One owned license grants you the right to run one software installation on one domain for an unlimited time, and purchasing an owned license gives you access to our members download area and support for one year.
If you can not post for support I would suspect your access to support has expired. You can send an email to support but most likely need to renew members access for support.
I looked up your licenses they all expired for support anywhere from a year ago to 4 years ago depending on the site.
If your using old code on your site you definately want to update.
Steve your members renewal was processed but I have not heard from you as you said you where having urgent issues with permissions.
Your uploads and data directories must be 777 permissions to allow files to be uploaded and processed on your server. That is the generic explanation and known fact. Even vBulletin which you use state that there attachments and customavatars directories must be 777. Some web host server setups would allow you to upload and process files with directory permissions set to 755 but you would need to check with your host on there policies as that has nothing to do with our software specifically.
What I can tell you is that if your server is setup correctly and permissions are correct for the server environment to allow uploading then files should process correctly.
Steve you know at least what I am talking about since you meantion custom avatars since yes vb also states to set attachments and customavatar directories to 777 in there product.
To write a file to a server the directory must be writable. I am not a server tech so I can not tell you how to setup a LAMP server. I am telling you that if you want your server setup to allow files to be uploaded to a directory with 755 permissions rather than 777 you need to contact your web host.
I am just answering your question because having directories to 777 is a server requirement not software. I have done upgrades on peoples sites where they have things set to 755 and it works but that is because there host setup the server to work that way.
I will look around for some info on the net on server setups and post anything if I find it but the quickest answer on a server question would come from your specific host since they manage them.