I'm a bit confused as to what is ON topic now and what is OFF topic. I would think that "what it means to me" would have to include items that people feel detracts from the overall "feel" of the forum, no?
At any rate, what the retirement of phpBB2 means to me personally is I am now in the position of trying to decide if I will even run phpBB software to start with.
I currently run a forum on ProBoards http://sunrisers.proboards46.com
, and I and my members are tired of their incessant political ads and Google Ads in general. We also want the ability - as a closed forum open only to members of our alumni and all over the age of consent - to talk about anything we want in whatever language we dare use at the time. So - we (meaning ME, as Admin) must move to a self hosted forum. I investigated most of the available free forum software choices - I don't have to list them, you all know - and settled on phpBB2 for a very simple reason ... it fit the look of my current forum and seemed to be able to accept the styling I wanted to stay as close as possible to the current forum. I even setup a free hosted version http://sunrisers.forumotion.com
so I could play with the styling options and get a feel for phpBB2, rather than phpBB3 - which was also offered.
Like the OP, my members and I prefer the "older" look of phpBB2 and the way categories and forums are set up. It just fits, and doesn't require a PHD in computer science to figure out. Many of my members (myself included) are in their 50's and 60's and are not that computer literate. For me to TRY and get a reasonably similar look and feel to what we now use with phpBB3 would require a major investment of time I don't have to try and learn PHP programming, even if my memory at this age would cooperate - which it doesn't always. It is simply too much for me at this time.
And now I see I won't be able to get any "official" support for the software I settled on. What THAT means to me is ... I can go ahead and run it, but if I get stuck with something I'm on my own, and that bothers me greatly. While I understand that PHPBB would prefer to concentrate on the latest versions, the decision to not support v2 at all puzzles me. MS has announced they will continue to support XP for another year at least after the release of Vista a year ago, so why can't PHPBB at least offer minimal support for v2? The logic escapes me, frankly. It appears a LOT of people prefer a classic
It's obvious that a large number of users prefer the older version for many reasons and apparently have no desire to risk an upgrade to something they are not comfortable with. This is not to slam v3 or the staff for making that decision to completely revamp the software - it's simply a statement that many people don't want to upgrade to a look they don't like for no other reason than to placate the staff. MS made a major miscalculation in the look and operation of Vista and its acceptance by the GP. People simply don't like it. There is something of a parallel here.