I have very little knowledge upon vBulletin; I've truthfully, never used it, and I won't claim I have. So, I can offer no arguments for it being superior to, or inferior to, phpBB3 Olympus - save, phpBB3 is
open source, and from what I have checked into vBulletin - doesn't have people trying to profit off every little useful feature released on a 3rd party perspective. That, right away, makes me consider phpBB3 prior to vBulletin.
Now, let me be honest. Prior to Olympus? I was not a "phpBB Guy". Seriously. =P Wasn't how I rolled - I enjoyed phpBB2, but not to a point where it surpassed other softwares I tended to utilize.
However, when witnessing the development of Olympus, I quickly jumped ship; and admittedly, I'm waiting for R1 to use on my newly bought domain patiently.
The following softwares, I have delved into with some experience:
[IPB v1.3.x, 2.x, IceBB, SMF, Acmlm Boards, TuvaiBB Software, Fusetalk
[Invision Power Board
]: I actually enjoyed/enjoy version 1.3.1 Final, and on my old community, modified the software into what I call "1.3.1 Final Bolt
" - in reference to part of my website's title - and as a sign that, I had made the software [as much as humanly possible on my end] compatible with newer versions of php/MySQL, and applied non-official security fixes [seeing as, IPB no longer truly supports 1.3.x.]
However, I never was much of a fan of it's templating system. Better than some, don't get me wrong - but not my cup'o'tea. A number of other miscellaneous issues kept me from enjoying it to it's full extent, and well, much as I tried to keep it modernized - it was
outdated software. And I felt, as I moved from my old domain/host [to a much larger host & what I think to be, personally, a much catchier domain. =P], I needed to check into new solutions for my message boards. Since, the community is a core element of my website.
So, I checked into IPB 2.0, which I did have a demo of. Not long after, unfortunately, higher versions came out that [in my opinion] ripped 2.0 apart- but, did cost money.
Now, I'm all for spending a little money if it means getting a quality product in return. But, I felt like Invision Power Services had.. sold out, frankly. Even their official support forums [sadly, a modification/support community that crushes even the free Invisionize] requires you to have a license. And, after testing out the newer versions of the software at some friends' domains, I had to say.. I wasn't thoroughly impressed. I could go into a long rant of -why- I felt less than static, but if I could sum up one word on my experience with the newer versions of IPB: It felt.. bloated.
Still, on a modification stand-point, I've always enjoyed what's been developed for IPB. And their Quick Edit feature is something I still, heavily, feel every message boards software should try and incorporate. The ACP's not the worst I've seen either; tabbed, but horrible
]: After IPB went commercial, a number of free derivatives of 1.3 began to surface. This was, and still is, one of them.
Upsides: Definitely improves on 1.3 in many aspects, clean interface, secure from what I can tell, has potential.
Downsides: The community for it's small. Very small. Not very many mods released. Not too
popular, either. Does it's job, though. Still - not what I desired at all.
]: Ah, Simple Machines Forum. When I first saw it, I thought, ".. This could be interesting." Admittedly, when I saw the home site itself for SMF, I was intrigued; seemed to combine the role of site and forums in an aesthetically pleasing way.
Yeeeet.. I'll say: templates other than the default? Downright.. ugly
. No offense to those whom may read this topic that could've developed some of these [WANNA GGGGOOOO!!??!11one?], but I realized: I'd -have- to modify the default theme if I wanted a message boards that wasn't.. well, unpleasing to the eye.
The thread views are definetely not my personal favorite of any message board software, the ACP is kind of low-rate, and.. I can't say, I enjoy SMF heavily. It's definetely well-featured, and if more third-party communities started to delve into it, SMF may yet prove to be an interesting choice. But, just bleh @ the templating. ;-;
Ah, now these are lesser known softwares. AcmlmBoards & TuvaiBB are rather lower-key softwares, but I happened to enjoy them heavily; they have their own features that most message boards don't gun for on default. On Acmlm's side: Post templates using variants of HTML, post counts being logged by default as "EXP", etc. You can check the boards themselves over for more features, though I'll warn you, the Christmas template isn't as appealing as the usual.
Here's a sad story. TuvaiBB, the software Tuvai himself used to release, was a very interesting kind of mixture of a message boards, and a content system. Like a simplified, yet feature-filled version of Joomla, with a community software built in. I happened to have v1.2 at one time - and I'd kill to have it again, just because it was good. =P
Unfortunately, Tuvai [owner of TuvaiBB and Tuvai.net. See a pattern?] decided to take down the section of his site releasing the software - and in general, releases aren't seen, kept towards his own uses instead. A true pity.
Both of these softwares suffer from little-to-none third party support & modding, and on Acmlm's part - slow patching for securty, but still - they are/were more than interesting.
]: I won't even get into this. Rediculous
amounts of cash for a poor, poor software that isn't worth 1/100th of it's prices [versions of this have licenses well over $1,000
. O_o;] appalling, frankly - and if my opinion sounds biased, check http://forums.g4tv.com/
as a nice example of the message boards software.
Nice threaded view. Alright private message system. But it's features are low-key at best, it has some serious problems [a horrendous defaulted censor system, for one-] and it's nothing near worth the amount of money Fusetalk charges, although I'll admit, it can handle quite a stress load.
Still, in the end: I do prefer phpBB3 Olympus, and as I've said, I intend to use it, RC1 and on, as my community's software, for good. I love the BBCode system, I love the updating system for RC1 & on, I think the default look is hands down the best message boards default theme I've ever seen, I enjoy the community involved around the project, and I know from having monitored phpBB2 - the moddings, whether as plentiful as vBulletin or no, will be something massive. And I think I've fallen in love with the ACP. XD
All of these, of course, are my own opinions. Everyone's entitled to their's.
One day, I'll remember to add my actual signature and avatar. I think.