[development] Very concerned over Drupal's core development

Jakob Petsovits jpetso at gmx.at
Tue Apr 21 11:24:19 UTC 2009

On Tuesday 21 April 2009, Stefan Nagtegaal wrote:
> Happy to hear that Sepeck, sometimes I wonder if it is just me who is  
> experiencing this.
> Drupal is not for users anymore, drupal is for making money and  
> profit. One example is the "Support the Drupal redesign! Donate Now"-
> button, which is currently cycling over the frontpage. Why can't we -  
> as a community - build the new drupal.org design? It gives us a good  
> reality check why drupal is (too) hard for true designers.

Actually we do build it, I think the steady flow of redesign sprints with a 
large number of community members is a testament to that. Also, the
community provided plenty of input for the actual design process, it's just 
that *someone* has to oversee the process and has the final word, because 
design by committee doesn't really work.

On the other hand, Drupal has actually grown very commercial, not least 
because the community is made up of the people who use it. (And if those 
people include lots of companies with monetary resources, their influence and 
contributions will not go unnoticed.) I don't think that's a bad idea per se, 
the challenge is just how to cope with this situation.

Deciding how to deal with this is mainly an issue of vision and focus,
which to a great extent is a responsibility of the project leader.

* Do we want to focus on innovation and pushing the web forward,
  or is it more important to us to preserve existing functionality
  in an easily supportable way?
* Do we want to focus on "free as in speech" political issues or are we
  satisfied with plain "open source" collaboration principles?
* Do we give see ourselves as companies collaborating with each other,
  or are we still a team of individuals where certain people happen to work
  for certain employers?
* Are sponsors (including Acquia) given special treatment, power and/or
  responsibility, or is code (and arguments) still gold when it comes to
  decisions that affect commercial reusability?
* Do we emphasize the "product" aspect of Drupal or rather the
  "community" one?
* Do we focus on excellence of code and inviting skilled contributors,
  or do we take an inclusive approach by tailoring to the newbie masses?

Each project has to answer those questions for itself. So far, I think Dries 
has done a pretty good job of not letting money take over the development 
process of Drupal core, and has given clear answers to most of these 
questions. Maybe the promotional side has gotten a bit out of hand, because 
the number of "community" related stuff is not increasing as much as the number 
of commercial sites that are built and submitted as case studies.

On the whole though, I think the Drupal community has always been this way, 
and the current state of "commercialism" is just the logical extension of how 
we are as a community. The thing that I worry more about than companies 
occupying d.o is that Drupal lacks the drive to search for solutions how the 
user can be guaranteed control over her data, as opposed to handing it to 
service providers.

But that was never a stated goal or common vision, and I can live with it.
Drupal has not been subverted, it just has evolved in its natural way.

I hope that's not too off-topic to still fit into this thread... cheers,

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