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Bootlegging DrupalCon Brussels

In 2004, the Beastie Boys gave 50 video cameras to fans and asked them to record the same concert. Then the 100-plus hours of footage was edited into one film. Brilliant.

So ... we'll try do the exact same at DrupalCon Brussels. The upcoming conference holds the unique opportunity to capture a lot of sessions on video and Norbert Fuerst has offered his services to do post production on all footage through his video production company.

Drupalcon brussels bootleg

© Development Seed

Norbert explains:

I will take the responsibility to get the best out of your tapes, and I ask you to bring your DV video camera to DrupalCon Brussels. There is no need to be afraid about shooting video even if you're not that experienced -- just a few rules I'll tell in advance and we're set up. If you have tripod, bring it. I really hope we'll get (at least) two cameras per session, and the sooner we known who's going to shoot, the better we can set up positions and procedures.

I did only a rough calculation, but it seems DrupalCon Brussels will offer some 48 hours of content and there is no way to attend more than one third of the sessions. Hence covering as much as possible of this event on video should not only help the ones staying at home but also those who attend different sessions. It should also make a good library for those who'll join Drupal in future -- 48 hours of video isn't exactly nothing, but with some proper compression this should fit in 15 GB of server space or on 24 DVDs ...

In other words: bring your camera, a tripod, and a lot of tape. We'll label all the tapes and ship them to Norbert in sealed plastic bags. We need at least 6 persons (but preferably more) with a camera to cover the entire event. Oh, and I'll try to provide special t-shirts for the camera crew.

Excessive dogfooding and zealotism

In software development one is eating his own dog food when he is using its own product (i.e. the software he develops). I'm using Drupal for my personal website, so I'm eating my own dogfood. Drupal.org is using Drupal, so the Drupal community is eating its own dogfood. Many developers in the Drupal community, or the Open Source community in general, eat their own dog food.

There are a number of well-known advantages to eating our own dogfood: it provides evidence that Drupal works and that we are confident using it ourselves. Furthermore, as users of our own software, we help discover bugs and identify shortcomings. When developers are users there is plenty of incentive to fix bugs and the feedback loop doesn't become much shorter than that. For those reasons, eating your own dogfood is a common strategy in software development.

Now, in the May-June edition of IEEE Software (volume 23, issue 3), Warren Harrison provides some good arguments against excessive dogfooding:

In a market-driven industry such as software development, developers must understand not just their product but the products of others. It's the rare company indeed that can't learn something from its competitors. Engineers who use their own company tools exclusively tend to propagate all the bad aspects of their tools because they might not even realize an alternative approach exists. At the same time, they often fail to either understand or appreciate the good points of other companies' tools. I recall a discussion I once had with a well-placed manager at a dogfooding company I'll call "ABC Corporation". He snorted that it had been years since anyone at the company had read anything that wasn't marked "ABC Confidential".

New engineers who come into a dogfooding company with exposure to other toolsets are often forced by peer pressure to conform to the party line that all other tools are inferior and the company's approach is superior. Often, when hiring new engineers, managers consider exposure to other companies' toolsets as negative rather than positive. Some companies that proudly tout their dogfooding simultaneously display a surprising degree of arrogance along with a corresponding degree of cluelessness. It isn't clear, however, if the arrogance begets the dogfooding or the dogfooding begets the arrogance.

Maybe don't use Drupal for your next project and learn from that experience? Either way, make sure to dabble your toes in the waters of other systems once in a while! I, for one, enjoy chatting with Steven Noels from Daisy, I thouroughly enjoyed myself with Joomla, and time-permitting, I hope to dig deeper and to explore other content management systems as well.

DrupalCon Hungary

Just to add to the craziness: the weekend after DrupalCon Brussels, I'll be in Budapest to attend the first Hungarian Drupal conference. The conference takes place on the 30th of September, and brings together the key players of the Hungarian Drupal scene. All presentations are in Hungarian, except mine. (The one Hungarian word I know is "gulyás"; it makes for a good dinner but not exactly for a great presentation.) Registration is required prior to attendence, so sign up at the DrupalCon Hungary website.

MTV using Drupal

MTV UK is now using Drupal! According to the official press release, the new Drupal-based MTV UK website will continue to host news and information for their broadcast channels.

The interesting part is the fact that the new website will act as the front-end for MTV Flux, a new social networking website that lets viewers interact with MTV and each other. Angel Gambino, VP Commercial Strategy & Digital Media, MTV Networks UK & Ireland explains:

"Our users now have the ability to create and upload content to mtvflux.co.uk that will also be showcased on the broadcast channel. Drupal’s social networking capabilities make it a good match for our local development team’s needs and the software’s extensibility has allowed the creation of modules to interact with our on-air systems as well as SMS mobile and Flash-based interactive systems."

Mtv flux

Drupal 5.0.0 frozen

The next version of Drupal will have a lot of great improvements, including an installer, requirement checking for modules, a reorganization of the administration pages and file structure, custom content types, the inclusion of a Javascript library and much more. After 4 years of Drupal 4 work, the stars have aligned, and we're finally ready to call the next Drupal version, "Drupal 5.0.0". Today, we froze the code in preparation of what promises to be an amazing Drupal release. Soon, the era of Drupal 5 begins ...

Forrester report in the mail

I received a free copy of the Forrester report that compares blogging platforms (including Drupal). Thanks Forrester!

The report is concise: it presents the final results of their comparison and formulates platform-independent recommendations for IT managers. Very useful but free of (interesting) details and nuances.

Fifteen pages, 995 USD, freed from many worries ... add to cart.

Forrester report
Forrester report
Forrester report

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