Making the Business Case for Drupal and Open Source by George DeMet of Palantir
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Making the Business Case for Drupal and Open Source by George DeMet of Palantir

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Web content management in the olden days consisted of server side includes, perl, custom PHP, ASP, CFM, whatever else you can think of and search & replace. For early CMS options you had, proprietary ...

Web content management in the olden days consisted of server side includes, perl, custom PHP, ASP, CFM, whatever else you can think of and search & replace. For early CMS options you had, proprietary systems (Vingnette, TeamSite, and Documentum), free and open source systems (OpenACS, PHP-Nuke, TYPO3 and Mambo) or the last option is create your own.

The upsides of using open source software are, lots of functionality, community support, thousands of eyes looking at the code, bugs and security holes actually get fixed, easier to identify talent and instant karma. The perceived downsides of open source software are, lack of understanding and/or fear of open source licenses, lack of commercial support options and it's free so how good can it be? So, what is Drupal?

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  • George DeMet, founder and co-owner of Palantir.net, a 22-person Web development firm here in Chicago. I’m here today to provide a little bit of historical perspective on Web content management solutions, address some of the common arguments used against open source software, and talk briefly about the strength and power of open source solutions like Drupal. \n
  • Here’s what the Web looked like when Palantir started in 1996. This is the *actual* corporate home page for White Castle. I like this one because it has all the elements of 1990s Web design, clip art, a counter, badly written copy. Even back then, the Web didn’t need to look like this, and that’s why I started Palantir. \n
  • Back in the mid-90s, here’s how we did content management. If a site needed to do more than just be a static online brochure, you generally had to hack together some unholy combination of a few of these things. \n
  • In the late ‘90s and early part of this decade, you started seeing a number of different Web content management products show up on the landscape. We took a look at these when they came out, but none of them really met the needs of our clients at the time, or played to our strengths as developers and collaborators. So we picked the final option, which was to roll our own CMS. Because we worked in the LAMP stack, we built our custom CMS While the Community Platform wasn’t technically open source, it was built using an open source language (PHP) and our clients had the right to modify its source code as desired.\n
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  • In the spring of 2006, we were hired by Arts & Sciences at Washington University to do an evaluation of leading CMS products in the marketplace, as well as our own custom solution. It became clear very quickly that a free and open source solution was going to be the best fit for them. Of all the leading open source content management products, Drupal was the only one that offered the kind of functionality that their project needed. \n
  • Our biggest concern was that Drupal might not have the flexibility we wanted for the front-end design, but those fears were soon proved false. The success of that project, combined with the release of Drupal 5 at the beginning of 2007 prompted our decision to move our focus away from the Community Platform to Drupal.\n
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  • So this has been one of the big stumbling blocks for mainstream adoption of Free and open source software for some time; the perceived image that’s a sinister plot by hippies and free love advocates to destroy capitalism and Western civilization. And it’s absolutely true that for some individuals, like Richard M. Stallman, Free and open source software is a crusade. But on the way to the communitarian utopia, something happened...\n
  • Free and open source software got adopted by corporate America. So these are just a couple of the dozens of big corporations that not only use free and open source software, but have also made valuable contributions to various free and open source projects, including Drupal. There’s a myth that most free and open source software is created by motivated volunteers in their basements; in fact, the vast majority is created by paid employees of companies that are out to make money\n
  • Free and open source software got adopted by corporate America. So these are just a couple of the dozens of big corporations that not only use free and open source software, but have also made valuable contributions to various free and open source projects, including Drupal. There’s a myth that most free and open source software is created by motivated volunteers in their basements; in fact, the vast majority is created by paid employees of companies that are out to make money\n
  • Another reason some organizations fear the GPL is because of a lack of understanding about its so-called viral nature; while any code you develop that plugs into a GPL’d program also must be distributed under the terms of the GPL; it doesn’t mean that installing GPL’d software on your network means that you’ll give up all of your company’s secrets or proprietary information. The key here is that the GPL is a distribution license, but there is no requirement to distribute. When we work with clients, as part of our terms, we agree to keep confidential any proprietary information or company secrets; any custom code we write that exposes any of this privileged information does not get distributed; while its licensed to the client under the terms of the GPL, the burden is on them to decide whether they want to release it or not. If the code doesn’t expose any secrets, however, and is something that would be useful to others, we do release it on drupal.org and credit the organization that funded its development.\n
  • Another question that often keeps folks up at night, is if my site goes down at 3am, who can I call? Palantir provides business hours support to its clients, but we’re not around in the middle of the night. And the lack of commercial support options was a big issue with Drupal for some time; fortunately companies like Acquia that provide these kinds of support options through their Drupal support and hosting services. \n
  • 3,000 people at DrupalCon SF, a small sampling of the overall Drupal community. No single company or organization can muster these kinds of resources. This is the true strength of Drupal. No other open source Web software has such a large community contributing to it.\n
  • Registration is open now! \n
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  • Out of the box, this is what Drupal looks like - a whole bunch of Legos in a pile with lots of people playing with them. It’s a big mess, and it can be pretty daunting at first glance.\n
  • But if you know how to put those bricks together in the right way, you can turn that pile into something pretty amazing. That’s the value of using Drupal for your business. This Lego model of the Japanese battleship Yamato is 22 feet long and took almost 6 1/2 years to build. Now the cool thing about Drupal is that if you can’t find the right brick you need, you can always create new ones. The value is not in the bricks themselves, but knowing how to put them together.\n
  • Out of the box Drupal\n
  • Publication\n
  • A higher education site\n
  • A cultural institution\n
  • A high-profile community site\n
  • Or a major sports organization.\n
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Making the Business Case for Drupal and Open Source by George DeMet of Palantir Making the Business Case for Drupal and Open Source by George DeMet of Palantir Presentation Transcript

  • Making the BusinessCase for Drupal andOpen SourceGeorge DeMetPalantir.net
  • Web Content Managementin Ye Olden Days• Server Side Includes• Perl• Custom PHP, ASP, CFM, whatever• Search & Replace
  • Early CMS Options• Proprietary systems: Vignette, TeamSite, Documentum• Free and open source systems: OpenACS, PHP-Nuke, TYPO3, Mambo• Roll your own
  • Rolling Your Own CMS✓You can quickly build - It’s very difficult to add sites customized to new functionality once meet your exact sites are built business needs - You’re constantly re- inventing the wheel - Support is a nightmare - More difficult to attract top-notch talent
  • Using Proprietary Software✓There’s usually a good - Licensing means less user support development budget community - Custom functionality✓Vendor usually often requires custom provides support development✓If the software sucks, you have someone - Bugs and security holes can go unfixed else to blame - Vendor lock-in
  • Using Open Source Software✓ Lots of functionality - Lack of understanding and/or fear of open✓ Community support source licenses✓ Thousands of eyes - Perceived lack of looking at code commercial support✓ Bugs and security holes options actually get fixed - They give it away for✓ Easier to identify talent free, how good can it be?✓ Instant karma
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/gisleh/3306564460/
  • Photo: www.loremipsum.comhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/sarihuella/3479166338/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/babblingdweeb/194232264/
  • Photo: www.loremipsum.comhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/dcsf2010/4561985806/
  • chicago2011.drupal.org
  • So, What is Drupal?
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/djk/417088624/
  • http://gizmodo.com/5214510/lego-battleship-yamato-is-biggest-lego-ship-ever
  • Photo: www.loremipsum.com
  • Photo: www.loremipsum.com
  • Photo: www.loremipsum.com
  • Putting it into practice