[development] module duplication in Drupal contrib

Bill Fitzgerald bill at funnymonkey.com
Wed Mar 19 18:30:49 UTC 2008

Beautifully said.

Aaron Winborn wrote:
> I believe that ugly, chaotic mess of multiple contributed modules 
> replicating functionality is a wonderful thing. It is one of the many 
> wonderful things that attracted me to Open Source, and specifically to 
> Drupal. It encourages innovation. So what if 90% of the modules 
> developed might be labeled as duplicate, poorly maintained, junk, or 
> what have you. It's that wilderness that encourages the 10% to thrive.
> Related to this is the cry I've heard over the past few years for 
> support for multimedia in Core.
> No, I say! Keep Core to its bare bone structure. I want 50 different 
> ways to display an image! If the Image module had been in core, there 
> would have been less incentive to create alternatives. Imagine Drupal 
> for a moment if Flexinode had been put in Core.
> When we stop the creative flow of contributed modules, we are 
> effectively making contributed Core. "You can't make that image 
> handler that does it slightly differently, because there's already an 
> image handler that does it well enough. So what if your use case is 
> slightly different? Write a patch. Or force your site to work out of 
> the box."
> We discourage module development when we tell people not to build 
> module Y, because it already exists in module X. Yes, we end up with 
> modules D, E, and G that do similar things, but as has been pointed 
> out, they might be slightly different use cases. Also, some developers 
> might have a different vision than others, and we nip that in the bud 
> if we tell them not to bother, since it's already been done, or if we 
> stifle their creativity by telling them to build a patch that ends up 
> not getting accepted because the maintainer doesn't like the feature.
> If it is a real problem for users, then restructure the project pages 
> to make it easier to sort. Or create a third branch: Core, 
> Contributed, and Experimental/Universal or something. Whatever you do, 
> don't cut off the wellspring of creativity and innovation that makes 
> Drupal such an amazing beast.
> Enough rant. Back to work.
> Aaron Winborn

Bill Fitzgerald
Tools for Teachers

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