Blue Linden posted the news that vBulletin is out and the garbage crap is in. Well, not in those words of course. The first curiosity is the title of his blog post: "Upgrading the Forums".

I like and respect Blue a lot. He's helped me personally over some frivolous nonsense he and likely many other Lindens would and could have just brushed-off without a thought. And certainly his post is vetted by some public-relations folks and all that. But my and many other Second Life user issues are way beyond what Blue is saying and how he is saying it.

Firstly, it's not only not an upgrade, it's not even a side-grade or a downgrade. It's even a bastardization of destructive undertaking.

That bad.

The current and most other Internet "forums" are based on the wildly popular vBulletin system. We use it at the company where my day-job resides. it sucks. No, wait...the software doesn't suck. It's good software. What sucks is the cost of it and the constant cost of maintenance (upgrades, add-ons and all the rest). But it is definitely mature and rock-solid stuff, which is why it is used everywhere. vBulletin even has a CMS (Content Management System) add-on that is ridiculously priced and actually quite ugly and very "ungraceful", but that's what you get when they try to make a solid one-trick-pony into a jack-of-all-trades.

I understand Linden Lab wanting to forego the maintenance of vBulletin. It is not the forums per se they are wanting to dump, it's software and resources the current system is sucking-up. Old software that costs an unreasonable arm-and-a-leg to update, the hardware it is running on (and maintenance of it), the bandwidth, the man-hours to maintain the software itself and police the content and so on. I am actually surprised they haven't put the kerbosh on it a couple years ago.

So it makes sense: kill the vBulletin software and do-away with all the resources it burns-up. Use a newer, more flexible updated system.

(I will know emulate Linden Lab for you here and now): FACEPALM!

The system they are using now is worse. This "Clearspace" system is most certainly NOT ready for prime-time. It is horribly buggy and a nightmare from a user perspective. It might be perfectly fine and stable as a blogging system, but for anything else it wreaks of "alpha phase" - as in it's not even ready to be called "Beta", yet.

Why the hell Linden Lab didn't go with Joomla (or something else of equal quality) is totally beyond me. Joomla is free, open-source, highly scalable, automated, user-friendly on both the back-end and front, and smoothly extensible. It is a pleasure to use on both the back-side and front.

However, as is always the case in these situations, someone was likely tasked with "evaluating" new systems. That person recommended highly what *they* like, regardless of the readiness of the system for heavy-duty use and there obviously wasn;t enough vetting. The Clearspace sale representatives also no-doubt made everything smell like roses while pulling seriously heavy wool over the Linden Lab buyers eyes.

That person doing the research and evaluating and recommending probably never heard of Joomla - which speaks volumes about that person's qualifications (if this scenario is the case) regarding this kind of thing - because Joomla or any other mature blogging/forum system (a.k.a. CMS or "Content Management System") is better than the crap they have settled on.

The current system is so whacked that practically everyone who uses it from the front-side has complained about it. It can't be called "broken" because it was never "fixed" in the first place. it is just plain bad software.

The edit boxes for giving feedback comments is a nightmare to use with text-edits ending-up all over the place. The edit-box doesn't even load into some browsers (Opera, certain versions of Safari and OmniWeb, perhaps even versions of Internet Explorer - I don't know I won't touch that browser with a 50-foot pole).

Not everyone enjoys FireFox (I personally find it clunky and bloated myself. I'll stay with Opera and Safari, thank you very much.).

So, as my main browser is Opera 10.10, if I want to comment on a Linden blog post, I have to fire-up Safari 4.0.4 - which is okay because Safari is an excellent speedy browser. It's the point that the system Linden Lab is now using is so damned fugged-up that I have to launch a different application just to be able to comment.

So: open comment to Linden Lab (Mark Kingdon, are you paying attention to this?!): Go ahead and fuggup the blog system. Go ahead and use ridiculously substandard, horrible, buggy-assed software. But, whatever you do, keep the people responsible for choosing and buying this system for your blog and forums as far the fug away from the grid and viewer code as you can.