and created a new one KUX-462-76902 (folders reshuffle), both with attachments. I hope it helps.



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