So the company that owns vBulletin (Internet Brands, they bought it from Jelsoft back in 2007) has apparently decided that they don't need customers. First they changed their licensing scheme from a higher one-time fee and lower yearly renewals to a much higher one-time fee and no renewal good for that major version of vB. While this new license seems to be a little better on the surface they also announced that they plan on releasing major versions of vBulletin every 12-18 months rather than the 2+ year cycle AND that as soon as a new major version is released they'll stop providing any sort of updates on the old version (including security updates). So in essence the new license becomes a yearly fee to use vBulletin.
Now this isn't necessary a bad thing by itself if it meant that each major revision added new features or significant benefits but vB 4.0 from what I can tell offers only two new things over vB 3. The first is a new skin for the forums that's XHTML compliant and the second is auto-embedding of media (IE, youtube links get transformed automatically, like that hack I had installed for a bit). That's it. Now there is a new 'package' of software called the Community Suite which also adds a CMS (Content Management System, IE, a front-page) to the mix but the cost of getting this suite is nearly $100 over the forums and while I had originally pondered this for GoonFleet other events made my decision for me.
vBulletin started to pull a lotka.org in a way lotka.org administrators could only dream about. As you can imagine the new licensing scheme generated quite an outburst of anger from the vBulletin community, especially since vB 4.0 hasn't even been released yet, won't be released for at least a month or two, and any discount prices being offered on upgrades expire tomorrow. Rather than address these issues or even offer some sort of explanation people speaking out against the new licensing fees have found themselves banned from vBulletin's forums and their licenses and support revoked without comment or reason. For more information on this see http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/10/28/vbulletin_controversy/
So, with the licensing changes and recently demonstrated insanity I've started seriously looking at alternatives to vBulletin and that search has lead me to... (((Blah blah snipped technical stuff)))