To start I'll state that I'm not a major developer. I've contributed a little code way back when it started, and since then I've whipped up a few command line scripts that I needed and contributed them to the project. When I talk about the "developers" or "devs" I'm referring to the hand-full of core Postnuke developers.
Postnuke started out by forking PHPNuke which, of course, forked off from Thatware. At the time of the Postnuke fork, there were a lot of disgruntled PHPNuke users/developers who became the Postnuke userbase, I was one of them. The goal of the Postnuke developers was not to enhance PHPNuke, but to create a whole new Content Management System. Under the leadership of John "niceguyeddie" Cox, they started a souceforge project and designated project as in Alpha stage.
Being in Alpha turned out to be the excuse that excused many major code upheavals. First it was decided to use PEAR DB abstraction code, then that was dumped for ADODB, then once the API was somewhat complete that was put into use. The decision to make many of these changes received a good amount of critisizm from the module developers as well as most of the community, however none recieved as intense critisizm as the coice of templating engines.
As the self-appointed keeper of the PN-Dev mailing list archives I can say that there have been a few minor disagreements and flames over the year that PN was in development. Some of the disagreements were settled, some simply blew over, and others resulted in the loss of a developer, but unlike what we have seen in the last few months, most people handled themselves in an adult manner. The issues were worked out and the development continued.
The developers in who made the choice of templating engines received harsh and personal critisizm regarding their decision. The developers who were working on Postnuke had every right in the world to choose whatever templating system they wanted to use, however, the mistake that was made was that the decision was not mandated (like it should/could have been) but put forward as a contest. A contest in which the people who would decide the outcome were also very involved with the development of one of the templating systems that were in the running. This was in no way a fair contest.
So the fit hit the shan when the annoucement was made that Blocklayout was being chosen as the Postnuke Templating engine. Blocklayout differed then Encompass in that Encompass was a complete, feature filled system and Blocklayout was still in the conceptual stage. The other differences between Encompass and Blocklayout are beyond the scope of this diary entry.
Well, this has been interesting but my time has run out and I've gotta run. I'll try and finish it some other day.