About Mambo

More information can be found at You can read the Joomla! article for more information. Both sites are diplomatic about the rift but there is some definite tension here. Choice of any 5 of the top CMS’s boils down to a “religious” decision in the end.

What is Mambo?

This article will give you a better explanation of how Mambo fits into the content management landscape.


First and foremost, Mambo is a Content Management System (CMS). It is the engine behind your website that simplifies the creation, management, and sharing of content.

There is an excellent article on How to evaluate a Content Management System (written by James Robertson) that covers the features of a good content management system in great detail.


The goal of the Mambo project is to meet most of the requirements highlighted in the above article. As each day in development goes by we are getting nearer and nearer, while at the same time building a solid core which can be extended by third party developers.

In the hands of a custom developer, this makes Mambo a powerful platform for a wide variety of Internet applications that go far above and beyond the simple creation of content.

What Mambo isn’t!

Mambo is not a typical “portal” solution.

While Mambo can be modified or extended to provide this style of site this is not the goal of the project. Mambo is aimed at the more squarely at corporate websites or sites for small to medium businesses, families or personal sites.

The Mambo Team focuses on building a solid application framework rather than on add-ons that are typically found in many portal solutions. This keeps the Mambo core extremely lightweight and efficient, thus making it easier for anybody to extend Mambo through custom third party component and modules that directly serve their needs.


Mambo is a full-featured content management system that can be used for everything from simple websites to complex corporate applications. Some features include:

  • A large and healthy user and developer community.
  • Provides a basic level of content approval for registered users.
  • Online help.
  • Page caching mechanism to improve performance on busy sites.
  • Trash manager
  • Advertising management (banners, etc).
  • Media (images, documents) upload and management.
  • Content display scheduling.
  • Content syndication (RSS).
  • Search engine friendly (SEF) URL’s.
  • Internationalisation (interface translation).
  • Content macro language (aka mambots).
  • Advanced and separate system administation system.
  • Advanced package/addon/template deployment system.
  • Simple but powerful template system (written mostly in HTML, no complex templating syntax to learn, just a couple of PHP functions to include).
  • Heirarchial user access groups.
  • Basic visitor statistics.
  • Multiple WYSIWYG content editor support
  • Simple polls
  • Content voting/rating system.null

Many more free addons are available at Some of these addons include:

  • LDAP authentication
  • Extended user profiles
  • Forums
  • Media galleries
  • Document managers
  • Templates
  • Events calendar
  • and many, many more…

Some Frequently Asked Questions (see here)

1. Did Mambo change its name?

No. Mambo is still Mambo. There was a fork of the Mambo codeset in August which caused a lot of confusion. That fork was subsequently named “Joomla!” Please note that Joomla! is NOT a re-branding of Mambo. It is merely a fork; a totally separate project based on the same original codeset. Think Nuke / PostNuke / PHPNuke. All different, but with common roots.

2. Why did some of the original Mambo team decide to go elsewhere and create a fork?

Simple question without a simple (non-controversial) answer. As far as we are concerned, it’s ancient history and not relevant to where Mambo is today. The most important point is that the original Mambo is still very much alive and well. Under the Mambo open-source licensing agreement (GPL), anyone has the right to use the Mambo code to create a fork, that is, to create a special version of the software and distribute it freely. That’s the beauty of open source. There’s already a third fork running around at present and will probably be more in the future. Joomla may have been the first, but it won’t be the last time somebody bases a product on our award-winning code. In a way, it’s a compliment that people want to build on the code and customize it to meet the needs they see in the market. Open Source = Forks Happen.

3. What are the differences between the organization maintaining Mambo and the one maintaining the fork called Joomla?

The Mambo Foundation is a registered non-profit corporation dedicated to preserving and protecting Mambo as free Open Source software. Think Mozilla / GNOME / Eclipse. The Joomla organizational structure is, at the time of this writing, unclear.

4. Why create a foundation?

The Mambo Foundation gives its members a place to discuss and debate the roadmap for Mambo, a way to create authorized and unified communications to interested parties, and a point of reference for those who wish to interface with Mambo. Also, sad but true, Open Source is becoming a more complex landscape and things like legal threats, IP challenges, and other expensive issues can threaten the very existence of a project. The Foundation provides protection for the code and for the developers. You can learn all about how the Foundation works here:

5. What are the technical differences between Mambo and the various forks?

No short answer here; it is a moving target. The original Mambo and each of the subsequent forks have distinct core development teams, each pursuing the development goals they have independently set.

6. Will my modules written for Mambo and Joomla! work interchangeably?

As the minor and major revision numbers progress for both Mambo and the Joomla fork, the codebases will begin to diverge. In fact, reports state that some third-party modules written for Mambo 4.5.3h are not compatible with Joomla 1.0.7. The problem is not widespread at the moment, but it may worsen…or may not.

7. Are the databases going to stay compatible?

Over time, most likely no. Since there are distinct development teams, as Mambo continues to grow and the various forks mature, they will move along separate paths.

8. Help! I’m a third-party developer for Mambo! Does that mean I have to support both Mambo and the forks?

That’s completely up to you. We know that Mambo’s roadmap includes a plan to make third-party development more transparent and simpler to maintain. Our goal is to continue to embrace third-party development and further enhance the original Mambo to make it easier for third-party developers. Also let’s not forget: there were more than 230,000 downloads of version 4.5.3. Do you really want to ignore that many potential users & clients?

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