Update: I, chx locked the thread because of repeated pleas to stop and because I and many have been called a psychopant. This is just flaming and not constructive any more.
Congrats to Dries and Jay for landing the massive $7million dollars venture capital for developing their new company, Acquia. I've been down that VC and investment road before, so, I know how much energy and effort they must have put into getting that $7million. I wish them all the best. It's not only exciting times for Dries, it's also a huge nod of approval & respect to the Drupal community to have such serious Venture Capital companies willing to invest so much money in a Drupal start-up.
I think the Acquia initiative will bring a huge amount of value to Drupal & the Drupal community and in the same breath, I also think it's a perfect time raise the topic of Democratising Drupal to safeguard the project and ensure all those members of the Drupal community who have contributed, what VCs describe as, sweat equity to bring Drupal to where it is today, have some say in it's future.
As an example, I think it's great that there's a company out there with $7million dollars to spend on Drupal related activities, but, I also think it's important that there should be a gap between that and the Drupal project & community. In other words, when the VCs and investors who put the $7million dollars into Acquia start looking for their pound of flesh, it shouldn't really affect Drupal directly.
I'm not saying that's going to happen and Dries has indicated on his blog that it won't (see below) , I'm just suggesting that we discuss plans to ensure it doesn't.
Dries: Acquia is not going to fork or close-source Drupal. Acquia wants to see the Drupal community succeed and to do so, Acquia will listen to and work with the community to advance Drupal. The Drupal Association continues to operate the drupal.org domain, I continue to own the Drupal trademark, and the Drupal community continues to set the technical direction of the Drupal project. Drupal.com has not been sold.
They are very wise words and I think Dries, more than anyone as the founder of Drupal would not only agree that the Drupal Community really owns Drupal now, but, I think he would also support an initiative that would ensure that the Drupal community retains ownership & control of Drupal.
So, what I would suggest is kicking off a discussion about how we Democratise the Drupal project.
My suggestion would be to adopt a Co-operative style business model which is hugely succesfull and best described as:
an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise
The Drupal association is quite close to a co-op business model, the only thing missing is the members of the Drupal community, so perhaps it might be an idea to look at developing the Drupal co-op consitution from the existing association framework.
As an example, one of the first activities of a Drupal co-op might be to elect a new president of the Drupal association. Dries is currently the president, but, some might argue that there's a conflict of interest and that should change soon i.e. Dries is now tied into a shareholders agreement with the Venture Capital companies and essentially working for them now, helping them capitalise on their $7million investment.
Beyond the drafting up of a Drupal consitution and electing a new president, the co-op would also be in a position to raise finance, from the Drupal community in the form of shares (under the co-op model that's: 1 share per member and 1 vote per share), to pay the elected president (and board) of the association a salary along with an annual budget for marketing, promotion and other activities to implement a 1/2/3 year plan determined by the community.
A lot of the above is already in place, with the assocation, so what I'm suggesting isn't that drastic, it' s just taking it to the next level and legally establishing ownership of the Drupal project with the Drupal community.
As a by-the-way, I'm not suggesting raising $7million in share capital, under the co-op model, from the Drupal community - I don't think Drupal needs that much money to go to the next level. I think with a fraction of that $7m, you can empower and enable the Drupal community to bring Drupal to the next level. Donations can help keep things ticking over for a while, but, to really push it to the next level I think a Drupal co-operative can provide that framework.