The Japanese word for firefly, Hotaru CMS is the most no nonsense CMS I have ever tried. It is an open source, bare bones CMS that relies on plugins to do the work. It is the successor to the now defunct Social Web CMS and is now being actively developed by a core group of people from all over the world.
It uses the LAMP server stack and has lots of features that are common in most of the big weight CMSs.The core Hotaru package provides the absolute basics for a PHP-based website: A home page, an admin page, and a plugin management system. It comes with a straightforward installation script that installs some database tables and registers you as the administrator. And that’s about it. You are then left to plug in the functionality you want your site to have.
You can optionally download and install the getting started plugin pack which contains all the plugins that will make a noob feel at home. Hotaru offers four main areas for customization: main themes, admin themes, plugins and language packs. Themes are small and easy to customize, and the admin section is kept separate from the main theme so you can make or use different admin styles.
Plugins use templates and language files that can be edited and saved without being overwritten when upgrading. Language packs are collections of raw text used in Hotaru that can be changed or translated into different languages.
When it comes to user registrations, there are very strong measures put in place to thwart the efforts of shameless spammers. These include a StopForumSpam plugin, Askimet and ReCaptcha. To increase your user registration numbers, there is also an RPX plugin with which you can let your users access your site via third party services such as Facebook, Twitter and WordPress.
You can also set different roles for different people with different access permissions. The primary function of Hotaru at the moment is helping you setup a social bookmarking site. But with plugins, what you can do with this spartan CMS is endless.
Like I said, it is currently in active development by a very nice and helpful group of young guys, the lead developer being Nick. I look forward to joining this group to help move this wonderful CMS to the forefront. If you are looking for a CMS to try your hands on, Hotaru will definitely not let you down! We would also love to have you on board the team.