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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 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?