Vanilla: Vanilla is a brand new open-source forum software that’s stated goal is to “the mold created and followed by just about every other forum on the web.” This jibes with my experience in bulletin boards—I’ve found them pretty much all the same, even down to their interfaces. The only other different forum software I’ve run across is PunBB and that’s not that different.
Sometimes it’s good to follow the pack: conventions make user interfaces easier for users to understand. Most of the time, to my mind at least, it’s great to re-examine the premises of commodity software and see if there’s still some innovation to be had. I’m definitely going to try out Vanilla at my community’s fledgling virtual community.