Neil Drumm (drumm) has been an active contributor to Drupal for over 7 years. He has attended every DrupalCon, often as a presenter. Besides contributing to many Drupal modules and other projects, Neil can be found working as:

  • Lead architect for, hired by the Drupal Association
  • Maintainer of
  • The (recently retired) Drupal 5 maintainer
  • A member of the Drupal Association General Assembly
  • A member of the Security team

In addition, Neil is whip-smart and great to work with. He has a lot of friends and fans in the Drupal community (he even has a Twitter-based impersonator)!

photo of Neil
Photo by Robin Pam (

Neil was nominated for the Community Spotlight by Angie Byron (webchick) and Lisa Rex (lisarex). We like Neil a lot, and we presented him with these questions:

How did you get involved with Drupal?

I got involved with Drupal through Howard Dean's 2004 U.S. presidential campaign. Zack Rosen (zacker) asked me if I wanted to help out. We started hack4dean, later renamed DeanSpace. Taking advice from #php on freenode, we started customizing Drupal 4.2 for local campaign groups.

Do you have any advice to anyone just starting with Drupal?

We were hesitant to join in the Drupal community; I wanted to focus on our customizations. Moshe Weitzman (moshe) said something along the lines of “anyone worth their salt wants to patch Drupal core,” I think that was a turning point. I had been using Linux and knew how open source worked; the extra invitation helped put that into practice.

Can you explain some of the benefits of getting involved with the community, and what you get out of it?

I’ve able to work with great people around the world on interesting problems.

What Drupal presentations have you made, and when?

I’ve been to every DrupalCon and presented at many. I’m a generalist on Drupal topics; there is always someone more expert than me at any given niche skill. I do currently consider myself an expert on, that’s what the project managers and myself are speaking on at DrupalCon Chicago.

Can you share names any of your other lesser known Drupal projects?

I’ve learned to not over-commit on small side projects.

Any interests outside of Drupal?

I do some road biking and cooking.

How people can reach you/learn more?

I have a sparsely-updated blog at I’m continuing work on and blogging about it on the Drupal Association site. The best way to contact me about stuff are the Project issue queues, which I read a lot of. Otherwise, email drumm [at]

Was it hard to decide whether to be the branch maintainer for Drupal 5?

Dries asked about this during DrupalCon Vancouver 2006. I don’t think I could have said no to such a great opportunity. I was working either 4 days/week or 3 weeks/month at the time, so it was easier to work out with my employer at the time, Advomatic.

What made you decide to get involved with

This was one of the many big projects started by Jonathan Chaffer (JonBob). It has some interesting data, especially when all of contrib is indexed; I’m looking for interesting ways to use it. I’ve been doing refactoring to better support modules and classes. Much of the user interface code will be refactored this year.

Drupal has recently been described as powering 1% of the internet. What's your projection for 5 years from now?

Projection-making is not one of the hats I wear well.

What's the deal with the @fakeneildrumm Twitter account?

A friend registered that with a guessable password, a few friends use it. Some tweets are based on things I actually said, others are just random.

What's the recipe for your favorite veggie scramble (or other vegan dish)?

I do variations on this tofu scramble recipe. I strive to make vegan food that everyone likes, no nutritional yeast & Bragg piles. I make a good butternut squash soup.

What's your favorite San Francisco restaurant?

I don’t want to name just one. For fanciness, Millennium; for burritos, El Metate; for sandwiches, Jay’s Cheesesteak; for bar food, Bender’s; for coffee, Ritual Roasters.

More Neil Drumm goodness Profile:
Personal site:
Drupal Association blog:
Fake Twitter:

How Google sees Neil.


arianek’s picture

Definitely a deserving nomination, Neil has done so much work (a lot of it behind the scenes with little recognition) on D.o infrastructure and the redesign, and has obviously been a huge core contributor, having maintained D5 until very recently.

Aside from being a super-smart Drupal dev and IA guy, he's always helpful and never talks down to people who know less than him. Plus he's got bonus points in my books for all his help with the API and Docs infrastructure!

Thanks for everything Neil, you are teh awesome.

WebNewCastle’s picture

Absolutely fabulous!

Thanks for all your hard work, Neil! I'm happy to see this post.

mig5’s picture

A little known fact - Neil was also behind most of the heavy multiserver refactoring that went into Aegir last year. Between he and Adrian, they basically weaved the magic that allows Aegir to manage sites on remote servers. This marked a big milestone in our roadmap.

Nice work Neil, thanks, and keep on rockin' :)

Advomatic’s picture

Fun facts:

Neil built a custom laptop out of an old timey briefcase. Make him show pictures.

He is really loud and never stops talking, on the inside.

He is way smarter than everyone, particularly me.

He is double rainbow awesome.

I'm pretty sure he controls the Matrix.

lisarex’s picture

LOL!! OK the question is... which of these statements are fact and which are false :D

But yes, Neil is smart and double rainbow awesome.

joshk’s picture

It seems like oh so long ago I convinced this kid to drop out of college...

Personal: Outlandish Josh
Professional: Pantheon

Maung Maung’s picture

Hi Neil,

Thanks you so much for all of your contributions to the Drupal community.
I like your words - "to work with great people around the world on interesting problems."


dww’s picture

Neil was at the very first face-to-face meeting of Drupal people I ever went to. It was a meetup in Berkeley, CA during the early spring of 2006, hosted at CNMAT (where my brother worked at the time). That's the day I met Neil, along with some other luminaries from the community:
- Earl Miles (merlinofchaos) - He had just recently released Views a few months prior...
- Keiran Lal (Amazon) - I remember he thought highly of the UW-Madison CS department (where I worked) and the UPL (which I was a member of as an undergrad).
- Adrian - Special treat in town from South Africa.

I remember Earl, Adrian and Neil talking excitedly about Views and CCK as the future of Drupal - how right they were! That was also a meeting where a lot of energy went into the very initial planning around a core installer and the groundwork for installation profiles. I remember asking about how to best handle a situation where I was contributing patches to a module and the maintainer didn't want them. ;) Neil immediately struck me as smart, patient, and kind, and he was very supportive of my interest in using and contributing to Drupal. At the same meeting, I ran into a friend and comrade, Josh On, and discovered our mutual interest in Drupal. He was working on a Civicspace website for a radical anti-war candidate for Senate at the time, and we went on to design and build, my first ever Drupal newspaper site (which is what propelled me into being a contributor and comaintainer for Views and Panels).

That meetup with Neil and the gang certainly changed the course of my life! Ever since then, I've had the pleasure to work closely with Neil on a huge number of projects (both large and small) including: the redesign, upgrading d.o to D6 and D5, D5 core, the Infrastructure and Security teams, and much more. Since we're both living in the SF Bay Area, I get to see him a bit more often than most in the Drupal community (although still not enough!).

Drupal is lucky to have someone as dedicated, brilliant, caring, and humble as Neil.

Thanks for everything!

My professional services are available through 3281d Consulting

joray’s picture

Absolutely fabulous!

Thanks for all your hard work!

J. Daglees’s picture

Thanks for all the hard work, you rock!

jn2’s picture

Thanks for all you do. Big recent contribution of note: The d.o. home page map is very cool!

Senior Tech

Abhijeet Sandil’s picture

Thanks for your handwork .

zazinteractive’s picture

Thanks for all your contributions to Drupal

Chris Johnson’s picture

The main article makes a rookie journalist mistake: the writers nominated him for what? It doesn't say.

I don't know Neil well, but I do know he is very smart, low-key and humble.

dww’s picture

Seemed obvious to me when reading it, but yeah, good point. Edited the post to clarify.


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