When I was more active in the support forums, it seemed like phpBB users were primarily made up of teenagers looking to set up their first dynamic website on Lycos or other free hosts — there were even knowledge base articles on how to make phpBB2 work on those hosts.
I had thought of OSS projects as the domain of teenagers and college students. A hobby people give up for full-time jobs later in life. So I was a bit surprised when I asked NeoThermic, keeper all statistics and Support Team Leader, the average age of a phpBB Team member. It is about 28.4 years (with a very large standard deviation of eleven and three quarters). This could be due to a relatively low churn rate. Many team members have been with us for many years.
But, it seems to me that phpBB’s audience is aging as well. It is less common to see someone trying to set phpBB up on a free web host.
I’m not saying this is a good or a bad phenomenon. I do think a board is better off when it is operated by a dedicated administrator with resources at his or her disposal. Resources pay for high quality hosting, for instance.
However, I’m not sure this is unique to phpBB. Many of the contributors to other large OSS projects like phpMyAdmin have been doing so for many years. But I’m curious whether anyone else has noticed the maturing of the people who contribute to open source projects.
I believe that Joomla! has noticed, because they are recruiting students. Google has done the same, with their Summer of Code the past several years.