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Movember 2011

It is that time of the year again: Movember!

During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces around the world. With their Mo’s, these men raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men. One in two men will be diagnosed with cancer in his lifetime, and one out of six with prostate cancer.

Like last year, Acquia's "Mo Drupal" team wants your support as we put our faces to work for this great cause. The Acquia team mo'ed its facial hair on November 1st and for about a week now we have practiced the virtues of fine moustachery, immaculate grooming and growing a moustache for Movember.

For the entire duration of Movember, no hair shall be allowed to grow in the goatee zone - being any facial area below the bottom lip. The complete moustache region, including the entire upper lip and the handlebar zones, will also remain completely shaved. Rest assured, photos will follow!

By growing a moustache, we become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November. We raise awareness by prompting private and public conversations about cancer. In addition, we raise funds by seeking out sponsorship.

If you'd like, you can join Acquia's "Mo Drupal" team or you can support me in this cause.

It’s hard to get men to talk about prostate and testicular cancer, yet many of us will be diagnosed with it in our lifetime. The brilliance of Movember lies in its appeal to some basic masculine qualities, such as playing on a team, and competing with others. As a man, it’s easier to show your support for such an important cause if you’re doing so with a group of other men, all wearing a silly moustache. Give these guys a break and make their efforts worthwhile by supporting us! Thanks!

Sitecore FUD

Recently Sitecore, a vendor of a proprietary CMS, published a white paper called "The Siren Song of Open Source CMS". It has some good old Open Source FUD.

"In Greek mythology, the Sirens were seductresses who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices, only to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. In the world of enterprise software, Open Source applications have an appeal that many companies find hard to resist, but if heeded, can lead to similarly disastrous results: runaway development costs, unpredictable delays, frustratingly slow responses to urgent support issues, and exponential growth in downstream upgrade and enhancement costs."

In this case they enrolled the CEO of a digital agency to say all the FUD, as if that would either lend additional credibility to the FUD, or behind which they could hide their own feelings:

"As it happened, after several successful experiences using WordPress (an open blogging platform) and Drupal (an Open Source CMS application) in small-scale deployments, agencyQ experimented with using Drupal for larger, enterprise-caliber sites. … We quickly discovered that Drupal's capabilities were a mile wide and an inch deep."

Attempting a complex implementation with any platform with only limited experience in simple sites really just reveals the inexperience of the implementer rather than the limits of Drupal. The site shows all by itself that Drupal can scale to high-profile, high-function, high-volume websites.

"Lack of support has a ripple effect across an Open Source CMS project", Breen says. "Because you are starting with a blank slate, in terms of your system's functionality, anything can happen. And when issues arise, the absence of responsive support means that deadlines slip. As a service-driven agency, that is simply not good for business. … It all comes down to accountability, about which Breen jokes, "In high tech there is an old saying that salespeople invoke when they want to be your sole-source provider: 'You want one throat to choke.' While that's pretty graphic, it gets to the point: When something's not working with software, I need one number to call, one person to speak to who's going to help me."

I take offense to the notion that there is no good support for an Open Source CMS. With Drupal, enterprises can look to Acquia for the "one throat to choke", or can tap into a community of 600,000 developers if they want breadth.

"After making a concerted effort to work with an Open Source CMS, non-existent support was the last straw with what Breen found to be Open Source's extremely expensive total cost of ownership (TCO). In website development projects, CMS software costs typically comprise 5% of the total implementation costs. "But by saving 5% in software costs by choosing an Open Source CMS, you drive up the 95% of the 'other' costs significantly. That's not a good value equation, by any measure", he says."

The numbers in their own white paper don't add up. They suggest that Sitecore licenses only represent 5% of the project's total implementation cost. We know from analyst firm Real Story Group that the Sitecore license component of a deal is $100,000 on average. That means that the average Sitecore project costs $2 million? That is much more than the average Drupal project.

Where have you seen this kind of FUD before? From any proprietary software vendor that is starting to feel competitive blows from an Open Source alternative. I see this white paper as a victory for Open Source and Drupal as they are being forced to call us out. Drupal is hurting them. Sitecore has reasons to be afraid.

Maybe the Siren that Sitecore is hearing is from the ambulance they've called for help? ;-)

Drupal Association Board election results for 2011

Earlier this year the Drupal Association began a process to elect and build a new board. In July a call for nominations was made and the community responded with over 50 submissions. The nomination committee spent many weeks reviewing the nominations, following up with potential candidates, until finally submitting a slate of nominees, which was confirmed by the board. I'm happy to announce the new Board of Directors:

  1. Jeff Walpole (until 2014)
  2. Vesa Palmu (until 2014)
  3. Tiffany Farriss (until 2014)
  4. Cary Gordon (until 2013)
  5. Danese Cooper (until 2013)
  6. Mike Woster (until 2013)
  7. Angela Byron (until 2012)
  8. Mitchell Toomy (2012)
  9. Unknown - one open seat, to be filled

The Board also approved Dries Buytaert (me) to fill the "founder role" in this year's Board of Directors.

The Board's term will begin on November 1, 2011. The first meeting of the new Board of Directors will be on November 16, 2011. This will be followed by the Drupal Association Board Retreat in Chicago, December 9 - 11, 2011.

Selection process

A nomination committee consisting of over eight community members considered over 100 candidates before settling on the great groups of individuals that we're proud to welcome to the Drupal Association. We believe this Board brings a lot of expertise to the Drupal Association, as well as more diversity in terms of industry representation, agency size, skill sets, gender, and geographic location. As the Association has grown so has the extent of financial and community responsibility and this board represents a shift to better address those needs in order to build a strong Association to support our community.

At-large / Community board seats

To ensure solid community representation we will also begin the process of electing two "At-large Board Members". At large board members are nominated and selected by the community at-large with no prerequisites for nomination. We are currently looking at the best method to get community involvement and will begin the process very soon.

Advisory Board

The Board of Directors is a guiding force for the Association and helps to set strategic direction. However, we recognize that the board members do not have all of the answers. To advise the board we have sought out talented individuals with a wide breadth of experience and expertise to serve as the Association's advisers. Our advisory board is designed to grow and expand with the needs of the organization and the community. One of the many ways the Association is working to stay strongly connected to the community is by seeking out community leaders, influencers, and talented individuals that can lend insight into the direction of the Drupal to be advisers to the Association.

The Association's advisers currently include:

  1. Kristof Van Tomme
  2. David Strauss
  3. Larry Garfield
  4. Kieran Lal
  5. George DeMet
  6. Bevan Rudge
  7. Greg Knaddison
  8. Laura Scott
  9. Khalid Bahey
  10. Fernando Paredes García
  11. Moshe Weitzman

We're growing

One year ago the Drupal Association hired its first employees to strengthen our conference and our volunteer community. In that year surpassed a million nodes and hosts over 12,000 developer accounts. DrupalCon welcomed nearly 5,000 attendees and over 1,000 people have been trained at the past four conferences. Membership in the Association has also doubled in the past year and we are still growing. We are on target to have 2,000 individual members and over 750 organization members by the end of this year. This is an exciting time to be involved with the Drupal project and the Drupal Association, and I believe the new Board of Directors will help the Drupal Association get to the next level. So please join me in welcoming all the Board of Directors for the Drupal Association.

Here are bios of each Board Member and a short introduction as to why each member was selected:

Angela Byron

The Drupal Association needs to make sure it doesn't lose connection with the developer community that made Drupal into what it is today. Angie with her self-made success and long time contributor is someone who personalizes the values of our community. Angie also provides continuity in the Drupal Association board.

Danese Cooper

Danese has a very strong track record in open source governance: the experience she gained beating the drums of Open Source at Sun, Intel, Wikimedia foundation and now the Gates Foundation makes her a strong Board Member.

Tiffany Farriss

Having served not only on the Drupal Association board but on the governance committee, Tiffany provides important continuity in the Drupal Association board. She brings experience in a mid-sized Drupal business active in the Drupal community, events (DrupalCon production), and financial skills, having served as the Drupal Association treasurer.

Cary Gordon

Cary played an important role in the professionalization process of DrupalCon and was member of the governance committee. Cary is the owner of a small Drupal business and as such is representing smaller Drupal shops. As a member of the previous Drupal Association board, Cary is also important for continuity.

Vesa Palmu

As a serial entrepreneur and owner of Mearra, Vesa represents the European Drupal business ecosystem. His company, a medium sized Drupal shop in Finland that is expanding outside of it's borders, is similar to many Drupal shops in the European market. Vesa has been one of the organizers in the Finnish Drupal community and he's the informal national representative for Finland on the Drupal Association's European community dinners. Next to his professional experience Vesa brings affinity with the world of NGO's through his involvement in several smaller not for profits and the Finnish Red Cross.

Mitchell Toomey

We chose Mitchell because as a senior employee of the UNDP he brings insights in Drupal's role at big Drupal customers and at international governmental organizations more specifically. Mitchell leads an international team using the Teamworks Drupal-based intranet application and active in six regional hubs throughout the developing world with a current focus on Africa. He has an MBA in Organizational Behavior and Information Technology.

Jeff Walpole

Jeff was selected because on top of his business experience, he brings key insights on the use of Drupal in government and the Drupal distributions/products ecosystem. As the CEO and co-founder of Phase2 Technology, Jeff is a business leader in the Drupal community. He knows what it takes to build a multi-million dollar services company, and to invest in and market Drupal products.

Mike Woster

Drawing from his experience as the COO of the Linux Foundation and holder of an MBA, Mike has strong experience in running a tech non-profit. His knowledge of the tech non-profit world should give the Drupal Association insight into what financial and organizational models the Drupal Association might consider and how those would impact the community. His MBA from Kellogg School at Northwestern University has been put to immediate use in his role at the Linux Foundation interacting with lawyers, reading financial reports, and managing a distributed staff. His undergraduate degree in Computer Science from Texas A&M University and industry experience as a developer ensures he understands the “tech” side of a tech non-profit.

Dries Buytaert

Dries Buytaert is the original creator and project lead for Drupal. Dries also co-founded the Drupal Association and served as president of the Drupal Association since its start. He is also co-founder and chief technology officer of Acquia, a venture-backed Drupal company with 160 employees. Dries is also a co-founder of Mollom, a small web start-up that helps you stop website spam. Dries holds a PhD in computer science and engineering. In 2008, Buytaert was elected Young Entrepreneurs of Tech by BusinessWeek as well as MIT TR 35 Young Innovator. Dries brings community experience, business experience and continuity to the Drupal Association. As a native of Belgium that moved to the US, and that travels extensively, Dries is able to represent the international ecosystem.

Mobile for Drupal 8

In my State of Drupal keynote in Chicago I said: "If I were to start Drupal from scratch today, I'd build it for mobile experiences first, and desktop experience second.". I believe in that more than ever.

We already have a number of initiatives under way that will make Drupal a great platform for building native mobile applications (e.g. the Web services initiative) as well for building mobile web experiences (e.g. the HTML5 initiative and the Design initiative).

However, there is more that needs to be done to make Drupal a go to platform in a mobile world. For example, a couple of weeks ago I talked to a number of big media companies, each employing hundreds of editorial staff. They all believed that in less than two years, most of their editors that report from the field will be using tablets instead of laptops. Applied to Drupal, this means we need to make the Drupal administration back-end and the editorial experience mobile-friendly, something that isn't covered by the existing Drupal 8 initiatives. Another example would be responsive web design.

The mobile internet is coming at us fast and furious. We need to move fast and we might only get one shot at this. I want to make mobile the big theme for Drupal 8. That is why I decided to launch another initiative related to mobile.

I've asked John Albin Wilkins to be the Initiative Owner for the Drupal 8 Mobile Initiative, and to work with the existing initiatives to fill the remaining gaps. To learn what that means, please consult John's announcement blog post, which includes an overview of the initiatives' goals. Like with any of these initiatives, they don't actually materialize unless people decide to help. To get involved, please join the discussions in the Mobile group on and help work on Mobile issues on

Questions for my BADCamp keynote interview?

Did you know there is a DrupalCamp that is bigger than most past DrupalCons? It's the Bay Area Drupal Camp, or BADCamp which is expected to draw over 1,400 people this year for three days of trainings, summits, sprints, sessions, BOFs and parties all across Berkeley this weekend.


Instead of giving a morning keynote, I will be interviewed by Josh Koenig after we've been both been drinking for a while. I'm very excited about the interview format and having it in the evening. The traditional keynote presentation format works well for making statements, but DrupalCamps inspire often a different mood. I expect the interview format will fit this ambiance by being more probing and personal than a straightforward keynote could be.

We still haven't decided on the questions... and that is where you come in. If you were in Josh's positions, what would you ask me? What topics should we discuss together? Just suggest your questions in the comments of this post. Josh will pick both the most popular and the most interesting ones and see where they go.

I look forward to seeing many of you at BADCamp next week!

PayPal developer community using Drupal

Drupal continues to rack up successes among large developer communities, with x.commerce joining Twitter, which made the move last month. X.commerce is a new division of PayPal that serves as an open, central meeting place for over 700,000 developers for eBay, PayPal, Magento, and other eBay properties.

X com

These communities join those of Brightcove, Symantec, DivX -- and, of course, Drupal. All told, that's millions of developers relying on Drupal-run sites for coding tips, product info, and idea exchange.

x.commerce's communities were formerly run on Jive, a proprietary package. Through Acquia, eBay engaged VML to create the site, with additional consulting by Cyrve (now part of Acquia) to migrate data. Acquia provided a Technical Account Manager (TAM), who helped coordinate resources to put the site into production and will be on call as it grows.

Like many developer sites, x.commerce centers around its documentation and its communities. The latter are a model of social networking at its best, in the service of a question-and-answer format. Developers help each other by responding directly to questions, either publicly or through private email; vote on questions (and answers) to highlight those of importance; promote conversations through other social sites such as Facebook; and bookmark discussions to form personal collections. The results are evident in the enormous level of activity within the forums (which, by the way, are built on Organic Groups).

This project is an excellent example of how open-source software drives innovation. Under Jive, eBay wasn't able to develop features that it needed. If eBay needed to do something that wasn't in Jive's roadmap, that was just too bad. Drupal, of course, allows them to create whatever they need, or developers outside the company to do it. That jibes well with x.commerce's ethos of open development, as is demonstrated by the extensive APIs it provides for eBay and PayPal, and the freedom the company allows its developers. I believe that their openness is a key factor to their success -- there are over 4,500 apps on Magento alone -- and that their move to Drupal will allow them to grow at the speed of their community.

I'm going to India

As you know, I'm no stranger to travel — I flew over 100,000 km in 2010 and over 300,000 km in 2011. But India is one place I haven't visited yet, even though I feel that Drupal's success there is crucial to its worldwide adoption.

Besides having a strong Drupal community, India is one of the world's fastest-growing economies, with great promise to continue its rise for several years. Where a country's economy grows, so grows its need for online solutions. So the opportunities for Drupal there are obvious.

So I'm excited to be visiting this coming month. My schedule is:

  • 7-8 November in Delhi
  • 9-10 November in Mumbai
  • 11 November in Hyderabad

My time will be split between events with the Drupal community, press meetings and private meetings with Acquia partners and customers. I'm grateful for volunteers who have been making plans in the Drupal India group. If you're local and would like to meet, be sure to check in there. Even if we can't meet, I'd especially appreciate Indians' comments of what you hope I know about Drupal in India when my trip is done.


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