Bryan Deakin

Scottish Poet / Blogger / Community Activist

Getting to Know: Arantor

1. What got you involved with SMF?
Back in 2006, I was starting out with a new software development, and needed a discussion forum. Initially I found PunBB, but found that its lack of polls as a built in feature proved enough reason for me to move, and so I went looking at what was around then, bypassing phpBB after having already experienced its hassles, and found SMF. Never looked back.

2. What feature of SMF do you like the most?
SSI.php, I think.

3. From what you see what do you feel SMF is missing?
A strong way to be extensible in every direction. The changes in RC4 made it substantially easier to make mods that don’t require code edits but the changes don’t go nearly far enough to be really usable. There’s also some decisions that don’t make it work so well in terms of expansion – probably the most obvious to me, any mod large or complex enough to do anything other than ‘general’ or ‘board’ will ultimately end up writing its own permissions system. SimpleDesk, Aeva Media, Project Tools, and plenty of others, ended up having to write their own permissions structures because they couldn’t extend the ones used by SMF itself.

4. How do you feel about the transition from LLC to NPO?
Honestly, that’s a tough question. I’ve heard that it’s going to make a lot of difference, but until I actually see some evidence to the contrary on that score, I have to assume that it’s business as usual. I’m fairly well known for having had my run-ins with the team, both before and after NPO creation, and to be honest, I’m not convinced it actually makes that much difference. Most people don’t really care who provides the software as long as it’s provided. The one benefit it does provide, I guess, is that less of the Charter money goes on administration and taxes and more of it goes on things that are really needed – like the servers.

5. Since you have left SMF what have you been up too?
Other than playing a lot of Minecraft, I did found a mod site part way in to 2010 but closed it after some run-ins with certain members of the team, and after all that kicked off, I started working with Nao, who is best known for being the author/maintainer of Aeva Media, on a fork of SMF, where we were so dissatisfied with the way the SMF software was being ‘looked after’, that we decided to do our own thing, and that’s been the big thing we’ve been doing since August last year.

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