Drupal is better than ever, but whether it is more successful is questionable. A pincer threatens Drupal. One side, Drupal's own power and complexity, discourages new users and contributors. The other, proprietary platforms, increasingly squeeze out custom web development through sheer economies of scale. Retreating into Drupal's new fortress, the enterprise, leaves many of us on the outside— and it doesn't escape the pincer, which will continue until there's nowhere left to hide.
Adding a new economic model, that of software as a service, can make Drupal the best choice for quick starts and for nimble organizations. This, in turn, can drive contributions and innovation. Instead of waiting for proprietary SaaS companies to slowly add features and come eat our lunch, we can swoop in and eat theirs. At the same time, a well-designed Drupal SaaS provides many more people with the traditional entryway to web development and to Drupal (namely, hacking around with HTML and clicking together functionality).
Adhering to the principles of Free/Libre Software when our platforms will make the Drupal software and community better. Organizing SaaS-providing businesses as platform cooperatives will put people in control of software that affects our lives, which, in an age of flying killer robots, may be almost as important as the health and happiness of the Drupal community.
Learning Objectives & Outcomes:
- What leads to long-term success in a software project?
- What Libre SaaS efforts exist in Drupal?
- Identify some areas where making the leap from services to product may make sense for you, your sector, and your business.
A co-founder of Agaric, a web development and strategy consultancy which helps people create and use powerful Internet technology, Benjamin lives and works to connect ideas, resources, and people.
Benjamin is a programmer and web application developer specializing in Drupal, an libre software content management system. As a worker-owner of the Agaric cooperative he has worked on web sites for higher education institutions (Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), renowned for-profit companies (Studio Daniel Libeskind and Zeit Online), innovative social enterprises (MASS Design Group), and not-for-profit health organizations (Partners In Health and the National Institute for Children's Health Quality).
A founding elected director of the Amazing Things Arts Center in Framingham, Massachusetts, Benjamin has supported numerous artistic, journalistic, and social ventures. In 2010-2011, he led 34 authors in writing of the 1,100 page Definitive Guide to Drupal 7. More recently, he has been helping build the Drutopia platform.