A Forum for NatickFOSS?

Go There Now
phpbb logo

forum link

Updating your password if you need to.

Need to Know More First?

What is a forum?
Here's my simple definition.
A forum is an online community meeting place.

As it is, the NatickFOSS usergroup has monthly meetings at the Natick Community-Senior Center. Thanks to them for hosting us and to Dick and Jill Miller for getting the group going. But what if you want to connect in between. There is always a telephone or email, of course, but if you want to communicate in a way which involves more than one person at a time, there are drawbacks to each of those methods.

A forum is one alternative.

This article and the associated meeting (given August 1, 2013) is designed to help the group begin to explore the potential of a forum with phpbb forum software.

The intent is to provide a testing or "sandbox" forum so the NatickFOSS User Group can evaluate the idea and this will perhaps not stay an official group forum. Now, understand, the forum isn't hidden. A person reaching this page will be able to click the link and get to the forum. Therefore, reveal only what isn't truly private in any posts you make. That's good Internet behavior anyway.

Some of the screenshot images can be enlarged to full size. Click on the images to see if they reveal themselves. Use the browser "back" button to return to this page. Look for the hand pointer

OK, let's look at some basics. Links lead to more detail.

Meeting Activity

Register Yourself

Work at your own computer or share with a parter.
You'll need to register before you can log in.
The forum is now set to require a login before a person can post anything.

register graphic

You will be asked to agree to a standard set of sensible terms. Read here.

Please enter a user name (which does not need to be your real name, but might help the rest of us if you don't try to hide your identity. "BobSmith" or "Bob Smith" both work but are not the same user name. Spaces do count along with capital letters. That meands "bobsmith" would be different, too."

Please use a valid email address. You will not need to verify registration by way of email, but notices need to go out from time to time (such as telling you a follow-up post has occured in a topic you are following. Those notices go out by email. Between regular users, the forum provides a buffered connection. You send a "direct message" to someone, the software handles the email contact so you don't need to make your email open for all users.


As always, use a sensible password. Write it somewhere so you don't need to go through the reset process later.

The software asks you to enter the sequence of letters and digits in a "captcha." The captcha is designed to thwart software "bots" since it is assumed only a real human can figure out the letters. It is a goofy process. Sometimes I need to click the request for a different captcha before I can figure it out myself.


Log in

UPDATE AFTER AUGUST MEETING: To prevent spam accounts from overrunning the forum, each account needs administrator approval before you can log in. I get an email to say somebody has registered. I look at the account name and the email. If the two of them look at all suspicious, I simply delete the account. I don't think this combination looks like a human. Username: cigmgtam - email: ub.15a.jcA@hotmail.com. Advice? Pick a reasonable username and I'd hope your email already makes sense. If you want to avoid any problems, contact me directly (email in this page's footer) to say that you have registered, telling me only your username and email. I don't want to know the password, thanks. Also let me know your connection to NatickFOSS if we have not already spoken at a meeting. Please be patient. I don't do site administration professionally. I don't check email minute by minute.

After your registration is approved, log in. If something goes wrong, we can check the issue during the meeting or you can contact Algot later.

Explore, Experiment, Discuss

There currently are just two top-level forums with sub categories. If you add a topic, for now, put it in the Discussion Forum, please. You may add a new post to any topic you already see, of course.

Explore image

Open time...half an hour...an hour? You decide. Let's not rush if it is working well.

Questions? Check the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions), Ask each other, ask Algot.


This forum is mostly a generic installation of the phpbb software and I am a novice board admin. Be patient. If you have questions. ask.
Some settings may need to be tweaked for the system to work best for the NatickFOSS group.

phpbb is FOSS, of course. What else would you expect? Unlike some other software like LibreOffice, Firefox, Fotoxx, etc., phpbb is installed on a computer set up as a server. While you will interact with it from your own computer, the "action" is occuring on the server. Your browser gets to look in at the display from phpbb. phpbb is, in turn, helped by a Web server (Apache) and a relational database (MySQL). As a Web application, it is written in a scripting language. This time the scripting language is PHP. Ask for more details or go out and do your own research. You can learn more about these things by setting up a server at home (even if you don't plan to open it up for friends). Making a server is a great way to reuse an older computer. The entire set of server software can be FOSS. I bet you knew that!