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Kunena 4.0.5: cannot install Kunena templates with Joomla 3.4

2182 hits Updated: 17 September 2015

Third party template developers blamed for problems caused by Kunena team

Another unannounced (and apparently untested) change was made in Kunena 4.0.5 [K 4.0.5] that affects everyone who uses J! 3.4.  The change is embarrassing for me, personally, and for everyone who designs and sells Kunena templates.  The problem is:  people use K 4.0.5 with J! 3.4 will not be able to install other forum templates!

I am not sure what was the rationale behind the change in K 4.0.5—very few changes made by the Kunena team are well-explained these days—but apparently the developers were aware of an issue about three months ago that affected the ability to install the Crypsis template with J! 3.4.2.

We know the Kunena team is attempting to regain their reputation after continuing failures with each successive release of K 4.0 and their inability to penetrate the market with their new template.  Community take-up of Crypsis has been slow (almost non-existent) with more than 9 out of 10 users opting to use the Blue Eagle version of K 4.0 (if we use the configuration reports posted at the Kunena forum site as any indication).

I wasn’t aware of this particular issue until I attempted to install the new Crypsis B3 (beta) template on a K 4.0.5 (J! 3.4.4) test site.  Note the developer’s response in the discussion we had:

This is a know[n] issue, and has been fixed.  The installer has changed in Joomla 3.4.4.Jelle Kok, Kunena 4.0.5 bug (Subscriptions), 13-Sep-2015

What complete nonsense!  The issue was “known” three months ago—long before the release of J! 3.4.4—and the [Kunena template] “installer” was “changed” for K 4.0.4/5.  When the issue was first reported, the developers claimed to have fixed the problem that affected people installing Crypsis.  Not only have the developers failed to fix the issues with installing Crypsis, they have now made it virtually impossible for people to install any other template with K 4.0.5.  For those of us who offer Kunena templates for sale, this is extremely disturbing news.  People will naturally accuse third-party developers of misrepresentation when the templates they’ve purchased will not install.  The fault is not with the Kunena template; the fault is in the Kunena core.

The problem was caused by the Kunena development team.  The problems cannot be cured because the developers will not take the community into their confidence; they will not explain what is happening, why things are happening and their plans for the future of Kunena.  Instead it is left to independent commentators like me to try to explain to ordinary users what’s happening; it’s not easy when we have little publicly-available information to work with.

There’s little doubt in my mind that the developers don’t care what happens to third-party designers as long as Crypsis eventually dominates the market.  The specific problem I’ve referred to may be corrected in the next release of Kunena but questions remain about new problems that will be introduced in K 4.0.6.  It is because of the increasing instability of Kunena that I refrained from installing K 4.0.5 on any of my production websites; there have been far too many reported problems for me to jeopardise my business.  Every new release of K 4.0 introduces untested new features.

Perhaps the best way of demonstrating this claim is to look at the Kunena website.  Is it any wonder that the Kunena development team is unable to properly test their product while the website operates on an unsupported version of Joomla?  Why would people want to use Crypsis when the development team cannot stand behind their product and show us what it looks like and how it works in a truly production environment?  I will have more to write about this in another article but, for the time being, it is more important that we find out when the errors will be fixed.

K 4.0.5 was released (after the abortive K 4.0.4) on 16 August [this year]—more than one month ago.  K 4.0.6 may or may not be ready for release; the developers have gone back to playing their “secret squirrel” games, so we really have no way of knowing what their plans may be.  If my criticisms are unfounded, I will be the first to admit my faults.  The Kunena team are well aware of my criticisms (they visit this website on a regular basis) and they’ve tried to silence me in various ways.  If I am wrong then let’s hear from the other side; let’s see the narrative from the development team’s perspective.  It’s in their interests to put their side of the case; that’s all I’m really trying to do here:  get to the truth.

The bottom-line is that the technical problem I’ve referred to in this article has been fixed (as long as you replace one of the files in Kunena with the new version available from GitHub).  The ongoing management problems within the Kunena team remain, lack of adequate documents, failure to engage properly with the community, etc., these other problems remain unresolved and getting worse.

About the author:

is a Joomla professional and former member of the Kunena project 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.

+1 # Satchi 21-Sep-2015 06:00
Timely as always. I was just coming here to ask about issues with installation. (sigh) I have been losing faith with Kunena gradually over the past year. I actually voiced concerns on another site (Community Builder) and asked about alternatives -- instead I got a long, detailed response from 810. Basically it's blowing smoke up my skirt.


Link to thread, if interested. It was curious that the owners of the CB site made my topic public. I posted to a professional only area. It became clear why, when magically 810 creates an account that day and replies. I really wasn't bad mouthing Kunena. I was stating my thoughts and opinions. It makes me more concerned and disappointed in CB and Kunena to be glad handed over valid issues.

It's really looking like they care more about impressions than the substance of their code. (again, just my own opinion)


Bridgette (Satchi)
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+1 # sozzled 21-Sep-2015 07:24
I don't often reply to comments about my articles because I prefer people to candidly express their thoughts about Kunena and the way that the project is being managed. Thank you for your honest opinions.

It is true that Jelle (810) - the main developer behind K 4.0 (and the future K 5.0) - visits this site as he also visits Joomlapolis. It's disappointing that the Kunena team has such poor respect for the Kunena community as a whole that they have been silent in addressing the community's growing concerns. The total absence of user documentation to explain how to use K 4.0 is the most worrying concern for everyone. There are no indications of a change in their current attitude.

I have been keeping this blog for over 12 months. Like you, it is not my intention to bad-mouth the Kunena project or the team members who remain in it. The team has a wesbite where they are perfectly capable of keeping the community informed of their plans but they have not written anything in their team blog that reassures users of Kunena. Instead it is left to independent commentators like me to attempt to fill in the missing information that people require.

I will continue to do the best that I can to help the community and try to keep the development team focused on maintaining a vibrant community of forum owners. "Impressions" do count nearly as much as the quality of the programming. In reading your commentary at Joomlapolis you have thoughtfully summed-up many of the impressions that have been developing over the course of the past year or more: the lack of community engagement, the dwindling forum participation, the cavalier manner in which they treat their customers and the increasing instability of their product that grows as they add new features with every new minor release of the product. If the developers were sincere about addressing the stability issues they would be fixing the problems instead of creating new ones. I am guessing that they added more than 25 new features in K 4.0.0 (compared with K 3.0.8); they added another 20 new features in K 4.0.1 and I have lost count of the number of new features they added in K 4.0.2, K 4.0.3, K 4.0.4 (which was a total disaster) and K 4.0.5. K 4.0.6 has been in the making for more than 6 weeks and it looks like it will be another shocker.

Thanks again for your message of support. You can be assured that I respect all contributions people make here and I will do my best to help everyone who asks for help.
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