Drupal at FOSDEM 2010

( source flickr, copyright faerie)

Next weekend on Sunday, February 7, we'll have a full day of Drupal talks at the 10th edition of FOSDEM, Europe's biggest, free-est and open-est software conference.

FOSDEM, is a free and non-commercial event organized by the community, for the community. Its goal is to provide Free and Open Source developers a place to meet. The Drupal project was granted a developer room at FOSDEM to do exactly that: to share knowledge about Drupal.

The presentations schedule for the devroom was published a week ago on http://groups.drupal.org/fosdem. It features interesting speakers such as Robert Douglass, Károly Négyesi, Roel de Meester and Kristof van
Tomme and even more interesting subjects as mobile device design, AHAH, eID and Views 3. Everyone is invited to attend the presentations.

On Friday the giantesque beer event kicks off the conference. For Drupalistas there is a sprint on Saturday in Zaventem.

Please join, I have been to a couple of FOSDEM's and if you ever attended an Oreilly or Gartner con, you are in for a surprise :-)

FOSDEM takes place at ULB Campus Solbosch in Brussels.

Data.gov.uk running Drupal

Data.gov.uk running Drupal

Advised by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt and others, government are opening up data for reuse. This site seeks to give a way into the wealth of government data and is under constant development. We want to work with you to make it better.

Sir Berners-Lee -together with Al Gore- the inventor of the web (not Internet)- knows Drupal, his personal website runs Drupal. And he seems to know a bit about the "Semantic Web" as well ...

It is very good to see that the UK government is opening up its' data sources to the public. And for the Drupal community it is a big win to see that they have chosen the same Content Management System / Framework as Obama and many others did.

I really wished all governments would open up their back-end data like this and hope that the Dutch government will focus on Drupal as well. Note that there is a strong movement under the Dutch for this, combined under the "Hack the Government" mantra. See this older nice presentation / screencast I made about this in Dutch.

So great news for the British and great news as well for Drupal!

The commercial arm of Drupal

Yesterday I tweeted something some might feel offended by on my account. Since it contains both a strong opinion and some strong language, I will not repeat it here. But I will explain my strong opinion. The point of the tweet was that Drupal is Drupal. It is an open source CMS, moving towards a "CMF". My definition of open source consist of three elements:

  1. Code
  2. Community
  3. License

Without one of these items, you will not have a (successful) open source project. You need code, you need an open source license and.. you need a community! Of these 3 elements that make up open source, the "community" part is the one that is the hardest or even not to define. We are all parts of communities; in our families, our volunteer work, our church, our village. Everybody is daily part of a community. And as stated I can not define what a community is, but the closest thing I can come up with is people helping people, people caring for people and people loving people. And within a community there is mutual respect and benefits to help, care and love for free. Note that the word community is derived from Latin, a combination of "cum" (together) and "munus" (free gift).

When these three elements get together, great things can happen! As Drupal showed us for the last 8 years. The code is far ahead of the competition, proprietary or open source. The license is strict and thereby we do not suffer from "Joomladisation" and our community is real. Real people helping, caring, loving real people.

This does not mean that one can not make money with open source projects, people have been doing so for decades. This does not mean that people making money cannot be part of the community, companies have been active in the bigger open source ecosystem longer then the term "open source" exists.

I am not to sure I agree fully with Linus on Open source without commercial interests = crap but it is for sure that there is room in any community for commercial help, care ... and even love.
But just as there is not one company claiming our church, volunteer work, family or village, there is not one single company that can claim a (healthy!) open source project. Just as Redhat doesn't / can't claim GNU/Linux, no company can claim Drupal. And more important, there is not a company that claims the opensource project Drupal. Not even.. there goes the A word

Acquia with close ties to the Drupal community. In a good way. They have been sponsoring the Drupal project in money and time and maybe in the last two years more then any other company has in the previous 8. But Acqiua is not Drupal, they are a company with good ties to the community, helping, caring and loving other people (and their customers). But they are not Drupal.

And every time I read about "Acquia, the commercial arm of Drupal" my hair raises. Drupal is not MySQL or SugarCRM. Drupal is Drupal. And it does not have a commercial arm. It has many commercial arms, the list on http://drupal.org/drupal-services is just a very small part of that. There must be thousands of people contributing to Drupal core, modules, documentation and to lesser extend themes. Many of them making a living proving Drupal related services. And we do want to keep this healthy system of helping, caring and loving. And there is room to make money providing Drupal services. But there is no "Drupal INC".

Note that Acquia never claimed that position and I do not think they ever will. They made it clear what Acquia is, they reacted on my tweet and on the ZDnet story and make it clear in their press-releases. It is lazy journalist that -in this realtime web- want to have an easy digestible text for their readers. Meaning no room for nuances, no room for explaining and no room to tell the complete story.

So that is why I told the complete story, in a 140 characters tweet.

Google FriendConnect module for Drupal

On googlesocialweb.blogspot you can read about a nice module that Google made for Drupal, Friendconnect.

Friendconnect is

"... an Open Social application offered by Google that started in May 2008. Google Friend Connect main focus is to simplify the connection between social and non-social websites and standardize the handling and presentation of social applications and content. It uses a blend of open standards, such as OpenID for signin, oAuth to control data, and Open Social for applications."


More information about FriendConnect can be found on Google's site and a live demo can be found at globant.

Though this is a nice open standard and a nice module, there are two downers IMHO that show that Google doesn't really get the Drupal community or has another agenda:

  1. They house the code on their own servers, with own issue queue at code.google.com. Sure they are free to do so but the strength of Drupal is that all modules are on one place, not all around the web.
  2. They have licensed this code under the Apache license. All Drupal code and thereby all Drupal modules -and to some extend themes- are released under the GPLv2 or higher. Read this FAQ about the license on d.o for some background. The Apache License 2.0 is compatible with the GPL v3 (not 2!) and since you can accept version 3 of the GPL when downloading Drupal, legally they are in teh clear but it would have been best if they released this under GPLv2 IMHO

Still, nice work Google!

Heine Deelstra (hint: lead Drupal security team) warns NOT to use this module on production site at his blog. Something about the quality of code, tweetsource. See Google, if you would have used GPL and drupal.org we could have solved this issue via the proper channels. Now we have to use the public issue tracker of google.code.

Drupal, a top 10 "cool Open Source product of 2009"

Drupal, a top 10 "coolest Open Source Application"

A someone who has been "active" in the Drupal community for over 8 years, it is shocking to see that only in the last 3 years Drupal was really picked up by the mainstream press. This is not due to the quality of the code of Drupal of the community, as much as it has to do with building momentum and a shake out in the CMS landscape. So this story about Drupal being in the "Top 10 coolest Open Source products" (yes, it is that time of the year again) comes as no surprise to anyone how knows the code or the community.

The real power of Drupal however is that 5 (!) other Open Source projectsof the top 10 products use Drupal as a platform to deliver their tools, empower their community. That is the real power of Drupal. 6 (including Drupal self) of the top 10 Open Source tools according to CRN.com use Drupal:

  1. Ledger SMB (a fork of SQL ledger)
  2. DoJo (they hacked Drupal core to get the DoJo in and JQuery out :-) )
  3. Ubuntu (Linux for humans, with their famous bug 1)
  4. Firefox, the best browser chrome :-) )
  5. OO.org, word!

Drupal power. "We, the Drupal community" are proud :-)

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