Open Source Forum Software
Something that may be of interest to you domain owners out there – a Free (no-cost) and Free (as in speech) -ly downloadable software package for hosting your own forum.
Vanilla is released under the GPL and can be downloaded from the authors’ website. So, what will you need to add this forum software to your website? Well, since you’re too lazy to read the documentation page, I suppose I’d better help you out. You will need:
- A domain
- A server to put the files on
- Said server to be running SQL (Vanilla is compatible with MySQL v3.23 and upwards)
- Admin access so you can change permissions on file folders
- FTP or SSH software to enable you to upload and manipulate the files on the server
- The ability to create SQL databases
Armed with all of this, you are then free to install and run your own forum software. because it’s released under the GPL, you are free to change it, pull it apart, put it back together again and share it. You can even take this release and fork it off into your own version. Really, as long as you are confident enough to install something like WordPress, Vanilla should be a breeze.
Once you have installed it to your liking, you can then install Add-ons for the software to further expand it’s abilities. There are currently 49 add-ons available, and I am sure that this list will grow.
It remains to be seen whether this will be a stayer. They seem to have a growing community and it’s a worthwhile goal, so I hope that it will stay and grow further. I can’t post a step by step install and experience post here – I have no use for a forum and so won’t install it.
Anyway, here’s a screenshot of it in action (it’s the Vanilla support forum, if you’re interested):