A little History:
v3.0 Alpha 5: In the spring of 2009 the long awaited v3.0 release of osCommerce was posted for download on the osCommerce website. Overall, the look and feel of the ‘new’ software was promising but the ‘new’ feeling was quickly repressed by the overwhelming sense that the new release did not fully function as it was coded improperly. Bug reports quickly poured into the support forums and community members quickly tried to offer code edits to patch v3.0.
After much debate and little progress or support from the Core Development Team, v3.0 Alpha 5 was dubbed ‘Unstable’. Only advanced PHP programmers, or those who hired osCommerce professionals were able to produce a working live website using v3.0 Alpha 5 but for the most part the software stalled and users reverted back to v2.2 RC2a.
(In November 2010 osCommerce v2.3.1 was released) see here
v3.01: On April 1st, 2011 the long awaited and highly promoted osCommerce v3.01 was released but was created to only function on servers operating with PHP 5.3, so MANY users could not even look at the software because their hosting providers are running older versions of PHP. To date, there are only 13 posted hosting providers offer hosting using PHP 5.3 (see list here).
With an estimated 9500+ hosting providers worldwide, v3.01 was not very popular at all. Many prospective users downloaded and installed Local Machine Environments such as WampServer just to be able to see the much hyped release and all of the anticipated features it was said to include. To the surprise of many, v3.01 was not a complete osCommerce package at all. It failed to include such fundamental functions such as being able to add categories/products and/ or have the ability to include a payment gateways. Version 3.01 was dubbed ‘The April Fools Release’ as many aspiring eCommerce users quickly returned back the the latest stable release of v2.3.1 for a production store.
Since the release in April, there appears to be very little progress with v3.01 and to the dismay of many who still download v3.01 from the osCommerce Download page thinking they will be able to use the software, many turn to the osCommerce Community Forums for advice about which version to use for their production stores. This confusion could easily be avoided if only the Website owner, Harald Ponce de leon would simply mark the v3.01 download as a Beta, or “In Development”. Several requests by active forum members to do just that, have fallen on deaf ears.
Edit August 6, 2011: After 6 months, version 3.0.2 was released with some minor improvements that are detailed here. After reviewing the information and downloading the release it is apparent that v3.x is still NOT READY FOR PRODUCTION USE.
Wow !! That statement sounds familiar. I must have typed “v3.x is NOT READY FOR PRODUCTION USE” about a thousand times in the year after unknowing users have downloaded it thinking it was ready to go and the could have a new ecommerce solution installed and configured in no time at all. To avoid those mislead users from downloading it, several HUNDRED requests have been sent to the Core Development Team asking them to mark v3.x as a BETA or ALPHA or whatever they need to mark it as to prevent users from wasting their time, and members on the support forum from answering countless questions about v3.x, however all requests have been ignored.
In summary, the current stable release of osCommerce is v2.3.1 and it can be downloaded here. I believe that with more user support, the Core Development Team would be able to employ more developers to help move the osCommerce Project along at a faster pace.
Edit: June 9, 2012: Well it’s been some time since I updated this page, the reason being is there hasn’t been any notable progress on v3.x. The only change most will notice is that the osCommerce download page now contains this warning above the v3.x downloadable files:
“Note: osCommerce Online Merchant v3.0 is currently in development and does not yet contain the same user-end features that v2.3 has. This release is recommended for developers and users who are participating in its development and are providing feedback.”
I know you may think that the notice is of no significance, however it took more than a dozen registered forum members to complain to the core development team in an open forum for the ‘team’ (2 members as far as I know does not make a team) to post the notice that has prevented a countless number of new users from downloading an incomplete cart. There is now less confusion in the forums and less pissed of newcomers complaining the cart does not function.
If you are using osCommerce or intend to use osCommerce as your eCommerce solution, please become a Community Sponsor to this worth while Open Source Software.