Runbox 7 is going open source

We are very excited to announce that we are now making the Runbox 7 App available as open source software!

Runbox 7 is our new Webmail service currently in open beta, featuring unprecedented email indexing and search capabilities. It’s the first product whose source code we are making publicly available, and marks a major milestone for Runbox.

Open source software powers most of the Internet, and makes up a large part of the platform Runbox is running on. Now Runbox 7 will become part of this global collaboration, and you can join in by visiting the Runbox repository on Github:

Why we are going open source

GPLv3 LogoRunbox has utilized and promoted open source software since the very beginning, and we owe much of our success to the open source community.

Now we’re contributing back to the community with the front-end of Runbox 7, which will allow others to review our code and verify that it’s safe and secure.

It also allows others to copy and modify the codebase for their own use, and contribute back to Runbox and our community.

Additionally it means that we will automatically publish the Runbox 7 changelog and issues, and even let Runbox users create issues for bug reports or feature requests.

Why we chose GPLv3

It was important to Runbox that we ensure that any derivative work remains open source, which the GNU General Public License does.

Another reason for selecting the GPLv3 license is that Runbox 7 utilizes the open source Xapian search engine library which is licensed under GPLv2.

What’s new in Runbox 7

Runbox 7 isn’t merely an upgrade to our existing services, it’’s a bold step into a new world of synchronized Webmail apps that provide unprecedented speed and usability.

Our new app is the cornerstone of Runbox 7, and is the first of several development stages that will culminate in a completely new user interface.

Runbox 7 Webmail currently features superior speed, incremental search, infinite listing, inline message previews, threaded conversation views, web push notifications, and a Progressive Web App for mobile phones.

Contributing to Runbox 7

In the future we plan to publish the entire Runbox 7 codebase including the backend, but you can already develop the Runbox 7 App while using the Runbox servers as the backend.

More information about this can be found at

Ready to give it a test drive? Head to !

8 thoughts on “Runbox 7 is going open source”

  1. As a customer, I was excited when this news appeared.

    Before now there were very few choices for open source webmail. That is especially true if you are sceptical of PHP security, like actively maintained software, and want the webmail to be fast, modern looking, and mobile friendly.

    Runbox 7 is great, so thanks for opening it.

  2. A fantastic development. Free software (free as in freedom as per the GPL3 slogan) is incredibly important. I run my computer on 100% free software and it is great to see Runbox lend a hand to this movement for people to have more control over the compters they own.

    Well done.

  3. Yeah, I think that’s probably a good idea. I recently had to do a MASSIVE archive transfer (18 years, 200,000 messages) from Runbox. There were literally NO clients that would still transfer mail from Runbox at that size. Over the last few years, I’d taken a few stabs at using imapsync to do the job, but something always blew up. This month, it finally worked right again, and I shrunk everything down to a few thousand messages. I logged in to use the web front end, excited that moving messages in my search results might finally, FINALLY work right.

    Well, it doesn’t. It never has. And at this point I know for a fact it’s not an issue with mailbox size. I’ve had four or five support requests in to look at this, and at this point, I’m ready to just debug the damned thing. I already know you’re using some variant or descendant of Dovecot for the backend– a very good start. But I have come to realize just how complicated IMAP– and, more importantly, its bastardized dialects– really are. We’re all going to be in much better shape if some of the more technical users have the option of helping do meaningful troubleshooting when something deeply weird happens.

    So, good move.

  4. I only joined Runbox yesterday, and paid $20! My main reason for joining a paid-for email service was to become the customer, not the product. Now that Runbox 7 is free I lose that. How long before Runbox is sold off to the likes of Facebook to trawl through my emails as Gmail does and sell my soul to the highest bidder?

    1. The email service is not free, so no worries there. You are still the customer, not the product like with “free” email services.

      What is open source is the code for the front-end application and that is a good thing for you as a user, as that means you can inspect the code we are running for security and people can help us develop Runbox 7.

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