This morning, I checked my queues and found a pointer to a new entity based forum, Brain Forum. I haven't had a chance to test it out, yet, so I'm only going by the description. According to that, it's already functional, and there's plans for future expansion. Basically, bfr beat me to it. My first thought was, "Now what do I do?" I'm sure people are going to ask why I'm bothering with Artesian Forum that's barely started when Brain Forum is already working?
The answer is that it's something I need to do. Forums have been my "thing" for most of my Drupal life. While others have come and gone, I've kept at it, kept working towards my dream of having a native Drupal forum solution that can compete with the big boys as well as do things that make it unique to Drupal. Advanced Forum was a good attempt but has fundamental issues that were holding me back. With Artesian, I'm making a clean start and taking my time to do it slowly and carefully and plan it out so I can get to where I want to go with no roadblocks. I have been planning it in my head for a year and am excited to get to work on it. My head is bursting with ideas that I just need to see through. While the project was barely started and then delayed for 6 months due to illness and other personal issues, I'm on the verge of really diving in and making it happen.
I'm not doing Artesian for a client or even really for my own use. My Coulee Region forum, which birthed Advanced Forum, has been a dismal failure because it turns out I'm better at writing forum software than managing a forum. While I'm sure I'll use Artesian, I could live without it. I'm writing it because it is my dream to provide a kick-ass forum for Drupal. This is what I do for the community. This is my thing. And I can't just walk away from that just because someone with more resources came along and beat me to it. If that makes me a hypocrite for duplicating effort after I spent so long fighting against duplication, so be it. I will do my part to ease user confusion by making sure I document well and explain the choices once Artesian is a viable solution. But I need to do Artesian regardless of what anyone else is doing. It's just something I've gotta do.
And what about Advanced Forum? That was my "baby" for four years and I haven't just abandoned it. I have found it solid caretakers in mcdruid (D6) and troky (D7). While I'm still involved in the issue queue, I'm no longer actively coding on it. The new maintainers are doing a fine job of keeping it going and I expect the module to keep going for quite some time yet, possibly even after Artesian is viable. Artesian is based on entities, not on core forum, and is a major design jump. Some people may be happy staying with Advanced Forum. We'll see when the time comes. Either way, there will be data conversion available from Core Forum (which means Advanced Forum as well) to Artesian Forum
So, what should you use?
If you need a solution right now look at Advanced Forum and Brain Forum. Not having used BF, I can't say much about it. I can tell you that AF has issues with large forums both due to performance and due to lack of moderation tools. It works great for small forums, though.
If you're doing long term planning, 6+ months, keep Artesian in mind. I intend to have something usuable (not necessarily in production) by DrupalCon and hope to make use of some of the brilliance there to really kick it into shape. I'd like to have something production ready by Summer but I can't make promises that far out. What I can promise you is that, short of something bad happening to me, I'm not going anywhere. I've been a member of this community since 2005 and working on forums since 2007. This is my passion, not just an assignment, and I will not give up until I give Drupal a forum that I am proud of.