Runbox user since 2002. Version 7 in beta for too long, and too many unresolved bugs. It needs a new project manager and a complete overhaul


Version 7 needs to be taken back to the drawing board and assigned a new project charter and project manager. I have been a Runbox customer for over 20 years. As an IT systems engineer in a large company with tens of thousands of users, if I had a product or feature that was allowed to linger unfinished for this long, with this many unresolved bugs, I would be asked to explain why it is taking this long, and probably told to scrap it and start over, or find myself out of a job.

There is a saying in economics: “sunk costs are irrelevant.” It means that no matter how much time or money you have “sunk” into a project, you should not consider these when planning to change direction, and any change is better than continuing the present course.

Before I list my issues with Version 7, I should highlight something else: the Spam filter.

In a twist of irony, when I attempted to register for this forum, Runbox sent the activation email to spam. I suppose it couldn’t hurt for Runbox to give itself preferential treatment… :smile: In general, a lot of legitimate emails still get filtered, even years after I’ve trained Runbox to accept them as “not spam.” I’ve had an account continuously for over 20 years. It has not improved substantially.

Now on to Version 7 issues:

  • In general, it does not operate well in Safari on a Mac.
  • Large folders take a VERY long time to load. So long that I assume something is broken. Example: my “JUNK” folder, which is the destination for Runbox’s overzealous and inaccurate spam filter.
  • Drag and drop messages are the wrong size on a high-resolution monitor (“HiDPI” or “Retina”)
  • The ‘unread count’ badge next to a folder is too small, so most numbers get truncated with ellipses
  • Under ‘View Options,’ when a box is checked, the text shifts up half a line and stays there until the ‘View Options’ is closed and re-opened
  • Clicking an individual message results in the spinning ring for a long time
  • When the message initially loads it says “No text version of this message is available,” then about 20-30 seconds later the plain text version loads.
  • The ‘show HTML’ button is a warning triangle. That’s not a helpful icon to explain its purpose.
  • Original HTML opens in a new window / tab, not in the same window / frame. Is this really impossible for Runbox to show within the same window? Both Outlook and Gmail can do this without issues.
  • If I click “Compose,” then click “Drafts,” the new blank email stays on screen; I expect it to be closed or at least filed away as a new blank draft.
  • ALL of the message management options (move, delete, read/unread, flag/unflag, spam/not spam) are clickable even if no message is selected. This results in “unknown error” when clicking any of them. They should be hidden or greyed out when no message is selected.

And that’s just the start.

Hello @eaglebtc and welcome to the forum.

Thank you for your message and the comprehensive feedback contained therein.

Runbox 7 constitutes an ambitious research and development project especially for a small company, and reflects both the aspirations we have for the more effective types of email services of the future and the necessities arising from an increasingly competitive email service market.

The innovative nature of the project has resulted in a longer development cycle than anticipated, and while we agree that there remains a significant number of issues (bugs and enhancement requests), hundred of improvements have been made that have steadily increased the user experience since Runbox 7 entered the beta phase.

We are systematically working on the remaining issues by order of priority organized in a set of monthly milestones, and feedback from you and other customers is very valuable in this process. All our available development resources are directed towards resolving remaining bugs and improving the quality of Runbox 7 with the goal of moving Runbox 7 out of beta in the very near future.

Some of the issues mentioned may that depend on the size of the account or folder in question or other user preferences (more on this below). This type of issue we are continuously working on as part of our software development activities and architectural improvements that aim to alleviate possible resource overconsumption. In this respect an overhaul is already underway behind the scenes, and we could certainly improve our external communication to demonstrate this fact.

Regarding the spam filter issue we have recently upgraded our spam filtering software (SpamAssassin) to the most recent major version and are continuously working to improve its efficacy. Clicking “Not spam” should at the very least whitelist the sender to prevent future messages from the same sender from being saved to Spam, so if that is not occurring we could have a look at specific examples via Runbox Support.

To the list of other specific issues you mention:

  1. If there are problems you have noticed when using Safari that are not specified we are interested in any details you may provide. Several on our team use macOS and Safari and the experience doesn’t appear to differ substantially from that with other browsers.
  2. The folder load time typically depends on its size if the local (synchronized) message index is not in use. The local index makes the message search index and message lists available directly in the browser and facilitates instant responses when performing actions such as switching folders and searching for messages, instead of retrieving the entire list of messages from the server. This feature is controlled by the “Synchronize index” and “Stop index synchronization” buttons in the lower left corner of Mail (beneath the folder list). Currently neither the Spam nor Trash folder is included in the message index because it could significantly increase the index size, but we have an open issue suggesting they be optionally included (Add option to index Trash and Spam folder · Issue #290 · runbox/runbox7 · GitHub). This means that these folders are retrieved from the server, and we are working to increase available server resources and moving towards a distributed architecture in order to speed up this process.
  3. This sounds like a known issue (Drag-and-drop of messages shows the wrong entry · Issue #1095 · runbox/runbox7 · GitHub) related to using HTML5 Canvas to display the message list. This solution was chosen due to its superior speed and ability to handle thousands of rows without delay, and we are working to make all actions such as drag & drop appear correctly.
  4. Agreed, and we have a fix for this in the pipeline.
  5. I haven’t been able to reproduce this in Safari 16.6, so we would be interested in a screenshot of this if you might be inclined to provide that.
  6. Runbox 7 utilizes smart message caching which is intended to download messages that are visible in the list so that they are immediately available when clicked, so what you describe could indicate a bug in the message loading related to the next bullet point.
  7. When the “No text version of this message is available. Please click the HTML button above to view the HTML version” notification appears it should indicate that there was only an HTML version of the message and that the user has chosen not to view HTML messages. This sounds like a possible bug, so we would be interested in more details that might help us reproduce the issue - ideally that would include the actual message, which with your permission we could copy to an internal test account for analysis.
  8. The reason we used a warning triangle to show the HTML version is that we wanted to prevent privacy and security oriented users from inadvertently clicking to display the original HTML version. We have spent considerable time discussing the best way to implement this, but it could probably still be improved upon.
  9. Opening the original HTML version in a separate tab/window is an alternative to using the buttons beneath the message header to toggle the HTML/text version (and images) inline, and was implemented this way to communicate that the original HTML version may include external images loaded directly from their sources.
  10. This is a good suggestion and we have created this Github issue for it: Clicking Compose and then Drafts should close the blank draft · Issue #1558 · runbox/runbox7 · GitHub
  11. Agreed – we have fairly recently implemented this message action menu as a replacement for a menu that is only visible when at least one message is selected (which is still the case in the Runbox 7 mobile PWA app), and should have considered the issue you describe. This is now done here: Message action buttons should only be enabled when a message is selected · Issue #1559 · runbox/runbox7 · GitHub

Thank you again for the extensive comments – we appreciate the time and effort spent and are already integrating some of your suggestions into our development roadmap.

– Geir

I’m also a long time user of Runbox, over many years.

I’m guessing that Runbox 7 Beta may soon be making an appearance in the ‘Guinness World Records’ book due to the length of time it’s been in beta.

Runbox 6 also has it’s quirks. I used to like the Roundcube option but Runbox retired that in 2019, because apparently not enough people were using it. I’m guessing that not enough people were even aware that option existed.