SpikeSource got a little bit of attention a couple of weeks ago when we announced a new partnership with Microsoft, aimed at broadening the adoption of open source software on Windows systems, and saw some questions (and concerns) from people who care about Drupal, since we announced our first publicly available Windows project would be a Drupal package (Drupal + webserver + PHP + database in a single installer with updates and support for all the software in the package). We should have had some additional info about the release -- for example a note to the community or an email to Dries (Matt Asay chided us, not unreasonably) -- but some late-breaking technical issues (or, "bugs") forced us to delay the release and I didn't want to say anything until we actually had something real that people could download and use. But I can finally say we've gone live with Drupal Spikeignited, which is available as of this morning (pacific time) for Windows and which should be available for Linux in the next couple of days.

The package is intended to give users interested in what Spike's commercial offerings provide the chance to experience more of the Spike value proposition than our previous free download (which we deliberately underpromoted) -- beyond the "single installer" and "integrated, self-configuring infrastructure" to include scheduled updates for all the software in the package and several support options. I don't want to advertise here -- if you're interested in more info, visit http://www.spikesource.com/solutions/drupalcms.html, send me email, or ask here and I'll respond.

To clear up two common questions or points of confusion: First, our "Drupal on Windows" project is not a push to Microsoft-ize Drupal or any open source project. Our longer term vision is to get more open source software and applications into business use, even in environments where customers want (or need) to use it in conjunction with proprietary systems, whether that's Windows or DB2 or, well, you get the idea. And Drupal happened to be the first one we completed -- we have other open source applications in late stages of development, soon to be released. (Actually, it didn't "happen" to be first -- I wanted the first one to be a pure open source, "pure .org" project, so pushed the team to give Drupal top priority.)

Second, our updates, security patches, and support are really focussing on helping people who want to use Drupal without needing to be proficient in, or worry about, the underlying dependencies. Others have noted that Drupal doesn't require a lot of ongoing technical support, and the Drupal community takes care of its own with the security mailing list. But I think the actual issues we ran into just before release, that caused us three weeks of very late nights and weekends, are perfect examples of the problems we're trying to solve and help others avoid. Our Linux release was complete and running happily on PHP 5.2.0, but when we tested the Windows release, we got a very reproducible, very nasty crash when running Drupal (PHP crashing Apache) that, combined with our production-ready configuration for apache log rotation was capable of bringing down the entire system. We upgraded to PHP 5.2.3 but the project wasn't building cleanly on Windows. Our support, too, is based on supporting the inter-component and infrastructure configuration and issues. In fact, for Drupal-specific questions, we contract with a company that has a great deal of Drupal expertise (much much more than we have ourselves. Feel free to mention that it's you if you want -- I know you're reading this #:^) Long story short, we got it all resolved, but it's not the sort of scenario you want to find yourself in at the last minute when what you're trying to do is get your site up and configured.