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What software is used to run this forum?

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Site Administrator
Site Administrator

Joined: 06 Jun 2002

Posts: 1338
Location: I Live Here

PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2002 9:11 pm 
Post subject: What software is used to run this forum?

icon_question.gif How does this forum run?
icon_question.gif What software was used?
icon_question.gif Who is paying for all of this?

icon_idea.gif Glad you asked! This forum was built on a basic principal that can be best summarized with a quote from Albert Einstein:

Albert wrote:
It is not enough for a handful of experts to attempt the solution of a problem, to solve it and then to apply it. The restriction of knowledge to an elite group destroys the spirit of society and leads to its intellectual impoverishment.

In other words, information and knowledge transfer are priceless. You could say that the software used to run this forum is priceless as well. Everything used to run this forum is "open source". That means that the various components are all free and available as source code. They are released under the GNU General Public License. This means that anyone can do anything they want with the software except claim it as their own and charge for it. That's a long-winded way of saying "free". Or priceless. icon_wink.gif

More on the open source movement:

icon_question.gif What does the GNU GPL have to say about free software?
GNU GPL wrote:

The licenses for most software are designed to take away your freedom to share and change it. By contrast, the GNU General Public License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change free software--to make sure the software is free for all its users. This General Public License applies to most of the Free Software Foundation's software and to any other program whose authors commit to using it. (Some other Free Software Foundation software is covered by the GNU Library General Public License instead.) You can apply it to your programs, too.

When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for this service if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new free programs; and that you know you can do these things.

To protect your rights, we need to make restrictions that forbid anyone to deny you these rights or to ask you to surrender the rights. These restrictions translate to certain responsibilities for you if you distribute copies of the software, or if you modify it.

For example, if you distribute copies of such a program, whether gratis or for a fee, you must give the recipients all the rights that you have. You must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the source code. And you must show them these terms so they know their rights.

We protect your rights with two steps: (1) copyright the software, and (2) offer you this license which gives you legal permission to copy, distribute and/or modify the software.

Also, for each author's protection and ours, we want to make certain that everyone understands that there is no warranty for this free software. If the software is modified by someone else and passed on, we want its recipients to know that what they have is not the original, so that any problems introduced by others will not reflect on the original authors' reputations.

Finally, any free program is threatened constantly by software patents. We wish to avoid the danger that redistributors of a free program will individually obtain patent licenses, in effect making the program proprietary. To prevent this, we have made it clear that any patent must be licensed for everyone's free use or not licensed at all.

This is just the basics. To read the entire license please visit the following web site:

Since the software we use to create and run the forum is free, our only actual cost is our monthly hosting bill. Due to our growth over the past two years, we are now hosted on a dual CPU dedicated server, which is not cheap. As a result, we now have sponsors. Recent sponsors (those active within the prior 12 months) are listed on this page and the current sponsor will have a banner at the top of every page. If you are in need of BusinessObjects services please consider our sponsors for your requirements.

If you or your company might be interested in becoming a BOB sponsor please send an email to to receive the details. Thanks.

[Edit - Updated January, 2005 to note the new sponsor program.]

Last edited by Bob on Thu Jan 06, 2005 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total
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Site Administrator
Site Administrator

Joined: 06 Jun 2002

Posts: 1338
Location: I Live Here

PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2002 9:48 pm 
Post subject: Package List

icon_question.gif Open source is cool. But what are the actual components of the forum? What makes it tick?

icon_idea.gif From the ground up, here are the major compoments of Bob:

icon_arrow.gif Host operating system
Linux (
One of the more famous and popular open source products out there. For information on the O/S (it was started as a hobby by Linus Torvalds when he was a student at the University of Helsinki... no word on how he did on his homework assignments) use this site:

And they have the coolest mascot, literally.
Image link His name is "Tux". icon_biggrin.gif

icon_arrow.gif Web server
Apache (
IBM uses Apache on some of their AIX servers. Even Web Intelligence is supported under Apache. The product was named because the initial version was a "A PAtCHy server". The base code was patched, and patched again, and again. According to the web site (link above) Apache is the most popular web server on the Internet. Specifically:

Apache Web Site wrote:
Apache has been the most popular web server on the Internet since April of 1996. The May 2002 Netcraft Web Server Survey found that 56% of the web sites on the Internet are using Apache, thus making it more widely used than all other web servers combined.

icon_arrow.gif Database
This company is based in Sweden. For some specifics on the company, including some of their more famous customers (including Yahoo! Finance, Motorola, NASA, and Texas Instruments to name a few) you can review their company fact sheet:

There is apparently an ODBC driver for MySQL, so you could potentially use BusinessObjects against this database.

Image link

icon_arrow.gif Database Scripts
You wondering what the ".php" is on the end of the web pages for this forum? Now you can find out. Officially the acronym "php" stands for "PHP: Hypertext Processor". Yes, the acronym is part of the acronym... it's recursive. They explain that and more in the product faq, located here:

The syntax for PHP borrows some ideas from C, Java, a little Perl, and some custom features thrown in for good measure. It's a cool way to add database content to your web pages. Over nine million web sites use PHP as of the time this FAQ was written.

icon_arrow.gif Forum software
phpBB (
This is the most visible face for Bob. We looked at several forum packages, some of them open source, some not. Ultimately this package came the closest to what we thought we needed. It's also very easy to extend and modify, which we have done. There is another topic that details all of the "mods" that have been applied to this forum if you are interested. If you want to see what the forum looks like in its base form, you can take a look at the company site.

Image link

icon_arrow.gif Other scripts
Perl ( or
The AOL Listserv archives were converted into database format using a perl script. Our digest feature is written in perl. There are other general maintenance items that use perl. Originally written as a Unix general purpose text manipulation tool, perl has come into its own as one of the most popular methods to implement CGI programs on the web.

So that's it in a nutshell. From the ground (operating system) up (forum software) all of the major components used to run this forum are freely available as part of the open source movement. Thanks for your interest, and for taking the time to read this note. icon_wink.gif

Bob icon_mrgreen.gif

[Edited 24-Feb-2003 to update logos and some notes]
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