The forum software version was way out of date, with its commercial creator having stopped support for our version a long time before, the price and complexity/time required to upgrade the software was too much, and I didn't like the new version. I (Mark) looked around for alternative software, considering the pluses and minuses of each. Attempts to port the forum database to alternative forum software got bogged down in technical issues and considerations, plus I was concerned about the longterm ramifications of any particular choice. The forum remained entirely offline, which continued to be its state for more than 2 years.
Finally, on October 21, 2018, shortly after I leased a fresh new server (with the newest versions of everything... and some underlying server software changed...), which would run the latest versions of practically everything, I got the forum ported to the open source (and free) phpBB forum software.
phpBB mostly works. Thus far, the only thing noticed which does not work yet is the Search function. Search is important, but Search simply doesn't work (yielding a generic error message which really isn't very helpful) and attempts to get help from the open source community hasn't yielded any result yet. Forum software has grown huge and very complex in size, so it's not quick and easy to fix things or become an expert for an individual new to a particular package.
If no solution is forthcoming for the search issue, then I am open to alternatives to phpBB and willing to port it again if I can be convinced it's worth the time, effort, and expense. I'll give some time for a solution to search to come forth .... but we shall see ....
I really need somebody to step forward who is willing and able to manage the forum -- reviewing posts, users, and general non-technical things -- and really continue to do so over time. If such a person is familiar with a different package, other than phpBB, and prefers to use the different package, then I'm willing to port the forum again, but only if that person is really committed to continue over time.
As regards the software, usually once software like this works, it's fairly trouble free. The main issue is managing posts and users, the non-technical things. I don't mind doing the technical tasks such as security patches and updates.
I chose phpBB because it is one of the most popular forum software packages, and has been for a very long time, not a package which is likely to be a flash in the pan. There should be more people out there familiar with phpBB so it may be a better longterm alternative. I'm not highly impressed with phpBB, but "better is the enemy of good enough".
I am a believer in open source software with community support, for long term projects. Commercial software is good for short term projects, especially for quick solutions to problems, but commercial packages can be bought and sold with new programmers and administrators taking over while the old ones cut out and retire on the sales income and move on ... sometimes resulting in the quality of the product and service being compromised. (If somebody's around who is willing and able to port it to another package, great... but for now I'll go with the most likely odds.)
For now, I'll give phpBB a little more time. I posted a question on the main support forum asking for help about the Search function. However, I also noticed that Search wasn't working for me on their main support board, either .... so I'll stop spending time on this until at least it works again on their board. Such are the realities of the world, which is far less than ideal, and you know about expectations ....
I have high standards for perfection, but I am just one individual and cannot do everything ...