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JForum - A phpBB2 Copy-Off?

Posted: Thu May 01, 2008 5:54 pm
by Tom
I was searching the web and I found a forum that looked a lot like phpBB2 with an edited subSilver theme. However, it looked a tiny bit different. I figured it was a phpBB2 subSilver template alteration so I scrolled down to look at the copyright at the bottom of the page to see if there were any links to the person who designed this modified style. Then, I noticed that the copyright read "Powered by JForum 2.1.6 © JForum Team" and immediately I thought "those idiots are taking phpBB2 and making it seem like it's their own product. So, I went to JForum's website to see what it was all about. It said it ran on Javascript, but I didn't think that was a big enough difference from phpBB in order to be considered a totally different forum solution. Even if it is a big difference that JForum is designed in Javascript, that still doesn't justify the fact that they stole phpBB2's subSilver template, images and codebase and made it seem like it was their own.

Here's a post I made on their community forum about this potential copy-off:
I MOD a bit for phpBB2 and I have a good understanding of its codebase and templates and its overall look. So, with that in mind, I have a question: isn't JForum just a copy of phpBB2 with some internal edits done? I notice some different things like new options and new arrangements of topics and forums and members and stuff, but the core look of JForum is identicle to phpBB2. JForum simply looks like a different phpBB2 style template - that's all. It looks like a copy-off of phpBB2 with some of phpBB3's features added in. :x The smilies are exactly the same as phpBB2, all of the images are exactly the same, the fonts and font colors are exactly the same, the layout is exactly the same, the registration page is exactly the same and I can go on and on and on about how JForum seems to be exactly the same as phpBB2. All I see are some small template changes/edits - nothing big.

So, can someone tell me how JForum is different than phpBB2? Does it use a different coding language or something? And don't tell me the little differences like the different looking form buttons, or the "My Bookmarks" page, or the different image backgrounds, because that isn't enough to convince me that JForum is totally different than phpBB2 and can be called "a separate forum from phpBB2."

Thanks and please let me know how this is different. I'm sorry if I'm wrong, but I am just sticking up for phpBB and the hard work that was put into making that forum solution.
As you can plainly see, I was pretty upset at these guys. I know it might have sounded a little harsh, but I was really pissed that someone took phpBB's product.

Anyway, I want to ask your opinion on whether JForum is a copy-off of phpBB2 or not. Maybe JForum got a copyright that doesn't violate phpBB's rights, but it still angers me that they stole the whole subSilver template and a lot of the phpBB codebase.

Well, I just needed to let that anger out and ask you that one question. Thanks for understanding. :D

Re: JForum - A phpBB2 Copy-Off?

Posted: Thu May 01, 2008 6:25 pm
by drathbun
The grahpics and layout look the same, but it's written in java (not javascript). As such, it's quite probably inspired by phpbb but the code is going to be completely different.

Re: JForum - A phpBB2 Copy-Off?

Posted: Thu May 01, 2008 6:39 pm
by SneakySimian
I think they should put something along the lines of "design and graphics inspired by phpBB2" or similar.

Re: JForum - A phpBB2 Copy-Off?

Posted: Thu May 01, 2008 7:41 pm
by 3Di
Yes, 'inspired by' it is indeed a courtesy but mandatory, I guess.
In any case i downloaded the stuff, just curious to watch the code, yes.. :)

Re: JForum - A phpBB2 Copy-Off?

Posted: Thu May 01, 2008 8:20 pm
by drathbun
I don't think the graphics were "inspired by" I think they are, in fact, the phpBB2 graphics. :) So there is perhaps something to be followed up there by the appropriate folks. The screen layouts look strikingly familiar as well. The data model (in the package I downloaded they included a database model as a gif and as a vsd file) is quite similar, although they have added karma and attachments and bookmarks and some other non-standard phpBB2 features.

There search system is completely different, as they're missing the search_wordmatch and search_wordlist tables. Instead they have a search_topics table that has some function that I can't decipher just from looking at the data model.

I did download the code and it's written in java. It's not even remotely close to php.

Re: JForum - A phpBB2 Copy-Off?

Posted: Fri May 02, 2008 2:51 pm
by Tom
SneakySimian wrote:I think they should put something along the lines of "design and graphics inspired by phpBB2" or similar.
Yes! That's all I'm looking for them to do is to give some credit to phpBB.
drathbun wrote:I did download the code and it's written in java. It's not even remotely close to php.
I noticed that too, but they should still give phpBB credit for the template design and image sets.

Re: JForum - A phpBB2 Copy-Off?

Posted: Sat May 03, 2008 11:18 pm
by 3Di
legohalflife2man wrote:I noticed that too, but they should still give phpBB credit for the template design and image sets.
Credits are under any form a kind of courtesy, so to speak. :geek:

Re: JForum - A phpBB2 Copy-Off?

Posted: Sun May 04, 2008 4:24 am
by bonelifer
As I understand it, they only are required to leave the copyright that is commented in the templates. They aren't required to leave the outward facing copyright. At least that is what has been posted in similar topics like this in the past by team members here.

Re: JForum - A phpBB2 Copy-Off?

Posted: Sun May 04, 2008 5:46 pm
by drathbun
That's for code, which they're not using. They are using the subSilver graphics, which were not released under GPL. With the phpbb.com relaunch of 3.0 I can't find the link anymore, but I do remember that the subSilver was not GPL'd and different copyright restrictions were applied.

Re: JForum - A phpBB2 Copy-Off?

Posted: Tue May 06, 2008 1:37 am
by AdamR
drathbun wrote:That's for code, which they're not using. They are using the subSilver graphics, which were not released under GPL. With the phpbb.com relaunch of 3.0 I can't find the link anymore, but I do remember that the subSilver was not GPL'd and different copyright restrictions were applied.
The 2.0.x download page: http://web.archive.org/web/200703051725 ... nloads.php

And an old post from 2002:
http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopi ... 90&#p65890

- Adam

Re: JForum - A phpBB2 Copy-Off?

Posted: Tue May 06, 2008 4:24 pm
by drathbun
Thanks, Adam, I think that older post from psoTFX helps explain things.