To start, lets look at what's out there as far as the different phpNuke forks. This will help you to better understand why myPHPNuke was developed. If you want to think of an original Nuke distro then we need look no further than phpNuke [ www.phpnuke.org ]. phpNuke was a GPL project started by Francisco Burzi out of frustration because of the dearth of quality CMS's (Content Management Systems).
In short, Francisco Burzi (the original author of phpNuke) was in search of a nice CMS and soon found that the ones available were incomplete and not very flexible. Due to this frustration, the phpNuke project was born to in hopes of delivering an easy to use, easy to install and easy to maintain CMS that didn't have enormous systems requirements. The only requirements for running phpNuke are Apache, MySQL and PHP. These simple systems requirements are one of the distinctions that make phpNuke a hit. It has low systems requirements and was written in a server side scripting language (PHP) which is relatively easy to learn, is cross platform capable, and is quickly building critical developer mass.
Now we get to the meat of why MPN was born. phpNuke is known to have numerous bugs, with very few included features, and limited support. These are not desirable features for a production CMS. During the development of phpNuke, a project called NukeAddons was created with the mission of taking existing PHP scripts and porting them to work within the phpNuke framework to fill in some missing feature gaps.
The problem with this approach was that phpNuke was in heavy development as was the NukeAddons scripts (which was almost always a release behind). When you put them together (phpNuke and NukeAddon modules), life became a chore since site developers were continually chasing bugs.
This development process was frustrating many in the Nuke community and one day a guy by the name of Kodewulf decided that he'd had enough and started what is now myPHPNuke. With a fork in hand, pardon the pun, Kodewulf's first decision was to take the phpNuke 4.4x base and the NukeAddon modules and combine them into a stable feature rich Nuke distro. Through the hard work of Kodewulf, a few other developers, Ruffdogs.com and myPHPNuke.com is what you have today, which are stable base systems that you can dependably run a production web site on.
To sum it up, MPN should be looked at as a mature core system that's easy to install and relatively bug free.
Lets look at what's made MPN so popular and I think we'll answer that question clearly. MPN provides a mature, stable core that performs with reliability. However, that is only the tip of the iceberg. MPN is special because it gives you functionality. MPN also has a development team that takes time to listen to user requests, and has done an admirable job at providing those requests for you. The end product is a stable CMS which has many features that users want, along with out of the box functionality.
Ruffdogs.com is actually a company, Ruffdogs, LLC. It is an Open Source consultancy who's primary focus is aiding in the development and deployment of open source software. Ruffdogs is the 'official' maintainer of the myPHPNuke code and chief sponsor of it's continued development. They are involved in a number of open source projects outside of myPHPNuke, including FidoFetchIt.net, a FREE web hosting service designed to host myPHPNuke websites and a commercial derivative of myPHPNuke, called SocialMPN.
If you look at the other Nuke distros out there, what do they include? Simple, a base core news publishing system with a few features thrown in like a FAQ's system, download system, reviews system, members section and web links system. While these are a great start, much more is needed to run a truly interactive site like forums, yellow pages, classifieds, picture gallery, etc.
To answer that question ask yourself: how much is my time worth? With the other Nuke distros (which by the way are good systems), you get a basic system, which requires you to add the features that you want like forums, picture gallery, contact form, user mailing system, etc... With MPN, all that comes in the "box". Adding features will not require hours or days of installing, debugging, and testing since they are already there for you to use. Most people would rather not use a feature than have to install it from scratch.
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