PunBB is a fast and lightweight PHP powered discussion board. It is released under the GNU Public License. Its primary goal is to be a faster, smaller and less graphic alternative to otherwise excellent discussion boards such as phpBB, Invision Power Board or vBulletin. PunBB has fewer features than many other discussion boards, but is generally faster and outputs smaller pages.
The father of PunBB, Rickard Andersson, conceived it for a personal project as an alternative to over-featured or too graphic discussion boards.
PunBB (or just Pun as it was called back then) was designed as a package that
- would be fast.
- would have a simple layout and design.
- would be easy to administrate and moderate.
- wouldn’t output huge, non-valid, HTML pages.
- would have source code you could read and understand.
PunBB 1.0 reached what was considered a stable state on 2003-08-07.
A further remarkable step forward was the release of PunBB 1.2 in January of 2005, which could boast improved speed and security as well as the new markup. After that, there weren’t any considerable changes to the project for a long time (only security vulnerabilities were fixed). The reason for that was that developing PunBB became more of a hobby than a professional activity for Rickard and he couldn’t spend much time on it. However, he strived to bring PunBB up to version 1.3. Realizing that it would take too much time and effort to continue steady growth without any support, Rickard decided to begin accepting donations for the project in September of 2005. Financial support alone was not enough, and in November of 2006 some developers were invited by Rickard into the project in an official manner. They were those who had been working on PunBB since its infancy and knew the ins and outs of the project better than anyone else. So, PunBB 1.3 started to be developed more actively.
In the summer of 2007, the rights to PunBB were sold to Informer Technologies, who were interested in supporting the project financially. This didn’t really influence anything but for the fact that donations were no longer accepted. The forum’s engine released under the GPL stayed open source and continued to be available to everyone. Moreover, the PunBB development team remained the same and retained the priorities and aims that Rickard had put at the very beginning.
Towards the end of 2007, Informer Technologies developers began to take a more active part in PunBB by aiding in extensions development and discussing the issues with PunBB team, thus participating in the release of PunBB 1.3 Beta at the beginning of 2008.
At the end of April of 2008, Informer Technologies has taken a hard decision to move punbb.org to a new domain, punbb.informer.com. This was primarily done to promote Informer.com services among PunBB users as well as promote PunBB to users of Informer.com. Just a couple of days before this and independently of this, Rickard Andersson decided that he couldn’t pay much attention to PunBB any more due to personal reasons. All this resulted in a split: some developers decided to leave PunBB and fork into a new forum project called FluxBB. We understand and respect the developers’ decision to be independent and have a complete control over their “baby”.
PunBB owners shared the priorities set by Rickard and his team and highly valued the results of their work. We didn’t plan to interfere with the team’s work and concentrated on developing extensions without having any real core developers. That’s why when Rickard and shortly after some other developers left PunBB, it took us some time to form a new team. At first we even asked former developers to go on supporting users on PunBB forums. And we are very grateful for their understanding and help.
Due to the reasons mentioned above, we carefully monitor FluxBB development and highly appreciate their contribution to developing the forum core. So, we simply port many changes from one forum to the other one. However, following FluxBB development is not the policy of PunBB, but rather a temporary and compulsory measure. The forums are growing apart more and more: for instance, we have added a system of notifications about new versions of extensions into the core, and we realize some improvements in the ways we consider more beneficial.
Having taken the responsibility for developing PunBB and seeking to make the work of extensions developers easier, we have released PunBB 1.3 RC, in which we have provided maximum compatibility of PunBB and FluxBB at the level of extensions. From this moment on, we have completely separated from FluxBB, thanked former developers for having cooperated with us and have started to support users on the PunBB Forums independently. We have also asked users not to promote FluxBB in their posts (and signatures to them) on the forums.
We are going to develop PunBB further by making the core even faster and more lightweight, while providing PunBB with all the modern features with the help of the unique extensions system. We also think that the combination of commercial management with active feedback from the open-source community represents a unique synergy, which will let us achieve our aim in PunBB: creating a forum which is best in all respects.