phpBB is down
Well, the board portion here was hacked. I'm sure some script-kiddie is thrilled with himself somewhere and is jumping up and down in joy at his huge list of worldly feats.

Basically, it's my fault. I was running an older version of phpBB (2.0.11, I think, and we are up to about 2.0.22 with version 3 pending). Anyway, I'm having that portion restored and I'll update the code and re-publish it for all to see.

This really is the unfortunate side of the whole Open Source idea. I think Open Source coding, products, etc are a great thing over all. I guess if you don't know what it is, you can look at the link, but that's the long winded version. Basically, Open Source is code that is written and given to the world with very few restrictions. It always (or almost always) includes source code and is usually just restricted in the fact that you can't claim it as your own. Nerds the world over have, at one time or another in their careers, been offended or concerned about Open Source reducing their value (the theory being that all of this free software would put everyone out of business and there would be no real reason to have custom coding).

The reality of the situation is that anytime a hole emerges, everyone wants you to update their site/software/whatever as quickly as possible (of course, the ones that don't call just haven't figured out the rough costs of those holes). Then there is the inevitable "can you add...." conversation (which makes the next update more expensive and lo and behold the world's programmers have their jobs back, just with a twist).

The other unfortunate side of Open Source is that without a financial driving force, the customer's wishes are occasionally overlooked. The programmer's beliefs in what the customer needs takes priority and there really isn't a good way to get that across if the development team chooses to ignore the users. A good example of this is the requirement in ZenCart to create an account. ZenCart is a piece of shopping cart software that can be relatively easily added to your site. However, if someone wants to buy something from you they HAVE to create an account with you. Well, that's fine if you are selling something rather expensive and the customer thinks that it is appropriate (note that I thought a few hundred dollars would be a cut off here, but I've heard first hand from people that don't want to create an account even though they are spending $450). However, if you are selling 99cent ring tones or something - well, there just isn't that motivation to go through the whole account creation side of things. The primary developers of ZenCart frankly don't care what you think about not having accounts - however, after a year or so of constant "are you kidding!?!?" messages they have finally agreed to put it on the roadmap for 2007 or 2008.

What Open Source software do I use? Well, phpBB seems the most obvious one. Others that I use regularly are 7-Zip (which replaces WinZip which is now owned by Corel so I don't really mind that - this is mostly my annoyance with them after they bought Jasc (makers of Paint Shop Pro) and I started receiving so much spam to an e-mail address that I had only ever given to Jasc), ZenCart which I mentioned above and KeePass which I use to keep track of and build all those lovely passwords.

Anyway, enough of my rant. Sorry if you received an odd e-mail from me saying something about Hores. It wasn't really me, it was a script kiddie who had taken down my phpBB site.
  - Richard on Fri January 12, 2007 at 3:53 pm
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