I first started tinkering with the original b2/cafelog software in the end of 2002, as the original author, Michel V. had stopped maintaining it.
Then, in early 2003 it became apparent that I was going to fork it and start maintaining something of my own.
Later in 2003, I registered the domain ((https://b2evolution.net b2evolution.net)). Whois will tell you
Creation Date: 2003-06-12T02:50:00Z (I guess I’ve always done my best work late in the night… ;)
So, well, it’s been 18 years now
During all that time, we – which includes several contributors over the years (blueyed, maxim, yura, and many others) – rewrote the whole b2 core in a more object oriented way (we called it evocore for a while) and then proceeded to add a lot of functionality, moving from a simple blog engine to an amazingly powerful (//yeahah!// if you ask me..) multisite multiuser multilingual CMS, suitable for very complex websites.
Fast forward to the 2010s: b2evolution was used by several companies (some you could actually call corporations ;), mostly for intranet purposes. In retrospect the intranet use case is ideal for b2evolution because it leverages all the complex features including permission management without requiring very heavy workloads like a large corporate public site may do. And for heavy workloads, you may actually //not// want to use a CMS…
These pro clients provided both motivation and financial support for the b2evolution project to continue as long as it has.
The economic situation
Fast forward to 2020. I won’t get into details about the fustercluck of how Covid-19 was handled by the various governments “in charge”… nor will I pretend I would have done any better in their shoes (thankfully I am //not// in their shoes)… but the fact is they literally killed the economy… worldwide (and if you ask me //you ain’t seen nothing yet//).
That might even be just what the planet needed in this advanced stage of ecological disaster we got ourselves into, in the name of, you know… “progress” :/ Anyways, all that are different subjects in their own…
Back to 2020 for b2evolution: (except for one unclear case) no clients went bankrupt (yet) but 100% of them cut down their spendings on either expanding or customizing b2evolution. The pro-client revenue went down by approx 85%. Worse: many decided not to upgrade “to save costs” and then started requesting support and fixes on old versions, things that were already fixed in more recent versions…
As you might have guessed if you read the above: the pro motivation and financial support evaporated.
The community situation
Then there is the community / open source / for fun part of the project… I don’t know how to say this, so I’ll be blunt: it is //not fun// for me any more!
If I try to analyze a bit deeper I’d say some (not all) 100% free users have been repeatedly posting demands to the forum, as if we owed them this or that feature, without ever trying to fix something on their own, without providing any help to others, without any halfway readable English or even a screenshot for crying out loud…
Yep, no fun, sorry guys. //Your// problems are no longer going to be //my// problems.
The technological situation
To be honest and as I wrote somewhere previously, if I was to start from scratch today I probably would not use PHP and I probably would not use a CMS. I would probably use a static site generator for maximum performance and maximum security.
The only problem is that to this day I don’t know any static site generator solution that even comes close to the power of b2evolution… BUT I think the situation is progressing rapidly and I do expect these newer architectures to be on par with what b2evolution can do before 2025. (The feature that would be hardest to shift to a radically more efficient architecture would be the forums.)
So at this point I am continuing to use b2evolution for my own websites but I do believe I will radically switch at some point in the future.
The GDPR situation
Don’t get me started, but that was probably the first nail in the coffin for me.
Thank you E.U. for tripling the amount of clicks I have to make to get the crap out of the way before reading a web page! What a fustercluck!
This should have been solved at the browser level and with meta data, NOT with popups.
And some expect me to work this crap into the b2evolution core. Heaven forbid!
The global situation
Have you looked at the world lately? I don’t know if you see what I see but using the latest version of Bootstrap or having colored icons, or even releasing this massive e-commerce module seem far less important to me now than in… hum… when was the world still “normal”? 2018?
The personal situation
There’s been a time where I was spending 14 hours a day on b2evolution.
Lately it’s been less, because once you have kids (the kind that need to eat, not the brainchild version) you kind of have to slice up your time like all the others do.
Still… spending all my free time on b2evolution was starting to no longer feel right. There are these //other// things I’ve been wanting to try out… ( #permaculture #micro-electronics – are these mutually exclusive?? ;)
So what now?
At this point my only motivation regarding b2evolution is to keep it running without severe bugs and without security issues. I plan to maintain this – at least in GitHub – for now. There will be less packaged released though.
Having said the above I want to express my deep apologies to everyone who has been involved in helping the community recently (Amoun comes to mind) as well as the current main developers (Yura, Erwin come to mind) whom I’m sort of “letting hang” here…
I also want to apologize to the most involved pro clients (Eric, Nic, Marc, Christoph, Jos come to mind) whom I’m also feeling guilty of letting you down here…
To all of you, I am sorry, I do not have the energy to continue doing this the way I used to.
Anyone who wants to continue maintaining b2evolution is welcome to fork it on GitHub and take it in any direction they see fit.
After all, that’s exactly what I did… 18 years ago.
Comments from long ago:
Comment from: amoun
Hi. Thanks for all your work and I agree with all you said and I’m surprised you kept improving b2evo for so long.
Sure it will be sad not have your input on the forum, as much, or/if any, but I’m really happy that you can let it go and spend more time with your children.
I have seven and manage 40 acres, good job they have all grown up now. Computing use and software understanding are both addictive, well for me, luckily the land is more demanding and better exercise.
I really wish you all the best with the other more enjoyable aspects of consumerism, like the less you consume the more relaxing the days become, but children, especially when young are insatiable, so don’t let them run you ragged either :)
Comment from: François Planque
+1 on consuming less and relaxing more ;)
Btw, moving to static site builders requires less powerful servers and consumes less electricity. Another reason not to double down on heavy CMS use.
7 children? Wow! Have some stayed with you on the land?
Comment from: Sergio Lima
I have been using B2evolution since 2003 (I think since version 1.x.x a) … And the only thing I can say now is thank you for all your excellent work and effort to maintain b2evolution.
Possibly, I am one of those users with bad English that you have referred to … Anyway, as an end user, I will do my best to keep my installation as safe as my technical limitations can.
If you (or any developer on your team) launche a pro version for end users (not corporate users) with only security maintenance, I would be one of the first to subscribe. [think about! :-)]
Anyway, I understand your point perfectly. I wish you success and that we can survive the “post-covid”!
Thanks again for B2evolution!
Comment from: amoun
“7 children? Wow! Have some stayed with you on the land?”
No :) It’s far to primitive for them. They were not educated by any common standard so when they became of age they each left to go to college and never looked back.
They carry the will and sense of direction but haven’t turned on themselves yet :) They each think the world can be a better place through their efforts whilst not seeing that each of us only makes the relatively immediate environment more comfortable and secure for that we consider ‘ours’
You are going to have fun with your children, they are the future, we are the past.
Comment from: François Planque
Thank you Sergio.
Comment from: Felix
How ironic that I just rediscovered b2evolution, 7 months after this fateful announcement. Used to remember it as this nice WP alternative, and never realized how much time had passed and how much better it had become. Going to try it out anyway, just for fun, and remind people that this awesome project exists.
Sorry to hear the ongoing crisis hit you so hard. Your predictions were spot-on. Good luck, and thank you!
Comment from: David Newcomb
I too was probably a bit of a demanding user but at least I wrote ~5 plugins and did a bit of support! I’m still running v6.9 because there were problems with upgrading - the biggest problem being that of time! but I’ve been here since version 1 or 2.
I totally get where you are coming from and I just wanted to say a big thanks for all your efforts over the years in making such a great application.
Good luck and I hope you find another project (other than children) which gives you the same programming buzz.
Comment from: Brian
I’d like to thank you for all the work you put in for this. I appreciate it.