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24Oct2014

Kunena 3.1: situation report October 2014

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921 hits Updated: 24 April 2015

Kunena and J! 3.3

In my previous article, I warned of the dangers for the Kunena project about the development of K 3.1 and the diminishing likelihood that (a) a stable release of K 3.1 is expected soon and (b) developers would be able to support it afterwards. If you have been feeling pessimistic, like the dozen or so people who have recently asked me about the status of Kunena, you could be forgiven for your pessimism and I wish I had more reassuring news for you.

About six months ago, I asked the Kunena developers to give me an indication when people might expect to see a beta test release of K 3.1 and a target for stable version that could be released to the public. The timeframe estimate was for late 2014 (possibly before Christmas this year) but that target has since been “revised”. According to the Kunena Wiki site, the release date for K 3.1 is “TBD”—I assume this means “to be determined”. According to another member of the development team, K 3.1 beta is “almost available for download” but that information was posted six weeks ago and there has been no further announcement since then. The growing reality is that K 3.1 is still vaguely being promised and this is not inspiring confidence in the Kunena brand.

The list of problems with K 3.0 also continues to grow and, like everyone else, I do not have any knowledge of a future maintenance release to address those faults or whether a maintenance release is even being considered. It may well be that K 3.0.6 will remain unfixed until K 3.1 is released and we simply do not know anything about the timetable.

The disappointment about Kunena is broader than declining use of Kunena forum to ask questions about K 3.1. As I mentioned in my previous article, the total volume of messages posted at the forum is in free-fall. Although people fervently hope that their questions will receive a rapid response from others in the community, there is growing doubt of people's interest in a “failing cause”. On all available evidence it is clear that the service at Kunena forum has been in decline for some considerable time and is not showing signs that it will improve.

The Kunena forum has long been a source of information on all manner of things related to Kunena as well as the broader issues involving Joomla and other extensions that interoperate with Kunena. The founders of Kunena never intended the website would answer every question—perhaps it just looks that way, sometimes. The forum exists only because there are people who have the time and enthusiasm to help one another. The fact is that the pool of altruistic help-givers is evaporating.

A lot of people take for granted that, because Kunena is free software, they should not have to pay for advice—any advice about any manner or thing—as long as they mention the “K-word” somewhere in their message. When they ask for advice, and when the advice is freely given, there's no reward or fee paid; most of the time there's not even an acknowledgement of their gratitude. Well, for those people who continue to demand their “free lunch” (or any other meal they enjoy without having to pay for it), they probably need to realise that even though they may get something for “free” there's a cost. For those who are prepared to wait days or weeks for someone to answer their question there are public discussion forums like http://forum.joomla.org or http://www.kunena.org/forum and the cost is time waiting for an answer. For those who want an answer within a matter of hours there are sites like this one here and there's a small financial cost for that service. It's quite a simple choice really: your money or your patience.  Neither of these resources is inexhaustible.

Kunena and J! 3.3

There have been three rushed released of Joomla—J! 3.3.4, J! 3.3.5 and J! 3.3.6—all of which have caused many problems with Joomla websites and especially for Kunena. The main problem that affects Kunena involves pagination for which the fix seems to be to replace one or another of the core Joomla files or to downgrade to J! 3.3.3. Neither approach seems very palatable and, until the Joomla bugsquad gets on top of these problems, it leaves many of us apprehensive about upgrading Joomla at this time.

About the author:

is a Joomla professional and former member of the Kunena community for more than 8 years—a substantial contributor to the original Kunena documentation project with over twenty thousand messages posted at the Kunena forum. The opinions expressed in this article are entirely those of the author. View his profile here.


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