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Enterprise social communities and Drupal

Jay just posted a blog post, called Building enterprise social communities with Drupal, sharing a white paper that we have written at Acquia. In this white paper, we answer questions like: what kind of social features Drupal supplies, why Drupal is the best choice for building a social site, what Drupal modules are useful when building a social site, and some examples of successful enterprise Drupal communities.

The reason we wrote this white paper is simple: many of the enterprise organizations that we talk to ask us these questions over and over again. Building social business sites is a very hot topic in the enterprise. The work environment in these organizations is evolving, and increasingly more, people want to connect, create, share and find people and information relevant to their work. Needless to say, not all social business sites are equal -- some are team collaboration sites, some are community sites, and others might be networking sites. They can exist behind the firewall for internal teams, or they can be external facing sites to engage with partners and customers.

We wrote this white paper because we wanted to demonstrate that Drupal provides a great platform to build these kind of social sites for the enterprise. If you are interested in building a social site for your enterprise and don't know where to start, have a look at our white paper. Also, if you've built, or have a Drupal site around which you have built a successful community, we'd love to learn about it, and learn from it.

Druplipet, a Drupal chia pet

And the answer to yesterday's "Eye grow Drupal" question is: Druplipets. Hundreds of cute little Druplipets, your friendly Druplicon chia pet. Druplipet is the newest member of the Acquia and Drupal Gardens family and will be making appearances at industry events this year. It is making its first appearance at SXSW along with a fun contest. Needless to say, Drupal chia pets are fun and powerful stuff!

Druplipet

Open Source in the Enterprise and in the Cloud

In a couple of weeks, I'll participate in a panel discussion on The Future of Open Source in Business. In preparation for that discussion, I figured I'd write down my current thoughts and solicit some feedback. I'll talk about two important trends relevant for the future of Open Source, but there are certainly more.

First, Open Source adoption in the enterprise is trending at an incredible rate -- Drupal adoption has grown a lot in 2009 but we saw by far the biggest relative growth in the enterprise. Fueling this movement is the notion that Open Source options present an innovative, economically friendly and more secure alternative to their costly proprietary counterparts. Second, Cloud Computing is a transformational movement in that it enables continual innovation and updating - not to mention a highly expandable infrastructure that will reduce the burden on your IT team.

Two years ago, when starting Acquia, we predicted this would happen so it is no surprise that Acquia's strategy is closely aligned with those two trends: Drupal Gardens, Acquia Hosting and Acquia Search are all built on Open Source tools and delivered as Software as a Service in the cloud. Combining Open Source tools and Cloud Computing makes for the perfect storm for success. It provides real value to end-users and it enables companies to monetize Open Source. It creates a win-win situation.

At the same time, I think we have an opportunity to go beyond that, and to redefine the Software as a Service model based on Open Source values, almost exactly like we started doing 10+ years ago with off-the-shelf software. Almost all Software as a Service providers employ a proprietary model -- they might allow you to export your data, but they usually don't allow you to export their underlying code. While a lot of these services might be built on Open Source components, they have a lot more in common with proprietary software vendors than Open Source projects or companies.

There is room for Open Source companies to disrupt this model, and it is probably not something that can be done without the help of Open Source companies. Drupal Gardens provides a good example of this model.

For example, users of Drupal Gardens can help improve Drupal Gardens, simply by contributing to Drupal. By staying close to the Open Source project, everyone can help shape the service. Along the same lines, we want people to be able to export their Drupal Gardens site -- the code, the theme and data -- and move of the platform to any Drupal hosting environment. By doing so, we provide people an easy on-ramp but we allow them to grow beyond the capabilities of Drupal Gardens without locking them in.

It is "Open SaaS" or Software as a Service done right -- it will offer enterprises a much more secure and low-cost alternative to proprietary counterparts and provides many Open Source projects the opportunity to have a much bigger reach. It creates a triple win scenario -- for the customer, for the Open Source project and the Open Source company -- in a way that wasn't really apparent five years ago. At least not to me.

Have you taken the 2010 Future of Open Source Survey yet? If not, please take a few moments to share your thoughts on where you think Open Source is headed.

Future of Open Source Survey 2010

Like last year, I'll be attending the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) next month, on March 17-18 in San Francisco. Also like last year, I will participate in a panel discussion led by Michael Skok (Partner at North Bridge, Acquia Board Member and personal friend). This year, I'll be in a panel with Larry Augustin (CEO of SugarCRM, VA Linux, SourceForge), Jim Whitehurst (CEO of RedHat) and Tim Yeaton (CEO of Black Duck Software) to discuss the future of Open Source businesses. The panel discussion will draw on the 2010 Future of Open Source survey so make sure to weigh in and provide your perspective on a number of important Open Source business questions. Take the Future of Open Source Survey 2010. As a reference, here are the 2009 and 2008 results.

We've also built a Drupal Gardens site to promote the survey, share articles on the Future of Open Source and facilitate ongoing discussion on the topic: http://futureofopensource.drupalgardens.com. There is also a Future of Open Source Survey twitter account that you can follow for updates.

OSBC

OSBC 2009 panel discussion. From left to right: me, Ron Hovsepian (President and CEO of Novell), John Lilly (CEO of Mozilla), Marten Mickos (CEO of MySQL). For more information about OSBC 2009, <a href="http://buytaert.net/osbc-wrapup-2009">read my wrap-up blog post</a>.

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