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Drupal + India = opportunity

Given that there live one billion people in India, many of which great engineers, one can only imagine what would happen if Drupal gained serious traction there. To that extend, I decided to make a trip to India, and spent last week there with Jacob Singh and Ron Pruett from Acquia. The purpose of the trip was to increase awareness of Drupal in India in 3 ways:

  1. by organizing DrupalCamps to help create a grassroots community of volunteer developers, freelancers and small to medium-sized Drupal shops (bottom-up strategy),
  2. by talking to the large system integrators that will employ hundreds of Drupal developers (top-down strategy),
  3. by doing traditional PR with the media and press.

Together with Acquia's partners, we organized 3 DrupalCamps: nearly 300 people showed up in Delhi, 200 people showed up in Mumbai and 350 people showed up in Hyderabad. In addition, I gave a fourth keynote at ISB, India's premier business school, where about 150 people attended. At each of these events, more people showed up than originally expected. More importantly, this implies that there must be thousands of Drupal developers in India alone, especially since we didn't visit many other big cities like Bangalore, Pune, Chennai, etc.

DrupalCamp Deccan registration

Furthermore, we met various large system integrators in India: Accenture, Capgemini, Wipro, Virtusa, Cognizant, and more. Each of these are multi-billion IT sevices companies that employ thousands of engineers in India. Most of them have 1,000+ employees in their content management practices alone. Many are using Vignette, Liferay, Adobe CQ5, OpenText and Alfresco. Joomla! and WordPress seemed non-existent with the large system integrators, but all of them were eagerly starting to build a Drupal practice. The size of their Drupal teams ranged from 30 to 120 Drupal people, with all of them trying to hire 5 to 15 new people a month. All of them were rather bullish about Drupal and were hearing about it directly from their clients across the globe.

In general, I'd say that the Drupal community is about 3 or 4 years behind with the Drupal community in North America and Europe. However, they are catching up fast and it won't take long before many of the world's biggest Drupal projects are delivered from India.

Our ears perked when we learned time after time that well-known Drupal sites that we assumed were developed in the US or Europe were primarily delivered from India. And it didn't stop there; we learned that the Indian teams are also instrumental in the sales and pre-sales process. They are often responsible for making the CMS platform decisions for all of their clients regardless of country or industry. In other words, a lot of decisions are made in India and it is of strategic importance that the large system integrators have a good understanding of Drupal. They recognize this is important to their success, and all want to invest in training to build more capacity and to increase the expertise of their existing teams.

DrupalCamp Deccan attendees

Interestingly, the Indian culture is big on software training and professional certification, more so than anywhere else in the world. All Drupal companies -- small or large -- asked about training and professional certification.

Another highlight is that at DrupalCamp New Delhi, about 15 Drupal companies from Delhi met for the first time. Later the same day, we helped organize the first CXO event for Drupal executives. In many ways, these were formative meetings that reminded me of early DrupalCon meetings. For the first time, they got to know each other, explored how to work together, started sharing best practices and toyed with the idea of specialization. I've seen this movie before, and I know what happens when a community of passionate developers start working together. Exciting times are ahead.

Last but not least, I gave about 15 press interviews, many of which resulted in an article in an Indian newspaper or IT magazine.

Press coverage

After 5 days of intensive travel and back to back meetings in three cities, I left India feeling excited about the size of the opportunity for Drupal. It is impossible to grasp the magnitude of the technology community and the influence India is gaining ... without having been to India. There are a lot of reasons to pay close attention about how the local Drupal community will evolve. I like to believe my trip helped accelerate Drupal's growth in India.

This trip wouldn't be possible without the help of Acquia's partners. Special thanks to Azri Solutions, Blisstering and Srijan who helped make the journey more than successful.


Greg Knaddison and Drupal security

The Drupal Security Team was originally created in 2005. Though we handled security issues before that, we didn't have a team with proper infrastructure until then. At that time, Károly Négyesi (chx) was the team leader. In July 2006 chx changed his role in the team and I promoted Heine Deelstra to be the security team lead. Heine recently stepped down as the security team lead, and I'm pleased to announce that Greg Knaddison (greggles) will be filling this role.

Greg has been a consistent member of the security team and both Heine Deelstra, the security team members, and myself unanimously agreed that Greg is the logical person to head the Drupal Security Team.

For those who don't know Greg, Greg helped write our free handbooks on security and wrote a book about Drupal Security. He has also talked about security and Drupal at many DrupalCons. Greg believes in my idea to automate where possible and empower project maintainers. In the coming weeks he will write blog posts to detail some changes made in the last year toward that vision and some tasks that still remain.

As the Drupal Security Team lead, Greg will be the point person for the team. He'll be responsible for coordinating the security team's activities and for making decisions when consensus doesn't arise.

Greg and I agreed on a target of 2 years for him to be in this role. If appropriate, he may continue in this role longer or be replaced before then, but this target helps to set an expectation about the time period. Setting this expectation should help Greg maintain enthusiasm for this role and increase the likelihood that our community will have continuity when that time is up. Greg works at Acquia and will be given 20% of his time to dedicate to the security team (in addition to using his own spare time).

Please join me in thanking Heine for all the great work he did, and in welcoming Greg.

Acquia U

Due to Drupal's remarkable growth, the demand for Drupal talent continues to exceed the supply. Every Drupal company I talk to -- and I talk to many of them all around the world -- has a difficult time attracting enough qualified Drupal talent. The same is true for Acquia.

To help address that problem we are launching Acquia U, a program to employ and train recent and upcoming college graduates in Drupal. We will enroll these candidates in an intensive 6 month paid training program.

Selected candidates will start the training with six weeks of hands-on, classroom-style training in Drupal. After this initial training, they will rotate through Acquia's support, engineering and professional services teams, through select Acquia partner projects, and continue to receive on-the-job instruction and training. Candidates will spend 6 weeks in each team. Combined, this program will give candidates 6 months of real-world experience, and give participants insight into available work in Drupal.

At the end of the program, candidates will become part of one of the teams at Acquia. We believe that this effort, and similar ones undertaken by our partners and customers, will create some of the key Drupal contributors of the future.

We're very excited about this program so let us know if you are interested!

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


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