Drupal is a fantastic open source content management framework which has been getting rave reviews from some of the best industry experts. Dries Buytaert is the founder of Drupal. Drupal has reached new heights under the vision of Dries and help from a growing developer base.
This was all great for first 5 years. Dries just finished his Phd and floated Acquia. It all looked great then with Acquia coming out with a vision to be “Red Hat” of Drupal – providing commercially supported Drupal. Few community players already did not like Dries to leverage Drupal brand for his personal gains. Acquia was formed just months before Drupal 6 release(March 2008). Acquia got $7mm initial funding and hired few of the reputed names in Drupal. Start was good, vision was clear then.
Acquia then announced Certifications and Partner Program. But now the most recent job postings show they are getting into Professional Services. This clearly shows that Dries and Acquia has started to find any possible avenue to monetize the brand Drupal. And as they add more offerings, the community feels more and more cheated!
1) Why does the community continue to improve and contribute code back when Acquia having bigger marketing budgets and despite being relatively new is being projected as the goto Drupal shop.
2) Where would Acquia have been had there been no Dries?
3) Will Acquia release all the code they are building to the community? Can there be another “Carbon” like product if someone else puts in $10mm investment and compete with Acquia? In GPL releated discussion threads the community sees that anything that anything and everything except theme has to be released back to the community. Will Acquia under Dries leadership release everything on the same philosophy? Only time can tell.
4) Dries owns the “Drupal” trademark and also is a key stakeholder in Acquia. Will this not create a conflict in community who now see Acquia as a threat on any work they do?
5) There are many Drupal Local User Groups where lot of innovation is planned, architected as well as later released back. Will this slow down? Why has there been no stable Drupal 6 upgrades of many good Drupal 5 contributed modules even months after Drupal 6 release? Has the community lost interest?
6) Joomla was forked from Mambo. Will we see a new leader in Drupal who truely has interest in product and not get swayed away with commercial interests? Will Dries give up the trademark “Drupal” exclusively to Drupal Association, quit Drupal Association and find another leader who can give independent Direction to Drupal?
Dries now does not seem to have time for Drupal. Someone who was going to put 2 days of work in Drupal regardless when Acquia was floated and let the community grow is just not sending right signals. Recent posts from
Drupal 7 will be a key test as this will be the first release of Drupal that was planned after Dries floated Acquia. This also will be a make or break for Drupal Community. Few Drupal Development shops have moved into bigger and better things and few others are on verge of finding other avenues beyond Drupal. DrupalCon Sponsorships, participation may be an indication that it may be Acquia & Dries v/s the Community. Where does Drupal Association stand in all this?