User:AngelinaBelle/SMF team manual/Welcome to Simple Machines From Online Manual

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Welcome to the Simple Machines family! As part of the family, there are a few things we'd like you to read and understand . As a new member of the team, we understand you probably don't have much of a clue what you're expected to be doing, so this guide should help you a bit, if you're having trouble speak to a peer or a team leader and they will be glad to help you.

A Brief History of Simple Machines

On July 4, 2000, a 17-year-old Dutch high school student named Zef Hemel made his first alpha release of YaBB, a flat-file-based forum written in Perl, under the GPL license. With a few months of Perl under his belt, and no budget, he needed a high-quality alternative to expensive forum software. The YaBB forum community grew quickly at Zef sometimes implemented user-requested features twice daily. Several regular contributers soon joined the YaBB core developer team, and developed the first automatic installer for a growing repository of YaBB modifications.

In 2001 Zef turned management of YaBB over to Jeff Lewis. Later that year, Joseph Fung and Jeff Lewis spent a weeking translating YaBB to PHP, to take advantage of PHP's speed and the MySQL database. YaBB SE would be suitable for larger, more active forums. Once released, YaBB SE grew from 2 to 10,000 members.

Several copyright issues delayed development of YaBB SE 2.0 -- the community and support staff were confused by several unauthorized forks still bearing the YaBB SE. One developer even created a commercial version of the software, under a new name, and without giving credit its developers. During this time, one of the newer developers, [Unknown], started a "Secret Project" to optimize, scrap outdated code, and add important features. The team soon adopted this as the basis for the next release. To save forum owners and hosting providers from confusing it with YaBB, they rebranded it as Simple Machines Forum. Lewis Media took the project under its wing to protect it from license violations, and, with the help of copyright lawyers, the team developed the license used for YaBB SE 1.5.1 and SMF 1.0 and SMF 1.1 versions. The renamed project moved to new servers, and Simple Machines Forum 1.0 was released in 2004.[1]

By 2007, had 100,000 members. After many discussions, the team decided that the project was ready to stand on its own as a US-registered LLC. Shortly after the founding of Simple Machines LLC, Jeff Lewis took a step back from Simple Machines.

Easter Eggs
Yes, there are Easter Eggs. If you find one, please don’t broadcast it to everyone, as that will spoil the search for everyone else!

By 2009, the SMF team had grown, and there were a growing number of disagreements on issues ranging from the best way to organize the project to the best license for the software. With significant turnover on the development team, work on SMF 2.0 slowed. In January 2010, heated discussions between former and current team members resulted in a decision to re-organize the project as a non-profit organization (NPO), and to use a BSD license on future versions of the software. Between June 2010 and April 2011, the LLC merged with the NPO and was dissolved. Simple Machines is now a member-run organization, with an elected board of directors as specified in its Bylaws, and the SMF project is a part of the SimpleMachines NPO.

When SMF 2.0 was released in June of 2011, had over 250,000 members.

Our Core Values

The following is a list of precepts and values key to the Simple Machines team. These beliefs and values are critical to the ongoing success of the project and should be embodied in everything we do and every decision we make.

Free Software

We will provide our software to the public for free. A full and complete version of any software title developed by this project will be available to everyone without any cost, be it monetary or otherwise.

Respect and Fairness

We will treat others with consideration, high regard, courtesy and dignity; in a just, equitable and unbiased manner. We will demonstrate good manners, pay attention and treat others as we would like to be treated. We will be consistent, listen and be open to feedback, be careful making judgments about others, and treat people equally and equitably.

Development and Growth

We will support the personal and professional growth of each and every member of the team. This project was founded by people and for people looking to development their skills as well as themselves. We will always strive to help and encourage others and to provide opportunity for growth, development and learning.

Recognition and Credit

We will recognize the successes and accomplishments of the team and the individuals who make up this team. We will give credit where credit is due. This applies to successes, contributions, licenses and rewards.

Friendly Competition

We exist in a competitive world, with many other alternative software titles. We will persevere in this arena through quality and respect, not through antagonism and hate. We will support competitors and treat them as we would have them treat us. We will not insult, disparage or in any other way teardown other projects, businesses or organizations.

Peers and Equals

Everyone on this team is an equal. We have structure and process because they allow us to improve communications, responsibility and ability to do what needs to be done - NOT because it infers power. We will make decisions in a democratic manner, and no one team member will hold sway over another.


Everyone on this team is a volunteer and gives what they can of their free time. They each give what they want and/or can, but we must accept that life and family come first. We will be understanding and supportive of each other, and will respect other members when they take breaks from and/or leave the team.


All team members are registered members of the main community boards. We all strive to be as active as required to fulfill the duties of our role on the team. There is no required level of activity on the boards; however, a long unexplained absence is inconsiderate, causes unnecessary speculation and is cause for replacement.


Our reputation is built by our users. Excellent support is fundamental to this reputation. We will continue to provide support and assistance to the members of the user community. A product has little value if it is not supported. Ongoing support and ongoing development are equally important.

Intellectual Property

We are contributing our time and efforts to benefit the project. All code, graphics, algorithms and other work provided by team members are donations to the Simple Machines project. This donation of intellectual property cannot be revoked.

Free and Open Source Software

SMF 2.0

SMF 2.0 has been released under a BSD license, which requires all redistribution (modified or unmodified, in source or binary form) to retain the copyright notice in the source files, and prohibits using the names of Simple Machines, Simple Machines Forum, or any of its contributors to promote or endorse any derived work.

The License agreement may be viewed on the SMF license page

Earlier versions of SMF

Earlier versions of SMF (versions in the 1.0.x line and 1.1.x line, as well as beta and RC versions of SMF 2) are licensed under a proprietary open-source license which was more restrictive than those described by the Open Source Initiative. This license permits anyone to use the code, view the code, or distribute instructions to modify it (as SMF mod packages do), but no one may modify the copyright notice or redistribute the forum/software itself without written permission. The SMF team worked with copyright lawyers to develop this license in response to instances where code from YaBB SE (released under a GPL license) was redistributed by another project under a new name, without giving any credit to those who wrote the code.

The License agreement may be viewed on the SMF license page

Simple Machines Web Sites

Business Structure

The SMF project team is responsible for handling the development, support, documentation, customization, and translation of the SMF software. In addition, SMF team members invite and recruit community members to beta test new releases, to help moderate non-English speaking boards, to help provide support, and to help with documentation.

The Simple Machines Forum (SMF) project is part of Simple Machines, a US Non-profit Organization registered in Nevada. The organization owns all the servers, collects all donations and any other income, and is responsible for paying all the bills and handling any legal matters. The corporate organization is led by a Board of Directors (BoD) elected by the organizations members as detailed in the Simple Machines Bylaws. Every member of the SMF team is eligible to be a member of the organization, subject to the approval of the BoD. Site, server, and marketing functions are handled by the corporate organization for the SMF team.

[1] Looking back- an interview with Joseph Fung, Jeff Lewis and [Unknown]., December 2, 2007