Microsoft and Drupal

Last week at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON), Microsoft and SpikeSource announced their intention to work together to certify a number of Open Source projects on the Microsoft Windows platform. According to the press release, Drupal is the first application that has been tested and certified for Microsoft Windows ...

Because I didn't know this partnership was in the works, and because it's not clear what this really means, I figured I'd let the story develop for a couple of days. It has since been picked up on a number of blogs and news sites, and I got a couple of inquiries about it as well. I guess now is a good time to share what I think about it.

First, Microsoft's willingness to work with Open Source applications to ensure that they work on Microsoft Windows Server with MSSQL and Active Directory support is great –- it helps us bring Open Source software to the corporate world. Microsoft's announcement brings credibility to Open Source software and validates Drupal as one of the leading Open Source CMS applications. That is a good thing.

Second, I've never been close to either SpikeSource or Microsoft's business but hopefully it won't stop with an announcement. It remains to be seen whether they live up their marketing drum. With the help of Larry Garfield we already started planning a redesign of Drupal's database abstraction layer. I'm curious to see if they'll contribute to that, and if they will help us add and maintain MSSQL support in future versions of Drupal core. In the Open Source world, contributions speak louder than press releases.


Roel De Meester (not verified):

Up to date? Reading over the Drupal press map at , I couldn't help feeling a bit uneasy when I read:

"Druapl 5.1 is the latest and greatest release from the Drupal community. Some of the new features in 5.x include."

I can still handle the "Druapl"-typo, but not keeping up-to-date with the latest 5.2 release does not make for good promotion for their SpikeNet (tm) system containing 30,000 tests.

On the positive side: I do appreciate Drupal entering the enterprise world. I have seen many big companies using a very very very expensive CMS, taking months to be delivered and ending up never being updated because it didn't quite fit the customer's need. Having Drupal as enterprise CMS could tackle those issues.

Benj (not verified):

This is an excellent news. It will bring more talented people to use Drupal and spread it to corporate world.

mcse (not verified):

The best part is there are so many sources to get Drupal training from and all of them are free or nearly free sources. mcse training

Daniel Sternbergh (not verified):

Dries -- I'm glad you saw the announcement, and I'm sorry the press release beat the application bits out the door. We're proud of our first public release on Windows, and personally I'm pleased that it should be Drupal -- a pure open source offering with Apache 2, PHP 5.2 and Postgres 8.1. I had planned to post to the Drupal forum, but only after the release was available for download (Linux is ready but I and my team have been struggling to resolve a PHP crash on Windows), but OSCON and the Microsoft announcement was too good an opportunity to miss, even if I couldn't let the build go out yet.

Almost ironically (but not quite), our first product on Windows is purely open source, although our direction is to work toward integrating our products (and the open source projects and products we work with) with both proprietary and open source technologies, for example IIS and Apache, or Active Directory and OpenLDAP.

(As for Drupal 5.2 -- an important part of our product is that we ship out updates for the entire application environment: security patches and bug fixes for PHP, Apache, Postgres and, yes, Drupal, so the 5.2 update will be available along with any other component updates for automatic download and installation shortly after the initial release.)

Daniel Sternbergh
Director, Engineering, Spikesource
DDaniel on

Benjamin Melançon (not verified):

In addition to Daniel Sternbergh posting here, the SpikeSource site is already updated, so that's a good sign!

One thing I would particularly be interested in seeing contributed back to the open source community is the testing regimen:

Fully Tested – Not only has Spike run hundreds of thousands of tests on the individual components to ensure stability, security and interoperability – we also wrote more than 4000 tests to specifically exercise drupal itself. This is the best tested release of Drupal available today.

Daniel Sternbergh (not verified):

We did actually contribute the initial set of tests that we created for 4.6 (node/61533) but I don't think they have been widely used. I think we may have done a better job at designing them to work within our testing framework and perhaps not as good a job at accommodating a more typical Drupal developer's environment, but I could be wrong about that. In any case, I'd like my team to get our 5.x and 6.x tests into a form that other people would also find useful. Any suggestions for how we can do that would be very welcome (and gratefully received)! Best place for follow-up would probably be the Unit Testing group.

Danger Here! (not verified):

Danger Will Robinson: the deal with SpikeSource could well mean Microsoft is going after ... Drupal ... or any open source CMS! :-O

Drupal development and adoption has recently boomed and it seems it has just appeared on the Borg’s radar: in fact this is consistent with their “interoopserability” deal with PHP and Zend, I have no doubt PHP is a formidable foe for ASP.Net, and is hindering the apation of ASP->IIS->WindowsServer, now, stretch this a little bit further ...

With a decent implementation of Drupal/FOSS CMS in your enterprise with a LAMP stack who the hell needs Sharepoint, Windows Server, IIS, ASP, or .NET for the web with their ludicrous licensing costs (laugh about their CALs!)?

Also mind the recent SugarCRM embrace of the GPLv3 -- and things like Dell’s Ubuntu offering -- could be precipitating the following movements in the Microsoft endgame book.

Drupal and a LAMP stack server not only has zero-cost license overhead, it poses a terrific beachhead for Linux entering in many businesses that up to now are M$-only shops ... Microsoft would certainly love to control (and kill) this way out of the customer lock-in and its potential for customer defection.

As I read in the Spikesource news:

The certified stacks retain the core open source promise of no vendor lock-in.

"Everything is just regular open source components. If you started using stack and support, the stack would run just fine and you could source patches updates yourself,” Halsey explained. “Users have flexibility and support with enterprise SLAs (service level agreements) but no enterprise lock-in.”

Enter Microsoft: hello lock-in, bye-bye open source (although if M$ can force OSI, they will spin it in the opposite way).

Just a few pieces of the M$ strategy puzzle that seem to be starting to fit ...

Anonymous (not verified):

microsoft is going to squish drupal into oblivion with hordes of cash to make it turn ugly.

Anonymous (not verified):

Daniel Sternbergh has written a forum post at with some good information, including:

First, our "Drupal on Windows" project is not a push to Microsoft-ize Drupal or any open source project.

Anonymous (not verified):

Any news is good news.

When Drupal is mentioned in the big news sites, this is good. And Microsoft is not such a bad word to be mentioned with in one sentence. Sure one has got to see what comes out of this.

But what Daniel Sternbergh says, does not sound bad. If they keep the Drupal part of their package up to date, so people can use it -- I don't see where it can be of any harm.

Sure they know the open-sourcers are a very watchful bunch - so they will sure see to keeping us happy. ;)

Good news!