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.

Hi Guys,

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.

Any opinions/thoughts?

Dub

Comments

adrinux’s picture

There's a lot of 'What' in this post but it's lacking 'why'. Why make these changes, what would the community gain?

Adrian Simmons
adrinux@perlucida.com

Adrian Simmons
adrinux@anaath.at

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

HI Adrinux,

It's something I've been thinking about for a while. Not just about Drupal, but, about all online communities, whether that's last.fm, facebook, myspace or others. in other words, if those projects looked to the community for funding, as opposed to outside investors, I think you wouldn't find situations like the recent Facebook "joe just bought an engagement ring" privacy debacle.

The VCs investing in Acquia aren't buying Drupal, they are investing in Dries' new start up company, but, I know for a fact that those press releases from the VC companies announcing the investment, will raise the eyebrows of every VC and investor around the globe.

So to answer your question "why?": Acquia is a great initiative, but, the business model isn't structured to include the community - it's a straightforward $7million dollar investment in a Drupal start-up. The shareholders own Acquia.

I'm suggesting we look at how we bring the Drupal project to a new level by including the Drupal community so the Drupal community is, more formally, in control and the community gains.

In simplistic terms, I would like to see MORE VCs investing in MORE Drupal startups. Without the comunity: Drupal is nothing. A stronger Drupal community with a more formal Drupal constitution will strengthen the community and help bring it to a new level. And more importantly, increase the attractiveness of more VCS investing in more Drupal startups

The VCs who have invested in Acquia would love to see the Drupal community thrive and develop...it increases the chances of them recouping on their initial $7million investment....the problem is how to structure funding and the business framework to include the community.

hence the suggestion of a Drupal Co-operative.

hope that makes sense...

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

themegarden.org’s picture

"Acquia is a great initiative, but, the business model isn't structured to include the community"

What is wrong with that?

---
themegarden.org
Drupal Hosting Article

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

hi themegarden,

What's wrong with it is that other VCs who maybe interested in investing in other Drupal start ups won't see it in a positive light.

In other words, consider if Acquia starts hiring core developers or more members of the board of directors from the Drupal association. They are perfectly entitled to do that, but, some might argue that it might be wiser for Acquia to donate the funds to the Drupal association and let the Drupal association administer those funds.

You know, in a similar way to the way google runs the summer of code programmes.

The google summer of code model fits with open source, because it allows yahoo, microsoft and anyone else to do the same. In other words, Yahoo or another rival company to google might not be too keen to pay for google employees to code.

If the Acquia shareholders genuinely want to see Drupal thrive and develop, they shouldn't have any problem with just donating the funds to the Drupal association to administer for Drupal development. Instead of signing contracts with them and making them acquia employees.

I.e. it's a closed shop approach, rather than an open one.

hope that answers your question

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

eaton’s picture

In other words, consider if Acquia starts hiring core developers or more members of the board of directors from the Drupal association. They are perfectly entitled to do that, but, some might argue that it might be wiser for Acquia to donate the funds to the Drupal association and let the Drupal association administer those funds.

I disagree. The Drupal Association's structure explicitly prevents it from exerting pressure on the Drupal project participants to perform specific tasks or commit specific code. That's a protective measure to keep it focused on the tasks that are most needed, and most often fall through the cracks in a distributed project (server maintenance, trademark protection, etc). That focus, though, means that the Association is not an extremely efficient mechanism for getting specific code written, and that's specifically what Acquia and other Drupal businesses generally need.

Acquia has two primary interests, as I understand it. First, they have an interest in the ongoing success of the Drupal project as it currently stands. They and every other Drupal business thrive on the continued evolution of core and the rich ecosystem of projects built around it. They and every other Drupal business can support core and the ecosystem by donating time and code for the community's consideration. The bottleneck in the Drupal world at present is not money so much as time: for any given complex issue, there is a small list of people with the domain knowledge needed to properly review and vet patches and features. Throwing money to the Association will help keep the servers running, but it won't solve this problem.

Acquia's second interest (as I understand it) is the creation of specific Drupal-related tools for Enterprise-class sites and projects. There's a world of additional work that can always be done there, from polishing new database drivers to writing external management and monitoring tools that help Drupal but aren't directly part of the Drupal ecosystem. This kind of solution-assembly is the actual "Product" that Acquia can offer to its customers, and why VC funding has been given to Acquia. It's also the same kind of product that almost any Drupal-oriented business offers: building value-adds on top of Drupal's codebase, assembling combinations of existing code and modules, and delivering a finished, supported product to clients.

This second interest is a perfect example of the "Scratch Your Own Itch" engine that fuels a good Open Source project. Company A needs, say, a Python-based deployment tool for rolling out Drupal sites with specific profiles. Should they donate $50,000 to the Association, or some centralized body, and demand that the Association ensure the feature gets written? Nope. They should write it themselves or hire someone who's willing and able to. That's how a lot of new features for Drupal have been birthed: D5's installer and D6's internationalization capabilities are great examples. The CSS and JS aggregation features were written for clients of corporate Drupal sites, then proposed as patches for core.

This system works well. The community, the project lead (Dries), and the branch maintainers determine whether something makes sense for and works well with core and contrib. A lot of the heavy lifting, though, is done by specific parties who need specific features or need existing ones to work better. Commercial interests are always present, but they also balance each other.

While the approach discussed in the original post (treating the core project as a cooperatively owned business with share ownership) is interesting, I'm not sure how it would improve over the current approach. It seems that it would add many layers of complexity to the way the community operates and make it easier for a group with cash to blow to control the direction of the project.

You know, in a similar way to the way google runs the summer of code programmes.

It's worth noting that SoC is a promotional program Google runs once a year to promote open source in general. It's not Google's business.

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

While the approach discussed in the original post (treating the core project as a cooperatively owned business with share ownership) is interesting, I'm not sure how it would improve over the current approach.

I'm amazed I actually have to point this out, but, while the acquia investors have brought $7million dollars to the table, the Drupal community has brought probably 100 times that in value, but, don't own any shares.

I'm suggesting that the only way you could possibly consolidate that sweat equity is to run with a co-operative based model.

As an example,

The Drupal Association's structure explicitly prevents it from exerting pressure on the Drupal project participants to perform specific tasks or commit specific code.

how pointless does that sound, when you consider that the leading core Drupal developer is now an employee of acquia?

I can think of 7 million reasons why that is a bad idea. In other words, I trust the Drupal community, but, I find it difficult to trust a venture capitalist who appeared very recently with $7 million dollars.

If that doesn't make any sense, I shudder to think what school of logic you guys went to.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

mlncn’s picture

The core committer with the most commits is chx, and he still works for NowPublic (though maybe I missed a memo). I have long argued that we need a way to aggregate the needs and desires of a bunch of little guys -- individuals, nonprofit organizations, small businesses -- to help Drupal (and other free software projects) realize their potential: open source is simply more economical and efficient than closed source if we can get over the hump of coordination costs.

But Acquia is in no way a threat to that, it will instead ensure that a lot of companies with a lot of money are putting money into Drupal -- it will, as they say they would like to do, increase the Drupal universe by a factor of ten or more.

At the same time, while solving some of the limitations on Drupal's ability to meet the needs of very large organizations, Acquia and the whole new opportunities for Drupal that it represents doesn't offer any immediate solution to the coordination of many small players. I agree that tons more money could be flowing to Drupal development from below, as it were. But we don't need any changes in the Drupal association (not that some real, voting role for regular members wouldn't be a good idea on its own merits)– we just need to do it. Contact agaric if interested.

benjamin, Agaric Design Collective

benjamin, Agaric

greggles’s picture

This is an important but small distinction:

core committer is someone with the ability to commit code to the core Drupal project. The people with these rights are Dries (Acquia), Natrak (?), and Steven Wittens (Bryght) across all branches of core. Gerhard Killesreiter (freelancer) is a committer for th 4.7.x branch. Neil Drumm (Advomatic) is a committer for the 5.x branch. Gabor Hojtsy (Acquia) is the committer for 6.x branch.

Core contributers are anyone who contributes a patch. Since, for example, Dries reviews way more code than he commits having core contributers are very important but it is not quite the same as "holding the keys" to commit rights. Both are important to determining the direction of the project, but committers have the ability to keep something out or force something in if they really want it. I think that informal community feedback to committers is the best way to guide them as opposed to some more formalized structure - it has proven itself effective in Drupal and other communities where the co-op model is relatively untested so far.

--
Knaddisons Denver Life | mmm Chipotle Log

--
CARD.com :)

coupet’s picture

In Web 2.0, $7 Million is only .83% (< 1 %) of total investment 844 Millions for year 2006.

This is a relatively small amount as compare to total investment amount.

----
Darly

greggles’s picture

I'd like to see other popular models in the open source world evaluated before we decide on one like you propose. I think that the benevolent-dictator-for-life model has worked really well for us so far and I see no reason to change it now. I guess I agree with adrinux - I don't feel any sort of real urgency or concern that this take place now.

There are things I'd like to see (like increased transparency in the Association) and the change to a co-op feels like a big change without much need.

--
CARD.com :)

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Greggles,

Thanks for chipping in.

I think that the benevolent-dictator-for-life model has worked really well for us so far and I see no reason to change it now.

My point is the benevolent-dictator-for-life is no longer here. Dries has setup a new Drupal start-up and raised $7million dollars investment in it, that's a lot of money and involves a shareholders agreement which is a legally binding document. Dries is tied to the Acquia shareholders agreement now and he'll be putting himself in an extraordinarily tricky situation if he makes or backs a decision about Drupal that is good for Drupal but hurts Acquia.

So while I agree with your point ("the benevolent-dictator-for-life model has worked really well for us so far") up to now...I can think of about 7million reasons why we should change it now.

In other words, instead of just applauding what Dries and Jay have done with Acquia...what we should be doing is looking at ways in we can increase the strength of the Drupal community, so we can bring Drupal to the next level and attract more VCs/investors to invest in more Drupal startups.

hence the suggestion of the Drupal co-operative. It's probably the only business model out there that fits.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

greggles’s picture

It's probably the only business model out there that fits.

Well, maybe, but let's explore a little first.

Linux kernel, afaik, has the situation where core committers are employed by various organizations project lead is employed by a non-profit. I don't believe it is run as a cooperative.

Debian I think is very similar to Linux.

Joomla has the OpenSourceMatters board which appears to be similar to Drupal's Association except that the Joomla "core team" elects board members (the Drupal Association membership chooses future members). It appears that Joomla's leadership is more distributed (and much more formal!) and that there is no single big company that employs the major core committers.

Wordpress has the project lead and many key developers employed by the same for profit company that runs the software. So, this case seems the closest to the worst-case-scenario that you described of having key people and intellectual property all at the same organization. I don't know enough about the project to say whether it works well or not, but there is no denying that the project is popular.

Other projects with a meritocracy-BDFL model where the BDFL works at a for-profit include Canonical, PHP, and Python.

These are just examples that I knew or that seemed really relevant, but afaict none of them are cooperatives in the sense that you've described.

Are there any open source software projects that use the cooperative model that you are prescribing?

Thanks.

--
Knaddisons Denver Life | mmm Chipotle Log

--
CARD.com :)

DriesK’s picture

The Drupal association is quite close to a co-op business model, the only thing missing is the members of the Drupal community

The Drupal Association has been preparing the expansion of the General Assembly during the last few months. There will be a call for candidacies for the Drupal Association General Assembly soon (probably already this week). Everyone can be a candidate to become a Permanent Member. The current General Assembly will vote, all candidates with a 2/3 majority will become Permanent Members. Once the new General Assembly has been established, a new Board of Directors will be chosen by the General Assembly among its members. This will allow everyone with good ideas of how to take Drupal to the next level to become involved as a Permanent Member or as a Director.

so perhaps it might be an idea to look at developing the Drupal co-op consitution from the existing association framework.

This is what the statutes of the Drupal Association were designed for. Changing or extending the statutes is within the powers of the General Assembly. Becoming a Permanent Member will enable you to take part in this process.

As an example, one of the first activities of a Drupal co-op might be to elect a new president of the Drupal association.

As mentioned before, the Board of Directors is chosen from the Members of the General Assembly by the members of the General Assembly. A new Board will be elected this year (or more likely, January 2008). However, the statutes provide a bi-annual term for the President, the Treasurer, and the Secretary in order to ensure continuous operations of the Board from one year to the next. Therefore, Dries' position within the Board is not open for election this year, but it will be so next year.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Dries Knapen
Treasurer
Drupal Association

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Dries,

many thanks for posting that.

I suppose what I'm essentially suggesting is 'upgrading' the association into a co-operative where there's an annual budget to promote Drupal, salaries for the appointed operations team, one-vote-per-shareholder and one-share-per-person. It's not much of a leap, but, I think it's worth suggesting when the board of directors meet in the new year.

With reference to the core thrust of my initial post..i.e. attracting more VCs to invest in more Drupal startups, my suggestion of electing a new president was because it might look better. In other words, some might perceive that Acquia have a significant advantage over other startups if one of their shareholders is president of the association, which is essentially a steering comittee.

That said, the ink is still drying on the Acquia shareholders agreement and I'm sure Dries B. has already thought of the potential conflicts of interest and has a plan for what to do in the new year.

Exciting times ahead..

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

BryanSD’s picture

Very good response! For those that are more interested in what the Drupal Association is all about and how it is structured, check out:

Some of it is dry stuff, but I wouldn't be surprised if some of the proposals in this thread or future threads aren't already addressed via the Association's statutes.

-Bryan
CMSReport

doka’s picture

I think there is no need for a quick reaction from the community to this development. Acquia can be a really good development, like Ubuntu in Linux universe. If not, the community can react later on.

Dries said:

I continue to own the Drupal trademark

It means here not Acquia owns it. And it is also said

the Drupal community continues to set the technical direction of the Drupal project

I'm wondering what and how will Dries delegate on this topic to the community. I'm pretty sure he must delegate more as before, because of time and clarity. And I'm sure he will manage it.

Let's give him some more time, watch the developments and give feedbacks, like this discussion, and raise our concern when a conflict of interest has already happend.

Doka

Doka

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Doka,

re: trademark.

This is just my opinion, but, I think the Drupal community should control and own the trademark and assets, such as the domain etc. In other words, the footer of Drupa.org would read "Drupal is a registered trademark of the Drupal co-op", rather than the property of Dries. So it is very clear that Drupal is community based and community owned.

That said, whether that's done via the Drupal association or via an 'upgraded' association, in the form of a co-operative as mentioned, should be decided by the community....which is the bigger picture discussion point I'm trying to raise, now that Dries is tied into a shareholders agreement with the venture capitalists who put in the $7million.

There are usually a flurry of NDA's (non disclosure agreements) signed alongside VC agreements like that, so Dries won't be able to go into any detail of what's included/excluded in the shareholders agreement, or what the exit strategies are.

That's not a reason to be scared. far from it. That's standard practice and the Acquia deal is a huge boost for anyone involved in Drupal.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

JohnForsythe’s picture

A lot has changed in the last few months. First, the birth of The Drupal Association, then the Acquia Announcement, and now this. And yet, from the end user's point of view, things are very much the same. You can still download Drupal, get modules, themes, patches, get support, just as before. I think, as long as this remains the same, there is nothing to worry about. That said, it's really too early to tell if things can continue smoothly under the current system.

I think it's best to let the dust settle before we make any more changes to things around here. Cautious optimism is the order of the day.

--
John Forsythe
Need reliable Drupal hosting?

Dries’s picture

The Drupal project has never been a democracy -- it has always been a meritocracy and that's why people call me a benevolent dictator for life. Like it or not but that is what it is. I've acted in the best interest of the Drupal community for the past seven years of my life. When negotiating with the VCs, I’ve taken great pains to make sure that I'm able to continue to act for the best interests of the Drupal community. This was more important to me than anything else, and I hope that further proves my integrity. The proof continues to be in the actions, not in abstract theoretical political concepts ...

While the Drupal project itself is not a democracy, the Drupal Association is. In fact, the Drupal Association is a democracy for the reasons you outlined: to support and protect the Drupal project. I continue to entrust the Drupal Association with control over key assets like Drupal.org. And there is nothing that guarantees that I'll continue to be a board member of the Drupal Association; I have to be re-elected like everyone else has. I'm perfectly happy with that -- after all, I'm a co-founder of the Drupal Association and helped architect these democratic rules myself. In other words, let the Drupal Association do its job ... And if you want to change the way the Drupal Assocation works, you are welcome to join it!

PS: There are other Drupal Association board members that work for companies that took external funding. Plus, there are hundreds of users on Drupal.org who provide Drupal related services, some of which maintain critical contributed modules.

sepeck’s picture

And there are those of us who make no money from Drupal at all. I am more then comfortable with the processes so far. I will add, the Linux leadership model hasn't changed either. If our model changes, then I would have to re-evaluate my involvement.

-Steven Peck
---------
Test site, always start with a test site.
Drupal Best Practices Guide -|- Black Mountain

-Steven Peck
---------
Test site, always start with a test site.
Drupal Best Practices Guide

Nick Lewis’s picture

I prefer your decisions over the decisions of a committee. There's a lot of truth in that despair.com poster that reads:
Meetings: None of us is as dumb as all of us

--
"I'm not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a PART of hell will break loose... it'll be much harder to detect." - George Carlin
--
Personal: http://www.nicklewis.org
Work: http://www.onnetworks.com

--
"I'm not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a PART of hell will break loose... it'll be much harder to detect." - George Carlin
--
Personal: http://www.nicklewis.org
Work: http://www.zivtech.com

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Nick,

I think you're missing the point.

Dries is tied into a legally binding shareholders agreement with Venture capitalists to the tune of $7million. Even with the best intentions in the World, Dries could put himself in an extraordinarily tricky situation if he made a decision that was good for Drupal but not so good for Acquia.

Re: your reference to committee based decisions. I'm not suggesting forming a grandiose committee of millions. I'm suggesting granting ownership of Drupal to the Drupal community using the co-operative model as the framework.

So, as an example, a Drupal co-operative, which allows 1 vote per member, can engage a headhunter to recruit a talented, experienced person to lead Drupal activities. Which is not like the Vicar of Dibley setup, it's a setup that has worked amazingly well for over 100 years and with an estimated 800 million people worldwide. google the rochdale principles and you could almost search and replace with Drupal..i.e. the fundamentals are almost the exact same as the reasons people have joined the Drupal project.

I accept that it's possible for Dries to wear two hats. One with An Acquia logo and another with a Drupal logo, but, I think even the Acquia shareholders would insist that he does whatever is necessary to offload or reduce his Drupal activities to a minimum and just concentrate with the one, acquia hat.

I'm being devils advocate, but, I would prefer to see more VCs supporting more Drupal startups and the best way of doing that is securing and safeguarding Drupals future.

Hence the suggestion for a change in how things work. If we could xerox another Dries, there would be no discussion, but, we can't, so I'm suggesting we discuss how we deal with it.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

sepeck’s picture

No Dub, I don't think he is. I think you are. I have trusted Dries' leadership on this so far and his track record in my trust remains. There are a number of others whose leadership I would not trust as much. Decision by committee is historically a road to disaster. I will deal with this by trusting Dries to continue as he began.

You are being devils advocate which in this context of insinuation, edge cases, what if, I do not see as constructive.

-Steven Peck
---------
Test site, always start with a test site.
Drupal Best Practices Guide -|- Black Mountain

-Steven Peck
---------
Test site, always start with a test site.
Drupal Best Practices Guide

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

No Dub, I don't think he is. I think you are. I have trusted Dries' leadership on this so far and his track record in my trust remains. There are a number of others whose leadership I would not trust as much. Decision by committee is historically a road to disaster. I will deal with this by trusting Dries to continue as he began.

Sorry Steven, but, perhaps I'm not making myself clear.

NOBODY is doubting Dries' leadership abilities here. Least of all me.

That's not what is being discussed here.

I think the news about Acquia is great news for the Drupal community. I would like to see more VCs investing in more Drupal startups. The point is that Dries cannot possibly continue as he began

Being realistic and assuming there are only going to be 24 hours in each day next year...do you honestly believe the Acquia shareholders, who just invested $7million dollars, wouldn't mind in the least if Dries decided to do 3 days a week with drupal and 2 days a week with Acquia?

I would hazard that the acquia shareholders would support an initiative that would consolidate the Drupal project, allowing Dries to focus in on realising the profit they are expecting back from their $7million investment.

As an aside, I would argue that 3 days a week for a project the size of Drupal isn't enough. Juggling Drupal with his studies and other projects is one thing, but, ask anyone who has signed a shareholders agreement or being involved with discussions with VCs and they will tell you that the larger the investment, the tighter the shareholders agreements and exit clause get. That's before you get into non disclosure agreements and other such stuff that restricts Dries and Jay discussing what's going on.

If you think the discussion isn't consructive, fair enough. I respect your opinion. And sincere apologies.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

Nick Lewis’s picture

I get that with investors involved, Dries' role as project lead of drupal has become more complicated. But, you out of all people know how long it takes for the drupal community to make decisions like this. I don't disagree that the risks you mentioned are a possibility.

But the first evidence of Acquia's involvement that I've seen is Gabor being paid fulltime to get drupal 6 out the door. The bugs have started dropping like flies.

I just feel its way to early in the drupal communities relationship with acquia to immediately go on the defensive. Not to mention, its hard to rally people to defend against invisible threats that probably won't (but could) exist in future.

I promise, the investors believe its important that the drupal community remains happy (unless they've been infected by that earworm from star trek II -- in that case they're not to be trusted....).

Acquia's success is inextricably intertwined with drupal.org. Expect them to treat us like family.

--
"I'm not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a PART of hell will break loose... it'll be much harder to detect." - George Carlin
--
Personal: http://www.nicklewis.org
Work: http://www.onnetworks.com

--
"I'm not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a PART of hell will break loose... it'll be much harder to detect." - George Carlin
--
Personal: http://www.nicklewis.org
Work: http://www.zivtech.com

Dries’s picture

Being realistic and assuming there are only going to be 24 hours in each day next year...do you honestly believe the Acquia shareholders, who just invested $7million dollars, wouldn't mind in the least if Dries decided to do 3 days a week with drupal and 2 days a week with Acquia?

Actually, yes. There are guarantees in my contract that enable me to spend enough time working on Drupal as the Drupal Project Lead. I'll check whether I'm allowed to publish the relevant schedule of my contract.

That is actually a vast improvement -- I've always been working on Drupal after hours in my spare time. I'll actually have more time to do what I've always been doing.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Dries,

That's great to hear. And congratulations again to yourself jay and the shareholders.

It would be very interesting to see those contracts if you are able to, most VCs I know would never allow someone to put 50% or 60% of their time into a project they are investing into, but, don't put yourself out....

I notice I'm the only one raising any sort of "hold on a second" opinion about how things are shaping up.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

thatashok’s picture

If Google's shareholders empower their employees to spend 20% of their time on projects they're passionate about, albeit not open source ones, I think its realistic to assume Acquia's shareholders can do the same ...

pcdonohue’s picture

If it's in the VCs interest for Drupal to continue to develop and mature, they will do what they can to make that happen, it's solid business sense. If that means Dries spending time on Drupal's core development, then they can hardly say he's wasting his time.

There are precedents of private companies moving forward open source technology and increasing its commercial applications and viability... and there are even examples of open source founders/leads hired by companies to move their open source project forward. What's critical is that companies and the open source communities continue to state, create, and curate their common interests. And conversations like these are critical to making that happen.

To do that, however, it's important to look at interests rather than positions. You keep bringing up the co-operative model as the solution (and I'm not saying it's not a solution), but why don't we focus on the interests that model meets rather than arguing for or against the model? Rather than leaping to the idea that "democracy" is the solution, why don't we agree upon the problem?

As far as I can see the concerns you are bringing up include:
1. VC investment will lead to a conflict of interest in Drupal IP
2. VC investment will lead to a conflict of interests in Dries' time.
3. The Drupal community, the Drupal Association, and their corresponding legal backing, are not strong enough to maintain & negotiate the Drupal community's interests
4. The above 3 points also act as an obstacle to increased VC investment and/or commercial development

Is that more or less accurate?

So yes, we have to be very careful about the structures we build to house our intentions. However, this is true for both what Dries' et. al. are building for Acquia and for the co-op model you are arguing for.

p.s. I apologize if that was redundant, there are still 30 new posts in this thread I need to check out!

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

There's no need to apologize, pcdonohue. your post is very well considered and imho very well put.

I too don't know if the co-op model is worth pursuing, the reason I think it might be good is that it fits with the democractic and organic way the community has developed Drupal.

The bullet points you highlight are not just the concerns I would have, they are precisely the same concerns ANY investor or company thinking of investing time/energy and money into Drupal would have..

And I imagine most investors/VCs would raise an eyebrow at the "$7million dollars for a startup" headline. $7 million dollars is an extraordinary amount of money for any startup in the IT industry and is usually associated with a pre-cursor to an Initial Public Offering (IPO) and suggests that there is some form of IP attached to the $7million dollars.

Beyond those obvious key points, I'm also concerned at the cultural impact on the community.

You can see the reaction from Michelle earlier who is accusing me of spreading FUD, being a liar etc. For anyone else stumbling across this thread, that presents an unpleasant and unhealthy picture....the complete opposite of the atmosphere when I joined almost 4 years ago. It suggests that there is something to hide, which puts Dries and Jay, in particular, in an awkward position - they will have probably signed watertight non-disclosure agreements attached to the shareholders agreement for the $7million, so they can't talk and discuss what's going on. It also completely detracts from the positive thrust of the thread, which is "lads, this is great news and it leads to all these opportunities....but..let's, think this through properly". Not all Drupal.org teamsters have the diplomatic skills of sepeck & michelle, but, it is remarkable how quick they were to leap to all sorts of conclusions.

On the democracy topic, Dries thinks Drupal isn't democratic, well, I would tend to disagree with that and also point out that there are already a lot of Drupal "shareholders" within the community.

There's no shareholders certificate, in the traditional sense, but there is an unwritten shareholders agreement that stipulates that "if you contribute to Drupal, you are helping to develop the Drupal ecosphere that you, in turn, can benefit from long term". That's the same, simply and fundamental principle behind ANY democracy. How those "share dividends" work is crystal clear and it has worked amazingly well to bring Drupal to where it's at today. The growth has been extraordinary since I joined.

So, while the bullet points you have raised are pretty much spot on, the cultural impact on the Drupal community is very worrying.

dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

Dries’s picture

And I imagine most investors/VCs would raise an eyebrow at the "$7million dollars for a startup" headline. $7 million dollars is an extraordinary amount of money for any startup in the IT industry and is usually associated with a pre-cursor to an Initial Public Offering (IPO) and suggests that there is some form of IP attached to the $7million dollars.

I did not transfer any Drupal IP to Acquia. You continue to make false assumptions; please stick to the facts. The fact is that my heart is with the Drupal community and that I'm going to continue to work with the Drupal community to advance Drupal.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

I never said you did transfer any IP to acquia.

Here's what I said: And I imagine most investors/VCs would raise an eyebrow at the "$7million dollars for a startup" headline. $7 million dollars is an extraordinary amount of money for any startup in the IT industry and is usually associated with a pre-cursor to an Initial Public Offering (IPO) and suggests that there is some form of IP attached to the $7million dollars.

Perhaps I could have phrased that better, but, as an example, here's a news article that was emailed to me earlier:

Acquia nets $7M in financing
Dec 19 2007 9:38AM EST

Acquia Inc. has netted $7 million in Series A financing from two local venture capital firms.

The North Andover, Mass., open source software developer secured funding lead by Waltham's North Bridge Venture Partners, with additional investment Boston's Sigma Partners and San Francisco-based O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures.

The company plans to use the capital to develop software and services around its Drupal open source Web collaboration and publishing product. The product is delivers a variety of Web 2.0 applications.

full article on portfolio.com
===========================================

The embolden sentence in the second paragraph refers to Drupal as Acquia's product. For any VC or investor reading that, it's not difficult to draw a conclusion that connects the $7m with the Drupal product.

You see, it is difficult to stick to the facts when those facts are probably wrapped up in a shareholders agreement alongside some NDAs. Facts such as the Exit strategy for the investors, where do they plan to make the ROI? and other such facts that may/may not have an impact on the community.

Please don't take that the wrong way: I actually think there's a lot of positives in what's going on.

Some tricky questions need to be asked, but, in the same breath, we wouldn't need to ask those questions, if we had a framework in place that protects the Drupal IP and core assets. At the moment we don't have that framework.

If the Drupal IP is still floating out there and has zero connection with the $7million, I would have thought it would be a no-brainer to entrust that IP to the very community that helped bring Drupal to where it's at today.

However, just handing it over to the Drupal association isn't enough, imho, I would prefer to see the association upgraded to a co-op as outlined. And as an aside, a co-op is not an abstract theoretical political concept, Dries. That's a false assumption and here's 20 billion reasons why it isn't.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

keith.smith’s picture

With respect, Dublin Drupaller, the article you quote is a press release. A press release. Press releases are not known for their exacting standards in accuracy.

Indeed, in the link you provide above (http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/local-news/boston/2007/12/19/acqui...), I see that the name of the company is misspelled in the title: "Acquie nets $7M in financing". The name of the company is misspelled in the path to the article. The last line of the press release reads "The product is delivers a variety of Web 2.0 applications.", which I am completely unable to parse.

Again, and I really just can't emphasize this enough: It's a press release. I'm pretty pleasantly surprised that Drupal is spelled correctly and that "open source" is mentioned.

You write:

The embolden sentence in the second paragraph refers to Drupal as Acquia's product. For any VC or investor reading that, it's not difficult to draw a conclusion that connects the $7m with the Drupal product.

For anyone reading that, IMO, it's not difficult to draw a conclusion that this is a press release and should not be taken as an authoritative source for ..., well..., anything.

--keith

keith.smith’s picture

Excuse me. I should have looked closer.

That wasn't even a press release, but instead, a short article about a press release, and presumably poorly derived from the actual press release at http://acquia.com/press-release-1. The actual press release does not attribute Drupal to anyone other than "The thousands of active contributors" who "have proven how a meritocracy can significantly advance the way the web is built".

--keith

eaton’s picture

I never said you did transfer any IP to acquia.

Dub, come on. You may be able to pore over your posts and claim that those specific words were never used, but anyone reading understood what you were suggesting.

You've been a member of the Drupal community for quite a while and have helped a lot of other people with your work in the forums and the handbooks. If you feel strongly that the Drupal community needs to consider these questions, please realize that your behavior and responses in this thread are alienating, insulting, and antagonizing many of the most active and dedicated members of that very community. Your behavior is cutting off the people whose support is most needed when sweeping changes must be made.

Your posts have been filled with slippery, innuendo-laden suggestions about what Dries, Acquia, and its investors might be doing or might do in the future. When Dries and others with direct knowledge of Acquia have replied with answers to your questions, you said they were either naive and being fooled by investors, or that they were contractually bound to hide the truth from you, and thus couldn't be trusted.

Many times throughout this thread you've hand-waved your way through suggestions of 'buy-outs' and corruption and takeovers. You've praised the wisdom of a vaguely defined "community" but accused the developer who make it up of being selfish and corrupt enough to sell the project out for "a 30 inch TV." You've stated explicitly that anyone who "controls" Dries "controls" Drupal, and told Dries that he was naive and/or lying when he explained otherwise. You've abused your privileges as a site administrator in ways that contradict the very communal values you're advocating and responded by accusing other admins of conspiring against you. You've called people I know, work with, and trust idiots and liars for having the temerity to disagree with you.

I'm beginning to wonder if answers will satisfy you. I'm beginning to wonder whether your questions are questions, or attempts to scare less knowledgeable members of the community into supporting your preferred system of administering the Drupal project. That is an ugly question to raise, and I don't want to, but it's becoming difficult to see it any other way. If your ideas and suggestions are sound, they will stand on their own without spreading dark rumors about individuals who have clearly demonstrated their dedication to the Drupal project. I'd encourage others reading this to review the past two days' worth of posts. Pay attention to the questions Dub raises, the information that others offer in response, and what he does with it.

There are serious and important questions that the Drupal community ought to grapple with. How should a GPL project be 'gardened' and 'tended' once it's advanced enough to attract commercial attention? In a project where 'getting things done' is the greatest currency of all, how can volunteers and hobbyists ensure their voices are heard as loudly as commercial companies who can pay developers to work on code they want? How can we determine whether a particular decision about Drupal is detrimental to the community, versus "just something some people disagree with?" How can we ensure that one company doesn't just hire up all the talented Drupal developers and 'hijack' the project be default? How do we view the problem of 'free riders' -- individuals and companies who benefit from the work that's gone into an open source project but do not contribute back? How do we recognize when and individual or a company is a free rider?

These questions are important ones, Dub. The community has been discussing them for years, and shouldn't stop just because Dries is part of the latest company. The thread you've started, though, isn't that discussion. It's a strange, context-free flameout full of accusations, innuendo, and ugliness. I've spent quite a bit of time over the past several days writing what I hope were reasonable, constructive responses to quite a few of your questions. I really hope that it hasn't been a waste of my time.

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

coupet’s picture

I've spent quite a bit of time over the past several days writing what I hope were reasonable, constructive responses to quite a few of your questions. I really hope that it hasn't been a waste of my time.

I think the discussion is worthwhile but the issue is very complex.

----
Darly

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Dries,

Thanks for taking the time to post. Appreciate you must be extremely busy with the new project.

There's no need to be defensive - I actually see the new developments as a very positive thing. I want to see more VCs investing in more Drupal startups.

However, I wouldn't dismiss suggestions on moving forward, in particular, the co-operative business model as an abstract theoretical political concept. 800 million people around the globe might disagree with you and point to 164 years of extraordinary success as proof it isn't an abstract theoretical political concept.

The Drupal project has never been a democracy -- it has always been a meritocracy and that's why people call me a benevolent dictator for life.

With respect, I would argue that Drupal has been built, not by any meritocracy, but, by an extraordinary community of people who volunteered and who were driven forward by the same basic underlying principles that the Rochdale Principles are based upon.

The Drupal association could be portrayed as a meritocracy, but, almost every organisation, whether it's public or private is a meritocracy, by default. At least, I cannot think of one situation where appointments aren't made out of ability or merit. Even the tailers son of a tailors son wouldn't be let near the scissors if he wasn't any good.

That's just my humble opinion.

To put it another way, instead of using the term meritocracy, I would use the term gardener.

In other words, Drupal is a seed that has been planted and it has grown, evolved, even cross-pollinated with plants next door. The growth has been spectacular, but, to assume or believe that any one individual or association is in control of the garden now is for me, very dangerous.

Yes, you can weed the garden and tend to the plants, but, ultimately, the garden will become overrun..it will outgrow it's surroundings and it's the gardeners responsibility to knock down walls, to open up a wider area for the garden to continue to grow unhindered.

Drupal is reaching that stage now. The pace of development is extraordinary and while there is a distinct risk those pesky property developers might start moving in and start building high-rise plaza's and drive-thru fast food joints and coffee shops in the garden to turn a profit, I actually see an opportunity to break down those walls or limitations and let Drupal loose as a community driven and community owned open source project.

That's the only way I can see Drupal moving to the next level. The Drupal association is a good start, but there are only a few (albeit extremely talented) general members. I think it needs to go a step further and safeguard Drupals future by granting ownership of Drupal to the Drupal community.

And the co-operative model is the only one I think will fit, because, the reason people get involved with Drupal are almost verbatim to the Rochdale Principles.

That's a lot more drawn out than I intended and I'm not disputing anyone's integrity here, Dries. You have been very open and honest about the moves to secure the trademark for Drupal and raise VC capital for Acquia.

So it's all very positive. And point taken about joining the association. I'll give it some thought.

By the way..congrats again to you, Jay and the shareholders. Acquia looks very exciting.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

keith.smith’s picture

Ah, Dublin Drupaller, the devil is always in the details.

I read your post and thought 800 million people think this is a good idea! I'm all for it then.

I went in search of a source for that most troublesome of statistic -- the one without a citation -- and found http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperative, which states:

Worldwide, some 800 million people are members of cooperatives, and it is estimated that cooperatives employ some 100 million people.

Alas, the author of this Wikipedia article did not provide a citation or reference either. But still, 800 million people can't be wrong.

I read further, though, and discovered that Dr William King, who is credited by the author of this Wikipedia entry for creating one of the first "practical" examples of a cooperative, had a set of common sense -- indeed, "sensible" -- rules for its operation. Regular account audits sound very practical to me, as does vesting control in a group of trustees (not unlike, well, the current makeup of the Drupal Association, for instance). But barring cooperative meetings in bars to avoid the temptation of drinking profits?

'Tis there I say -- count me out. I'll take a meritocracy with an autocratic leader any day, especially if I can occasionally buy him a congratulatory beer to celebrate his first round of VC funding. :)

--ks

PS: Can you really not "think of one situation where appointments aren't made out of ability or merit. "

--keith

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

fair point about wikipedia, but don't shoot the messenger, try this link instead:

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0...

In particular check out the Rochdale principles - they are almost verbatim to the principles why people joined the Drupal project.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

Caleb G2’s picture

Some very relevant food for thought from the founder of the Debian project...

F: If Debian was a do-over, is there some way that that could have been fixed?

IM: Frankly, I can see this on Slashdot already, so I might as well keep going! I think the fundamental mistake was this adoption of a democratic process, which happened after my time and I was opposed to.

LXF: You were against it?

IM: I was against it. Mainly for that same reason: I believe that open source projects are no different from businesses or any other kind of organization in that to get any meaningful work done, there has to be strong leadership. That leadership has to be empowered to make decisions even when those decisions are unpopular. I think that's part of the reason why Ubuntu has done well: there is a strong leader, and that strong is empowered.

And an enlightened leader will listen to what the community is saying and factor that into account, and understand that sometimes the leader makes bad decisions and that they have to be revisited. I think the problem with adopting... I think in some ways the people who were really pushing for pure democracy at Debian wanted to see this as a sort of social experiment - what happens when every decision is put up to a vote. You know, pure democracy... It looks a lot better on paper than it ends up in practice.

That's why I was always opposed to it. You know, I've been pleased with the current leadership at Debian: I think Anthony Towns has done a very good job and certainly hasn't been afraid to make unpopular decisions; DuncTank being one example. At this point it is more of an institutional problem. Hopefully the strong leadership will continue.

=====
HigherVisibility

mfer’s picture

"Consensus is the vacuum of leadership." -Anonymous

Attempting to change from a system with true leaders to one that is more democratic will, I think, lead us down a bad path of to many cooks trying to make decisions in the kitchen. You need solid leadership to make decisions. There is a reason companies don't have boards make decisions about the day to day running operations of product developments. Decisions wouldn't get made, products would become stale, and people would become very frustrated. I think the same holds true for open source projects like drupal.

At this point our BDFL (Dries) has done a great job as leader and has taken great pains to be able to be as benevolent as possible. If he stops being so benevolent than we can talk. Otherwise I think if would greatly hurt the drupal community to make a change like this.

But, I am glad this conversation is happening. It shows some good risk management skills.

--
Matt
www.mattfarina.com
www.innovatingtomorrow.net
www.geeksandgod.com

cpelham’s picture

Another simpler way to stimulate investment into Drupal development might be to add a mechanism where, for each module, or aspect of core if core can be neatly divided into tasks, the administrator(s)/contributor(s) could list a price for the amount of hours of work estimated to complete a particular feature or revision, and payments could be accepted and then when enough payments are accumulated to reach the price, the admin/contributor would then be obligated to implement the feature in a given time frame and would receive the money or the money would go back to the contributors, or to the Drupal Assoc, or something like that. That way a lot of Drupal users who cannot afford by themselves to hire Drupal developer/consultants on their own could make targeted small donations and get what they need sooner than if this program were not in place. It would, admittedly, require some oversight... But if this could be made to work I believe it would spur opensource development tremendously. Is it being tried anywhere else?

—————————

Christopher Pelham
Director
CRS (Center for Remembering & Sharing)
123 4th Ave, 2nd FL
New York, NY 10003
212-677-8621
www.crsny.org

cpelham’s picture

It's often feast or famine with dictators, isn't it? But it's usually not both with the same dictator. And when it's confined to technological development...well I think if a project goes south under someone's leadership for very long, then a new project will simply rise up to supersede it and that's the worst of it. It's not the end of the world. I'm really in favor of allowing brilliant people to do their thing as long as no one's rights are trampled on. We're not talking about running a country here. By all means continue to invest in making the most out of Drupal Association, but it's really hard to see what we have to be so worried about. We have more to gain than we might stand to lose by allowing Dries to continue to do his thing.

It would not be shocking if Drupal, as great as it is, or php, is superseded by another newer CMS or scripting solution in X number of years anyway. That seems to be the way of things. What you have now via open source license will continue to be available to you.

—————————

Christopher Pelham
Director
CRS (Center for Remembering & Sharing)
123 4th Ave, 2nd FL
New York, NY 10003
212-677-8621
www.crsny.org

mfer’s picture

What is a right and what is a privilege? I think it is a privilege to use drupal and all of this wonderful open sourced code. It is not my right to have it and continue to get it how I want. It is a privilege that we all have to share in each others coding efforts. I think we need to be careful not to demand certain things expecting that they are rights to have them. All of this is a privilege we should be grateful for.

--
Matt
www.mattfarina.com
www.innovatingtomorrow.net
www.geeksandgod.com

SomebodySysop’s picture

An investment pool for new Drupal development doesn't sound like a bad idea, but what about the work already done by the scores of contributors represented by the hundreds of contributed modules currently available? What are we in this new food chain?

I mean, I constantly get the same response from many of those who use my module, "I couldn't have done this project without it". And, I couldn't have created my module without the OG module. And the OG module wouldn't exist without Drupal and the community behind it.

So, when you start talking about fee based contributions, who isn't for that? But, if I can get paid for the same, if not less work, that I currently provide for free, which path should I choose?

In other words, if we waited to get paid, would many of the existing modules currently exist? I didn't (and don't) look to get paid for the modules I've created. I wanted to *contribute* what I had learned back to the community. They represent a lot of long, hard hours. Am I, and for that matter, any other contributor, going to be willing to continue this level of effort for free when others are getting funded for (in our minds, at least) similar or lesser efforts?

This is just something that popped into my head as I read this discussion. I'm wondering what the experience has been in other similar projects and what persons more learned than I in this have to say.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

I agree, it's very difficult to work out how many hours a certain user spent testing a module, or approving a patch or providing feedback.

Which is why I suggested the simplicity of the co-operative model outlined earlier.

It's based upon the Rochdale principles...which are almost verbatim to the principles that gets people involved in Drupal.

I maybe wrong, perhaps the co-operative model isn't the best way forward...but, I do think that unless ownership of Drupal is clearly within the realm of the Drupal community, situations like the joomla/mambo thing from a few years ago will likely follow.

Joomla! came into being as the result of a fork of Mambo by all of its then-core developers on August 17, 2005. At that time, the Mambo name was trademarked by Miro International Pty Ltd, who formed a non-profit foundation with the stated purpose to fund the project and protect it from lawsuits.[1] The development team claimed that many of the provisions of the foundation structure went against previous agreements made by the elected Mambo Steering Committee, lacked the necessary consultation with key stake holders, and included provisions that violated core open source values.[2]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joomla

I'm not saying that IS going to happen Drupal, but, what I am saying is that situations like that cannot happen under a co-operative framework. Developers can leave to fork their own project, under any framework, but, under the co-operative framework, major decisions like that can't be made by a select few, it has to be done with the consent of the majority.

So, for the Drupal community and for other Drupal startups seeking VC capital, it removes that air of uncertainty about the core Drupal project.

In other words, instead of a Weakness in the SWOT analysis...it's a strength.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

Boris Mann’s picture

The code is GPL. Anyone can fork it at any time, for any reason. Any sort of layer on top doesn't change that.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

I'm not sure if you're agreeing or disagreeing with me Boris.

I said: Developers can leave to fork their own project, under any framework

The benefits of a co-operative model is that a mambo/joomla type situation, where a few core developers decide to pull mambo away from the community cannot happen because there's a legal framework (the co-operative model) that stops that happening. They can fork off anyway, on their own, anytime they want, but, they can't pull the core project away from the community.

So, in fact, the co-operative layer does change it. And that's precisely the reason I'm suggesting it.

Furthermore, look at it from a VCs point of view. i.e. A VC who may be looking at investing in a Drupal start up..

They might remark, during the SWOT slide in the presentation that there are 12 general members on the Drupal association including Dries as president and the pivotal IP (trademarks, domains etc.) are in Dries' possesion, not the associations and not the community.....followed quickly by the inevitable question about safeguards, mambo's and what if?

That's what VCs are paid to do. Ask those awkward questions. And I can guarantee you, there are not many succesfull VCs who would accept an answer along the lines of "awww, don't worry about it, dude. It'll never happen.".

now, before anyone jumps out of their pram - I'm not questioning anyone's integrity here - I'm just rummaging under the hood and raising a few questions a VC, who doesn't know Dries or hasn't been jumping in and helping out in small ways with Drupal for a few years, might throw at you.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

Boris Mann’s picture

They can fork off anyway, on their own, anytime they want, but, they can't pull the core project away from the community

No one can pull the core project away from the community. But anyone can fork and do whatever they want. There are no locks, and no coop stuff is going to change that. The best code with the best community wins. If this current home starts failing people, they'll go elsewhere and take the code with them (and also leave it here). And may succeed or not. Again, nothing to do with coops.

So, let's ignore the code. It is malleable, can move wherever it wants due to its license, and is basically uncontrollable because of that license.

The trademark and the domain are in Dries' possession. Worth much? Not really. Anything really bad happens, the code moves off and a new site gets set up. That's called forking. Again, no coop layer is going to prevent any of that.

No offense, Dub, but this feels like wasted energy. Perhaps you didn't catch my other comment.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

No one can pull the core project away from the community.

With respect, you're wrong, Boris, the 'ownership' of the core Drupal assets (trademarks, domains etc.) are in the possession of 1 individual, not the Drupal community, but you're also right, it probably is a waste of time trying to explain why it's good to trust the Drupal community.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

sepeck’s picture

The Linux 'core' assets are under the ownership of an individual (the model we discussed and chose) and you're right, it's really hurt Linux growth. Microsoft continues it's dominance and Apple will continue to supplant Linux as the second desktop operating system of choice relegating Linux to obscurity as a niche OS of occasional interest to a few hobbyists.

Your argument lacks logic

you're also right, it probably is a waste of time trying to explain why it's good to trust the Drupal community.

It starts with a fundamentally flawed assumption that Dries (and others) doesn't trust the community (and are not worthy of trust despite their track record of involvement, giving and time spent). That is false and insulting.

I am done with this conversation.

-Steven Peck
---------
Test site, always start with a test site.
Drupal Best Practices Guide -|- Black Mountain

-Steven Peck
---------
Test site, always start with a test site.
Drupal Best Practices Guide

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

It starts with a fundamentally flawed assumption that Dries (and others) doesn't trust the community (and are not worthy of trust despite their track record of involvement, giving and time spent). That is false and insulting.

Let me get this straight.

Instead of granting and entrusting ownership of Drupal's future to the very community that brought Drupal to where it's at today, a decision has been made to ignore that very same community.

And you're suggesting that anyone who dares to raise an "excuse me?" flag is false and insulting,basedon flawed assumptions??????

Well, I'm surprised at you Boris, I always had you down as someone with a bit of life in between your ears. How wrong was I? From where I'm sitting, the Drupal community built Drupal and it's the Drupal community that should own Drupal.

What you're suggesting is insulting to the entire Drupal community.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

Dries’s picture

Instead of granting and entrusting ownership of Drupal's future to the very community that brought Drupal to where it's at today, a decision has been made to ignore that very same community.

I'm not ignoring the community. Quite the contrary -- I'm working with the community and the Drupal Association to advance Drupal. Drupal's ownership is not affected in any way.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Sorry...Dries, I still don't get it.

You keep saying how important the community is and how much it is in your heart, yet you continually refuse to answer a straight question:

If the community is so important to you, why don't you practice what you preach and transfer ownership of the core Drupal assets, to the Drupal community?

At the moment, it maybe true that Drupals ownership maybe not affected in any way, Dries. But, scroll down to read Eatons points about what happens when an investment doesn't work out and when the investors go after assets....

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

.carey’s picture

I can understand your trepidation with Acquia, Dub - specifically VCs (vulture capitalists) potentially wanting to get their hands on Drupal if or when the day comes they demand their 'pound of flesh'.

But I can also see where Dries is coming from too. As the creator of Drupal, Dries is its Geppetto. When most contributors have only been around for a few years at most, Dries has worked on Drupal from the beginning... and is still here. Who really is this community that Dries should give his creation to? Yes, sure 'the community" (individuals working in collaboration to scratch a shared itch) has helped build Drupal into what it is today. But most (and I fall into this category too) are just scratching itches. Dries on the other hand, I believe, has a greater affinity for Drupal than most.

So why should he seriously consider handing Drupal over to "the community" - and under the co-op model you propose, to hired execs who would never understand the love and dedication it takes to be the Geppetto of Drupal? They'll make decisions with their heads and not with their hearts.

In other words, I think Dries would do anything to see to it that Drupal succeeds and flourishes; I think that's why he created Acquia.

I'm not saying I don't share in your concerns about the motivations behind the VCs. They're investing to make money, period. But I think that Dries -- and even the contributors and the community -- can leverage 'the deal' so they too see prosperity and good fortune. And that will only happen if Dries and the community unites together to make Drupal the best CMS on the planet.

We can have cooperation without the co-op.

eaton’s picture

Furthermore, look at it from a VCs point of view. i.e. A VC who may be looking at investing in a Drupal start up..

What is this startup's business plan? Are they selling services to people who want to use Drupal? Are they building products on top of Drupal? Are they doing something of value for their customers?

They might remark, during the SWOT slide in the presentation that there are 12 general members on the Drupal association including Dries as president and the pivotal IP (trademarks, domains etc.) are in Dries' possesion, not the associations and not the community.....followed quickly by the inevitable question about safeguards, mambo's and what if?

If you're pitching an idea to a venture capitalist and your idea's success depends on who owns the drupal.org domain, they are going to be asking very serious and pointed questions about your plans, not Dries'. ;-)

You say, "questions about safeguards, mambo's and what ifs" but you haven't qualified what those questions actually are. What are they? What is the specific scenario you're concerned might become reality? I'm not attacking you or trying to shout you down, I just want to know what these actual questions are. After thinking a lot of stuff through, there are a couple of key possibilities that I can understand concern over:

  • Dries, as an Acquia employee, commits code to Drupal core that makes it better for Acquia's needs and worse for everyone else's.
  • Dries, as an Acquia employee, uses his position as the core project lead to block the inclusion of features that would benefit competitors to Acquia.
  • Acquia, because it is high-profile, receives funding and resources that would better be more usefully directed at other entities like the Drupal Association.
  • Small developers, because they are not receiving large amounts of VC funding, are discouraged from participating in the Drupal project.
  • Dries, in order to benefit Acquia, sells the Drupal trademark and drupal.org domain to them and they start charging money for commit access (or some other crazy plan).

These are all certainly concerns, but none of them are particularly new to the Drupal community or to the Open Source world. There are ways of dealing with them and -- most importantly -- the project is distributed under the terms of the GPL. There is nothing that Dries, Acquia, the Mambo foundation, Lullabot, or any person can do to take Drupal away from the community. The worst they can do is make things annoying enough that people fork and pursue different goals. We'd all like to prevent that, but it is the fundamental freedom inherent in the GPL that trumps all others.

That's what VCs are paid to do. Ask those awkward questions. And I can guarantee you, there are not many succesfull VCs who would accept an answer along the lines of "awww, don't worry about it, dude. It'll never happen."

I'm still unclear what the "It" in "It'll never happen" actually is in this scenario. Even if the worst happens and Dries grows an evil Bad Guy moustaches and starts committing horrible code that only works for Acquia, Drupal is GPL'd. They can't take away the working code that you have.

VCs are going to be asking pointed and awkward questions about whether you can deliver your product to customers, whether there's demand for it, whether you have the resources to support enough people to make it pay off in the long term, whether your competitors are better positioned, and so on. The 'what ifs' mentioned above don't impact those things.

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Consider if Acquia wanted to improve Drupal 6.0 for example and wanted to pay, let's say Gabor for the sake of argument, probably the best Drupal programmer on the planet. They have a choice:

(a) sponsor Drupal development by donating the funds to the Drupal association.

(b) signing a contract with Gabor so he works full time with Acquia.

Now, forgive me for being dim, but, with a deadline looming and gabor being a full time employee of acquia, do you think gabor would concentrate on the features that would benefit the drupal community at large, or do you think he might concentrate on the features that would benefit the acquia plans?

In other words, if Gabor was engaged by the Drupal community to finish off Drupal 6.0 for example, he might prefer to implement code changes and patches that benefit the Drupal community at large.

That's the way a VC might see it. I.e. why invest in a Drupal startup when you can control all of Drupal (trademarks/logos/domains etc.) by investing in acquia?

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

eaton’s picture

Consider if Acquia wanted to improve Drupal 6.0 for example and wanted to pay, let's say Gabor for the sake of argument, probably the best Drupal programmer on the planet. They have a choice:
(a) sponsor Drupal development by donating the funds to the Drupal association.
(b) signing a contract with Gabor so he works full time with Acquia.

Are you talking about creating a forked, patched version of Drupal 6 core? Adding features to it that can't be done in contrib, say? Because that's what Lullabot employees did in Drupal 4.7 -- the result was rolled into Drupal 5 as a core patch to add CSS aggregation and compression. That's what CivicSpace employees did in 4.x, and the result was rolled into Drupal 5 as a core patch to add a web based installer. That's what Bryght employees did in 5.0, and the results were rolled into Drupal 6 as a core patch to add OpenID authentication. That's what DevelopmentSeed did in 5.0, and the results were rolled into Drupal 6 as a core patch to add the new internationalization system. That's what... well. You get the idea. :-)

And as we've covered before, the Drupal Association is not set up to be a clearinghouse for development projects. You're basically saying that a company that needs particular functionality should donate money to keep drupal.org's servers running, instead of hiring a skilled developer to implement the features.

with a deadline looming and gabor being a full time employee of acquia, do you think gabor would concentrate on the features that would benefit the drupal community at large, or do you think he might concentrate on the features that would benefit the acquia plans?

You're making three assumptions here. The first is that features that benefit a particular commercial entity do not benefit the community as a whole. History has proven that this assumption is a bad one -- see above for just a few examples. The second is that gabor (or any other developer) has to choose between "working a day job" and "doing things that benefit the community." Again, history has demonstrated that there is considerable overlap when one works at a Drupal shop and that forward-thinking companies recognize the value of giving their employees time to handle specific community responsibilities. The third and final assumption is that if gabor wasn't writing code for core, Drupal would fail. Again -- history has demonstrated that this isn't true. Developers have varying commitments and time constraints no matter what they're working on, and the ebb and flow of community involvement is part of open source.

I would say that this is an odd hypothetical, considering the fact that several branch maintainers in recent history have been employed by Drupal business with their own needs, deadlines, and priorities that were different than those of the 'community' as a whole. This has worked for quite a few years. The problems I see revolve around consolidation of expertise, lack of sound mentorship in little-understood corners of the APIs, and lack of architectural vision guiding many of the decisions that shape the codebase. These are serious concerns, but none of them have to do with what you're suggesting: that having core committers with day jobs is a bad thing.

In other words, if Gabor was engaged by the Drupal community to finish off Drupal 6.0 for example, he might prefer to implement code changes and patches that benefit the Drupal community at large.

Why does chx work on the menu system and formapi? Why do I work on formapi, votingapi, and a cloud of contrib modules? I'm not being paid by you, or the Drupal Association, or 'the community' as a whole. Why does Earl Miles write Views and Panels? He's being employed by Sony BMG Music Group, not the community. But he, and I, and chx, and every other developer working in the Drupal world, are part of the community.

That's the way a VC might see it. I.e. why invest in a Drupal startup when you can control all of Drupal (trademarks/logos/domains etc.) by investing in acquia?

Because a venture capitalist who thinks that's the way open source software and businesses built on it work would be an unwise VC. He or she would probably not have any money left to invest after losing his or her shirt in the first dotcom crash.

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Thanks for chipping in Caleb,

I actually came across that piece about Debian before ( If anyone is interested, there is a wealth of information at this site:)

http://www.opensourcestrategies.org/

But, after reading many articles on there and elsewhere, including the debian interview, I kept coming back to the co-operative model as the only one that will fit for Drupal. The flavour of democracy implemented by the debian project wasn't based upon the Rochdale principles, which is what the co-operative model is based upon.

I'm not going to try and explain on here what they are, if people are interested click through to the links which explain in simple terms what the co-op model is all about. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rochdale_Principles

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

derjochenmeyer’s picture

I was happy to hear about acquia, first about the founding then about the financial basis. Happy, because those annoucements added something to drupal in every dimension in my opinion. But this discussion and some comments to the annoucements show that it has also the potential to scare people a bit. But thats also Ok.

Im not a community insider, more a close spectator. Drupal got a lot of recognition in the last year. Big companies started using it, a lot of services and companies grew around Drupal and made it stronger. I think, or maybe its better to say it feels that, this (acquia) is a healthy next step, that could NOT have been taken with more care and sensitivity to the community.

I look at Drupal as at a big ship (drop, water and acquia suggest this comparison :) ). I think this ship needs and has its captain ;-)

----------------------
forward-media.de

webengr’s picture

So long as the source can "fork" then if the community or part of it are not comfortable a new project will arise. Happens all the time, civilization like rivers frequently find ways around blockage.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fork_(software_development)

jbesad01’s picture

This sounds like communism. I don't think the VCs would have even invested 7 mil If they felt like this communist bullshit would suddenly spring up. I know virtually nothing about drupal or how this is setup, but I can smell commie bullshit thousands of miles away. As long as ownership of stuff is clearly defined, and the VCs knew about this, then great. Private ownership ensures all calculations were done to best of ability.

"The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design."-- F.A. Hayek

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Jbesad...

Where did you get the commie bit?

Communism is (was) all about the distribution of wealth. The co-operative model allows members to keep the profits - which is why, it's been such a succesfull business model, particularly with community based projects.

The co-op funds and appoints a management team to run the project, while the members continue working on their individual enterprises, keeping all the profits.

Here's the fundamentals of the Rochdale principles:

1. Voluntary and open membership.
2. Democratic member control.
3. Member economic participation.
4. Autonomy and independence.
5. Education, training, and information.
6. Cooperation among cooperatives.
7. Concern for community.

That said, I think I'm alone in even suggesting that a new approach warrants discussion. There appears to be a resounding concensus to stick with the status quo.

Which is fine by me, but, I've seen too many open source and/or community based projects go the shape of pear when commerce-meets-community that I thought it worth bringing up.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

patrickharris’s picture

discussion is always worthwhile, and shouldn't be perceived as criticism or 'disloyalty'.

zoo33’s picture

Thank you for raising these important questions. I think we need(ed) to talk about the recent development and the future of the community. Calling that "commie bullshit" is a totally unfair and ignorant remark. Yuck.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Thanks guys,

I was going to drop the discussion yesterday. I'm a big fan of drupalbut when I got up today, my inbox was full of emails from people who feel alienated and let down by developments. Many feel reluctant to speak their minds and be open about how they feel about what's going on. and they don't necessarily agree with what I'm suggesting.

So I appreciate the nod of support for the discussion.

I was beginning to feel I was the only one who has a concern or two about how things are panning out.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

eaton’s picture

Why should the Drupal project be run as a business?

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

I think it should be run as a co-operative business, because it means the community, as opposed to a group of investors/shareholders/Venture capitalists own the project.

The main reason is that it's the community that has built Drupal and therefore the community should own Drupal. Not any individual, not any investors or not any venture capitalists. The community owns Drupal. And that community should profit from Drupal. Otherwise the rochdale principles fall apart at the seams and the project suffers as a result.

That's just my opinion, Eaton,

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

sepeck’s picture

You are saying that despite seven years of balanced leadership already run by community contributions that suddenly Dries changed. Years in which people were able to contribute code to Drupal core is suddenly going to change. Years in which there was an additional role of a branch maintainer added to the release system is going to stop. Years in which Dries balanced work, school and made no money at all, he is now unworthy of the communities trust to continue to lead the project as it has been lead for seven years.

Your initial initial unstated premise.

  • implies that Dries is untrustworthy.
  • implies he sold out.
  • implies some mysterious they 'bought' Drupal.

Doesn't Linus Torvald still decides what code is committed into the kernel branch and own the trademark? Doesn't Linux still seems to be working along. Linux itself seems to be doing well enough despite venture capitalists providing money so that developers can support themselves and their families.

Your unstated premise is that you cannot trust Dries. I disagree with your initial premise that Dries cannot be trusted. I reject your premise.

I rejoice that Dries has achieved the potential for a stable income that will allow him relief from the concern of seeking shelter, clothing, and food and gives us, the active community and the lurkers alike more benefit from his continued stewardship.

Drupal is already run by active contributions from the community, insinuations otherwise are destructive. This ends my participation in this thread.

-Steven Peck
---------
Test site, always start with a test site.
Drupal Best Practices Guide -|- Black Mountain

-Steven Peck
---------
Test site, always start with a test site.
Drupal Best Practices Guide

patrickharris’s picture

Sepeck, this is the second time you've declared you are "done with the conversation"! I'm not quite sure why you think Dub is criticizing Dries - I really don't think he is. Let's try and keep the tone of this conversation friendly, for goodness sake. :)

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

hi Steven,

I have never said I don't trust Dries.

The salient point is people didn't get involved with Drupal because of Dries' leadership, the majority don't even know Dries. The reason people got involved with Drupal is because of the Rochdale Principles which are the basic fundamentals that are behind the success of open source projects for over 100 years.

i.e. Scratching an itch.

to dress it up in any other way is dangerous imho. besides, I too rejoice at Dries making a decent crust from Drupal. I think he deserves it.

All I'm questioning is the approach.

What's important here is not Dries, it's the Drupal community. the investors in Acquia may have put in $7million dollars, but,if you were to sit down and work out the sweat equity that many Drupallers have put into Drupal I think you would be shocked to learn that total.

that's all I'm saying. If you want to portray that as an attack on Dries, so be it, but, I think that's very sad and immature

dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

sepeck’s picture

Actually I think it really is more an attack on the community.

-Steven Peck
---------
Test site, always start with a test site.
Drupal Best Practices Guide -|- Black Mountain

-Steven Peck
---------
Test site, always start with a test site.
Drupal Best Practices Guide

Phillip Mc’s picture

..

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

interesting point Steven.

Is that why you disabled my privileges as a Drupal site maintainer?

Thanks,

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

add1sun’s picture

Drupalize.Me, The best Drupal training, available all the time, anywhere!

eaton’s picture

No one has votes in Drupal, just commit rights. There are many businesses built around Drupal. There are many businesses that have an interest in Drupal. But Drupal itself is not a business. It's an open source software project.

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

No one has votes in Drupal, just commit rights. There are many businesses built around Drupal. There are many businesses that have an interest in Drupal. But Drupal itself is not a business. It's an open source software project.

I'm not disagreeing with you, but, I would make the point that Drupal is really a community..not an open source software project.

It's a philosophical way of looking at it, but, to use an analogy I'm familiar with, i.e. music projects...a group of talented songwriters and musicians aren't a business, they are just a bunch of individuals, who usually get together voluntarily to make music. But, when they produce great music, it allows companies that have nothing to do with the group, or in the creation of the music, to make a lot of money.

For some, the music or the product is important, when really, it's arguably the group that produces the great music that's more important. Without the group, there's no more great music. Simple stuff.

Now, if one member of the group signs to EMI and makes more money than the rest of the group, who are expected to continue doing the same great work, harmony (no pun intended) breaks down and the group will invariably split or fork and go their seperate ways. (Actually, as an aside, U2 is a great example of a mini co-op project working well. There are 5 shareholders of Not Us Limited. all with an equal share and an equal vote.)

So, my point is, the acquia news is great for everyone involved in Drupal. Nobody is questioning anyones integrity here, or raining on anyones parade. The way the deal, as outlined on Dries blog and the acquia website, is very clear: The VCs have invested in Dries' Drupal startup. They haven't invested in Drupal. Which is like a member of the music group collaborating with Warner Music to create some solo albums.

however, the group needs to keep on gigging/making more music and the person who left to do the solo albums, happens to be their drummer. So, they are left with a choice i.e. get a new drummer or organise everything to suit the solo album project schedule and demands?

That's probably too obtuse an analogy, but, judging by some of the comments, I thought it might help to explain the point I'm trying to make.

So, you're right eaton. Drupal isn't a business, it's much more important and much more precious than that and if we want to have 100 new Drupal startups in 2008, the only sensible and efficient way of structuring the Drupal project, IMHO, is under a co-operative model.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

eaton’s picture

So, you're right eaton. Drupal isn't a business, it's much more important and much more precious than that and if we want to have 100 new Drupal startups in 2008, the only sensible and efficient way of structuring the Drupal project, IMHO, is under a co-operative model.

I'm still a little confused, though.

Repeatedly throughout the thread you've said that this is the only way that can work for Drupal, going forward. Others have asked, "Why?" and "How WOULD this work?" Your answers have not explained how it would work, but rather asserted repeatedly that it's the only way things can work. I understand that you're concerned that Dries' employment at Acquia threatens the impartiality of the commit decisions made to Core, and that's a natural concern. But I still have no idea how the idea you've proposed -- turning an open source GPL project into a community-organized business -- would work or make things better.

I got started in the Drupal community because I had an itch to scratch. I wanted something better than Movable Type to run my blog, and I wanted something better than TikiWiki to run an online encyclopedia site for a game a friend and I were designing. For almost two years, those kinds of personal pick-up projects were my motivation. Commercial companies made money off of the work that I did in those two years, and I received no payment from them. On the other hand, I was able to do cool things on my sites because those commercial companies invested time and money in fixing bugs and adding features I didn't have the resources to do myself. Should I have paid them because I got to use the features they contributed?

No, on the contrary. They have every right to take my work and make a million dollars commoditizing it. Similarly, I have every right to take their work (as long as it's touched by the GPL) and give it away for free to everyone I know and everyone who needs it. That's the beauty of the GPL. If you want to make money doing Drupal, there is a lot of work to be found and a lot of openings for skilled freelancers. Ask anyone who's built a large site recently -- the problem is finding people who have the time, skill, and availability to write a custom module or implement a complex theme. Or, if you want to launch a large business, there's money in providing services like turnkey web hosting platforms built on Drupal.

If you feel that this community-organized business with individual shares would be a really profound benefit for Drupal, wouldn't it be possible for you to start just such a business?

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

Boris Mann’s picture

Just do it. Join the Association and enact change.

BUT

My belief is that Acquia is just another player in the Drupal ecosystem. They just happen to be the best funded one :P We will continue to cooperate around code. And as Dries says, it's a meritocracy -- decisions are made in public with code + discussion, with Dries and other core commiters acting as tie breakers.

If you're not aware, Drupal's code commit process is already one of the most democratic I am aware of. Anyone can create an account and submit a patch directly against core. Other projects have much more opaque processes (send a patch off to an email address, wait and see).

--
The future is Bryght at Raincity Studios.

coupet’s picture

In today's competitive global market environment, an organization’s primary assets are its valuable human capital. For successful companies today, management goes beyond capital assets. It involves consistent, long-term investments in committed, talented people.

By : Jim Pinto
http://www.jimpinto.com/writings/humanassets.html

----
Darly

webchick’s picture

I don't trust some large body of people whom I may or may not know personally, and who may or may not have ever written a line of documentation, contributed a line of code, designed a lick of CSS, or helped a single user in the forums, setting the direction for a project that myself and others have invested hundreds of hours in over the course of the past 2.5 years. That has a much larger potential to cause contributors to leave en masse, which would be awful for the Drupal project.

I do trust in Dries's leadership ability, as well as his ability to cleanly separate his "Drupal" and "Acquia" hats. It's been serving us very well for the past 7 years. And so does every single other contributor I've asked, all of whose opinions I also trust. Even if you feel this view is naive (and if this were another BDFL, another community, and another project I might agree), Drupal is bigger than Dries, it's bigger than Acquia, and it's bigger than any huge sum of money. It's the property of thousands of people, and truly a living, breathing entity unto itself.

And as someone involved in the Drupal Association, which you say is similar to this except for the membership component, I can say that it is absolutely the /wrong/ model for getting any kind of actual /work/ done in an open source project. It takes an incredibly long time for things to be debated on, consensus reached, and a vote to happen, then following-up to make sure that actions took place after the vote, etc. This type of workflow is well-suited for stuff that needs a lot of over-arching thought/debate, such as legal, infrastructure, marketing, event-management kind of stuff, which is exactly what the Drupal Association looks after.

But for Drupal itself? Leave it up to those with itches to scratch. Drupal will inevitably evolve into something better, faster, and more powerful as long as we continue to encourage, empower, and help more people to get involved and contribute. And Acquia's in a great position to facilitate just that.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

I don't trust some large body of people whom I may or may not know personally, and who may or may not have ever written a line of documentation, contributed a line of code, designed a lick of CSS, or helped a single user in the forums, setting the direction for a project that myself and others have invested hundreds of hours in over the course of the past 2.5 years.

hiya Webchick,

Let me get this straight.

You would prefer not to trust the drupal community...the very drupal community that has brought Drupal to where it's at today, over a group of venture capitalists, whom we don't know and whom probably never even submitted a handbook page, so others could benefit from their experience, or tested a module, so that bugs could be reported, or submitted a patch, so the next version will be cleaner?

Are you talking the michael?

Forgive me for being dim but Drupal has got to where it's at today by an extraordinary amount of sweat equity that has been volunteered by a community of Drupal users who understood the concept of open source. not by any single inividual, I'm afraid to say.

To suggest otherwise, is a bit like Tim Berners Lee patting himself on the back for where the world wide web has come today. He would never do that, because he knows that the www has developed a life of it's own. yes, he deserves credit for sparking the seed that helped spawm the web, but I think he would also be the first to acknowledge that he has nothing to do with what it has evolved into.

To be honest, I would seriously question whether the success of Drupal has anything to do with leadership abilities, or whether it has everything to do with the community. In other words, it's relatively easy to present an illusion of leadership, on the back of breakneck progress by a community.

that might shatter a few illusions and ego's, but, I'm afraid there's a lot of truth to it. Dries could have said "let's make tea bags that play a tune when you pour hot water on them" back in 2005 and Drupal will still be the same and as strong as it is today.

I hope that makes sense..

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

misty3’s picture

I think this was raised before also but got drowned ( or frowned :) )

http://drupal.org/node/196698#comment-651058

add1sun’s picture

It seems to me that you are fixated on the concept of venture capitalists now owning and running Drupal. No one is saying trust VCs over the community. The VCs don't own Drupal, they own Acquia and that is *very, very* different whether you choose to see/believe that or not. Whatever and whatnots on your absolute "knowledge" that they must own Dries and all of his decisions - you haven't seen any contracts that I'm aware of. Nor were you a fly on the wall in their meetings. Dries has repeatedly stated that he specifically demanded in contract that he be allowed to make decisions benefiting Drupal over Acquia. I believe him at his word - nothing he has done so far would make me doubt it. If things started to happen that made that doubtful, then yes it would be time to think about "Oh noes, what to do!"

And for the record, yes the community has/continues to make Drupal what it is - it would be nothing without the community, even Dries has said that. Maybe you have not been in a project without good leadership though. Dries' leadership in this community is astounding and I *do* believe it has played a direct part in the success of the project. Not only his leadership but also of others who have stepped forward and gotten things done in times of need. Dries is not the only leader in this project and so maybe some of that should be considered as well.

Drupalize.Me, The best Drupal training, available all the time, anywhere!

Phillip Mc’s picture

..

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

hi Add1sun,

I'm not fixated on the concept of venture capitalists owning and running Drupal. My worry is they and Dries think they can.

There's a subtle but huge difference.

At the moment Dries owns the rights to all the Drupal assets, The Drupal community owns nothing. So whoever "owns" Dries, can control those Drupal assets.

That's not putting anyone's integrity into question. It's merely raising some salient questions, such as what Drupal assets were put up against the investment? what are the exit strategies? is the Drupal community better off controlling it's own future? is there a conflict of interest that the managing director of Acquia is leading the Drupal project?

I hope that makes sense.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

eaton’s picture

At the moment Dries owns the rights to all the Drupal assets, The Drupal community owns nothing. So whoever "owns" Dries, can control those Drupal assets.

No, Dries does not. Dries owns the drupal.org domain name, and the trademark 'Drupal'. It's always been that way and -- likely -- it always will be.

The Drupal community, via the GPL, owns the right to do whatever it wants to with the source code that makes up Drupal core, and all of the contrib modules that go with it.

Dublin, I've tried to be really patient in writing a number of these replies, and I've even attempted to articulate some of the legitimate concerns one might have about Acquia in a slightly less inflammatory fashion. But I'll be very direct here and say that you are doing nothing but spread FUD. Even when Dries himself has volunteered information about his own contract with Acquia to assuage your concerns, you dismissed it and said that "No VCs you know would accept that."

I'm not sure what else can really be said. You don't seem to understand how the Drupal community has been working for years, you don't trust Dries when he offers details to help clarify your concerns, and you insult people who come to conclusions different than your own by calling names and accusing them of acting in bad faith. We, too, are members of the Drupal community as much as you are. Take a deep breath. Calm down. And let's talk when things have settled. 'K?

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Just thought I'd point out, that since I raised this topic, my privileges as a Drupal.org site maintainer have been removed. That's after about 2 or 3 years of contributing to Drupal.

I'm not saying it's in any way connected to the discussion, but, there was a day when you could speak your mind on here and be upfront and honest.

be careful what you say on here guys!

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

sepeck’s picture

It was your violating the rules of promoting to the front page and failing to log it properly. When the post was demoted by consensuses you then promoted it again without logging it. As you had not been active for some time we have been reviewing other site maintainers who have been inactive as well.

I never heard back from you on my email regarding it, so I set you as doc maintainer until we could clarify things.

-Steven Peck
---------
Test site, always start with a test site.
Drupal Best Practices Guide -|- Black Mountain

-Steven Peck
---------
Test site, always start with a test site.
Drupal Best Practices Guide

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

hi Steven,

You know full well that you could have just demoted the thread, posted a message to say 'sorry, you can't do that', instead of doing what you did. I never received the email you claim to have sent and I did email Michelle to ask why she had demoted it and she replied promptly to say that there was a discussion on the #irc.

I'm really sorry if some find it inappropriate content for the front page, or uncomfortable to discuss, but, accusing me of attacking Dries and the community and doing what you just did, takes the biscuit.

Please don't bother resending that email you claim to have sent, I don't need it, Steven. And to save you time, you can scratch my name of the list of site maintainers, ahem, under review.

I didn't volunteer to help out with Drupal & join the community and expect to be treated that way. It's not the sort of approach or community spirit one would expect from an open source project.

It's way too much like a microsoft or apple vibe, for my liking and I would prefer not to be listed, thanks.

Feel free to delete this entire thread as well. I get the impression, that's what you really want.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

Michelle’s picture

I really didn't think it was appropriate to take this thread on a tangent to discuss the care of the frontpage but I guess it's too late so here goes.

* No one is suggesting this thread be deleted, unpublished or even locked. There is nothing wrong with having a discussion in the forums about your concerns / suggestions for improvement. Whether people agree with you or not, as long as you are being civil and not simply ranting and name calling, the discussion is fine.

* The Drupal front page is, in a sense, a brochure for Drupal. It is what new people generally see first. It is not the place for discussions that question how Drupal is being run, no matter how well meaning they are.

* Promoting your own post is at least against common curtesy. Whether it is actually against a written rule somewhere I don't know. At the very least you should discuss with other maintainers / admins before promoting a controversial post, especially your own.

* After a discussion with other site maintainers / admins on IRC I, who have been tasked with caring for the front page, demoted it and noted the reason in the logs as should be done when promoting/demoting posts.

* You, presumably on your own, decided to go against the decision and use your maintainer's access to re-promote your own post. Because of this, your maintainer privileges were suspended (not by me). It had nothing to do with the subject of your post and you were not punished for speaking your mind.

* If you are going to use this incident to withdraw from the Drupal community, that is your decision. But I think it is an unwise one. You have been a contributor for some time and it seems rash to take your toys and leave over this.

Michelle

--------------------------------------
See my Drupal articles and tutorials or come check out life in the Coulee Region.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

hi Michelle,

I don't think I have felt this patronised in years. Thanks, Michelle, I felt 12 years old for a few minutes, there. in the same breath, I'm sorta flattered that the "appropriate thought police" deems the discussion is fine. Thanks for the approval.

And Yes, you're right, I do disagree that a discussion like this is inappropriate for the front page of Drupal.org. I would argue that this is the sort of discussion that *should* be linked from the front page. I can understand people keeping any eye on spam, but, when someone gives some time to raise some very pertinent questions to where things are going, it's not the sort of thing that should be buried.

That's one of the the strengths of open source projects i.e. contributers and members of the community can speak openly and honestly about what's going on.

And no, I didn't on my own, decide to go against the decision, I asked you via email, for a compelling reason why it shouldn't be on the front page first, before I did anything. I wasn't presented with one, assumed it was just some newbie who was getting carried away with their hall monitor pass and promoted the post back to the front page.

Constructive criticism and debate is the life blood of open source projects..suppressing that or trying to bury it presents an illusion of an open community and Sepecks actions makes people nervous about speaking their minds.

Which is the sort of thing you would expect from Microsoft or Apple...not a genuine OPEN SOURCE community.

I'm a relatively minor contributer to Drupal anyhow, so, I don't mind being the tall poppy, but, Michelle, I have quite a few emails from other Drupallers who are both astonished and who are also afraid to speak their minds.

That doesn't exactly instill the sort of enthusiasm required to jump in and help out others or contribute helpful code/docs/posts.

Dub

P.S. That isn't an invitation to flood this thread with reasons why the "appropriate thought police" deemed the discussion unsuitable for the front page....that's a seperate discussion you are free to start somewhere else.

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

Michelle’s picture

I felt 12 years old for a few minutes

Actually, I know a 12 year old around here who is far more mature than you. I took the time explain exactly what happened in civil tones and you respond by being an ass. I considered leaving it at that but I am concerned for newer members of the community who may believe your rant.

I do disagree that a discussion like this is inappropriate for the front page of Drupal.org.

Well, you're welcome to disagree but the majority of those entrusted with the care of this website disagreed with you. Or do you not like democracy when you are on the losing side?

it's not the sort of thing that should be buried

No one buried anything. As long as people keep posting, it will keep popping up to the top of the tracker.

I asked you via email, for a compelling reason why it shouldn't be on the front page first, before I did anything.

No you didn't. You asked me to post it on this thread. I didn't feel it was appropriate for this thread and saw no reason to. As far as I knew, you were already aware of the reasons via the emails the other admins sent you. So I simply responded that I wouldn't be posting on the thread. And I wouldn't have if you hadn't decided to post on here that you were suspended for speaking your mind which is completely false and needed to be addressed.

assumed it was just some newbie who was getting carried away with their hall monitor pass

You don't really expect me to believe this do you? I've been involved with this project for over 2.5 years, been entrusted with the user admin role, and am not exactly low profile around here. I realize you may not have known that I had been tasked with caring for the front page as there was no announcement but you should have at least realized I wasn't some newbie getting carried away. And who did you think the discussion on IRC was with? Random passersby? No, I don't believe you. I think short of Dries himself demoting it you would have re-promoted it, and possibly even then. You have decided that you're right and damned what anyone else thinks.

Sepecks actions makes people nervous about speaking their minds.

No, if anything, your spin on it does. The average person is not a site maintainer abusing their priviledges and has nothing to worry about. There have been lots of negative posts on this site and they are allowed to run their course unless they turn into a total train wreck. Even then they are generally locked, not deleted, and I am not aware of anyone being blocked for having an unpopular opnion. Again, you were suspended over the promoting issue, _not_ the contents of the post.

I have quite a few emails from other Drupallers who are both astonished and who are also afraid to speak their minds.

That's a pity. It means your FUD is succeeding. I can only hope they read my response and realize they have nothing to worry about. To all of you: If you agree with dub, go ahead and post it. Nothing bad is going to happen to you. You are free to voice your concerns. We may not agree with you but we will not censor you and we will not block you for your opinions.

That doesn't exactly instill the sort of enthusiasm required to jump in and help out others or contribute helpful code/docs/posts.

Yes, the negative tone in this thread may cause others to re-think jumping in to Drupal. A very good reason to not have it on the front page.

P.S. That isn't an invitation to flood this thread with reasons why the "appropriate thought police" deemed the discussion unsuitable for the front page....that's a seperate discussion you are free to start somewhere else.

It's too late for that now. I didn't want to clutter this thread with that discussion but you brought it here and I will respond here. I've given up on you; this is for the benefit of anyone reading your false accusations. There are no "appropriate thought police" . There are site admins who make decisions on what belongs where just like on every site where the public is allowed to post.

I really have no interest in the original discussion. My only interest in this thread is to counter the FUD you are spreading with regards to your role change. As soon as you stop accusing us of demoting you for your opinions and trying to suppress this thread, I am done with it. As long as you continue to spread lies, I will be here with the truth.

Michelle

--------------------------------------
See my Drupal articles and tutorials or come check out life in the Coulee Region.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

HI Michelle,

It's good to know that someone with such excellent diplomatic skills has control over what is allowed to be discussed on drupal.org.

Although, I'm not sure where you get the idea that I'm spreading FUD.

FUD is part of the due diligence process, Michelle. (Please look it up if you don't know what due diligence means.) In brief, it's a standard procedure for Venture capitalists before investment is put into a project, that mainly deals with Weaknesses and threats.

Most of the Due Diligence process is based on hypotheticals....such as "what happens if someone gets hit by a bus? What happens the trademarks, logos and Drupal assets? What happens if Acquia gets sued by another corporation, because their code has inadvertantly slipped into the Drupal source and is being distributed ad infinitum under GPL? What if a group of investors hire all the members of the Drupal association and all the main Drupal team, where does that leave Acquia?

You might dismiss that flippantly as FUD, Michelle, but, In professional circles that's part of the due diligence process and the VCs have already done their due diligence on Acquia to the point where they are happy to invest $7 million dollars into the project.

Why do you have a problem with the community opening up their own due diligence discussion?

That's what this is and I've already outlined my main SWOT bullet points, in a very positive light. If you disagree with that, that's your perogative.

But what I don't get is why you have such a problem with it. Why are you treating it as an attack or FUD?

And I would advise others to ignore Michelle's call of To all of you: If you agree with dub, go ahead and post it.: That's very misleading and quite frankly un-constructive.

You don't have to agree with my take on the main strengths/weaknesses to post on here.

The reason I'm suggesting the co-operative movement is because it fits with the fundamental principles of why people contribute to Drupal and I didn't want to start a thread, without offering a clear and real world example of a model that's worth looking at.

As far as I am concerned, this should be an open discussion and if it's okay for the VCs to carry out due diligence on Drupal to the tune of $7million dollars, there's no reason why the community can't do the same.

If that flies way over the heads of some people, I'm genuinely sorry and Michelle, if you are planning to respond with more accusations of attacks/fud or other such rubbish please stick it in an email instead and send it to santa.

I started this thread to focus on the positives, as well as the possible weaknesses. let's try and keep it objective if we can.

dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

Michelle’s picture

I am sorry that you are completely either unable or unwilling to understand this issue but I think the rest of the people reading it can figure it out so that's good enough for me. I'm done.

Michelle

--------------------------------------
See my Drupal articles and tutorials or come check out life in the Coulee Region.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Thanks Michelle.

As a tip, it's not really a good idea to run around calling people liars and throwing around accusations that they're spreading FUD, when you obviously don't understand the core thrust of what's being discussed.

It is not only unhelpful and unprofessional, but, combined with Sepecks actions, suggests that there's something to hide.

Now, I can explain that for you, but I can't understand it for you.

dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

sepeck’s picture

How pleasant your posts have gotten.

I have had no reason to lie to anyone about my actions. I don't know you well enough nor do I actually care enough about your emotional makeup to lie to you. I did send you an email. If you did not receive it look to your spam filters. You choose to believe and falsely accuse me of lying. It seems to feed into your conspiracy "everyone against you' stance.

Michelle demoted your thread. Her actions were logged with a revisions tag and log entry in the revisions tracker. This is something the active site maintainers have evolved in the past year you haven't been active. You promoted the post again to the front page in defiance of Michelle's logged reason so I had no reason to assume that you would not do so again (and I had already sent you an email). Using your rights, you overwrote her log entry by not creating a new revision so now the log entry is next to your name. This is public and visible to any registered user.

Several months ago revisions were made viewable for all registered users to allow for more transparency. Your actions destroyed part of the audit trail site maintainers are expected to maintain. Your actions went against a logged reason (fairly clear).

If I really wanted to delete the thread, I simply would have, I certainly have the rights to do so and the responsibility as well. There have been other nasty threads were I personally have been attacked that still stand on this site. The originator of one very hurtful thread still has his account and participates on this site occasionally.

I didn't find the subject uncomfortable to discuss. I find your initial proposal unnecessary and your later posts avoiding/ignoring the real world examples that parallel the Drupal project track record. You continued on the trend of insinuations and accusations completely out of touch with such a simple concept as trust. Trust is something that all the contributors of the project have used to work together and build a community, code and documentation.

The post is still published, your account is not blocked. You lost privileges because you abused them. No other reason. The original idea was to get a response from you via email, then discuss they why/etc and restore them. You still have documentation maintainer rights.

I stand by my actions. Your words and actions have allowed others to see you as well.

-Steven Peck
---------
Test site, always start with a test site.
Drupal Best Practices Guide -|- Black Mountain

-Steven Peck
---------
Test site, always start with a test site.
Drupal Best Practices Guide

chx’s picture

I see you running around, noting you won't contribute to the handbook and ask for a removal of your ad from Drupal services. Please reconsider. Your contribution is welcome here, but as you promoted this post again without consulting anyone, something needed to be done.
--
The news is Now Public | Drupal development: making the world better, one patch at a time. | A bedroom without a teddy is like a face without a smile. |

--
Drupal development: making the world better, one patch at a time. | A bedroom without a teddy is like a face without a smile.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Chx,

If a VC or investor wasn't able to raise these questions about where Drupal is going, there is no way on Earth they would contribute a chunk of $7million dollars to the project....

If a contributer to drupal isn't even allowed to raise the discussion...without being accused of attacking/spreading FUD and losing any drupal.org privileges it is sorta reasonable to assume the same principle and the Drupal services page is a list of people who contribute to drupal and also provide professional services so I would feel hyprocritical if my name was listed on there.

hope that makes sense.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

snufkin’s picture

If a contributer to drupal isn't even allowed to raise the discussion...without being accused of attacking/spreading FUD and losing any drupal.org privileges

It seems that you are allowed to raise the discussion, at least what i see is that the discussion is very well going on here. The frontpage promotion is another matter, which was a democratic (upsi) decision by the admins. So as long as you deny these facts you are in fact spreading FUD.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

I see.

Well, I felt and still feel it was un-necessary for my site maintainer privileges to be revoked in the unceremonious manner it was, after a few years of relatively minor but regular contributions to the Drupal project and I found it particularly unhelpful for Sepeck and Michelle to jump all over the thread accusing me of attacking people, attacking the drupal community, lying and (ironically in that context) spreading FUD,

If I understand you correctly, are you saying that I'm spreading FUD because I feel that way, but, I'm not spreading FUD if I don't?

Interesting logic you have there, Snufkin.

I never got any emails from the admins. I did think of raising the discussion on #IRC but I went in there the other day and it wasn't working (all I got was scrolling screenfulls of usernames and logouts and other gobbledeegook)

I can see how it was probably a mistake to promote the post to the front page without asking your, sepecks, michelles and others permission, but, I genuinely don't see the negative connotations that you, sepeck and michelle see in discussing the future of Drupal. Especially in the positive manner I started it.

And if that was a mistake, I'm glad I did it because I've seen, very quickly how someone who has invested time and energy into contributing (albeit in a small way) to Drupal is treated by raising some pertinent questions.

It's astonishing and if you really think it is FUD I'm spreading, I don't know what to say.

Although it is remarkable you chose to contribute to the discussion by raising the FUD topic, rather than saying anything constructive.

For the rest of the community reading this, do you think that encourages free and open debate?

For outsiders looking in and reading this, do you think it presents a positive image of how the community works?

I didn't think so.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

snufkin’s picture

Well, I felt and still feel it was un-necessary for my site maintainer privileges to be revoked in the unceremonious manner it was, after a few years of relatively minor but regular contributions to the Drupal project and I found it particularly unhelpful for Sepeck and Michelle to jump all over the thread accusing me of attacking people, attacking the drupal community, lying and (ironically in that context) spreading FUD.

Lets set things straight. The revoking privileges has nothing to do with censoring the topic, as the topic is clearly still alive, and well. One might see it as a tool of trying to remove you from the thread, but then again how stupid move would this be? I mean removing privileges would not ban you from the site, or prevent you from going on with your suggestions, so logically it must have served a different purpose. This purpose - as i read from the admins comments - was because of your abuse of your privileges.

The next thing: FUD. They (actually me too) are accusing you with it because you mix up things. You mix up your personal offenses with censorship, which this case is clearly not about. You basically say that your opinion is censored and this is indeed a lie.

If I understand you correctly, are you saying that I'm spreading FUD because I feel that way, but, I'm not spreading FUD if I don't?

You are spreading FUD because you thing that demoting a post from the front page and removing your privileges because you misused them (according to admins, who have it in their right in any community to decide this) is censorship. No, it is not. I understand you feel upset about these things, but this is not censorship.

I can see how it was probably a mistake to promote the post to the front page without asking your, sepecks, michelles and others permission, but, I genuinely don't see the negative connotations that you, sepeck and michelle see in discussing the future of Drupal. Especially in the positive manner I started it.

First of all I am not an admin, just a contributor, like yourself. Maybe you don't see the negative connotations, but you do accept if others do? Do you trust their judgment?

And if that was a mistake, I'm glad I did it because I've seen, very quickly how someone who has invested time and energy into contributing (albeit in a small way) to Drupal is treated by raising some pertinent questions.

Here again a precious piece of gem. Again you claim that you are treated so badly, despite you are a contributor. Well first of all you were treated because of an abuse of privilege on a personal level, and NOT because you asked questions. Try to imagine, just for a minute that I am right, and your suspension had nothing to do with the topic you raised. And from that point of view try to read what you wrote. Do they remotely seem to you as fair claims?

Although it is remarkable you chose to contribute to the discussion by raising the FUD topic, rather than saying anything constructive.

I don't see why it would be remarkable, you - in my opinion - simply misunderstood things and because that you cause damage to the community. I felt necessary to help you see clearer. Or you are implying that by raising this topic I try to steer the thread away?

derjochenmeyer’s picture

I hope to contribte to this from a somehwat neutral point of view. I dont know anybody here, but im follwoing the discussion. I also felt this didnt belong to the frontpage. It started out as an interesting discussion. Now its about defending points of view and personal feelings.

I think the drupal community as i see it from the outside is working fine. I went to Barcelona and the atmosphere was great. I trust that it will continue to be like that. If thats stupid, well, its just an open source software project and its working great in my opinion. And personally i think i would lose all my motivation to answer Forum questions, help testing patches where i can, attending conferences, etc. if drupal became some kind of strange construction that, honestly, i dont understand. I didnt read all the backgroundinfo, but who does?

----------------------
forward-media.de

coupet’s picture

So as long as you deny these facts you are in fact spreading FUD.

Did Dub raised this issue for personal gains?

What does Dub has to gain personally for raising this issue?

Did Dub lose his Admin priviledges for raising this issue?

Is Dub being accused by some of spreading FUD?

----
Darly

snufkin’s picture

- Did Dub raised this issue for personal gains?
- I don't think so.

- What does Dub has to gain personally for raising this issue?
- I don't know, probably nothing.

- Did Dub lose his Admin priviledges for raising this issue?
- No

- Is Dub being accused by some of spreading FUD?
- Yes, see previous question

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Did Dub raised this issue for personal gains?

Yes. Of course I did.

Every contribution people/companies make to an open source project is for personal gain. That's the underlying fundamental principle behind all open source community based projects.

What does Dub has to gain personally for raising this issue?

The future of Drupal affects everyone who is an active member of the Drupal community and as Drupal enters into a new, important, era, the goal posts are beginning to shift, so it's of interest to me what approach is being followed and how the community is safeguarded in this new stage of the Drupal project.

Did Dub lose his Admin priviledges for raising this issue?

Dub was insulted, accused of lying, accused of attacking drupal and the drupal community, spreading FUD and generally lambasted for posting this topic.

Dub also lost his admin privileges for promoting the post to the front page. Which was un-necessary and probably done by one of the same people who were insulting me and accusing me of attacking Drupal, the Drupal community and spreading FUD.

I sincerely doubt I lost my admin privileges based on an, ahem, democratic decision.

Is Dub being accused by some of spreading FUD?

Yep. but in fairness, only by a very small group of people and not by the people who have contacted me via email and who are uncomfortable posting their thoughts on this thread.

So, go figure. Or at least take the FUD discussion elsewhere so we can get back to discussing the core topic of this thread.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

Dries’s picture

If a VC or investor wasn't able to raise these questions about where Drupal is going, there is no way on Earth they would contribute a chunk of $7million dollars to the project....

This is a false assumption. VCs invest in people, not in roadmaps. No VC can predict the future or expect one to predict the future.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

With respect Dries....I think it's a given that VCs don't have a crystal ball. VCs are paid to invest, usually OPM (other peoples money), in projects. That's their profession and they have a responsibility to carry out a stringent analysis of the project and the team. So, it's hardly a false assumption to assume that the VCs who are investing in Drupal and your new project didn't ask a few pertinent questions.

I agree with you about the team, most VCs I know skip from the executive summary, straight to the management team, because you can have the best idea and best intentions in the World, but, if the team isn't in place to make it happen, it all begins to unravel during the due diligence process and the VCs along with the investment will exit stage left.

That's hardly a false assumption. I'm hoping/guessing it just got lost in translation.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

coupet’s picture

since I raised this topic, my privileges as a Drupal.org site maintainer have been removed. That's after about 2 or 3 years of contributing to Drupal.

Thanks for raising this issue in the Forum, hopefully, Drupal will be stronger and we will all benefit from it. In the long term, Drupal would be evaluated by how competitive it is compare to its platform peers.

----
Darly

dman’s picture

I think I'm with webchick on this.
I'm more of a fan of meritocracy, and strong, enlightened leadership by folk that know what they are doing - rather than mob rule.
The OP, and every follow-up since then seems to describe an extremely inclusive concept of "the Drupal Community". To talk of "millions" engaging in "democracy" ... it's like every member of Drupal.org plus every user. Every time you write "community" I see "random rabble".
Frankly, I do not trust that flavour of democracy to make any meaningful decision.
Ask them to vote on whether Drupal should have a WYSIWYG in core. Then ask them which one.

One username : one vote ... I just don't see it working.

I'm much happier with the committed members of the Drupal organisation, and I like to see the interesting decisions made by the few dozen folk I recognise with support threads and commits numbering into the thousands.

I really do appreciate you making this post, and stirring up discussion, as I think these questions are quite fair to ask. Especially the natural suspicion of what effect a large cash injection and a VC overlord will have on the leadership of the project.
So bouncing the issue around, and getting some feedback, some opinions, and even some solid facts back, was a good thing.
... But preserve us from "democracy" and the rule of the lowest common denominator ;-)

.dan.
How to troubleshoot Drupal | http://www.coders.co.nz/

catch’s picture

This is what I don't get about the whole discussion. Is the community anyone who's ever used Drupal site? Downloaded a tarball? Anyone with a drupal.org account? Anyone who's posted a comment? Should all the spambots get a vote? And who decides which of these criteria gets used anyway?

The main site I'm involved with deals with the organisation of society, work, capitalism etc. (and people who advocate co-ops as a solution are considered to be on the right wing of our political spectrum fwiw). Is it run democratically? Yes - but by the ten or so admins, and we take a lot of input from the few active community members who contribute heavily to the site. Every couple of months we get people demanding that the 'community' get control of the site - usually by people actively hostile to us who want to turn it into something else.

I was also involved for a few months in a discussion forum that was an attempt to do all the moderation etc. democratically - the forum ended up being 90% circular discussions about itself, and collapsed after a short time as people used the procedures in place to disrupt every possible conversation that occurred.

Also, I've read enough about co-ops to know some of them are shocking employers with low pay and poor working conditions - with the co-op members acting as bosses to casual workers in lots of cases. Similarly there's plenty of corruption in housing and consumer co-ops as well. So it's no guarantee against anything. And when you have a web site where the vast majority of people are anonymous with absolutely no accountability (even online, let alone in real life) to the rest of the community, all the problems outlined above will be amplified many many times.

There are two things that make Drupal - the code, which is GPL anyway; and the community - which no amount of dollars is going to buy. As webchick said, taking decision making away from people who actually contribute to those two things, and giving it to any random person who registers on Drupal.org (or some other arbitrary criteria) to satisfy a false sense of what a community actually is, will not deal with the very real issues in our society about ownership, power, money and the rest.

I should say that Dub answered a support forum question of mine about two years ago, and was very helpful. It's people in the community like that which make Drupal a great application and fun to work with. Not any random person who signs up to slag it off. Give them votes, and we'll end up with tinymce and phpbb bridge in core within a few weeks - then watch it fork and get acrimonious.

doka’s picture

That's the point where your observation and logic fails.

To be honest, I would seriously question whether the success of Drupal has anything to do with leadership abilities, or whether it has everything to do with the community. In other words, it's relatively easy to present an illusion of leadership, on the back of breakneck progress by a community.

Drupal is what it is because of the leadership skills of Dries. Let's consider: what else can stick so many experts for so many time to Drupal, if not Dries' visions, his style of communication and decision making process. All these have enabled an inspiring environment for core contributors. Because they contribute to Drupal, an not to other open source CMS.

And it is not an egg-or-chicken problem, proved by success of Drupal compared to uncountable number of failed CMS's, even staffed by experts.

Doka

Doka

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Doka,

Drupal is what it is because of the leadership skills of Dries.

I respectfully disagree with that.

I would argue that Drupal is what it is today because of the vision of Dries and the energy, drive and voluntary contributions from the Drupal community. Without the community, Drupal would be nothing and I think Dries would be the first to acknowledge that.

Before anyone jumps out of their pram, that's not an attack on Dries, I think Dries is a great guy.

Most who join the Drupal community, don't even know Dries. They join because Drupal will scratch and itch and they understand that if they contribute back into Drupal, the ecosphere grows.

That's the basic principles of a democracy.

Dries will disagree with me on this, but, Drupal is a democracy.

Every piece of code that gets into core is done on a democratic basis, even patches that get comitted to contributed modules are carried out democratically. There is the need for tie-breakers, particularly with the core Drupal code and Dries, along with others, have fulfilled that role extremely well over the years, but, I think the lines start to get a little fuzzy when some start describing the programming equivalent of an ombudsman as dictatorial.

Don't get me wrong, I've always been a huge fan of Drupal, but, I've always argued that the community leaders should slow down the breakneck speed of development so that a balance between innovation and stability is achieved.

A good example is Drupal 6.0., which is the first version where more than a passing glance has been given to the design/theming aspects of Drupal. Which is great news, but, in the meantime Drupal has lost the faith of many css designers whom I have spoken to. They are very critical of Drupals styling/theming system and often describe it as bloated, unintuitive and hair-pullingly frustrating (they aren't my words, they are the words of css/designers I have spoken to recently about Drupal).

Even the youngest of project managers working in software will tell you that if you need to overhaul an entire section of a release, when you're on version 6.0, something is very wrong with the planning and management.

It's not as if the resources aren't there. The Drupal.org community is trulty enormous and the willingness to help out has been extraordinary. Some might argue that the problem is that those resources and that energy hasn't been harnessed properly and the chunk of money from the $7 million being invested in Acquia being used to workon the Drupal core code, is really being used to 'tidy up' Drupal.

I don't completely agree with that argument, but, there is more than just a grain of truth to it.

I would argue that money being spent on Drupal code is good for everyone...as long as it's done in the right way and I prefer the idea of acquia donating the money to the Drupal association, so they can pay the core drupal developers, rather than acquia.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

Boris Mann’s picture

Even the youngest of project managers working in software will tell you that if you need to overhaul an entire section of a release, when you're on version 6.0, something is very wrong with the planning and management.

Um. This has come up approximately 1 million times and I can't believe we're having the "we should slow down development" discussion here. Perhaps you've missed the central philosophy of "maintain data compatibility between releases and provide a matinained upgrade, but break APIs to always improve -- performance, usability, flexibility, and features"? Drupal development is actually too SLOW for some forms of commercial ventures, hence the interim patches, distros, profiles, etc. that can go faster or slower than core as needed. And this comes from someone whose company has been maintaining patched versions of Drupal since 4.5....

Drupal is not a democracy. It's a do-ocracy. You can enact whatever change you want....as Nike says, Just Do It!

And, also, as someone who has spent YEARS pouring commercial resources into Drupal, the resources really AREN'T there. When push comes to shove, time for refactoring patches, writing code, oh, and yes, testing and reviewing code that is made available by others -- there are less and less people with time available in comparison to the vast numbers of people using the system and the growth of the system as a whole.

And by now, I'm pretty much confused over what "argument" we're actually having. If you want to go build a co-op around Drupal...go do it! GPL, nothing stopping you. Heck, you could even use groups.drupal.org to organize it. You don't seem to have answered me on this one.

IF YOU WANT TO MAKE A DRUPAL CO-OP, MAKE ONE. I just don't see the point of arguing for OR against it. Do it.

No co-op will ever "own" the GPL'd code in any case. And I see no reason for Dries to give up the in-my-opinion-and-mentioned-elsewhere not very valuable trademark and domain. heck....want to have coop.drupal.org or drupal-coop.org? Make a plan that warrants it, and you won't likely be refused.

Maybe you can't see the business case for $7M. But I can see at least three business models that warrant it (never mind vertical solutions that happen to use Drupal at their core), of which Acquia can at most execute on 2 of. Meaning that there is probably another $7M "Drupal company" waiting to be founded. Maybe you think that people won't invest because of an existing investment? Damn, I would LOVE to see a race to be the "best" contributor...because that's what would result. Drupal wins, again.

I look forward to your announcement that you are starting a Drupal co-op and will monitor its growth with interest.

chx’s picture

I still trust that Dries will not make decisions as an Acquia employee but as Dries as we know him. What's more, I do believe that these interests will not even conflict. Acquia shareholders are certainly not going to get involved in day-to-day decisions and in general, they are only interested in the success of the Drupal project. Their best interests lie in letting Dries continue as he always did.
--
The news is Now Public | Drupal development: making the world better, one patch at a time. | A bedroom without a teddy is like a face without a smile. |

--
Drupal development: making the world better, one patch at a time. | A bedroom without a teddy is like a face without a smile.

patchak’s picture

I think that besides the fact that hypotetically there could be issues where Drupal at large and Dries's company could have opposed interests, I tend to agree to the fact that shareholder and Acquia have the Drupal success and growth as probably their more important business interest on the long term, exactly like all other Drupal based business?

So I respect and understand the concerns raised here, but I think the "laws" of the free market will force the shareholders to stay away from conflict with the drupal community because after all Acquia is 'dependant' on Drupal, in a way.

kbahey’s picture

I think Dublin Drupaller's comments and ideas are interesting, and worth pondering.

But, they are a bit too early too.

Let us think a bit of other open source projects and businesses built around it.

First, Linux. Linus Torvalds does own the trademark of Linux (like Dries owns Drupal's trademark). Businesses that hire some kernel developers (e.g. RedHat, SuSE, ...etc.) repackage the kernel with value added programs and sell their distro and services around it. Linux continues to thrive, including completely community driven distros such as Debian. These in turn have spawned commercial distros like Xandros and Ubuntu. Linus initially did not work for a Linux outfix, opting for a chip maker first, then an organization (the Linux Foundation).

Second, Zend. PHP is a community effort too. Rasmus does not work for a PHP specific company, but rather a PHP user. Zeev and Andy founded Zend, which has extensions to PHP that are sold commercially, and not open source. This is because PHP is not GPL, and its license allows that.

In effect, Acquia is trying something new: because the founder of Drupal is starting a company, and because the product is GPL. Hope it works out for them, for Drupal and the community.

So, let us not assume that Acquia will mess things up, or that VC pressure will do that, or that Dries will let either happen. I trust that if he sees that things are going wrong (not that they will, just hypothetical), he will try his best to rectify it or leave.

Dries has stated, in his original blog post, that his contract does allow him to do things against Acquia's interest and in favor of Drupal.

Let us all, as a community, monitor the situation and hold Dries and Acquia to what they said in the last few weeks. If they deviate from those goals down the road, then we can revisit what alternatives the community has. Forking is always an option, and did work for Joomla. While a dash of skepticism is healthy, let us not take too far. Not right now for sure.

Here is a hint: watch the core contributors: if you see them quitting the community, or complaining, then it is a red flag. So far, all the core contributors are OK with the changes so far.
--
Drupal performance tuning, development, customization and consulting: 2bits.com
Personal blog: Baheyeldin.com

--
Drupal performance tuning and optimization, hosting, development, and consulting: 2bits.com, Inc. and Twitter at: @2bits
Personal blog: Ba

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Thanks for chipping in, kbahey.

The problem isn't actually with Acquia, I actually think it's a great idea. It's the approach which is the 800lb gorrilla in the room.

The okums razor way of looking at it is really simple: If the Drupal trademark, logos, domains etc, need to be legally protected, the logical ownership of those assets should be with the Drupal association, IMHO.

As an another example, if Acquia would like to sponsor some drupal development, the ideal and logical approach would be to give the funds to the Drupal association and allow them to administer it. Rather than signing employment contracts with the key core developers and the key board members of the Drupal association.

That's akin to a property developer hiring the local council planning team, along with the chairman and the assets associated with the local community.

Here is a hint: watch the core contributors: if you see them quitting the community, or complaining, then it is a red flag. So far, all the core contributors are OK with the changes so far.

here's an alternative hint: the core contributors now know that there is a $7 million dollar gorilla in the room who might pay for that porche or 30" wide screen they always wanted. In that context, some might argue you won't see any red-flag waving any time soon.

The red-flag waving will only start when a closed-shop emerges, i.e. a percentage of the core developers are on the Acquia payroll and a percentage aren't on the Acquia payroll. A 'them' and 'us' situation. Which is where business models like a co-operative model was designed to slot in. i.e. Instead of VCs, who are in the business of making a profit, bankrolling Drupal development you have the community bankrolling development via a management team.

The colour of the money is still the same, but, the cultural impact of how the money goes into the community is very different.

You maybe right, by the way, it maybe too early to be discussing this, but, I sincerely doubt the VCs signed the shareholders agreement deal on the back of a napkin in a pub. And we also don't know whether it's a coincidence that the Drupal trademark was registered to Dries's name, rather than the Drupal association (which would have been the logical approach) a few weeks before the shareholders agreement for $7million dollars was inked.

The problem with deals like these is that there are usually Non-Disclosure agreements attached to the shareholders agreements that Dries & Jay have signed and the employment contracts that Gabor and Kieran will sign.

So, let us not assume that Acquia will mess things up, or that VC pressure will do that, or that Dries will let either happen. I trust that if he sees that things are going wrong (not that they will, just hypothetical), he will try his best to rectify it or leave.

Wise words and I agree, but, I was suggesting going a step further and discussing what structures can be put in place to ENSURE rather than hope it doesn't happen.

If as you and others say, 'we have nothing to worry about', why is it such a problem to discuss?

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

coupet’s picture

Actually, VCs are investing $7 million dollars in Acquia. VCs made their decision based on Dries leadership and accomplishments in the Open Source Development of Drupal. Dries is a partner/owner of Acquia and NOT an employee. VCs are investors in Acquia.

A lot of developers and consultants are providing services and profit from Drupal Open Source platform and code. What is the perfect formula for key developers to earn a living while contributing to Drupal success?

----
Darly

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi coupet,

What is the perfect formula for key developers to earn a living while contributing to Drupal success?

A Drupal co-operative.

It's over 100 years old as a business model and fits perfectly with the organic nature of open source and community based projects. The only problem in a Drupal context, is that the operations team, such as the CEO and key management team is appointed by the community (who are also the shareholders) not by any one individual or group. Where appointments are made based on targets and results rather than because someone knows them and thinks they are a 'great guy'.

I hope that makes sense.

dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

patrickharris’s picture

the Drupal community is, in reality its progress depends on a few key core developers, doesn't it? If those developers suddenly abandoned Drupal, I can't see other people from the community stepping in and pushing the project forward successfully. Talking of Drupal being "community driven and community owned" is idealistic, but not too realistic in my opinion.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

the Drupal community is, in reality its progress depends on a few key core developers, doesn't it?

You maybe right, but, I think that's a logistical workflow related point, rather than a business model one.

if we were being pedantic, I would say that it's updating the core Drupal code that is reliant on a few core developers. And that is something which would remain the same under a Drupal co-op framework.

In other words, I would argue that the progress of the community depends on the framework that not only protects the community's interests, but, harnesses the collective community energy.

Everyone who has contributed to Drupal is already, technically, a shareholder in Drupal, so, the ideal approach, imho, is to isolate the project from commercial/individual ownership and establish community ownership more formally.

The only model out there that has a close fit with the Drupal project, imho, is the co-operative model.

That provides a proven, real world, framework that allows companies who would like to see the core drupal code improve, like acquia, for example, to contribute cash to the co-op management team and the Drupal co-op hires the developers.

The colour of the money is the same, but, the cultural impact is different.

The Drupal association doesn't quite fulfill that role. It almost fits, but not quite. A co-op management team would be a group of professionals appointed and paid for by the co-op to work full time fulfilling various targets & results.

dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

keith.smith’s picture

Dublin Drupaller:

I keep saying to myself: "Self, don't get drawn into these discussions." Unfortunately, I don't always listen to me.

I appreciate the fact that you feel strongly about the views you have been expressing, and though I'm not at all convinced by your arguments so far, I'm all for people being able to discuss it.

But...

The okums razor way of looking at it is really simple: If the Drupal trademark, logos, domains etc, need to be legally protected, the logical ownership of those assets should be with the Drupal association, IMHO.

Occam's razor implies nothing of the sort. Indeed, if Occam's razor has anything to say about this situation, it is that "entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity".

here's an alternative hint: the core contributors now know that there is a $7 million dollar gorilla in the room who might pay for that porche or 30" wide screen they always wanted. In that context, some might argue you won't see any red-flag waving any time soon.

In my opinion, this is a ridiculous and unfounded assertion, and implies that core contributors are dishonest and untrustworthy. If this were true, and the motivations for contributing to core are so materially based, how would having a cooperative help? And, further, if this were true -- and as long as we are making broad statements with no basis in fact -- if Acquia hires every potential core developer on the face of the earth to work on Drupal twenty-four hours a day, how would it do anything other than benefit you? --you have access to all that new code under the GPL.

And we also don't know whether it's a coincidence that the Drupal trademark was registered to Dries's name, rather than the Drupal association (which would have been the logical approach) a few weeks before the shareholders agreement for $7million dollars was inked.

A simple search for "Drupal" in the trademark engine at the US Patent and Trademark Office shows the wordmark "Drupal" with a filing date of December 14, 2006. I don't know Dries. I've never met him or any other person in the Drupal community. But I can do a bit of fact-checking and very quickly determine that what you say, or worse, imply, is not true.

So, let us not assume that Acquia will mess things up, or that VC pressure will do that, or that Dries will let either happen.

Let us also be careful to avoid making unfounded claims. To be careful with one another's reputations. To exemplify the spirit of the seventh of your Rochdale Principles, which states that "co-operative societies must have concern for their communities."

--keith

eaton’s picture

A simple search for "Drupal" in the trademark engine at the US Patent and Trademark Office shows the wordmark "Drupal" with a filing date of December 14, 2006.

It's also worth noting that Dries has owned the 'Drupal' trademark in Belgium for years; the 2006 filing that you mention was a step to officially extend it internationally to prevent other organizations from claiming it. That very threat is why the 'Drupal is a registered trademark...' footer appeared on drupal.org recently; as your trademark search reveals, a company in California called "Transparent Technology" claimed they they've been using the name Drupal for their web software since 2003. Putting the notice in the drupal.org footer is an attempt to 'stake out the name' more explicitly to better defend against the attempt to hijack the trademark.

And, further, if this were true -- and as long as we are making broad statements with no basis in fact -- if Acquia hires every potential core developer on the face of the earth to work on Drupal twenty-four hours a day, how would it do anything other than benefit you?

I think the issue Dublin has mentioned several times is that Acquia would be deciding what things get coded and what ones don't. As best as I can tell, he is suggesting a system in which commercial businesses instead donate money to a co-op, which employs all the Drupal developers in the world. The commercial businesses would then ask the co-op to consider implementing features the businesses need.

That proposal strikes me as a horrible move towards a crippled, half-hearted 'Drupal Corporation' with all the drawbacks of a cumbersome consultancy but none of the advantages. 'Scratch your own itch' is a wonderful principle, and it applies to both individuals and companies inside the Drupal community. A number of people have been talking about the need for 'Enterprise tools' for Drupal, but no one has itched enough to scratch it, so to speak. If Acquia has the funding and the need, they will fill a significant gap in the Drupal ecosystem and we'll all benefit. Telling them to toss their money into a central pot and hope "the community" -- i.e., people who don't work on Drupal full-time -- has the same priorities... Well, that's just silly.

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

As best as I can tell, he is suggesting a system in which commercial businesses instead donate money to a co-op, which employs all the Drupal developers in the world. The commercial businesses would then ask the co-op to consider implementing features the businesses need.

you're almost right Eaton, but, not quite.

What I'm suggesting is safeguarding the Drupal community by setting up a Drupal co-operative, which is like the Drupal association, but, which acts as a buffer to isolate the core code from 1 single corporation or organisation and keep it within the realm of the Drupal community (in the form of a co-op).

A simple example would be instead of acquia signing full time contracts with the core Drupal developers to help improve Drupal, acquia gives the funds to the drupal association, who in turn administer the funds. Not with all the Drupal developers in the world (According to the latest statistics there are 4 core drupal code developers) but by a full-time professional programming team that are provided with a set of targets and guidelines by the Drupal community co-operative.

That doesn't mean that every piece of code has to be voted upon by the entire community, it means that the operations team, appointed by the Drupal community co-operative (not by any individual or small group) project manage it. In other words, the same democratic process that is applied to core code changes (with Dries and a few key people as the tie-breakers) remains, it's just done in a more streamlined fashion and for the benefit of the Drupal community co-op.

The colour of the money going into Drupal development is the same, but, the cultural impact on the community is different.

In the same breath, I would like to see the key Drupal assets, i.e. the trademarks, logos and domains etc. transferred into the realm of the suggested Drupal co-operative.

That requires a significant cultural and mindest shift with the founding members of Drupal, but, for me it's more about whether the Drupal community is just seen as a handy resource of testers/coders/patchers/doc writers/support team to have but also a group of people who should never be really an integral part of the new era Drupal as a project is entering into.

The $7million dollar deal for the Acquia startup is great news for everyone involved in Drupal...but it also draws a line between the "early years" and when things started "gettings serious". It's a defining moment in the history of Drupal, a watershed of sorts and I think it's important for the community, rather than a few individuals looking forward and expecting everyone to follow and continue to burst blood vessels and scrape through late nights helping to test/patch or simply helping others out. Without all those volunteers, who may or may not join a Drupal co-op (out of 200,000 registered Drupa.org members thereare inly about 117 general members of the Drupal association) I think Drupal will struggle. Not straight away, but, over time.

What's slightly disconcerting is that nobody here has seen the acquia business plan, the exit strategies, the hit-by-a-bus clauses (i.e. what happens the Drupal trademarks if something should happen to Dries?), the 3-5 year plan, the swot analysis and more importantly, the nitty gritty of the articles of association or the shareholders agreement. Yet, most appear willing to run with whatever is in those documents, on a wing and a prayer, so to speak.

That, to me, is more scary than my worries about safeguarding the Drupal community and core code.

The VCs have obviously carried out their due dilligence to the point where they are more than happy to put $7million dollars into acquia. That's an extraordinary amount of cash for any startup and not exactly the sort of money a VC would throw around on a wing and a prayer.

If it's inappropriate and silly for the Drupal community to discuss and do their own mini-due diligence on what's going on, fair enough, Eaton, you're entitled to your opinion, but, I would tend to disagree and stress the importance of ensuring everything is out on the open, regardless of what governence is employed over the next few years.

It's just my 2.0 cents that a co-operative is the ideal choice, which may or may not be the way to go...that's ultimately up to the Drupal community, but, I felt raising this discussion without offering any solid suggestions would just render the thread as a pointless wishy washy exercise.

As an aside, I'm not going to try and explain to everyone what a co-operative business model is, so please check it out for yourselves, if you have the time or the inclination. It's over 100 years old, hugely succesfull for community based projects and is something that can be tweaked to suit a Drupal constitution.

dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

kbahey’s picture

Dub

I don't have the time or energy to respond blow by blow, nor read every comment in that post, specially after it grew up to that size ...

But ...

Remember Mambo? It is a very good case study here. It was a single company's product with community contributions. Whereas Drupal's code is community owned from the start, and regardless of that, it is GPL. The company did some things that the community did not like, and guess what? Joomla was born!

Where is Mambo today? A distant memory. Joomla started with the same code base, and then evolved to overshadow Mambo. The GPL makes that possible.

So, if Acquia or VCs or Darth Vader lure Dries into the dark side, holds a gun to his head and say he has to cede the Drupal trademark, then so what? Big freaking deal ... The community forks the project, renames it to drop/droplet/somecraplikethat, and things continue as they are with a new name.

If the association goes along with that, as well as most of the core developers, then things will be just dandy. If the association refuses or fractures, then a new body can be put in place. How many core developers will go through with the new project is what will be interesting to watch, and which product (old, new) will have weight behind it.

[Note, the most prolific core developer, chx, is employed by a Drupal user, not Acquia!]

The greedy parties lose, the community wins, and life goes on ... It worked in the Mambo/Joomla debacle. Why should it not work in case Drupal needs it?

So, where is the problem? There is not one yet. Do not assume that bad things will happen just yet. If they happen, then that is a way out that has been proven to work elsewhere ...

It is OK to raise a flag. It is OK to monitor what Acquia will do. It is OK to discuss these things, but not in the manner that is going on now (from many sides, not only Dub).

Nor do I agree with revoking Dub's admin privileges, being a long timer. Even if it was done for good reasons, the timing is awful and will raise questions.
--
Drupal performance tuning, development, customization and consulting: 2bits.com
Personal blog: Baheyeldin.com

--
Drupal performance tuning and optimization, hosting, development, and consulting: 2bits.com, Inc. and Twitter at: @2bits
Personal blog: Ba

geste’s picture

I am pretty much a Drupal consumer and not a contributor (yet). I work in higher education supporting an academic department and Drupal is the anchor of our intranet. First thing is that I want to do is to offer my thanks to Dries and everyone else in the community for giving me such a great tool and to offer my congratulations on the Acquia deal. I am not worthy. I hope that some time my work allows me to develop something that I can give back.

Dubliner, I want to thank you for raising this subject. I do not have any strong sense of what the "correct answer" is, but I think the discussion is worthwhile. I think you have done so in a way that is respectful of everyone's contributions to Drupal. Some of the responses in this thread seemed a little more heated than I thought was justified -- I thought your approach was positive -- but I should probably go back and reread.

In my own occupational ecosystem, there is a pretty fair amount of discussion about the trials and tribulations of various projects like Drupal, Mambo/Joomla! and others. Some folks just seem to get surprisingly nervous about venture capital, about real or potential forks and other things like that. I don't get very nervous and I sleep pretty soundly. I keep the text of the GPL under my pillow.

That being said, I do harbor low-grade concerns about the sustainability of communities and projects. In my employment it is my responsibility to think about things like "What if our facility XXX gets destroyed by a meteorite?" and "What if our sysadmin YYY is struck and killed by a streetcar?" Now, while I really don't like to contemplate the death by streetcar of "YYY" (We love ya, Y!), I am still obliged to think about that if I want to say that I am doing my job.

So, Dubliner, I think that discussions about governance are worthwhile, regardless of what approach the community decides to take.

Grazi, Ciao,

J

morphir’s picture

I see a lot of talk about Drupal are being compared to the Linux project. To clearify one thing, this would be like if Linus Torvalds was the founder Red Hat. Which he is not!

Linus Torvalds has been smart in several decisions through his career. One of the smartest one of them all, has been that he takes no care in the administration of the companies that supports the kernel. Read this..

APC: What's the Linux Foundation?

LT: Heh. I just work here, you should ask some of the people who are actually involved in all the other things that LF does. It's basically the combination of OSDL ("Open Source Development Labs") and FSG ("Free Standards Group"), and is a vendor-neutral place for different organizations to discuss the issues they have, and trying to help Linux along. Part of what LF does is pay me to maintain the kernel.

APC: What are you doing with the kernel now? Are you working on it full time? What parts of it do you work on the most?

LT: I very much work on it full time, but I no longer really work on any particular "part"of it - I end up spending almost all my time on not writing kernel code myself, but on working with the flow of code and merging it all.

In fact, the biggest amount of actual source code I've written in the last two years is not in the kernel itself, but in the tool I use to just track the kernel development (called "git" - a source control management system).

Source: http://apcmag.com/7012/linus_torvalds_talks_about

Get it? Linus Torvalds is just an engineer. And he trie not to be anything else. Still, he has checked out his fair amount of cash. And Dries should as well.

The issues that Dublin Drupaller raise is timly, and people that oppose a different opinion is either ignorant or pure completely st*pid (I don't mean to insult anyone, but it's true). A possible fork rising from the horizon is what I see happening here. How could we make sure that a fork is not hurting the drupal community? git! Move drupal over to git, and forks will be welcomed, since the fork will practically happen within a arms reach of each other. With CVS, I have to trust Dries, with GIT, I don't - and Dries can pull from me, where as I can pull from Dries, as we see fits. Further, with such decentralized content tracker, we can see drupal grow way beyond todays standard. There will be more Dries's so of speak (more decision makers). We will educate people to think for them self, not relying on one person which from before has a lot to tinker about.
You can think of it as several core teams that each will fork off, only that everyone will be located in the same building and discussing over the same table (read issue tracker) and then go back and do their work.They will only work with the persons that they trust and get a long with (because today, not everyone is getting along). Further on, Dries can pull from these different "teams" and merge their work in to main tree which then becomes Drupal 7.

(scenario)
One such team can be a couple of guys that work dedicated on a possible new forum, where as a another does the same. The best gets into the main tree, where as the "loser" continues to work on their stuff and becomes the winner next round after that.
(/scenario)

(scenario2)
the main tree (that Dries maintains) becomes less interesting for the community, and they prefer one fork that has succeed in their mission. Dries can merge it back to the main tree as he sees fits. But the community is not dependent on Dries making that move. Everyone stays happy!
(/scenario2)

It's extremely crucial that we all understand the benefits that git can provide us here. And to answer the thread starter, yes, we can democratize how Drupal is maintained. We democratize the code. And we let the decision making be more of an independent thing, as to what code we choose to have under our hood.

morphir.com

chx’s picture

Unless there is a plethora of GUIs, IDE integration etc for a given RCS, there is no chance it'll catch with the several thousand developers we have. bzr is a bit ahead of git because tortoisebzr at least exists, even though there was no commit since 2007-08-30. Furthest ahead is Mercurial: TortoiseHG has been released less than two weeks ago, there is an Eclipse plugin... You are welcome to provide a TortoiseGit, the whole world will be happier. So: we are aware of this demand, we are working towards making project module used on drupal.org to be less dependent on CVS. http://drupal.org/project/versioncontrol exists, there is an experimental SVN and a stable CVS implementation.

However, there are uncounted numbers of this conversation please do not start this here. There is no point in even answering to this post -- I reserve the right to delete the meaningless answers (like "yes please", "x RCS is better than Y" "Drupal should use Z" -- trust me, we all heard all that and actually, quite stuffed with it). The only answers I am not deleting is "I am working on an X implementation for the versioncontrol API" and similar actions.
--
The news is Now Public | Drupal development: making the world better, one patch at a time. | A bedroom without a teddy is like a face without a smile. |

--
Drupal development: making the world better, one patch at a time. | A bedroom without a teddy is like a face without a smile.

coupet’s picture

The Linux Foundation is a nonprofit consortium ... is supported by leading Linux and open source companies and developers from around the world. The Linux Foundation promotes, protects and standardizes Linux by providing unified resources and services needed for open source to successfully compete with closed platforms ... In the voluntary and distributed world of Linux development, the industry continues to successfully use the consortia model to rapidly improve these value attributes for Linux.

The Linux Foundation
https://www.linux-foundation.org/en/About

----
Darly

bonobo’s picture

Like keith.smith, I have been following this thread and trying unsuccessfully to avoid getting sucked in.

I have not succeeded.

There have been a lot of hypothetical Very Bad Things (tm) mentioned as possibilities here, most having to do with having the talents of core developers siphoned off to do the bidding of The Man.

However, for these hypotheticals to become real, a bulk of core developers would need to turn their back/forget/ignore the very motivation that drew them to the project in the first place. While these motivations differ from individual to individual, one common truth about the core developers should not be overlooked: they are all very talented people. They all have options. They all have skills that have immense value in the marketplace, and deserve to be compensated.

This does not pose a conflict with the Drupal project. This is a reality embodied in the Drupal project.

I look forward to seeing what develops.

Cheers,

Bill

-------
http://www.funnymonkey.com
Tools for Teachers

pcdonohue’s picture

Just a few meandering thoughts to add to this discussion.

That the VC investment into Acquia raises some concerns shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. It's a substantial return-focused investment into a company created by the founder & leader of a well-loved open-source software system.

Dries has rightly earned a huge amount of trust and credit for the work he has done, and Acquia has the potential to multiply Drupal's value substantially.

However trust is not static, it is something that is gained or lost, and what direction that goes largely has to do more with the social system designed to safeguard it. IMO, the important question in this discussion seems to be, "Does a $7 million dollar investment into Acquia require a new system to manage that trust?" or "Are the current systems adequate?" Please note, this is a totally different question than "Can we still trust Dries, the Drupal community, et. al. or not?"

I don't think this is a simple question, nor do I think it can be well-solved by an online discussion... much too easy to misread, demonize, and just plain not listen. But what else can you do with a global community but write talking points at one another online?

For complex problems involving people, I find scenario planning to be a very powerful tool. Essentially a group of interested and diverse stakeholders get together to map out potential future scenarios. There is no one "right" scenario. As Adam Kahane describes in Solving Tough Problems, this is largely done by asking the questions, "Why would that happen?" and "What would happen next?" rather than stating "That would never happen!" or "I don't want that to happen!" With potential future scenarios in hand, the group then begins making decisions leading towards a desirable scenario.

I think it could be a useful tool in this discussion.

eaton’s picture

For complex problems involving people, I find scenario planning to be a very powerful tool. Essentially a group of interested and diverse stakeholders get together to map out potential future scenarios. There is no one "right" scenario. As Adam Kahane describes in Solving Tough Problems, this is largely done by asking the questions, "Why would that happen?" and "What would happen next?" rather than stating "That would never happen!" or "I don't want that to happen!"

Well stated -- thank you for your thoughts on the issue. I'd agree that examining the current "ecosystem" and weighting different possible scenerios to judge their likelihood and likely ripple effects is an excellent exercise. One of my frustrations with this thread (in particular) is that while many "What if?" and "We don't know whether..." statements have been thrown around, the most active participants have seemed unwilling to discuss what we do actually know about how the Drupal ecosystem has been working for years. That information is the most useful tool we have for predicting what might happen in the future, and can help us plan for unpleasant developments by leveraging the existing strengths of OSS, the GPL, and our particular community.

I think I feel a blog post coming on.

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Eaton,

You're right. It is frustrating, but, in fairness to Dries, he did chip in earlier with as much detail as he could.

$7million is an extraordinary amount of money for any start-up and having had experience of dealing with VCs over the years, I would wager that there are Non disclosure agreements attached to the Acquia shareholders agreement that means Dries and Jay can't discuss the detail of the deal and there would be a conflict of interest for them to discuss the core thrust of this thread.

There's a few ways of taking that. Anyone who has worked or is familiar with how VCs work, will accept and understand completely that it's standard practice. Others will take that as an attack or spreading FUD. Frustrating: yes, but, it's not conspiratorial.

My take on it is that it is an extraordinary opportunity to discuss, seriously and rationally, the future of the Drupal project from the community perspective. Acquia's success is reliant on Drupal developing and improving, so they, more than anyone will be delighted to see an initiative that re-inforces the Drupal community and sustains the same fundamental basic principles that has made Drupal what it is today.

looking forward to seeing your blog post. I've been waiting until the deal was announced to raise this discussion. I sorta knew some would react in the wrong way and perceive it as an attack, so I thought it best to wait rather than unsettle any apple carts while the due diligence was underway.

Incidentally, one group of people that will welcome this discussion more than anyone in the Drupal community is the Acquia shareholders.

I'm speculating, but, I would wager a bet that, as they were going through the Due Diligence process and picking through the SWOT analysis with a fine tooth comb, one of the biggest questions that will have been raised is: "How will the community react to this?".

In the same breath, I would urge others to read my earlier posts that focus on the opportunities and positive reasons for having this discussion now. So we don't have any more knee jerk reactions.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi pcdonoghue,

thanks again for chipping in.

I agree with you completely - that's partly the reason I raised this topic and pushed it to the front page. Many veteran Drupallers avoid the Drupal.org forum and prefer to congregate elsewhere, whether it's on #irc or other and it's those very same veterans who should be included in this discussion. The only way to really catch their eye, apart from posting in numerous locations, would be to push it to the front page of Drupal.org.

Your mention of concerns is correct, but, in the same breath I would also like to add that it is also an indication of huge opportunities.

In other words, the VCs who have put $7million into Dries' startup, have already gone through that scenario planning process and are happy to put $7million dollars into the project. VCs don't mince words and don't accept "don't worry about it dude, it'll never happen" answers to serious questions.

So, if we were to have a "Drupal audit", there's probably no better way than to invite VCs to invest. It's like the economic equivalent of natural selection...strong, healthy projects get investment and the flaky ones don't.

That said, I think we need to rewind a little. There's no point in going through scenario planning, if it's a given that Drupal is an autocracy, rather than a community driven project.

That's a philosophical, rather than a scenario planning question and the easiest way of explaining it is that the "I know best", approach that works extremely well for core drupal code releases (i.e. Dries and a few of the core developers have always acted as tie-breakers when debates arise about what goes into the Drupal core and what doesn't) , might not necessarily work with bigger picture decisions, like how the Drupal IP, core assets are secured and how the project receives funding to move up a gear.

When Dries first started blogging about the new developments (approaching VCs) I noticed that it was, pretty much the same "I know best" approach that programmers apply to code...

Some will want xyz.modules in core and others would like zyx.modules and others would like abc features included, so, the approach has always been: "listen guys, it will be quicker and easier for me to just decide on what goes into core rather than getting into a long drawn out debate about it". Which works brilliantly and I think it shouldn't change for programming decisions.

But for bigger picture decisions, like how the Drupal is funded or how the Drupal IP and core assets are protected I believe "the community knows best". The reason why I believe that, is because the basic fundamental principle behind people/companies adopting Drupal and contributing to Drupal is "this is good for me". If there's a $7million dollar gorilla in the room, those fundamental principles change.

I'm not suggesting that the community decides everything, I'm suggesting that the community adopts a co-operative business framework and appoint a co-op management team to fulfill a set of targets and results on behalf of the Drupal community. Which safeguards Drupal and provides a more solid framework that allows more VCs and investors to engage with Drupal. It doesn't scupper Acquia's plans. It actually adds value to what they are doing. It's just adopting a savvier approach,from the communitys viewpoint.

I'm also not suggesting that everyone who signs up to Drupal has a vote. Have a look at how the co-operative business model works and then have a look to see how many general/permanent members of the Drupal association there are. Out of around 200,000 drupal.org members, there are roughly 117 general members of the Drupal association.

As a mini caveat, the co-operative business model isn't a copy-and-paste model. It's based on a few fundamental (rochdale) principles that have an incredibly good fit with community based projects, like Drupal. The way it works is that you build the co-op framework and constitution around the community project, rather than making the project fit the framework.

One of the best known and easy to understand community-based-ecospheres in business is probably insurance and in 1867, the CIS in the UK adopted the co-operative model. Today, CIS co-op administers £20 billion british pounds (about $34 billion dollars) on behalf of 4.7 million community members. For me, that' s not an abstract theoretical political concept (As Dries described it earlier) and CIS never collapsed from "too many cooks" or analysis paralysis. The reason is because it's a proven and very successfull business model that fits with community-based projects.

Anyway. As an aside, I wanted to raise this discussion earlier, but, thought it wiser to wait, to avoid scenarios like Michelle/Sepeck reacting in the way they did and the VCs picking up on that as a representatiion of the active Drupal community.

So I'm glad that you and others are contributing very good ideas and moving the discussion forward.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

pcdonohue’s picture

Dub,

this is a difficult discussion. There are understandable, human interests on all sides. By questioning Acquia and its investors you will be perceived as questioning Dries. There's no way around that. Just as when Acquia sought VC investment, they knew it would lead to these types of discussions.

Acquia's investment is a big event for Drupal, one of the biggest. And what we're talking about here is making a big change to respond to it... yet without having built a consensus in this community that there needs to be a change.

If these 7 millions pieces of green paper are really a big issue/opportunity, then the Drupal community needs to understand what possible futures may come about, dependent upon its actions and where it is today. You think the underlying philosophy needs to change and that democratizing is worth a shot: great, pull together a group of people and map out what that could lead to. But be honest, and point to the flaws as much as the benefits. Others think that the current benevolent dictator model is better: great, pull together a group of people and map out what that could lead to. Be honest here too, and point to the flaws as much as the benefit. Start a "Future of Drupal" initiative that has as it goals: 1) involve a broad cross-spectrum of the community, 2) assess where Drupal is today, 3) assess where Drupal could go, and ultimately 4) decide the best way to get there.

If that seems too slow, then ask yourself, why should we spend less time designing a new release of the Drupal code than we should designing a new release of the Drupal community?

Finally, I want to thank you for starting this discussion, I think it's an important one. But if I may offer a piece of constructive criticism, one that I admit has been shaped through the imperfect lens of an online discussion, I think you're falling into the trap that a lot of technical people fall into (myself included, all the time): the trap of valuing your solution more than solving the problem.

I share your frustration with people dismissing the issues you're raising, but if we don't listen to what they're saying, if we don't permit them to change our minds as much as we want to change theirs, and if we don't draw them into the future we're discussing, then ultimately we would just be dictating too.

And dictating against the status quo is not a great position to be in...

Patrick

dman’s picture

I think you're falling into the trap that a lot of technical people fall into (myself included, all the time): the trap of valuing your solution more than solving the problem.

I share your frustration with people dismissing the issues you're raising, but if we don't listen to what they're saying, if we don't permit them to change our minds as much as we want to change theirs, and if we don't draw them into the future we're discussing, then ultimately we would just be dictating too.

Two fine observations.

Sorry if this comes across as flippant - I do value DD raising the question but I just don't like his chosen one-and-only answer. Getting locked into the "my answer is the only right one, everyone who disagrees is against me" mindset is unfortunately alienating, and actually incompatable with the community rule proposal!

But, here we go:

  • DD wants major "Drupal community" involvement in major "Drupal direction" decisions.
  • Deciding to totally remodel the way Drupal is administered is a major decision
  • Almost all the community represented here - including notably many big guns who count and existing members of the association - are not keen on the proposal at all
  • If anyone's a believer of democracy in action, or community rule - then DD's proposal is shot down there and then.
  • If you prefer meritocracy, or anything resembling the current administration methods - then the result is the same, only more so.

Cool. Motion dismissed. Everyone carry on as you were.

...I knew this would sound flippant, possibly simplistic. Sorry about that. But there you go.
The community has opted (voted) in to the BDFL model.

.dan.
How to troubleshoot Drupal | http://www.coders.co.nz/

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

DD wants major "Drupal community" involvement in major "Drupal direction" decisions.

not quite. I want to see the drupal community safeguarded first and foremost and I'm suggesting one potential approach. I'm not saying that's the only approach.

deciding to totally remodel the way Drupal is administered is a major decision

not quite. I'm happy with the autocratic "I know best" approach to core code changes (where Dries and a few core drupal programmers act as tie breakers for what goes into core and what doesn't) but I think it's a mistake to apply the same programming principle to big picture decisions.

Almost all the community represented here - including notably many big guns who count and existing members of the association - are not keen on the proposal at all

almost all the community represented here don't understand the thrust of the thread - it's a discussion starter dan. not a manifesto. I have some experience in VC land, so I understand the big picture implications that are going on. For example, when I heard the figure, I nearly fell off my chair. $7million dollars is an incredible amount of money for any IT service startup. A regular programmer or a person who hasn't worked in the finance area wouldn't even question that - they just think it's great, and start browsing porche sites in the hope that they have the golden ticket, to be cherry picked by this new adventure.

Most programmers wouldn't wonder, for example, what the exit strategy is. Or what the "pound of flesh" is.

It's serious stuff that requires serious discussion by the community and for me, I am very concerned that it hasn't been thought through properly.

You can't start a discussion like that with an "I don't agree with this" rant, without some sort of reference to an alternative.

The truth of the matter is Almost all the community represented here - including notably many big guns probably don't understand how serious it is to owe a group of shareholders $7million dollars and probably don't see the potential ramifications. That's what VCs are paid to do. All programmers see at the moment is the influx of $7million dollars. Until, that is, further down the line when the pound of flesh has to be delivered.

hence they support for the status qou dan.

If you prefer meritocracy, or anything resembling the current administration methods - then the result is the same, only more so.

Drupal isn't a meritocracy Dan, it's an autocracy.

As an example, I wouldn't recruit the Drupal association from the community. I would prefer to see a headhunting company hired to recruit key professionals with the key skills and disciplines required to full fill a set of targets and results set out by the community.

That's an example of a meritocracy, Dan.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

eaton’s picture

The truth of the matter is Almost all the community represented here - including notably many big guns probably don't understand how serious it is to owe a group of shareholders $7million dollars and probably don't see the potential ramifications. That's what VCs are paid to do. All programmers see at the moment is the influx of $7million dollars.

First, please note that 'democracy' means that everyone's opinion counts, not just people you feel posses sufficient insight into VC-funded startups. Second, your assumption that others in the thread are ignorant -- simply because they disagree with you -- is regrettable.

I've worked for a number of VC-funded companies and understand quite well what the consequences are. VC funding is not a Christmas present, it's an investment. One of the businesses was a small one catering to a vertical market, lucrative but also fiercely contested. Every day we had to balance what we felt were sound technical decisions with the demands of investors who vetted major expenditures, new hires, and so on. Fortunately, the original owner's experience in the industry was considerable and the knowledge he brought to the table was the primary asset our company had. When he secured the VC, he was able to maintain enough control to make the critical decisions he needed to. Another privately funded company was a consultancy that enjoyed good times during the first dotcom boom but resulted in the owner's house being mortgaged -- and ultimately lost -- when the spigot closed. In addition, I've helped conduct diligence investigations for individuals who were considering investing in other tech startups. In related areas, I've helped launch two other small businesses and worked as an independent consultant for a number of years, roles that require more than code-monkey skills. Of the people who've disagreed with you on this issue, I know at least two who've launched VC-funded businesses, and another who decided to work hard to launch without VC funding to retain full control of the company.

Obviously, that doesn't mean that they are right and you are wrong. It just means that you might want to reconsider the assumption that you're the only person who understands the magnitude and meaning of Acquia's VC funding.

A regular programmer or a person who hasn't worked in the finance area wouldn't even question [a 7 million dollar investment] - they just think it's great, and start browsing porche sites in the hope that they have the golden ticket, to be cherry picked by this new adventure.

Making belittling comments about "regular programmers" and the simple, gullible folks who lack your insights is unbecoming. Suggesting that those people are 'shopping for porsches' and hoping for a slice of Acquia's VC cash is similarly unbecoming. Allow your ideas to stand on their own merits.

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Allow your ideas to stand on their own merits.

my ideas do stand on their own, Eaton. It's my observations or castaway asides that you keep picking up on.

here's 20 billion reasons why the co-op is such a good model for community-basd-ecospheres. That company didn't collapse from "too many cooks" or analysis paralysis for over 100 years.

I'm sorta surprised that you say you have VC experience, an understanding of due diligence and first hand experience of how things can get messy with repossesions when things don't work out. You keep picking up on remarks/asides and ignoring the key points.

So, do you know the exit strategy for the investors?

Do you know why Dries refuses to transfer ownership of the Drupal IP, trademarks, logos etc. i.e. the core Drupal assets, to the Drupal community?

In particular when you know what can happen when investments don't work out and the investors go after the owners house and other assets.

I've asked on a few occasions on here and directly to Dries. Still with no direct answer.

Why is this topic so uncomfortable to discuss? If it's okay for a group of investors to ask key questions about the project, I would have thought the very community who helped create Drupal should be able to ask.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

eaton’s picture

So, do you know the exit strategy for the investors?

No. However, I don't know the business details of DevelopmentSeed or Advomatic, either. Both of those companies have employed people with core commit rights to Drupal core. I understand that Dries' role as the project lead of Drupal is different than other core committers, but it is important to note that other commercial entities have been in similar positions regarding access to direct control of the Drupal source code.

Do you know why Dries refuses to transfer ownership of the Drupal IP, trademarks, logos etc. i.e. the core Drupal assets, to the Drupal community?

Because they're assets that he developed, owned, and possesses? He owns a word, and a domain name. Given the amount of time and energy he's invested in the project as its founder and lead, I'm not sure I see his position as indefensible. I understand your concerns about commercial involvement in a community-driven software project, but your questions for Dries have gone from 'Won't Acquia make you stop working on Drupal?' to 'Won't Acquia force you to make bad decisions for Drupal?' to 'Won't Acquia's investors seize control of the trademark if the company tanks?' to 'Why won't you give us ownership of the trademark?'

That seems to be a serious case of topic drift; each time he answers your questions in a way that would seem reasonable, you dismiss his response and say that the real question is something else. In your most recent post, it's turned into an ultimatum: if he really cares about the community, he'll give up rights to the name of the project he founded. Not because of the danger of commercial interference. Just because.

I'm not uncomfortable discussing What-Ifs and planning for them, I just prefer that we actually do that rather than wave our hands and suggest that Secret Agreements Going On Somewhere By Someone Could Someday Change Everything In Ways None Of Us Understand.

I have carefully considered what I feel to be the 'worst case scenario': Dries turns to the dark side, locks all the other administrators out of drupal.org, removes commit rights for all individuals who don't work for Acquia, and announces that core patches will only be accepted after one sacrifices one's firstborn. He then sells the Drupal trademark to Microsoft, which releases the next version of Sharepoint as Drupal 7 and announces that they will no longer support 'Drupal Classic.'

What happens? The same thing that happened when Miro tried to exert more control over the Mambo project than developers and users were comfortable with: the community stood up, took the code, dropped it into another source control repository, and kept on working with it as they had been. They changed the name, and everyone migrated to the new project called 'Joomla!' Was it unpleasant? Sure. Did it sap the community's energy for a period of time while it got ironed out? Yes. But as worst case scenarios go, it's not exactly doomsday. We're always talking about how Druplicon is kind of creepy-looking, anyways. ;-)

There are, of course, many other ways something like that could play out. Perhaps a commercial company could more subtly influence Drupal, in a way that is somehow detrimental to the project and beneficial to them. Perhaps a commercial entity could hire up all the skilled Drupal developers and force them to work on features no one wants -- integration with legacy mainframes, maybe. That would be bad. I know of a number of people who left the Scoop project because someone hired up the handful of skilled developers who worked on it, and tasked them on a different project while Scoop languished. If a company were to hire all of Drupal's core developers and task them on a different project, with no free time to work on Drupal, that too would be bad. I'm not sure how we could possibly defend against that without making a 'cure' that's worse than the disease, though. It's worth brainstorming, to be sure.

What specific scenario do you feel would be the 'worst case' for Drupal? You've mentioned a couple of them (like a core committer being hired, then forced to work on business-specific projects instead of core). They're worth considering, but they all seemed pretty minor: the kinds of things that would only be really damaging if they were part of a much larger-scale doomsday scenario in which a commercial entity is trying to actively harm the Drupal community. I'm not dismissing the high level concerns, I just don't understand how the specific scenarios you've mentioned would not be manageable and solvable in the current structure of the community.

I'm sorta surprised that you say you have VC experience, an understanding of due diligence and first hand experience of how things can get messy with repossesions when things don't work out. You keep picking up on remarks/asides and ignoring the key points.

If I've ignored any of your key points, I apologize. My disagreement has never been with the idea that the Drupal community should take a careful look at how it intersects with and interacts with the commercial world, and how it should handle 'worst case scenarios' for the project. My concerns have been with the factually inaccurate statements you've made, the obvious misunderstandings you have about things like the current purpose and structure of the Drupal Association, the troubling innuendo you've been spreading about dedicated, committed members of the community who've crossed you in the discussion, and the worrisome (though admittedly vague) suggestions you've made about possible alternatives to the Drupal project's current mode of operation.

The concerns I have are all about the details. If this thread is an inappropriate place to discuss those particulars, I'm not sure why you started it?

In particular when you know what can happen when investments don't work out and the investors go after the owners house and other assets.

The case I mentioned -- in which the owner of a company lost his house -- happened because the owner chose to offer his house as collateral on loans to keep the company floating when the free-and-easy VC money dried up. The company continued to do poorly, and he lost his house when the loan could not be repaid. Dries has explained very clearly that no Drupal-related intellectual property (trademarks, domain names, etc.) was part of any deal with Acquia or its investors.

I've asked on a few occasions on here and directly to Dries. Still with no direct answer.

He's answered quite a few of your questions, clearly, directly, and without any handwaving. In the past couple of posts you've started demanding that he surrender rights to the Drupal trademark, which he has owned since founding the project. I don't blame him for pausing before firing off a quick 'yes' or 'no' on that one.

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

sorry.. accidentally posted twice and my site maintainer priviliges have been removed. can someone delete
this post?

thanks.

dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

coupet’s picture

my site maintainer privileges have been removed.

We can agree to disagree on Drupal issues, but privileges removal may not be the right answer!?

----
Darly

eaton’s picture

We can agree to disagree on Drupal issues, but privileges removal may not be the right answer!?

Dub's site administrator privs were not removed because he disagrees on issues related to the Drupal community. They were removed because he did an end-run about the procedure for promoting content to the front page of drupal.org: without consulting other administrators he promoted his own op-ed piece to the front page of a heavily trafficked community site. When the post was put back in the normal forum listing by another admin -- NOT removed from the site, mind you -- Dub re-promoted it to the front page without consulting any of the other site admins. The discussion about what had happened and what should be done about it took place in the #drupal IRC channel, a public chat resource where a lot of time-sensitive Drual chatter happens.

In the past, other individuals with node admin privileges have been sternly reprimanded for promoting their own content to the front page without seeking the approval of other admins. In all of those cases, as far as I'm aware, none of the individuals in question re-promoted the content to the front page against the wishes of other admins.

A great deal of trust is invested in individuals who have site admin privileges. There's nothing to stop them, for example, from creating forum posts that embed Google adsense codes on the front page of the site and raking in the profits until someone notices and turns it off. There's nothing to prevent them from adding themselves to the list of 'committers' to various code projects, and taking control of another person's module. When it comes to code, Dub has said that just the potential for abuse of privileges is cause for radically restructuring the entire community. When he abused his privileges as a site administrator, he wasn't silenced, he wasn't banned. We didn't change the way individuals are given permissions on the site. He simply had the 'administer nodes' checkbox on his account page unchecked. That's how a self-correcting system works.

If Dub wants to talk to other site admins and make the case that he was mistaken about the accepted procedure for promoting content to the front page, or that he let his passions get the better of him and shouldn't have done an end-run around all the other admins, and that he needs permission to administer nodes to continue his contributions to the Drupal community, he's free to do that. I know quite a few of them (though there are quite a few site admins at this point), and I don't think that most of them would object. The ones he accused of lying and trying to silence him might object, but again -- if the rest of the admins don't have a problem with it, that's life.

I wouldn't normally dwell on this sort of matter, but many of the issues brought up in this thread directly involve how a community self-organizes, polices itself, and prevents the abuse of community resources. A number of the issues brought up also involve the suggestion that there are conspiracies to silence people with controversial or uncomfortable things to say. It's worth noting that no one has been banned, no messages have been deleted, and no threats have been leveled. Dublin took down his own page from the 'Consultants' section of the Drupal handbook because he was angry about losing his administrator privileges.

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

When the post was put back in the normal forum listing by another admin -- NOT removed from the site, mind you -- Dub re-promoted it to the front page without consulting any of the other site admins

This is a moot point, but, to be pedantic, I went on IRC before posting the discussion starter, knowing that most veteran Drupallers avoid the Drupal.org forum like the plague, so I knew the only way to catch their eye was to promote the post to the front page.

I emailed the maintainer of the Drupal.org front page asking to explain why it was demoted before doing anything. I didn't get a reasonable explanation back and promoted it again, myself. In case there was any crossed lines, I also asked the maintainer of the front page to explain on this thread why the post was being removed from the front page of Drupal.org if she did it again. i.e. otherwise it would come across in a negative light.

I didn't take down my own page from the consultants section because I was angry, Eaton, I took it down because I would have felt hypocritical leaving it up there. That page is for people who contribute to Drupal.

Removing my site privileges and throwing around wild accusations in the way they did, is the sort of thing I would expect from microsoft or apple, Eaton and as you can see from Sepecks recent post above, he's still chuffed with himself and can't contain his self-righteous glee.

I'm afraid that's not the sort of, ahem, open community spirit that encourages people to invest time and energy to contribute to Drupal. The irony is, acting in the way Sepeck and MIchelle did has only made people nervous about voicing their honest opinions.

In fact, since Sepeck/Michelle stopped posting, it is interesting how the discussion has veered back into the positive, open discussion it started out as.

If they would be kind enough to delete their posts, I would argue again for this to be promoted back to the front page.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

Michelle’s picture

I had no intention of posting on this thread, and bit my tongue about the jabs that have been tossed at me in your other posts, but if you are going to post an outright lie, I need to address it.

I emailed the maintainer of the Drupal.org front page asking to explain why it was demoted before doing anything. I didn't get a reasonable explanation back and promoted it again, myself. In case there was any crossed lines, I also asked the maintainer of the front page to explain on this thread why the post was being removed from the front page of Drupal.org if she did it again.

You did not ask me to explain to you why it was demoted.

Your exact email, which I would normally never post publically but I feel that is the only way to get the truth out, is this:

I noticed you demoted a thread on drupal.org yesterday...citing a
discussion on #irc.
do you mind me asking you to post on that thread the reason why it was
demoted?

As you had already been emailed an explanation by another admin, and were asking me to post it on the thread, not explain it to you, that was the only thing I responded to. To be fair, here is my email:

Why? Front page policies really aren't relevant to the thread. Though I
suppose it does somewhat tie into the theme of it. The majority of people
discussing it felt it was inappropriate front page material so that ties
right into the whole democracy thing.

To which you responded:

Thanks for that. I've promoted it to the front page again.It's an important discussion that should be brought into the open.
If you feel it's unappropriate material for the front page, please post your opinion,on the thread itself instead of taking it upon yourself to demote it.

So there you have it. You promoted your own controversial post to the front. I demoted it put the reason in the revision log according to policy. You emailed me asking me to post on the thread why I did so. I felt it was inappropriate to take this thread on a tangent to discuss front page policy. Because of that, you re-promoted it yourself against the wishes of the other admins. That is what happened. I stand by that and will not be removing my posts. People need to know the truth. Your claims that you were demoted for posting this thread are false and harmful to the community.

Michelle

--------------------------------------
See my Drupal articles and tutorials or come check out life in the Coulee Region.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Eaton,

You really need to calm down, Eaton. If you read again what you just typed, you actually don't have any of the anwers to my questions, so, instead you're trying to present my questions as an attack.

If you read my posts you will have picked up that I think the acquia development is a great, positive development. I'm not attacking acquia. I'm not attacking anyone. I'm just questioning the wisdom of the approach.

The majority of the people on here actually agree with me- i.e. the acquia development is positive.

In other words, you're actually agreeing with me on that front, Eaton, but, you aren't looking at the discussion objectively and rationally.

Not everyone agrees with me questioning the approach and ironically, if we had a struture in place, where the core drupal project and community is isolated and protected from non-community interests, e.g. VCs/investors, we could have 20 or 30 Acquia startups in 2008 and we wouldn't be even having discussion.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Patrick,

Appreciate the post.

It has to be said though that I'm not coming at this discussion from a purely technical point of view, I'm also coming at it from the perspective of having worked with startups and VCs before. I know exactly how the process works, what sort of questions are covered and what sort of expectations come with different levels of investment. Whether that's 100k non equity funding or higher, equity funding via VCs.

I've said it before, but $7million dollars is a gargantuan amount of money for any IT tech startup. Am I alone in being shocked by that?

I'm also coming at it from an investors point of view. Every contributor to drupal over the years is a virtual shareholder of drupal. it's not written down on any piece of paper, but, the share dividends or the return on investment is very clear. i.e. If I help this grow, I benefit long term. That's the real driving force behind drupal and anyone who argues otherwise is deluding themselves.

I'm also not dictating my opinion of the co-op as a potentially good alternative to the autocratic approach. Technical people, like myself, respond or connect quicker to suggestions, rather than open and maybe a touch philosophical debates. The suggestion (not a dictation) of the co-op model was because everything is almost already in place. It wouldn't be a cultural upheaval. A little tweaking here and there plus the transfer of the Drupal IP and core assets (trademarks.logos etc.) and it's almost done.

The danger now is that the positive thrust i started the thread with is being lost because it appears to be easier to just demonize me and my suggestions rather than engage with some serious discussion.

which is a pity, but understandable, when there's a $7million dollar gorilla in the room.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

keith.smith’s picture

I've said it before, but $7million dollars is a gargantuan amount of money for any IT tech startup. Am I alone in being shocked by that?

Yes, you're right. $7M is a lot of money. It is, for example, a little over $7M more than my current net worth.

In terms of VC funding, though, is it a gargantuan sum? Or simply a reasonable one?

I note with interest this article in Wired titled "Top 10 Startups Worth Watching in 2008".

Startup - Funding
23andMe - $12 million
37Signals - Undisclosed sum (note: VC funding is sometimes like a menu -- if you don't see the price, it is likely expensive.)
AdMob - Undisclosed Series A..., $15 million Series B
BitTorrent - $28.75 million
Dash - $45 million
Fon - Approx. $35 million
LinkedIn - $27.5 million
Powerset - $12.5 million
Slide - ...rumored $20 million
Spock - $8 million

(I assume this list was compiled pre-Acquia because otherwise, they should so totally be on it.)

--keith

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

hi

thanks for posting.

That list sorta makes the point for me. All those startups you listed is that there is proprietary IP associated with those companies you listed.

In other words, all those companies are raising finance to further development on products they developed. Acquia is raising funding to develop distributions and provide services for Drupal, which has been developed by someone else...i.e. the Drupal community.

That's why the $7million dollars figure for an "other-peoples-tech" services startup is so extraordinarily high.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

eaton’s picture

That list sorta makes the point for me. All those startups you listed is that there is proprietary IP associated with those companies you listed.

37Signals, the winner of an 'undisclosed sum' of VC money, is built on Ruby On Rails, an open source framework that's similar in purpose to Drupal for a company like Acquia. Bittorrent is open source. The software, the architecture, the protocol... all OSS. Its investors certainly aren't in control of the world of Torrents just because they purchased the company whose founder invented the protocol. They may have hoped to be, but 'taking over' an OSS project is like scooping a handful of water from a running river. You can claim that you "own" that cupped handful of river, but the water keeps on flowing.

The other companies mentioned are Web 2.0 sites whose primary assets are existing social networking data and web-app functionality. I'm still not sure what you're getting at, though. You seem to be suggesting that Acquia's investors would only have put that much money on the table if they had some sort of secret deal that enabled them to seize control of the Drupal project. Am I misunderstanding you?

Acquia is raising funding to develop distributions and provide services for Drupal, which has been developed by someone else...i.e. the Drupal community.

While it's a little strange to suggest that Dries, Gabor, and Kieran are separate from 'the people who developed Drupal', your point is taken. Acquia, like every other company that sells solutions based on Drupal, will benefit from the work of others. They may benefit greatly. So do I, when the company I work for gets paid to build a Drupal site. So do you, when you are paid by a client to build a Drupal site. So does Bryght, when they sell hosting services with pre-packaged Drupal setups. So did dww, when a bounty was raised for him to enhance the Project module. So does... well, everyone who gets money for doing anything Drupal related.

That's how the GPL works. I mean, I'm not angry that you've made money off of my work in Drupal 5. :-) And I hope you don't mind that I've used your Frontpage module on a few projects. As you've noted before, starting up a company and running it is hard, hard work with a lot of risks. I wish Acquia the best, and if they're able to navigate those waters successfully it will be because they are good at what they're doing and deliver value to customers that can't be had simply by downloading a copy of drupal and dropping it onto a web server.

Again, if the concern is about a commercial entity seizing control of the Drupal project, or hindering its growth somehow, let's brainstorm and figure out specifics.

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

hi Eaton,

Your analogy of me using your modules or you using the frontpage.module doesn't quite fit, Eaton. If something happens me or you, someone else can take over the projects. If something happens Dries, who knows what happens to the core Drupal assets, IP, domains, trademarks?

That's always been the case, but, when there is a $7million dollar gorilla in the room, who also happens to be hiring the core Drupal developers and key members of the Drupal association, that does raise a few alarm bells for the community and the Drupal project.

According to Keirans stats, there are 4 key developers in control of Drupals core code. Acquia, to date, employs 2 of them, in the form of Dries and Gabor.

Forgive me for being dim, but, would it not be wiser (for the community, not acquia) to have the developers who are in control of the core Drupal code, employed by, erm, the drupal association?

And if Acquia genuinely does want to finance the development of drupal core, why don't they donate that cash to the Drupal association?

I don't see why that's a problem.

if the concern is about a commercial entity seizing control of the Drupal project, or hindering its growth somehow, let's brainstorm and figure out specifics.

The specifics are very simple. It's you and a few others that are complicating things.

The specifics are that we wouldn't be having this discussion, if there was a structure in place that isolates Drupal and the Drupal community from external interests.

It cannot get much simpler than that.

It's not an attack. It's not FUD. And leaving aside my suggestions on a possible structure, it's just stating the blinking obvious.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

eaton’s picture

If something happens Dries, who knows what happens to the core Drupal assets, IP, domains, trademarks?

I assume they would become the property of his wife. We already know that they would not become the property of Acquia or its investors. However, I see the question of the word 'Drupal' and its ownership as a distant second to the question of control of the actual code that makes up the Drupal project. While that is ultimately a moot point due to the GPL, there is also a fuzzier, day-to-day control over what makes it into the official release version of Drupal in the hands of the project's core committers.

You seem to agree with this point when you say that the real issue is one company hiring 1/2 of the current core committers. That's an excellent point to bring up, and one that I've discussed in some detail in several of my earlier posts in this thread. Do you disagree with my thoughts on it? I notice that you didn't reply to any of the messages in which I discussed it. It's worth noting that other core committers can be added as needed. One is added every time a new version of Drupal begins development, for example. Others have suggested an 'areas of responsibility' system, in which experts in particular APIs and subsystems would have commit rights to their areas of specialty. There are drawbacks to that system as well, though, and I'm not sure they're easy to overcome. Perhaps a system that explicitly requires more core committers be added if any commercial entity employs a majority? This is a bit tricky, but hardly insurmountable.

Forgive me for being dim, but, would it not be wiser (for the community, not acquia) to have the developers who are in control of the core Drupal code, employed by, erm, the drupal association?

I've discussed this in some depth in a number of my earlier posts, as well. I don't believe it would be wiser, in part because the Drupal Association's charter and purpose does not include employing core committers simply because they are core committers. I understand the idea here -- if someone has the ability to change Drupal core, shouldn't the community that uses Drupal employ them collectively? I just come to a different conclusion than you do. I see some serious flaws: for example, would core committers be fired from their Drupal Association employment when the version they're responsible for is sunsetted (as 4.7 will be when 6 is released)? Would the association have to hire every new core committer?

I think it's definitely worth considering a system that prevents one commercial entity from employing all of (or a majority of) Drupal's core committers. Adding another 'sanity check' committer might be a good step. I just think that turning the Drupal Association -- or any organization -- into a central employer for "the top Drupal devs" or "the core committers" or "the active core developers" is a mistake. I've explained my reasons several times, and others have explained why they came to similar conclusions.

I do not have any objections to discussing these things -- they're the part I find interesting, and constructive, and useful. I don't consider it an attack to discuss them.

And if Acquia genuinely does want to finance the development of drupal core, why don't they donate that cash to the Drupal association?

I've answered this question twice, now. I'll do it a third time in more detail -- perhaps stating it differently will help.

First, the Drupal Association's purpose and charter does not include 'employ developers and act as a middleman for contract development work.' If you believe that its mission should include that, re-read Boris Mann's excellent post and apply to be a member of the Association Board. There, you'll have a vote and a voice where you can persuade others to change the Association's bylaws to include the things you think it should be doing.

Second, if that happens there are two paths it can take. If the Association were to employ Drupal developers (keep in mind, that's not the same thing as core committers), would the tasks these developers work on be chosen by the community at large, via a voting mechanism of some kind? Or would the tasks these developers work on be chosen by the companies that donate money?

I'm not sure why any company would choose to work with the first model. They would be throwing money at an organization, hoping that the Drupal community at large has the same priorities. It seems like a rather unwise use of their dollars, when they could simply hire developers and contribute re-usable portions of the work back as core patches. That approach has worked very well in the past, with features like CSS aggregation and compression, the Installer, OpenID, the internationalization system, and so on.

I'm not sure how the second model would protect the community from outside influence, either. At the time it was first discussed, a fair number of people in the Drupal community opposed the Drupal Association's formation because they feared this very scenerio: A company wants a feature in core, and a big enough check could 'buy the commit.' If an organization can come in and hire The Official Drupal Developers to add the specific features they need... how are we better off?

Is there a third option that I'm missing? Perhaps only some developers would be employed by the Central Drupal Group, and commercial companies could hire other developers or train their existing developers to implement specific features?

The specifics are that we wouldn't be having this discussion, if there was a structure in place that isolates Drupal and the Drupal community from external interests.

No, we would not be having this discussion. We would be having other discussions, about other questions and other problems. Such is life in a complicated world!

I just don't believe that "isolating" Drupal from external interests is necessarily a good thing. We are all part of the Drupal community, but we are also all outside interests. Which interests should it be protected from? The people who want TinyMCE in core? The ones that think supporting Oracle and SQL Server are more important than the node rendering system? The ones that think running in 8 megs of ram is more important than improving the theming system? The ones that think support for shared hosts without DB creation privileges is unnecessary? I want lots of things that other people don't care about. I am a core developer, and I work on those things. Am I an outside interest, or am I part of the community?

That's not a rhetorical question. I'm trying to figure out what some of these terms you're tossing around mean. :-)

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

chx’s picture

Eaton and Dries already answered your question. Noone controls Drupal's core code. As stated several times here, when those people screw with Drupal core, we will pick the code, drop it into a git or hg repo, rename it to "DubCMS" and continue with life.

Now, here is a challenge. Why are you not concerned about me employed by a VC funded company? According to Drumm's stats, I happen to write more core patches than any other two contributors combined. And yes, I am payed by this VC funded company to work on Drupal in some of my time. Sometimes I introduce severe bugs that go unnoticed for half a year and even then sometimes it's me who figures it out and patch it (see my post to devel this very morning) so if I would decide to screw with Drupal just because VCs want that, I most probably could.
--
The news is Now Public | Drupal development: making the world better, one patch at a time. | A bedroom without a teddy is like a face without a smile.

--
Drupal development: making the world better, one patch at a time. | A bedroom without a teddy is like a face without a smile.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

hi

thanks for posting.

That list sorta makes the point for me about the extraordinary startup figure. With all those startups you listed, there is proprietary IP associated with those companies.

In other words, all those companies are raising finance to further development on products they developed. Acquia is raising funding to develop distributions and provide services for Drupal, which has been developed by someone else...i.e. the Drupal community.

That's why the $7million dollars figure for an "other-peoples-tech" services startup is so extraordinarily high and the sort of funding you would expect if Drupal really was Acquia's product.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

pcdonohue’s picture

Dub,

I realized that my last post may have sounded a bit patronizing, I didn't mean it that way, and I apologize if it came across that way. No one wants to be preached to! Sometimes my love of neat sentences dooms me as much as my love of neat solutions...

Any ways, I'm suggesting that we should take a step back and figure out how to structure this conversation so more people would want to participate in it. Although you may view that as a philosophical exercise, rather than a nuts and bolts one, you yourself said that you think the meritocracy/autocracy philosophy adopted by Drupal is the problem. So perhaps a "philosophical" exercise is in order.

However, rather than to derail the conversation any further from the problem and solutions you are putting forward, I'll think about a separate forum to consider scenario planning. I think there's space for a number of conversations around the impact of Acquia's investment, indeed there probably need to be a number of conversations. Since I'm not nearly as active as a Drupal contributor as you, Eaton, et. al. are, I am thinking that it would be a great exercise for the Drupal Association to take on. By the way, I actually joined the Association as a result of this discussion. Hopefully my fees clear paypal soon...

Happy Holidays to everyone! Lots of fun stuff on the horizon.

Patrick

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Patrick,

happy holidays to you too and I agree there is lots of fun on the horizon.

There's absolutely no need to apologise. I tend to agree with a lot of what you're saying. Even if I disagreed with you, I would say the same thing.

The way I see it is that everyone agrees change needs to be made and every one agrees that Dries is a great guy, I actually hold him in the same regard as Jonathan Paul Ive (apple's lead designer and the guy behind the ipod design).

This discussion is being derailed by people who see this thread as an attack, a spread of fud.

I don't see it that way.

To use a programming analogy, I see it in the same way you would see any issue thread on Drupal.org...e.g. a module is released or updated and people are invited to test, report faults and suggest improvements.

That's the core thrust of this thread, at least the way I started it..i.e. thanks for creating this module, it looks great and it will benefit drupallers everywhere...here's my thoughts on it. To get the best out of the module, you want people to pick holes in it, report any oversights or faults. The last thing you want is cheerleaders who glance at the $7million announcement and not question anything,

That's why the news about acquia is actually such brilliant news....i.e. the VCs have spent the last few months picking holes in Dries/Jay's Business Plan and come out the other end, happy to invest $7million dollars.

The VCs I've dealth with don't base investment decisions on cheerleading, "he's a great guy" logic and thankfully when an issue queue is opened on Drupal.org for a module, drupallers reporting a bug/issue/feature request don't either. They pull the business plan apart piece by piece and analyse every element in detail. Now and again, a module maintainer might get frustrated by some comments, but, I've rarely seen any module maintainer perceiving a bug report/fault/suggestion/feature request as anything but constructive.

Before I started this discussion, I knew a few might perceive the discussion as an attack or I would be risk the discussion being spun into an attack on me. Which is a shame, because anyone who knows me from Drupal.org will know that I'm one of the biggest fans of Drupal out there. Which is okay. I didn't really start this thread to win any popularity contests, I raised it because I give a shit.

What's a bigger shame is that I have emails from other Drupallers who are glad that this topic has been raised but are reluctant to take part in the discussion on here.

Ironically, if the Drupal core code (or kernal) was isolated from external interests, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

keith.smith’s picture

The way I see it is that everyone agrees change needs to be made and every one agrees that Dries is a great guy, I actually hold him in the same regard as Jonathan Paul Ive (apple's lead designer and the guy behind the ipod design).

Everyone is a lot of people. How can you determine what Everyone thinks? For instance, I don't think everyone agrees change needs to be made. I don't, for instance. (And, I suspect that if you ask enough people, you'll find someone somewhere who doesn't agree that Dries is a great guy.) Again, please don't make sweeping generalizations.

To use a programming analogy, I see it in the same way you would see any issue thread on Drupal.org...e.g. a module is released or updated and people are invited to test, report faults and suggest improvements.

Exactly right. When I post a suggestion to an issue queue, I'm going to expect several things:
- that my idea must solve a problem that exists (and that others can replicate), or
- that my idea suggests a new feature or provides new functionality that integrates well within an existing framework.

So far, I don't see that you have met either of these criteria.

When I post a suggestion to an issue queue, I'm also going to expect:
- people to question my solution, and provide alternatives that may or may not use my solution.
- people to question my statements if I make wild claims that are difficult or impossible to substantiate.
- people to question my statements if I misrepresent or exaggerate the facts, and certainly if I do so in a way to make them better support my position.

This is part of the process, and indeed, is occurring in this thread.

And finally, when I post a suggestion in someone's issue queue, I'm going to:
- try to frame my suggestion with the understanding that what I'm proposing may not fit in with the maintainer's vision of the module.
- try to avoid representing the maintainer as someone who is not being truthful, or "above board" in their dealings with the community.

At the end of the day, any idea that makes its way through this process, in an iterative fashion, and *still* emerges at the end is going to be better for it, IMO.

Please don't interpret this post or any of my other comments as an attack. I really don't mean them that way. But, let's pretend this is an issue queue. What is the demonstrable problem here? The title of this "issue", if you will?

You've recently posted a hypothetical scenario about the difficulty one might now face when pitching Drupal to a client wishing to invest considerable sums over a long period of time in Drupal (and that Acquia might make it more difficult to make statements about the future of the project).

OK. The fact that it is -- I assume -- a hypothetical, is fine. We deal with all kinds of hypotheticals in the issue queues -- hypothetical security problems, hypothetical upgrade problems, etc. No problem there. So let's look at your actual example problem.

First, no one can predict the future. I'm not sure what certainties exist in any industry, much less so the IT world. To be trite, I guess I could say "The only certainty is change". It is difficult (and perhaps inadvisable) for you to guarantee anything to your clients about the distant future, no matter what software package you use.

Secondly, and more importantly, I read your scenario and come to the opposite conclusion. If I am making a presentation to a business client who wishes to make long-term investment in Drupal, I think that client will be reassured by the presence of Acquia and other Drupal related businesses within the community. I think Acquia makes that pitch much easier to both IT and non-IT folks. Since, as you say, VC's do their own due diligence in regard to the health and viability of a product before funding a business based on it, to me Acquia is validation of my product of choice.

So, I reject your premise that Acquia makes your hypothetical pitch difficult to do in good faith. Instead, I believe that you will now have a much easier time of it, by demonstrating that Drupal as an open source project is healthy and viable enough for major investment. Indeed, Acquia is proof positive of that.

The VCs I've dealth with don't base investment decisions on cheerleading, "he's a great guy" logic and thankfully when an issue queue is opened on Drupal.org for a module, drupallers reporting a bug/issue/feature request don't either. They pull the business plan apart piece by piece and analyse every element in detail. Now and again, a module maintainer might get frustrated by some comments, but, I've rarely seen any module maintainer perceiving a bug report/fault/suggestion/feature request as anything but constructive.

Well, to be fair, you created this "issue". If this were in an issue queue, you would need to demonstrate an actual problem here, in such a way that other people could confirm it. I'm not saying that there can't be a legitimate issue here -- I'm just saying that I haven't heard it yet.

Before I started this discussion, I knew a few might perceive the discussion as an attack or I would be risk the discussion being spun into an attack on me. Which is a shame, because anyone who knows me from Drupal.org will know that I'm one of the biggest fans of Drupal out there. Which is okay. I didn't really start this thread to win any popularity contests, I raised it because I give a shit.

I believe this. People who don't care about Drupal probably don't bother to wonder about its future. I believe you when you say you care.

Ironically, if the Drupal core code (or kernal) was isolated from external interests, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

I do not believe this. Again, wild, far-reaching statements like this do not help your cause. Who knows what we would be discussing in some strange alternate reality if everything were different?

In summary, if this were an issue queue:
- Yes, it is the job of your "reviewers" to question your basic premise and attempt to replicate or confirm the "bug" you are reporting.
- No, your "reviewers" do not have to agree with your proposed patch (a cooperative), but instead, can completely reject that in favor of something else.
- Yes, it is the job of your "reviewers" to question your statements when and if they consist largely of hyperbole.

If this were an issue queue, I'd be reaching for "by design" right now.

--keith

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

hi Keith

I chuckled at the turn of phrase in your post, but, I think you're actually missing my point and ironically proving my point..i.e. there's no need to get all hot and bothered...just treat this like a normal issue queue. Where people pick report bugs, pick holes and request features.

You're right about acquia, it is good for Drupal, but, it's the approach that is the problem and leaving your alternative realities aside, here's the crux of the problem:

At the moment Drupal is being steered part-time by Dries, who is essentially a programmer and who has, up until recently, being one of the busiest code crunchers for Drupal core. Now he has to juggle core code contributions, fixing bugs etc., with steering Drupal as well as satisfying the needs of a group of investors, who just invested $7million dollars in a new company.

That's not just wrong, it is quite simply ridiculous. Particularly when you consider that Acquia just hired one of the next busiest code cruncher for the core Drupal code, Gabor, but, I would argue that Drupal is in a better, stronger position with full time coders - at the very least, not part timers.

You can brain dance around those facts with whatever tangents you like, but, I couldn't possibly sit in a meeting with a prospective client and tell them that it's worth investing $250k+ into the tech. "it'll never happen, dude".

In the same breath, I find it truly astonishing that anyone wouldn't outline what's going on with the project to a prospective client investing that amount of money into it. For brochure designers/hobbyist clients, I can see your point - they can switch from Drupal in the morning, but not for medium-to-large scale projects.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

derjochenmeyer’s picture

I have a completely opposite oppinion about that.

Before Acquia was announced, nobody (who is not an insider) knew what Dries' future was. And someone could have opened a similar discussion "what happens if Dries leaves and the community falls apart?". This someone could have suggested similar scenarios. Think through the hit-by-a-bus scenario and imagine Dries' wife would have sold drupal.org to a drupal related company or the chinese government.

You could argue that the future of drupal looks better now, or that its in danger. You can come up with negative examples about other Open source projects or you can point out the underlying machinery of large investments, but in the end its about trust.

If you buy Apple or Google stock now, who can tell you what happens if Steve Jobs gets hit by a bus. Or Brin and Pages Boing chrashes. Its about trust! This is the largest capital of any investment. In the end, after all the due diligence, SWOT, business plans and so on, the reason for investing 7.000.000$ was also trust and intuition. Trust in individuals, technology, the community, the market, name it. And one thing is sure, the GPLed code will remain.

Its seems to me I'm not only speaking for myself if i say that trust outweighs doubt by far for many in this discussion. The facts speak against you if you say everybody or the majority agrees that something has to change.

It does not mean at all that you are wrong. You maybe completely right. And maybe in one year I will read this and think "Dub was right." I think people are open to your suggestions, and interested in your concerns. People also tend to answer in the moment in which they completely disagree. Thats what makes this discussion emotional too.

Some problems you and otheres pointed out were casting a different light on the issue for me, and im sure for many others, too. Thanks for your persistence and your time to explain and your constructive criticism.

For me, looking at all the facts discssed and taking into consideration individuals, technology, the community, the market, name it. Intuition is a big one too. Trust remains.

Im not saying "lets trust". Its the personal renewing result of an ongoing critical process.

----------------------
forward-media.de

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi derjochenmeyer,

The whole point of the discussion is to remove the risks, rather than speculate on them.

Drupal is already a co-operative project, it just hasn't been formalised yet, in a business sense and the irony of the discussion is that if there was such a structure in place - where Drupal and the Drupal community were isolated from external interests - we wouldn't be having this discussion in the first place.

So instead of speculating on the risks I would concentrate on removing the risks.

by the way, trust works both ways and Dries' approach suggests he doesn't trust the community. I tend to disagree, I would trust a co-operative model rather than an autocratic model any day of the week. why?

Because it's the co-operative model that has got Drupal to where it's at today and it's an enormously succesful business model.

here's 20 billion reasons why the co-op model isn't, as Dries described it, an abstract political theory . It doesn't suffer from "too many cooks" and is enormously succesfull as a community business model.

More importantly, if you follow the journey that linus torvalds took with linux (another co-operative project), he deliberately isolated the linux kernel (core code) from external interests, which allowed VCs to invest in SUSE, Red Hat and many others.

If we isolated the Drupal core assets and the core drupal code from external interests, we could look forward to having 10 acquia startups in 2008/2009. What VC would be interested in investing in a competitor to Dries? He owns the core Drupal assets, is juggling his new part-time acquia project with programming Drupal core code and is essentially locked into a shareholders agreement to the tune of $7million dollars.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

derjochenmeyer’s picture

I tried to understand how a co-op could work for drupal. I dont think its an abstract political theory. I have a rather positive opinion about it, but there are some aspects that make it hard for me understand how this could work (better) for drupal.

The problem is, how do you define members of the drupal co-op? How do you merge the great variety of motivations of its members?

There may be a small group of people who have economic interests. What if a large amount of members wants a better wordpress instead of an abstract toolbox? I think you pay with new risks if you try to remove existing ones.

There might be some benefits from a co-op structure, but also a whole lot of new risks.

----------------------
forward-media.de

coupet’s picture

In 2006, a total of $844.40 million dollars has been invested in 167 Equity Investments in Web 2.0

Equity Investment in US, European, Israeli, or Chinese Headquartered, Venture-Backed Companies Only

Equity Investments (2006)
US 126
Europe 20
Israel HQ 1
China 21
Grand Total 167

Amount Invested ($M)
US $682.70
Europe $100.46
Israel $1.00
China $61.25
Grand Total $844.40

Median Round Size ($M)
US $5.00
Europe $6.01
Israel NS
China $5.00
Grand Total $5.00

Median Pre-Money Valuation ($M)
US $6.00
Europe $2.55
Israel NS
China $5.50
Grand Median $5.98

Source: DowJones Venture Capital
http://venturecapital.dowjones.com/press/statistics.html

----
Darly

Tmanagement’s picture

Hi all,

I guess everybody agrees that this discussion is going nowhere like this. First of all I agree that critical question can be asked, and in return I believe nobody should feel offended by these questions. Reading all the posts here, expose that there are enough people that do feel offended. Which is in my opinion mainly the cause of this discussion which will have no meaningful end while continuing as it does.

speculation whether or not 7 million is much is useless. Millions and millions are being granted for projects that only drive on existing Open Source software used and combined with some modifications to make new usages possible by which money can be made. It seems that Acquia is having some great idea's which, combined with great management will be worth millions.

Finally there are questions what will happen with core developers once hired by Acquia, what will happen with drupal.org and other trademarks . As far as the developers concerned, they are free to go where they want to. Although it is a pity when core developers leave, it is part of live and a problem that every project, company has to face. In addition, what will happen to drupal.org and other drupal trademarks depends on who owns them. Leaving not much room for discussion.

Those that do not agree with the direction that Drupal might be heading in the future can leave the Drupal project at free will. What will happen in the future we will see and until the moment something has to change I am hoping that people are wise enough to debate on facts, not on personal issues.

Brook’s picture

I must say that I can see Dub's point - the shareholders will expect a lot from Dries, and something they want more than anything is profit. The big question is would there ever arise a situation where something would be good for Acquia and not for Drupal? Or vice versa?

If so then I can't see how Dries would be able to go in favour of Drupal - given that his 'main' priority would be Acquia, as stipulated in a legally binding contract... unless of course there is a clause in the contract that says otherwise.

Personally, I think Dries has done a great job to date, and I think he is still a great person to lead Drupal, however I think there should be a safety net - where, in future, if Dries was considered to be going against the interests of Drupal he is ejected from the Drupal assosication (or the said co-op that will then 'control' Drupal).

In other words - what is the harm of going with Dub's suggestion but still voting Dries into the position he holds now - so long as he continues to put Drupal first everything is fine and will remain fine. But if there ever came a day when he didn't, Drupal could self preserve, and relieve Dries of his duties. Surely that is best for Drupal _and_Dries?

cpelham’s picture

Dub, this has certainly generated an interesting discussion about the relative merits of setting us cooperative organizations to oversee open source projects. However, in this case, I am not really sure where this discussion could lead. Dub, you suggest that Dries should donate the trademark and ownership of the drupal.org web site to the Drupal Association (or to a Drupal co-op). This is a course of action that only Dries himself could choose to take. The Drupal community (however it may be defined) has no power to compel Dries to make it. So maybe this should have been a private conversation between you and Dries?

As Dries created Drupal and set up and paid for the domain registration and trademark, he is entirely within his right to keep them. He was very generous to license Drupal under such generous terms. But it was his choice. Likewise, it is his free choice to decide for whom he works. The Drupal community should not be trying to tell him who to work for or how much he should work for free or under what terms. If he wants to set up a co-op, that's fine but if he wants to continue as is, that's his right, and if his choices make some people nervous, they have the freedom to choose to devote their time and resources to a different project. Someone else can create a new CMS with a coop structure.

I understand that you are not suspicious of Dries personally. You are just suggesting that under a coop setup, the need to rely on trusting a lead developer's motives might be taken out of the equation, although I think that any system will be dependent on the strengths and motivations of its leaders. Anyway, it is food for thought but a decision that Dries need not make. He's not our slave and I don't think you should necessarily pressure him to give up whatever intellectual property he owns that he'd like to continue to own.

You feel that if Dries would do that, then it would attract more investment in Drupal, which in and of itself is a very practical and valid objective. But i think a lot of us are not convinced that it would make much difference. First, I think Dries' authority to make commits and oversee the development of Drupal is or would be the same under either scenario, as his real authority comes from his ability and performance and not from his ownership of the domain name and trademark. Second, I think that an organization that needs to further develop Drupal to get it to meet its needs is going to be much more comfortable paying and managing developers directly (with the option of contributing their solutions to the Drupal open source project) rather than making a donation to a Drupal co-op which may or may not want to accept the job and which would then perhaps have less accountability to the company wanting the job completed. Maybe I am misunderstanding this aspect of your idea but it seems like it would limit development severely in an effort to minimize commercial/corporate influences, and I find this idea dubious. Business and companies are not inherently suspicious or evil. Business is simply the exchange of goods or services. You would simply be replacing one kind of influence/control with another. In truth, every system is dependent on the character of the individuals serving/running it. As we see in the US now, even a system with strong checks and balances and a supposed commitment to transparency can be corrupted by a combination of unscrupulous leaders and a refusal to hold those leaders accountable by those who responsible for providing oversight.

I really don't think we have anything to worry about, and if someday Dries takes leave of the Drupal project (which is certainly his right) or does decide to take it in a certain direction that other members of the Drupal development community disagree with, I don't think it's the end of the world at all LoL if Drupal forks or changes names or what have you. That would just allow for more choice and solutions for more people. That's life.

Finally, I'd like to say that not one example has been suggested by anyone in this thread of a single specific possible conflict of interest that Dries might encounter in the future. I get the feeling, Dub, that a lot of us feel like you are overreacting because we just cannot imagine what such a scenario might be. Regardless of any possible non-disclosure agreements, the people who have been working with Dries on Drupal take him at his word that his new company will seek to provide solutions on top of Drupal and for that will want Drupal to be as good as it can be. Therefore, he will spend the bulk of his time, in fact more so than he has up to now, continuing to improve Drupal. So, Dries may NEVER face any conflict of interest.

—————————

Christopher Pelham
Director
CRS (Center for Remembering & Sharing)
123 4th Ave, 2nd FL
New York, NY 10003
212-677-8621
www.crsny.org

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

hi cpelham,

Every company, organisation or project comes to a stage when it accepts things can't continue the way it's going and it needs to move up a level. I think everyone agrees that Drupal has come to that crossroads.

I think everyone also agrees that Dries as the founder deserves a huge amount of credit for starting the Drupal project and also deserves to cash in his chips, so to speak and be rewarded for his effort.

As a lead programmer and ideas guy, I think Dries is great. Again, another fact we all agree upon and I'm not calling his skills as a programmer and technical developer into question. In many respects, I would hold Dries in the same regard as Jonathan Paul Ive (Apple's principle designer and the guy who designed the ipod). One of the main reasons I chose Drupal initially was the clever way the modular-development-framework was designed and for me Dries is to code what Ives is to industrial design.

What I am questioning is the wisdom of the non programming/code decisions, or in other words the bigger picture decisions and in particular the approach with Acquia. We have a saying in Ireland that goes "It's a wise man who knows he knows nothing" and I think that applies very well here. Dries is applying the same "I know best" approach that has worked brilliantly for drupal code decisions (Dries and a few core programmers act as tie-breakers for what goes in or doesn't go into core) to bigger picture decisions.

To give you a real world example of concerns, consider you have a presentation coming up in late jan with a company who are looking at investing in a Drupal-type platform to not just manage multiple site content and ecommerce activities but to use as a platform to develop API's (or widgets for lack of a better word), along the lines of Amazons/flickrs APIs but for many different applications.

They're looking at an initial investment of between $60,000 and $100,000 to get up and running (building the new platform/migrating old content, training staff, buying in resources) and a medium to long term investment of $250,000+.

In other words, a Drupal project is constantly evolving and leaving the financial and cultural investment into Drupal aside, it's position within a company or organisation is pivotal to other activities. It' s not the sort of thing that a professional could recommend without pointing out the recent development with Acquia and the real dangers and concerns that raises. Everyone in business knows that the majority of startups go under, despite the best intentions and despite great funding. Would you recommend someone invests $250k upwards in something that may or may not have to change in a year or two?

Forking is an inevitibility with open source and you only have to look at groups.drupal.org to see the massive range of development areas going on. But forking is okay, if you can see the bigger picture.

To use the linux analogy, Just about every linux distribution essentially maintains its own fork i.e. SUSE has a fork, Red Hat has a fork for each version and there are many many others..but that's okay, because the linux kernel is isolated from RED HAT, SUSE and others.

The Drupal kernel is in a tricky situation at the moment, the lead core developers are now employees of Acquia and the founder & owner of the core Drupal assets is tied into a shareholders agreement to the tune of $7million dollars.

Would you answer an IT manager in a client company with "don't worry dude, it'll never happen" when the inevitible tricky questions are raised about the future of Drupal?

So, what I'm suggesting is that we setup a framework which isolates and protects the Drupal core code, or the Drupal kernel, so to speak, so we can attract 10 or 20 Acquia's in 2008/2009.

Ironically, if such a framework existed, we wouldn't be even having this discussion.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

jredding’s picture

I know this is off topic but in a way its on topic.

Redhat, Suse, Debian, etc. etc. are not forks of Linux.

Linux is a kernel.

Linux has not forked.

Redhat, Suse, Debian, etc. etc. use the Linux kernel to create a distribution. All of these companies contribute back to the core kernel. They are not forks. Let me say this once again. They are not forks.

its a bit off topic but its a very important detail. If Drupal were to become a "kernel" then there would be distributions on top of it. Provided that those distributions didn't modify the kernel itself then everything would be peachy-keen in my book.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi jredding,

You're correct. Red Hat, Suse and others are *not* forks in the true sense of the term, they are distributions, which are pseudo forks in the same way civicspace has evolved into a commercial distribution of Drupal for civic groups.

It's a natural progression for Drupal to evolve into multiple distributions, all based on the same underlying technology platform i.e. Drupal core and in the same breath, it's worth noting that Red Hat, Suse and others are distributions under the same underlying technology platform, i.e. linux kernel.

If you were to look at the journey taken by Linux - they setup a linux foundation, not to build Linux, or to compete with existing Linux companies. Rather it fosters the growth of Linux by focusing on protection, standardisation and providing a neutral forum for collaboration and promotion. It also sponsors the work of Linus Torvalds, as opposed to a commercial interest paying Linus.

The colour of the money is the same, but, the impact is very different on the project. I.e. because of the way the linux kernel is isolated and protected, it allows both commercial and open-source companies to engage and sponsor activities.

Applying the same rules and principles, I would prefer if Acquia was giving the money they are giving to Dries to work on Drupal core to a Drupal foundation or co-operative, who in turn administers the money. So it's the Drupal co-op who is sponsoring Dries, rather than a commercial enterprise.

Again the colour of the money is the same, but, the impact is different.

Structuring it that way will allow for 10 different Acquia's to donate money to the Drupal foundation or co-op, in the same way that competing companies like Suse, Red Hat and others have no problem contributing to linux in that very way.

On top of that, the structure means that we remove the risk of Drupal distributions having a sizeable influence over the Drupal kernel (Drupal Core Code).

At the moment, Acqiua has signed a shareholders agreement and an employment contract with 2 of the most important core Drupal programmers..i.e. Dries and Gabor, respectively.

I can understand why some active members of the Drupal community might fail to understand why there is a problem withthe approach, because they all know or are familiar with Dries/Gabor and know the quality of work they produce. In other words I'm raising a much bigger-picture discussion point rather than a question of whether you trust any particular individual.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

jredding’s picture

This thread is long enough that you don't need to repeat your core argument over again. I got it.

To be honest at this point I very hesitant on chiming in because this discussion is just about to the point of two sided and going around and around. I don't think anything that I add will actually be looked at from a serious angle.

oh well... I'm jumping in.

The Linux foundation was setup in 2007. Thus the Linux journey didn't start with the Linux foundation. I'm sorry but you're completely wrong on this fact. In fact their really wasn't any formal, let along strong, structure, like you're proposing, when Linus started to work for commercial interests, most of which were funded well over the $7million mark. The fact is set in history that he was working for Transmeta and other commercial Linux ventures wherein he could have done a number of things with the Linux Kernel. In fact he still can.

I state this because it allowed multiple decades (yes decades) for a cash flow and business model to exist to support Linus and other core developers. Not to mention that most of the core developers have enough cash in their own bank accounts to be fine. Drupal is nowhere near this scale and we're not sure its going to be. The people of the Linux Foundation are not volunteers. The people of a.d.o are.

The Linux foundation relies on members that pay hefty membership fees.
http://www.linux-foundation.org/en/Join

Given the current situation how would we even fund this, realistically. I have read most everything above but the actual down-to-earth reality of the situation still hasn't been addressed. Where is a.d.o going to get a several hundred thousand dollar (if not million dollar) operating budget overnight. Developers are not cheap. Lawyers are not cheap. This structure is not cheap and, to date, there is no real reason for this type of structure.

Another big point here.
Linus owns the Linux trademark.. Its been pointed out over and over again in this thread that a.d.o should own the trademark and an analogy is made to Linux. A.D.O is tasked with managing it but Dries created it and Dries owns it. In my eyes thats end of story. I understand you feel differently but its working for Linux so I don't see why it can't work for Drupal.
I'm sorry but you're, again, wrong http://www.linuxmark.org/
(I'm not trying to be rude or "call you out" but you're wrong when speaking about Linux)

There is absolutely nothing stopping Linus for taking the trademark that he owns and doing all kinds of nasty with it. Nothing that is except the community; which is the same as Drupal. Dries could do all sorts of nasty with Drupal but the community would find out quickly, call him out and raise a big stink.

So what happens with Linus passes on? or Dries? Well that's up the them. Last will and testament come to mind.

btw: I still don't agree with your use of fork. Redhat, Debian, Suse are not even pseudo-forks. The Linux kernel is nothing without a distribution its just a kernel. The Linux kernel has never forked.

jredding’s picture

Structuring it that way will allow for 10 different Acquia's to donate money to the Drupal foundation or co-op, in the same way that competing companies like Suse, Red Hat and others have no problem contributing to [Linux] in that very way.

just have to point out that companies like Suse, Red Hat and other contribute to Linux by primarily releasing their source code back to the Linux community. And wwwaaaayyy down the list they are now funding the *brand new* Linux foundation by becoming a member but this amount if very small comparatively speaking. Before the Linux foundation they are funding certifications exams, holding conferences, funding education, distributing literature, etc. etc.

With all due respect to the Drupal community but if we think that we are on the same scale as Linux we are smoking some really, really, really good herb. We, Drupal, are but tiny, tiny drops in the bucket of Linux.

Is Drupal powering phones? routers? wifi equipment? television sets? laptops? servers? telephone equipment? gps units? watches? radios? hello kitty dolls (OK I made that one up).

The difference in scale is amazing. The Linux foundation can get 1 cent for every router produced with a Linux kernel in it and their coffers would overrun with cash.

eaton’s picture

Applying the same rules and principles, I would prefer if Acquia was giving the money they are giving to Dries to work on Drupal core to a Drupal foundation or co-operative, who in turn administers the money. So it's the Drupal co-op who is sponsoring Dries, rather than a commercial enterprise.

I'm just not clear why any company would choose to do things that way; it would erect a significant barrier between companies and their goals when using Drupal. From the perspective of a company that actually needs some specific functionality, it would be not much different than working with a proprietary company's CMS. I posted a detailed analysis of this approach in an earlier reply, and haven't seen a reply yet. My concerns about the system remain.

Drupal is seeing a lot of success these days in attracting commercial interest based on the effectiveness of its GPL-centric development process and the successful, vibrant developer/implementor community. The companies that are choosing to shape their businesses around Drupal are not 'selling Drupal' -- they're using Drupal as a foundation for the services their customers want. Core is obviously essential to that, but like any other entity, these companies need to make sure that the specific things they need -- things that may only be useful to the greater Drupal world years down the line -- happen quickly rather than at the pace the community otherwise moves. That's natural -- I want to make tools for webcomic artists using Drupal, but only a small part of the rest of the community considers that important. I work on it when I can, but I don't expect a general donation to "Drupal Core" to do anything to further that specific set of features. CivicSpace's installer is an excellent example of how the system can work. The heart of the CivicSpace installer eventually became a part of Drupal core, but CivicSpace's work for their own needs (not a donation to a central entity for general 'core development') made it happen.

Obviously, this is not to say that a centralized entity would fail, just that the case for it is based on a lot of assumptions, some of which are contradicted by the Drupal community's past experiences.

Structuring it that way will allow for 10 different Acquia's to donate money to the Drupal foundation or co-op, in the same way that competing companies like Suse, Red Hat and others have no problem contributing to linux in that very way.

You've mentioned quite a few times that a new structure would allow for "ten Acquias" in the next year. That's a pretty bold statement, and I assume you don't literally mean that you think changing to a co-op would lead to $70 million in venture capital coming into the Drupal community.

On top of that, the structure means that we remove the risk of Drupal distributions having a sizeable influence over the Drupal kernel (Drupal Core Code).

I've said before that I think Drupal distributions, commercial Drupal entities, and other contributions should have influence over what happens to Drupal core. They should have the same influence that everyone has: the ability to submit new features and bug fixes in the form of patches, the ability to put manpower behind development and testing work, and the ability to fund the work of others who are working on projects they find valuable. That's what you and I can do, what Google can do, and what Acquia can do.

It's my belief that the primary concern -- the biggest danger to Drupal -- is that we should never allow any amount of money to 'buy a commit'. In other words, everyone, no matter how influential, must pass through the same patch review and refinement process that any other core patch goes through. This is a problem that will face us whether a committee is in charge of commits, whether a single person is in charge of commits, or whether a co-op is in charge of commits. This is not to say that some systems may be more effective at preventing it, just that no system will ever make it impossible for it to happen.

That's why I believe the emphasis should be on (as an earlier poster mentioned) scenerio planning. IF a company were to, say, give a $500,000 check to Drumm and tell him to commit a new feature to DRUPAL-5, or kidnap Dries' pet and order him to remove OpenID support, or something goofy like that, even if the commit were made we should be able to roll back and recover from the mistake quickly. Quick recovery and self-correction is more viable (at least, to my mind) than trying to construct elaborate systems in an attempt to make mistakes impossible.

In other words I'm raising a much bigger-picture discussion point rather than a question of whether you trust any particular individual.

I agree that the issues being discussed are bigger than trusting specific individuals. If it were simply a matter of that, the discussion would be over as all the people in question have proven their trustworthiness over years of work on the project.

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

chx’s picture

To set up a co-op you need to devote a lot of resources to it. Time, money and effort. We feel this would be a waste. Also we (by we here I mean those who voiced similar thoughts in this thread) do not want such an entity to govern Drupal.
--
The news is Now Public | Drupal development: making the world better, one patch at a time. | A bedroom without a teddy is like a face without a smile. |

--
Drupal development: making the world better, one patch at a time. | A bedroom without a teddy is like a face without a smile.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

To set up a co-op you need to devote a lot of resources to it. Time, money and effort. We feel this would be a waste.

Drupal already is a co-op, Chx and Dries has already been 'elected' as the lead programmer of that co-op and the CEO. It's just not formalised into a business framework.

That's why I chose the model as a suggestion. In other words, the time, energy and effort is already there, all that's missing is a decent wedge of cash to fund the framework properly. And following the acquia development, I can think of 7 million reasons to argue that the money is out there.

Everyone agrees that Drupal should move a gear..i.e. go to the next level and everyone agrees that Drupal is a great guy and a fantastic lead programmer/ideas guy.

That's the level the Drupal project is at, now, the dilemna is how to raise the finance to pay for the above. The choice is going to VCs, which means changing the very fundamental principles and fabric that has helped Drupal over the years or another choice is going to the community to fund the above.

i.e. the colour of the money is the same, but the cultural and economic impact on the Drupal project is very different.

Also we (by we here I mean those who voiced similar thoughts in this thread) do not want such an entity [i.e. Drupal Community] to govern Drupal.

It might surprise you to know that I agree with you. You're confusing governence with management.

My vision is of a professional management team, funded by the crupal co-op and donations from companies like Acquia who would like to see Drupal succeed, managing Drupal full time under direction from the Drupal community.

A Real world example would be the approach to the Drupal association. I would see the Drupal association in more of a governence than hands-on management role with Drupal I.e. The co-op engages a headhunter to recruit proven professionals in specific areas, such as advertising, conferences, training, community development, finance and so on who act as the full time management team and employees of the co-op.

That management team is directed by the Drupal association. In other words, the strategies, targets, policies etc. are set out by the board of the Drupal association.

The point is, Drupal is governed by the Drupal association, but, managed by a group of professionals who are answerable to the Drupal project.....not any VCs, or investors.

Transferring the IP to the Co-op simply isolates and secures the Drupal project from external (outside the comunity) influences.

As I said earlier, VCs don't look at ideas, they really look at the team to implement the ideas. If we have a dream team of professionals managing the Drupal project, under the guidance of the Drupal association, it starts to look more stable and attractive long term.

And for me, Chx, no offense, but I don't see that as a waste. It strikes me as remarkably simple, particularly when you consider that Drupal is already a co-operative project. It just hasn't been formalised.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

eaton’s picture

That management team is directed by the Drupal association. In other words, the strategies, targets, policies etc. are set out by the board of the Drupal association.

I've said this a couple of times, but I think it's worth repeating to make sure it doesn't get lost in the noise. What you are proposing is a violation of the Drupal Association's own charter and bylaws. It's not just that it isn't empowered to 'govern' the Drupal project: it's explicitly barred from doing so.

This, too, was done to prevent the kinds of abuse-of-power scenarios you're concerned about: at the time the Association was originally formed, many in the Drupal community expressed concerns about the Association's control just as serious as the concerns you've expressed in this thread. If you feel that those protections are unnecessary, the solution is to join the Association and vote to change its charter.

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Eaton,

I'm not sure if you meant that post for me.

You're actually echoing my core point. i.e. there is nothing in place to prevent the kinds of abuse-of-power scenarios that Drupal is wide open to at the moment. As you say yourself, the association has no real power. It's like the house of lords or a college society committee.

In other words, we wouldn't be having this discussion if a framework or structure was in place.

What you are proposing is a violation of the Drupal Association's own charter and bylaws

Thats one way of looking at it Eaton, but, what you're proposing is keeping the status quo because it's there.

What I'm proposing is revisiting how the Drupal management & guidance mechanisms work. In a more business way, rather than the way you might run a college debating society or club.

At the moment we have a drupal association that is staffed by members of the community managing key aspects of the Drupal project. That is wrong. Instead of volunteers from the Drupal community, we need professionals managing Drupal and we need them to be an answerable to the Drupal community.

At the moment all the Drupal IP (trademarks, domains, logos etc.) are in the possesion of one individual who is tied into a shareholders agreement for $7million dollars. That is wrong, we should isolate and protect the core Drupal assets from external interests. It's simply far too valuable to do it any other way.

At the moment Drupal is being steered part-time by Dries, who is essentially a programmer and who has, up until recently, being one of the busiest code crunchers for Drupal core. Now he has to juggle core code contributions, fixing bugs etc., with steering Drupal as well as satisfying the needs of a group of investors, who just invested $7million dollars in a new company. That's not just wrong, it is quite simply ridiculous.

Drupal needs someone full time and an expert or experts in business & community management. Not a programmer, who is elbow deep in code and with investors on his back, looking for their pound of flesh for their $7million investment.

It's simply not a very wise approach.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

chx’s picture

So I will try to explain. You presume that $7M will require Dries to change. That's not so. Let's see why. Between a feature patch commit and a release, there is half a year, so it only makes sense to look at the long term interests of Acquia. They need Drupal to be successful -- just imagine a company built in PHP Nuke these days. Noone knows a surefire recipe but Drupal is succesful today, so in the name of "do not fix what's not broken", what Acquia shareholders want most is Dries to continue the very same as he did before. Gotcha?
--
The news is Now Public | Drupal development: making the world better, one patch at a time. | A bedroom without a teddy is like a face without a smile. |

--
Drupal development: making the world better, one patch at a time. | A bedroom without a teddy is like a face without a smile.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi chx,

I see what you're saying, but, you're over complicating it. The problem isn't acquia - read my posts, I have repeatedly said that acquia is a good thing - it's the approach that is the problem.

Using linux as an example, Linus Torvalds deliberately isolated the linux kernel from commercial interests, which allowed suse, red hat and many others create and maintain their own distributions (or forks of Linux).

The core drupal code and core drupal assets haven't been isolated - they are owned by a guy who also happens to be locked into a contract with a group of investors expecting to profit from a $7million dollar investment.

If those investors want Dries to, as you put it, continue the very same as he did before they would have bought Drupal. The problem is they can't buy Drupal, so what they've essentially done is create a vehicle.

I'll repeat it again: Acquia is great news. That's not the problem, it's the approach that is the problem.

Consider another VC looking at Drupal, because of the acquia approach (not the company), it's unattractive to invest in an acquia competitor, in other words if the same approach was used to setup Suse, red hat would find it very difficult to raise the finance.

My point is that if the core Drupal code was isolated from external interests, you could have 10 new acquia's next year.

i.e. we wouldn't be having this discussion - everything would be great.

dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

Heine’s picture

The core drupal code and core drupal assets haven't been isolated

Could you please specify what these core Drupal assets are?

--
The Manual | Troubleshooting FAQ | Tips for posting | How to report a security issue.

ceejayoz’s picture

I'm guessing things like the trademark, website and its infrastructure, etc.

Dries’s picture

Using linux as an example, Linus Torvalds deliberately isolated the linux kernel from commercial interests, which allowed suse, red hat and many others create and maintain their own distributions (or forks of Linux).

That is not true. Linus made millions of dollars when VA Linux and RedHat IPO'ed -- several years ago his net worth was 20 million. While he wasn't their CTO, he got a good amount of stock and a shareholders agreement. Needless to say, he had (and still has?) strong commercial interest in those companies succeeding. And yet, he managed to do what is right for the Linux project/community.

jredding’s picture

Linux Torvalds didn't do much to "isolate" the linux kernel from commercial interest except to release it under GPL. Drupal is released under GPL so the fact remains that because its released under this license to "take it away from the community" legally would mean rewriting it from scratch.

in short its protected in the same way that Linux is protected.

and yes. Linus is a rich man and he made his cash from Linux while working for those commercials interests in Linux. A ton of people speculated that RedHat was going to be the end of Linux. Instead Redhat made a ton of people rich and Linux flourished.

I don't really see what was wrong with that.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

hi Dries,

It's worth noting that prior to any IPO's, Linus was sponsored by a co-operative called the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), which included IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, AMD, RedHat, Novell and many many many others.

The purpose of the OSDL co-op was to promote Linux development and it merged with The Free Standards Group in January 2007 to become The Linux Foundation

The linux foundation contrinues to sponsor Linus's work and reinvest in linux promotion and development. the foundation also owns the main commercial trademarks associated with linux, such as the linuxworld conference trademark.

That's the main reason I'm raising this topic. i.e. I would prefer to see corporations like IBM, Novell and others investing in a Drupal co-op, in the same way. That will, in turn, encourage more VCs into the fray so you could have 10 Acquia's in 2008/2009.

On the topic of stock options, it's not unusual for consultants to receive stock options as a bonus/incentive to assist in the business plan for an IPO. It's fairly standard practice. The problem with the current approach is that it's unlikely that another company would donate money in the same way as the Linux co-op attracted sponsorship.

In other words, if there was an announcement of a Drupal co-op, corporations like IBM Hewlett-Packard, Intel, AMD, RedHat, Novell and many others will understand completely what that's about and exploit the tax-breaks and common-goal opportunities involved in sponsoring open source R&D like that.

As you say yourself, Linus got rich following that road map and while it hasn't dented the desktop market in operating systems (YET!) , I think it could be considered to be very good example of how the co-op model works very well.

Dub

P.S. For Americans following this, a co-op is probably more commonly known as a Consortium, in the USA.

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

.carey’s picture

If Acquia is to Drupal as Red Hat is to Linux, then a $7,000,000 investment in Acquia is like a $7,000,000 investment in Red Hat (not The Linux Foundation).

Is it the money? Is it that you don't want anyone to make any REAL money off of Drupal? Like Dries?

This may not be relevant to this treat, and it may be, but... there is a thread on here where you adamantly disagree with a Drupal-related business providing quality, attractive themes for money - although this would benefit Drupal's marketability greatly.

Your position in that thread and this one makes me wonder about your real motivations for starting this thread. I'm not saying that to accuse you or be disrespectful, but maybe subconsciously there's something about the money aspect and/or commercialization of Drupal that bothers you... I don't know. You did misrepresent yourself regarding your email with Michelle and your abuse and loss of priviledges, and you alluded to a conspiracy... maybe this thread is about fear, your fear... your fear of Drupal changing. Even if it's for the better, that may be scary to you. So you may see the news of Acquia and $7,000,000 as Dries, Gabor, and the VCs secretly conspiring to control Drupal and make lots of money off of it. And to you, that's just wrong. And because of your feeling (or subconscious fear) you want to take Drupal out of Dries' hands for good via the co-op model. (Now you just have to persuade the majority of the community and convince Dries it's the "right" thing to do.)

Just something to consider...

eaton’s picture

I'm not a fan of speculating about whether Dries might Turn To The Dark Side, and I'm not a fan of speculating about Dublin's motivations, either. I disagree with him on a number of factual points, but let's keep this kind of personally-focused stuff out of the discussion. Dublin Drupaller knows his own motivations, and he's been a contributing part of the Drupal community for a long time. Reading tea leaves to determine what he's Really After is a losing exercise; take him at his word and consider the ideas he presents on their merits. :) Thanks!

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

.carey’s picture

No consideration for the human element allowed here. :)

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Carey,

That's truly a fascinating post.

I can't satisfy your Sherlock Holmes tendancies, I'm afraid, you seem to have already made your mind up that I'm a liar, without seeing the emails I have from Michelle (I assume she hasn't sent them to you), but, I can see how it helps as a pre-cursor to your theory that I'm actually involved in some sort of dastardly, machiavellian plot to oust Dries from Drupal!!!

LOL

There's no real answer to that, Carey. Have you actually read any of my posts?

This discussion isn't really about contributions to Drupal, like modules/themes/documentation. This is much bigger picture than that.

You're right, by the way, I am against the idea of commercial and/or copyrighted themes/modules, on drupal.org, because it destroys the fundamental foundation stones Drupal was built upon and GPL alongside the way the economic food chain works, is a big part of those foundation stones that have made Drupal such a big success. It's no secret that documentation is a weak spot for Drupal. Why contribute handbook pages for free when there are publishers screaming for Drupal writers?

That said, you seem to have pretty much made your mind up about everything already. So, there's probably nothing I could say or do to convince you otherwise. I could probably show you the emails I sent to Michelle to your face and you would probably still call me a liar, regardless.

There's no grand masterplan here, Carey. I'm not stroking a cat in some secret hideaway plotting some convoluted and grandiose plan. A co-op isn't some form of kryptonite, it's an enormously successful model that has worked very well for linux and many many other community based projects around the world. Here's 20 billion reasons why it's so succesfull.

It's really simple stuff. It's about safeguarding the Drupal community and protecting their interests.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

.carey’s picture

No, I haven't made my mind up that you're "involved in some sort of dastardly, machiavellian plot to oust Dries from Drupal!!!" But fear and distrust can be powerful motivators. Although some dev people and geeks don't like to think in humanly terms -- it's messy, not as clean as code -- I think the consideration needed to be made. And that's what it was, a consideration.

I could probably show you the emails I sent to Michelle to your face and you would probably still call me a liar, regardless.

I'm not calling you a liar. But according to Michelle's posting of the emails (http://drupal.org/node/202638#comment-672221), you misrepresented what happened. Or maybe you just saw it differently. Or maybe you're saying she didn't provide full disclosure? The truth has to be in there somewhere.

Now back to the Main topic...

Dublin, I'm not completely convinced a co-op is necessary or that Drupal needs safeguarding from Dries et al or anyone else, since it is GPLed. And although there are "20 billion reasons why it's so successful" (that would be £20 billion not 20 billion (co-ops), for those who don't follow the link), that doesn't mean that another model can't or won't be successful - or is even needed so long as individuals and companies are allowed or can continue to create businesses around Drupal. And as long as that is a possibility, then Drupal and the Drupal community will benefit.

Let me give you an example: I'm good at Drupal themes. If I can build a small business around themes then I can take part of the profit I make and contribute to the Drupal Association (which I'd like to do but am unable at this point), I could sponsor modules that I need and want for other projects that I have in mind (yes, module developers can and do make money already) and give those modules and patches back to the community, and I can devote more of my time to teaching and helping others what I know about Drupal theming because that would be what I do on a regular basis, seeing as it pays the bills. And more attractive themes and information from a designer's perspective may bring in more (and better) designers, and Drupal would lose the reputation that it impossible to make look good. Not to mention, many Drupallers aren't good with design and don't have lots of money to pay for a quality theme; and the more attractive Druapl sites there are the more attractive Drupal looks to the masses.

I believe this is Dries' argument about Acquia and how now he will be able to devote more time and resources to making Drupal better... for everyone.

But, realistically, it does take money to make Drupal better and more appealing.

Just like it will take considerable money to change Drupal into a co-op, if its deemed necessary and wanted. But maybe your selling points shouldn't be to the community at large but to the Drupal Association. I think it's been mentioned on here that you can join and then try to persuade them. You could, also, consider writing a full report, using this thread to help gather pro and con arguments, and then present it to them. A full, detailed analysis and plan could be very effective and persuasive.

Dublin, I just think that Drupal will be attractive to everyone (the community, Dries, companies, and even VCs) if it's a win-win situation for everyone. And I'm just not convinced that what you propose is necessary or the win-win solution... That doesn't mean that your heart isn't in the right place, if you're motivated by what's best for the community. And only you and God know that one - but I'll take you at your word. ;)

Well, I've read all these posts over all these days and I've said what I think. It doesn't mean I've made up my mind, it just means I've yet to be convinced, but I also don't think that it matters to you or anyone else if I am or not. So this is all I'll contribute. Take what you want or dismiss it entirely.

Peace.

greggles’s picture

It's worth noting that prior to any IPO's, Linus was sponsored by a co-operative called the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), which included IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, AMD, RedHat, Novell and many many many others.

VA IPO was December 9 1999
RedHat IPO was around August 1999
OSDL was founded in 2000

So, your dates appear to be mixed up. I'm not sure precisely when Linus' shares vested, but Dries' point stands: Linus (and other "core" committers) was (were) influenced by far more money than Dries (others) currently is (are).

the main commercial trademarks associated with linux, such as the linuxworld conference trademark.

Linuxworld conference trademark? I've never heard of that. As has been pointed out elsewhere in this thread, Linus owns the actual "main commercial trademarks.".

And now that I'm pulled back in further along in the thread - perhaps you can answer my earlier question about why this model is better than other models and if any other software project is using the co-op model.

--
Knaddisons Denver Life | mmm Chipotle Log

--
CARD.com :)

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

That's why a search of the United States Patent and Trademark Office's site turns up 204 trademarks (both "live" and "dead," or abandoned) related to Linux. The list includes expected ones like LinuxWorld, which is owned by IDG Inc., the company that runs the conference, and "The Linux Foundation," which is owned by. . .The Linux Foundation.

I should have phrased my comment better. the linux foundation has it's own linux mark department. http://www.linuxmark.org/ where they manage the linux trademarks on behalf of linus apart from a few, like the linux foundation, for example, who sponsors Linus' work.

dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

Dries’s picture

It's worth noting that prior to any IPO's, Linus was sponsored by a co-operative called the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), which included IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, AMD, RedHat, Novell and many many many others.

Dub, you continue to get your facts wrong. The OSDL was founded in 2000. Both VA Linux and RedHat IPOed in 1999 (i.e. before the OSDL was even founded). Plus, it is well known that both companies gave Linus stock years earlier -- probably around 1995-1996. And last but not least, Linus didn't went to work for the OSDL until 2003.

Get the facts right, please. None of what you talk about existed in the Linux world.

I have my principals and a reputation to maintain -- I have enough visibility to destroy my career if I chose to screw the Drupal community. Just like Linus, I feel pressure to hold my grounds as someone who can be trusted both from a technical and ethical point of view. No shareholder agreement can change or affect that. Trust me.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

None of what you talk about existed in the Linux world.

That's not true Dries. You yourself have just agreed with me about the OSDL co-operative existing. I just got the dates wrong.

Dub, you continue to get your facts wrong. The OSDL was founded in 2000. Both VA Linux and RedHat IPOed in 1999 (i.e. before the OSDL was even founded).

The facts are correct, Dries. It's the dates are wrong. I was wrong to assume the OSDL co-op was setup prior to the IPOs. My bad.

Some might argue that the fact that it happened after the IPOs suggests it was an oversight and perhaps something worth looking at for Drupal.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

jredding’s picture

The comparison to Linux and Drupal is just falling apart and I'd like to move on. Nearly every one of your Linux reference is dead wrong, dates, facts, etc.

I really hate calling people out in public but your flat out wrong.

But its OK, we forgive you. Lets move onto the specifics.

How do we setup this cooperative; specifically.
How is it funded; specifically.
How do we continue R&D; specifically.
How do we continue to incentivize people; specifically.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Jredding,

The comparison to Linux and Drupal is just falling apart and I'd like to move on.

on the contrary. Dries was the one who originally raised the comparison between Drupal and Linux. It's even in the acquia press releases.

And to be pedantic, the facts were correct - the OSDP was a co-operative, I just got the dates wrong when it was setup. I thought it was setup prior to the IPOs. Dries has kindly pointed out that it was actually after the IPOs.

I don't claim to be anb expert on linux, jredding, I've only really started looking at the linux journey in more detail since I saw it referenced in the Acquia press releases.

And I'm glad Dries corrected me about the dates, but, the words baby and bathwater springs to mind.

The fact that the OSDP co-operative was setup *after* the event suggests to me that it is not only a bloody good idea, the investors into red hart and others thought it was a bloody good idea too.

Please don't try and turn the discussion into an attack on me, jredding. The comparison between linux and Drupal is far from falilng apart, check out the acquia press releases which specifically reference the parallels between linux and drupal, acquia and red hat.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

jredding’s picture

I'm not trying to attack you I'm trying to get this conversation to move on.

So lets all stop talking about Linux and talk about Drupal.

How do you plan to do this?

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Jredding,

So lets all stop talking about Linux and talk about Drupal. How do you plan to do this?

While I think it that's difficult, because Dries & Jay are saying Acquia = Red Hat, to answer your question, I would advise you to go back to the original post in this thread.

In other words, you've sort of arrived back at the place I was in before I started this thread...i.e. okay, so Acquia = Red Hat, that's great...but, who is keeping an eye on the community and the "kernel" - the core Drupal code?

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

jredding’s picture

I want to move on. I understand what you want.

I want to figure how you/we plan to do it.

doka’s picture

The core drupal code and core drupal assets haven't been isolated - they are owned by a guy who ...

Please...

As stated several times also in this post, Drupal code is under GPL. The Drupal Association has the infrastructure of drupal.org. Dries has the trademark and the drupal.org domain. I think it is a fair deal.

Does anybody noticed, when do we see the last new argument in this post?

Doka

Doka

derjochenmeyer’s picture

I disagree with this:

Drupal needs someone full time and an expert or experts in business & community management.

I'm sure there are many contributors who contribute to Drupal only because it is as it is. The more i get to know Drupal the more im excited about the way the developement works. Thats the reason why i try to contribute back what i can. Only because of that. Otherwise i would be ok with just downloading and complaining about the bugs.

An example that comes to my mind (its not the best one maybe): Pharmaceutical Companies are run by business experts. They pay scientists. Well good for the money. But bad for anybody else. Drugs are developed under these aspects: Market, Pricing, Shareholders.

Now you may argue that this is exactly your point. That now there is money involved and shareholders. But people who are passionate about something (and have proven that over years) dont sell their hearts for 7.000.000$. Projects should be run by expert people who are passionate about them. Not by experts.

As i wrote above. Its about trust. I would not trust a co-op model. I would not trust if now some big changes were made.

----------------------
forward-media.de

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

As i wrote above. Its about trust. I would not trust a co-op model. I would not trust if now some big changes were made.

let me get this straight....on the one hand you trust the Drupal community to create great and useful code, while on the other you don't trust them with the code. Is that right?

Sorry, but, that makes no sense to me.

If you're suggesting that you don't trust the co-op model, that also doesn't make any sense to me.

How can you say that when you haven't even seen it?

The type of co-op and the drupal constitution is designed and built specifically for Drupal. That hasn't even been done yet - I'm just suggesting we look at it seriously as a possible route.

The whole point of suggesting a co-operative model was because Drupal is already a co-operative. It just hasn't been formalised yet.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

derjochenmeyer’s picture

Hi Dub,

Its just my personal point of view about the whole issue, that would make me feel uncomfortable in seeing big structural changes, especially as a kind of response. Its just another opinion and i have to admit and stated it above that i dont have a profound insight how a co-op could work for drupal.

----------------------
forward-media.de

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi derjochenmeyer,

No profound insight how a co-op could work for Drupal is needed, because, Drupal is already a co-operative,

Co-ops are based on the Rochdale principles, named after where the first successful co-op which was started in England, in the 1840's. The ultimate aim of a co-op is to advance the common good and Drupal is a very good example of a co-operative.

It's not a difficult concept to get and it's far from an abstract political theory. Here's 20 billion reasons why it's actually a bloody good system that doesn't collapse because of "too many cooks", or analysis paralysis.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

derjochenmeyer’s picture

Hi Dub,

im sure its not an abstract political therory, and im sure its a hugely successful model. I dont want to argue against it. And i think nobody really does argue against it.

As i understand it, some peolpe (also me) dont see the real striking benefits. Of course there are reasons to be concerned and some things would be formalized and clearer with a model you suggest. But there are also good reasons to doubt whether its (a) necessary and (b) only beneficial. And in addition you trade risks for new yet unknown risks (as i posted above). E.g. how does the community change? Does it have impact on the different motivations for which people contribute.

That was my point. I trust the community to be able to go on making drupal better and better. But i dont trust a "one-member-one-vote" structure to do so. So you are right i dont trust an officially newly organized community to be able to "manage" drupal better than its managed now.

And in addition to that, which is just an observation i make, without knowing people personally nor having a long history of contributing myself. Some of the most active developers also dont understand how it could work and are rather sceptical.

Lets assume the name, the domain, i dont know what else would be owned by the community in some form.

  • Who is an "official" member of the community?
  • How does one become a member?
  • Do i have to pay a fee? How much?
  • What about all the people who dont make and dont want to make money with drupal?
  • Do they get a voice?
  • What if the majority of members wants drupal to go a completely different way than the people who are getting things done, for whatever reason?

Those are NOT arguments agaist a co-op model! They are real questions. I do trust the current structure more than a new one that i dont understand. Its not an intellectual problem. Its a psychological problem ;-) in the sense that i have doubts about the impact on the dynamics of the community.

As i also wrote above. In my opinion its about trust. Also whether to trust in a formalized structure or trusting (more) the existing one.

----------------------
forward-media.de

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi derjochenmeyer,

I actually agree with you...I too am uncomfortable in seeing big structural changes, that's why I'm suggesting maintaining the status quo. i.e. Drupal is a co-operative community project and I think we should try and maintain that.

I too don't have a profound insight into how a co-operative business model might work for Drupal, but I have seen how the linux co-operative has worked extremely well. All I'm suggesting is to follow Dries' lead, in the way he is making a big noise about Acquia = Red Hat and have a look at how the linux co-operative was setup to safeguard the linux community, protect the core code and promote linux.

In other words, the last thing Drupal needs right now is a bunch of cheerleaders patting Dries on the back and jumping down the necks of anyone who dares to question anything. Dries is a programmer. He's not an expert in business management. He needs to be surrounded by people how do have a profound insight into how best to build a business around a co-operative project.

What's very frustrating is that the cheerleaders who are jumping down my neck for speaking my mind, are quick to agree with Dries' Acquia = Red Hat analogy, but, perceive the linux co-operative analogy as some sort of threat. Which suggests a disturbingly warped rationale and logic which lends itself more to an autocrasy. rather than a community based project. Despite the fact that Red Hat were one of the first to invest in the Linux Co-operative.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi derjochenmeyer,

I actually agree with you...I too am uncomfortable in seeing big structural changes, that's why I'm suggesting maintaining the status quo. i.e. Drupal is a co-operative community project and I think we should try and maintain that.

I too don't have a profound insight into how a co-operative business model might work for Drupal, but I have seen how the linux co-operative has worked extremely well. All I'm suggesting is to follow Dries' lead, in the way he is making a big noise about Acquia = Red Hat and have a look at how the linux co-operative was setup to safeguard the linux community, protect the core code and promote linux.

In other words, the last thing Drupal needs right now is a bunch of cheerleaders patting Dries on the back and jumping down the necks of anyone who dares to question anything. Dries is a programmer. He's not an expert in business management. He needs to be surrounded by people who do have a profound insight into how best to build a business around a co-operative project.

What's very frustrating is that the cheerleaders who are jumping down my neck for speaking my mind, are quick to agree with Dries' Acquia = Red Hat analogy, but, perceive the linux co-operative analogy as some sort of threat. Which suggests a disturbingly warped rationale and logic which lends itself more to an autocrasy. rather than a community based project. Despite the fact that Red Hat were one of the first to invest in the Linux Co-operative.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

eaton’s picture

let me get this straight....on the one hand you trust the Drupal community to create great and useful code, while on the other you don't trust them with the code. Is that right?

Sorry, but, that makes no sense to me.

You're conflating two separate areas of competency: developing code, and managing a software development project.

I believe (though I can't speak for him) that the original poster was saying that he trusts the Drupal community to do what it is best at: build Drupal stuff, expand it with new modules and additions, improve core with new features and bug fixes, and generally make stuff. Itch-scratching and personal interest drives this activity, and it works really well.

That doesn't mean that he -- or I, or others -- believe that the same wild-and-woolly community of developers and users is well positioned to handle the role of project manager collectively.

If you're suggesting that you don't trust the co-op model, that also doesn't make any sense to me. How can you say that when you haven't even seen it?

That's actually one of the concerns: very few specifics have been put forward, and detailed questions about how the structure would manage key issues have gone unanswered. So there's not a lot to go on. You've mentioned before that the co-op model was just a possible idea that you tossed out there to get discussion rolling, though. Perhaps if you're passionate about it, developing it a bit further into a detailed proposal would help people get a clearer idea of what you're intending?

The whole point of suggesting a co-operative model was because Drupal is already a co-operative. It just hasn't been formalised yet.

Well, the devil in the details. Drupal is a cooperative in the broad sense of the word, just as it's a democracy in the broad sense of the word. It's also a dictatorship in the broad sense of the word. Explicitly formalizing any of those systems is a nontrivial task. That's not a reason to NOT do it -- it might well prove worthwhile. It's just a reminder that "formalizing" a particular system is where the bulk of the work lies, and the details of how its done can have a big impact on the eventual success or failure.

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

eaton’s picture

First, Dub, I want to say that I appreciate the more focused and less 'personal' tone that the discussion has taken in the past couple of days. The issue here is not about Dries or Acquia at all, and our focus should be on discussing the strengths, weaknesses, and nees of the project's structure rather than trying to convince anyone that they should be worried about specific groups or individuals who have demonstrated great trustworthiness in the past. It's a bit like arguments over Presidential Power in the US -- whether you support or oppose President Bush, you can discuss the merits of the country's system of checks and balances and discuss whether it needs improvements.

You're actually echoing my core point. i.e. there is nothing in place to prevent the kinds of abuse-of-power scenarios that Drupal is wide open to at the moment. As you say yourself, the association has no real power. It's like the house of lords or a college society committee.

On the contrary -- the Association has power and freedom to do what it was created to do. For example, it is in control of the Drupal.org hardware infrastructure, and is tasked with maintaining and expanding it to serve the needs of the community. That's pretty significant. ;-) I'd really encourage you to read up on the Association. I was making arguments very similar to yours as recently as a few months ago. More research, more discussion with other members of the community, and more consideration has led me to conclude that the Association's primary problem is that many people are unclear on what its official mission is.

Preventing abuses of power is difficult no matter what system is in place. Anytime anyone anywhere has the power to make decisions, they can abuse that power. The question is not so much 'how will we prevent it from happening,' but 'what ways could power be abused, and how can we minimize the risk and fix the mess when it happens?' The fact that power could be abused does not mean that we must change structures if there are working mechanisms in place to correct for any potential abuses.

Thats one way of looking at it Eaton, but, what you're proposing is keeping the status quo because it's there.

No, I'm saying that what you're proposing would require changing the Association's bylaws. And I've pointed you to a place where you can join the association and propose just such a thing. Telling you how things work, and explaining how you can effect change, is not the same as saying things should never change. :-)

At the moment Drupal is being steered part-time by Dries, who is essentially a programmer and who has, up until recently, being one of the busiest code crunchers for Drupal core.

Not really. Dries has been serving as a project lead and architect for quite some time now -- the vast majority of code has been written by individual consultants, hobbyists, and employees of Drupal-focused businesses, then contributed in the form of patches. chx is actually one of the busies code crunchers. ;-)

One of the reasons that Dries hs been unable to spend as much time doing Drupal development has been the rigorous schedule needed to complete his PhD. People paid by their companies to work on Drupal have been able to spend more time focusing on the project, directly working on code, and directly focusing on implementing the vision that Dries laid out in various talks, presentations, and posts. One of the promising parts of Dries' employment with Acquia is that he is actually working directly with Drupal. Previously, his day job was optimizing the Java JIT compiler. ;)

Obviously, your concerns about abuse of power, the possible corrupting influence of self-interested companies hiring up a critical mass of core devs, etc are still important ones. But the idea that Acquia will 'pull Dries away' from Drupal seems a bit specious. It may turn out that way! But it does not naturally follow.

Drupal needs someone full time and an expert or experts in business & community management. Not a programmer, who is elbow deep in code and with investors on his back, looking for their pound of flesh for their $7million investment.

A business needs a business manager. A software project needs a lead developer, an architect, with a strong technical vision and an understanding of the software's purpose. If the Drupal project itself is to be run as a commercial venture, you're correct. I and others are just far from convinced that turning an OSS software project into a business is a wise move for the project or those who rely on it.

I'm not attacking, just noting the clear points of difference that we're dealing with. :-)

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

eaton’s picture

Telling you how things work, and explaining how you can effect change, is not the same as saying things should never change. :-)

Also? I can't tell the difference between 'affect' and 'effect'. ;-)

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

carlmcdade’s picture

Just marking this for future reference. I think that it is interesting that this is the very first time an open debate on something has come about without ending in a bunch of name calling and ill will. Bravo to everyone involved.

Hiveminds Magazine - for web publishers and community builders
http://www.hiveminds.co.uk
http://demo.hiveminds.co.uk
Drupal Support Wiki | Drupal Se

jredding’s picture

I'm going to point out one another thing that seems to have been lost in this discussion. There is a lot of comparison between Linus Torvalds of Linux and Dries of Drupal.

Linus went to work for a lot of companies that didn't always focus on Linux kernel development. For example his work at Transmeta wasn't focused on the Linux kernel. He was helping to making computer chips. While working at Transmeta he did continue to oversee the kernel but it wasn't his focus.

I'm positive that the experiences he gained while at Transmeta helped shape the skills he has today and thus improved the Linux kernel.

So why does Dries need to work for A.D.O? Why do we, as the community, feel that we need him to be shackled to Drupal? Come'on let the guy do what he wants to do. He's proven that he's working in the best interest of Drupal by working his contract such that he's provided time to work on Drupal while at Acquia. A.D.O is going to protect the Drupal trademark, Dries will continue to own it and the community will police the core development.

In the end if Acquia and/or Dries tries to do something tricky with Drupal. It'll fork, the community will be roiled and it'll die. Drupal dies, Acquia dies. I highly doubt Dries will destroy his reputation, and thus any potential for staying in the OSS community, just for some cash. OSS doesn't breed that personality type and I don't think Dries wants to move to a remote country, learn a new language and live without a computer.

So let the guy be free. There is no need for a Co-op.

patrickharris’s picture

I don't think Dries wants to move to a remote country, learn a new language and live without a computer
That's hilarious!

Tresler’s picture

A meritocracy cannot exist inside a full democracy. Either everyone gets a vote, or the people who are more highly qualified get extra weight added to their opinion.

A representative democracy bridges this immutable fact. Thus making it so the most qualified people can be elected. As I understand, it that is what the DA is doing. And as has been stated repeatedly, anyone can go through the proper channels and become part of that process.

Making Drupal a co-op would be detrimental to the quality of the project, as it would de facto remove a meritocracy. To be specific, the people who made Drupal what it is would be subject to the whims of anyone who came along and had bought or acquired enough shares or popularity. Its a project management disaster, and should be avoided.

All Intellectual Property discussions, are also pointless. The IP status of Drupal is well known and defined. I have several local copies of the entire cvs repository that is GPL'ed. I could tomorrow roll out "TreslerDrop - Built on Drupal" and have all the same functionality, with no legal repercussions (probably a few social repercussions). I don't see myself ever wanting to do that, but if Dries shut down Drupal, and the Drupal Association pulled the plugs on the servers tomorrow, I would set up a repository and you could all commit to my new project. Lets pray that never happens, I would be a horrendous project lead.

All money discussions are likewise, pointless. The companies involved are all clearly defined, and roles of key members are also clearly defined. Conflicts of interest very much could arise.... at which point we would need to follow the process already outlined by the Drupal Association for replacing the person causing the conflict; Dries included if it came to that.

In fact it seems to me that every single one of these issues and contingencies has been addressed in detail and is systems set in place to deal with them, or are in the process of having a system designed to deal with them. Anyone who wants to is welcome to help build, alter, or clarify those existing systems.

Sam Tresler
-------------------------------------
"A list of common problems and their solutions can be found in the Troubleshooting FAQ."

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Making Drupal a co-op would be detrimental to the quality of the project, as it would de facto remove a meritocracy.

On the contrary, Sam. Drupal already is a co-operative. It just hasn't made that step up to the next level, where that's formalised and we change it from being run as an autocrosy. I don't buy that meritocracy line. Appointments should always be made on merit. Regardless of the model or structure of the project.

What I mean is the "I know best" approach has worked brilliantly well for coding decisions (where Dries and a few programmers act as tie-breakers, in particular with Drupal core code), but, I'm not so sure using the same principles for bigger picture decisions is wise.

All money discussions are not pointless, by the way.

Drupal has reached a crossroads where it either moves up a level or continues as is. Everyone is in agreement that Drupal needs to move up a level, so the discussion is about the approach and in particular how investment flows into Drupal.

My suggestion is to safeguard the community and the project and be smart about how money flows into the project. i.e. The discussion is not about really about contingencies, it's about removing the need to worry about contingencies.

In other words, we wouldn't be having this discussion if such a structure and framework was in place.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

eaton’s picture

I'm not so sure using the same principles for bigger picture decisions is wise.

Here's something that I haven't been able to figure out yet. What bigger picture decisions that don't involve code are you talking about? Can you give some specific examples to help clarify? Thanks. :)

The discussion is not about really about contingencies, it's about removing the need to worry about contingencies.

I'm not convinced that is possible with any system.

In other words, we wouldn't be having this discussion if such a structure and framework was in place.

No, we'd have traded this discussion for other discussions. There is not a magic bullet that will ensure success and prevent all mistakes or abuses of power. In fact, there are many ways in which we could attempt to prevent those things that would in fact damage the project's health and hinder its success. Sometimes, the cure can be worse than the disease. Any attempt to change the current system should be carefully considered and its repercussions thought through -- at least as carefully as the current system's weaknesses are considered.

Doing that requires specifics, not generics.

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Here's something that I haven't been able to figure out yet. What bigger picture decisions that don't involve code are you talking about? Can you give some specific examples to help clarify? Thanks. :)

A simple Drupal specific example might be the approach to the Drupal association.

I would prefer to see the hiring of experienced professionals in specific areas to work full time, rather than the current approach of recruiting volunteers from the Drupal community to work part-time.

Simple square pegs, square holes stuff.

Or other big picture decisions, such as, how to safeguard the drupal community/core code and bring Drupal to the next level. The co-op model worked remarkably well for Linux and as Dries pointed out earlier, Linus Torvalds got very rich of the back of it and the project continues to move onwards and upwards.

What I liked about their approach was the way the co-op (OSDL) who sponsored Linux development and paid Linus, attracted massive sponsorship & investment from corporations like IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, AMD, RedHat, Novell and many many many others. I'm not a financial expert, but, I do know there are tax breaks/incentives for corporations to sponsor R&D in certain situations.

In other words, the colour of the money is the same, but, the cultural impact is different...i.e. it opens up Drupal to non-equity investment.

Perhaps the single biggest reasons, for me, is because corporations understand completely the concept of open source & co-ops and Drupal is actually already a co-operative. In that context, the notion of formalising a Drupal co-op is a no-brainer.

Particularly when you consider that two huge corporations, like IBM and Novell who are already using Drupal in a big way, have already sponsored the co-op that sponsored linux development and promotion.

In other words, they've already 'got it'. No explanation required.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

eaton’s picture

Dublin, I apologize if I'm being dense here, I still just don't see specifics. I think the primary idea revolves around a business co-op having control of commit rights to the Drupal Core CVS archive. Beyond that, though, I haven't seen any specifics about what non-code-related big-picture decisions are being made by Dires and other core committers but should be made by a co-op.

A simple Drupal specific example might be the approach to the Drupal association.

I would prefer to see the hiring of experienced professionals in specific areas to work full time, rather than the current approach of recruiting volunteers from the Drupal community to work part-time.

You've said that the approach of the Drupal Association is pointless, powerless, and worthless when it comes to prventing the kinds of problems you're worried about. If that's the case, we can't use it as a specific example of the kind of high-level decision making that a co-op would handle. Do you mean that the organizational structure could be similar, with a board and a president and elections, but that its charter and responsibilities would be different than the present Drupal Association?

It sounds like a lot of your vision revolves around a number of talented Drupal developers being employed full-time to work on the core code of Drupal, their salaries paid by donations from members of the Drupal community including private individuals and major corporations. Even with this model, though, decisions about what should be done, what code gets written and what doesn't, and where the project should go are still made. Either by the individuals who are employed to work on it, by a 'one person, one vote' democratic process, by the company that writes the biggest check, or by a layer of middle-managers who filter the democratic input and decide what ideas make the cut.

Am I missing something? If I am, please be patient. Don't say that I'm trying to dismiss it and that Drupal is 'already a co-op.' If it is, it's a very different co-op than what you are envisioning, and I'm trying to get a handle on what the differences actually would be. :-)

Or other big picture decisions, such as, how to safeguard the drupal community/core code and bring Drupal to the next level.

I'm talking about specifics. "Taking things to the next level" is not specific. Are we talking about questions like, "Should more core committers be added?" "Should we ban a particular user from the site for abuse?" or, "Should we concentrate on compatibility with emerging web API standards, or building robust home-grown solutions?"

If I'm asking the wrong kinds of questions here, please help. Can you offer a couple of specific example questions or decisions that this co-op might need to handle? I'm really trying to get a clearer vision of what this could look like. Thanks!

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

coupet’s picture

Linux ... attracted massive sponsorship & investment from corporations like IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, AMD, RedHat, Novell and many many many others.

Yes, and it will benefit Drupal to be sponsored by Google, Yahoo, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Acquia, Stanford University, University of Michigan, Acquia, Packt Publishing, Sony and others ...

I think keywords like ecosystem, partner-neutral, GPL, Open Source facilitate in selling the Drupal platform to major corporations and investors.

----
Darly

jredding’s picture

Dublin Drupaller: I really am not trying to "call you out" or publicly point out your misstated Linux references but... you're wrong again.

Or other big picture decisions, such as, how to safeguard the drupal community/core code and bring Drupal to the next level. The co-op model worked remarkably well for Linux and as Dries pointed out earlier, Linus Torvalds got very rich of the back of it and the project continues to move onwards and upwards.

Linux wasn't a co-op model when it first came out nor was it a co-op model when Linus went to work for transmeta, VA, etc. etc. I'm sorry but you're wrong. ODSL was setup in the year 2000 a mere 7 years ago and has now been rolled into the Linux Foundation. Some would argue that the rolling into the Linux Foundation wasn't by choice but by a few misslips (GPLv3 anyone?).

So the co-op model wherein Dries is hired by a.d.o NEVER EXISTED IN LINUX. I'm sorry but you are wrong in your argument. Linus went to work for other companies while Linux was still new and fledgling. It took decades for Linux to build up to what it is today. They may have it today but that is after Linus went off to stretch his wings and to see what he could do (and to make a ton of cash which secured his and his family's future). This is also have Linux became a kernel that became a driving force in the computing industry.

If Linux were to disappear today all of our computing experiences would be dramatically altered, forever. Million of routers, telco equipment, phones, not to mention the plethora of servers that would up and disappear.

Now I don't want to call the Drupal community unimportant but... if Drupal were to disappear today is the world going to change? Not really, people would find something else. Maybe Joomla! would be rewritten, maybe a Ruby on rails framework will take over. Who knows. But comparing Drupal and Linux is completely disproportionate and the need for this structure is unnecessary.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Sorry jredding, but, linux is a cooperative community project. that's how it evolved, grew and that's how it has continued.

To say otherwise is to miss the fundamentals behind open source community based projects and how they work. I don't claim to be an expert in it, so you may trip me up on specific facts, but, I do understand the fundamentals.

i.e. individuals, companies and organisations co-operating to achieve a common goal.

It took decades for Linux to build up to what it is today.....Linux became a kernel that became a driving force in the computing industry.

It's taken the best part of a decade to take Drupal to build up to what it is today and it's how linux became a kernel and a driving force in the industry that is interesting to this discussion.

i.e. a co-operative was setup in the form of the OSDP..

The Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) was a non-profit organization supported by a global co-operative dedicated to the advancement of the linux kernel. Founded in 2000, its goals included "to be the recognized center-of-gravity for the Linux industry" and to serve as "a central body dedicated to accelerating the use of Linux for enterprise computing."

As I was corrected earlier by Dries who pointed out that the OSDL co-operative was setup *after* investors and VCs got involved in Linux, not before as I thought.

Which suggests to me, it's not only a bloody good idea that has proven to be successful, but, the VCs and investors already on board understand that it's a good idea as well.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

jredding’s picture

That's it. That's my entire comment.

I think your confused on the facts and you're blinded by your desire to have a co-op.

So we disagree. Let me move onto the specifics of how this would come to be.

Specifically (not generically)
How is it funded?
Who is hired by a.d.o and what are there terms?
Who is granted commit access and what are the rules/regulations to that?

What is it specifically that you want to change? I've read the thread and I understand your general concerns but now I (we?) want specifics.
(a) trademark from Dries to a.d.o
(b) a.d.o hires Dries and other core maintainers

now.... lets fund it. Tell us how. In specifics.

(I'm not being scarcastic, I'm being serious. I want this conversation to stop being a round robin of "you're wrong, no you're wrong" I want it be constructive)

Tresler’s picture

Please explain how these two sentiments aren't mutually exclusive:

under the co-operative framework, major decisions like that can't be made by a select few, it has to be done with the consent of the majority.

Appointments should always be made on merit. Regardless of the model or structure of the project.

If majority rules, merit doesn't. If 10,000 people are wrong, and 1 is right, the 1 should be followed not the 10,000 (as far as software development goes). This pervades the Drupal principles.

And

Drupal has reached a crossroads where it either moves up a level or continues as is. Everyone is in agreement that Drupal needs to move up a level

Clearly not, as I don't think there is a thing wrong with how things work, ergo not everyone thinks this.

Sam Tresler
-------------------------------------
"A list of common problems and their solutions can be found in the Troubleshooting FAQ."

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

If majority rules, merit doesn't. If 10,000 people are wrong, and 1 is right, the 1 should be followed not the 10,000 (as far as software development goes).

You're getting confused with management decisions and big picture decisions.

e.g. I'd prefer to see proven professionals with a track record to work full time implementing the "things to do list" for the Drupal association,rather than trying to recruit part timers from the Drupal community.

The "I know best" approach with code (where Dries and a few other programmers act as tie breakers with the core drupal code) is an approach that I think shouldn't change. It's worked very well up to now. For coding decisions.

For bigger picture decisions, I don't think that same "I know best" approach is wise.

I don't think there is a thing wrong with how things work, ergo not everyone thinks this.

I'm afraid things are changing, Sam. That's the whole point of this discussion.

The "I know best" approach has introduced a $7million dollar gorilla into the room and it's going to have a significant impact on the next few years of Drupal.

Whether that impact is positive or negative is for the crystal ball gazers. The VCs who put in the $7million have already looked into their crystal ball and decided it's good for the acquia investors. Judging by this thread, not many in the community have really looked into the Drupal community crystal ball. Many are bedazzled by the $7million dollars, but, I think some haven't thought about the implications yet.

By the way, I can think of 7 million reasons why the acquia investors don't share your opinion that discussions about money and IP are a waste of time.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

eaton’s picture

Judging by this thread, not many in the community have really looked into the Drupal community crystal ball. Many are bedazzled by the $7million dollars, but, I think some haven't thought about the implications yet.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Please don't confused "someone disagrees" with "someone hasn't thought about it." Some of us have been thinking about these issues long and hard, long before Acquia was a glimmer in Dries' eye. :-)

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

Tresler’s picture

$7mil is peanuts. There are several corporations out there with much more tied up in Drupal. Sony, case in point, has been a model Drupal citizen. They are converting some 300 sites to Drupal. I know of another 51 site initiative from another corporation that can throw $7mil away if it means insuring their investments.

But there is the catch, there is no need to do that because there investment is already secure. It was as soon as they downloaded the code and maintained a local copy.

Nothing is new here, many companies have poured many millions into Drupal in various ways for years. The only perceived difference is that this money is going to Dries' company, not Lullabot, Advomatic, Rain City, Bryght, CivicSpaceLabs, Trellon, Achieve, or any of the dozens of others. In which case I would say the responsible thing for Dries' to do would be to create an Association body to pass Drupal to so as to maintain a clear line between the two organizations, Drupal and Acquia. Such an organization would need to have elected people and routes for open participation. I would call such an organization the Drupal Association, and make sure that it clearly outlined many of these important issues.

So, no, nothing is changing and there is no perceived $7million dollar gorilla in the room. This isn't a discussion, its fear mongering. Raise a valid concern that isn't already addressed in an extant system, and it might turn into a discussion.

Sam Tresler
-------------------------------------
"A list of common problems and their solutions can be found in the Troubleshooting FAQ."

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

hi Sam,

I see where you're coming from.

I actually see more opportunities than concerns (scroll up to save the thread being a repeat of what has already been discussed). In other words, you're looking at this thread but wondering "where's the problem?". I'm looking at it from a different perspective, i.e. let's look at the opportunities.

e.g. If one VC has carried out due diligence to the tune of $7million to invest in a Drupal startup, that has to be great news for everyone involved in Drupal. i.e. Part of the due diligence process is to analyse the SWOT in detail and and address valid concerns as much as possible.

That's great news and a huge opportunity.

However, for another VC coming along, looking to invest in another Drupal startup, the existing structure makes it a little fuzzy. According to Kierans statistics, there are 4 core Drupal coders, 2 of which are now tied into a full time employment contract with Acquia. 1 of those core drupal coders (Dries) happens to own the core drupal assets (trademark, domains etc.) and is also tied into a shareholders agreement with Acquia.

My argument is that if a roadmap, similar to the one that worked well for linux was implemented, the opportunity could be realised easier because the lines are less fuzzy.

The OSDP co-op attracted sponsorship/investment from the likes of IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, AMD, RedHat, Novell and many many many others to pay for the development/promotion of linux and to linus torvalds to work full time on linux, as opposed to Linus signing a shareholders agreement and employment contract with just one of those corporations.

It's a pretty simple concept, but, one that worked very well.

In other words, IMHO this discussion shouldn't really be about picking holes or identifying concerns (that sort of due diligence for the community should be carried out by independent experts and professionals in the field), it's about suggesting a framework that isolates the community and project from external interests, while at the same time attracting non-equity sponsorship (like the way the Linux project did) and VC interest in Drupal start ups.

Ironically, if we had such a framework in place, we wouldn't be even having this discussion.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

eaton’s picture

According to Kierans statistics, there are 4 core Drupal coders, 2 of which are now tied into a full time employment contract with Acquia.

This is a point of confusion that's come up several times. There are currently four active Core Committers. i.e., people who review patches once the community has marked them 'Ready To Be Committed' and check them into the CVS repository. A new core committer is generally added for each version of Drupal.

There are hundreds of core coders. These individuals actively maintain and develop specific parts of the Drupal core code, contribute new features and patches, etc. I am one of these people, for example. The only requirement for being a core coder is that one... well... write code for core. :-) There is no way that any of the core coders can carry that load. In fact, one of the difficult choices faced by active coders who are offered the 'Branch Maintainer' position that goes along with commit access is that they will spend most of their time reviewing and vetting patches that other people have written. They have less time to work on their cool projects, because they are busy serving as a community watchkeeper for bad code.

It's been suggested that Drupal have a larger pool of core committers in the past -- at the time, concern was about the 'bottleneck' effect keeping new features out of core. It's become clear since then that the bottleneck is not people to commit the changes, but rather people willing and able to review and test the changes before the committer flips the switch.

IMHO this discussion shouldn't really be about picking holes or identifying concerns (that sort of due diligence for the community should be carried out by independent experts and professionals in the field), it's about suggesting a framework that isolates the community and project from external interests, while at the same time attracting non-equity sponsorship (like the way the Linux project did) and VC interest in Drupal start ups.

If the community is not capable of identifying its own concerns and analyzing the issues on its own -- if those things must be left to 'the experts' -- I'm not sure how a co-op could be expected to work. This discussion seems to be going in circles, with lots of vague suggestions and cries of "Something must be done!" What would our next step be? Set up a chipin account and hire a lawyer?

I'm not saying that in a mean way. I'm asking seriously. What specific next step can the Drupal community take to determine what is best for the community and the project?

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

jredding’s picture

So I get where you are coming from but I'd also like to get down to specifics.

From what I can understand you want to
(1) Trademark moved from Dries to a.d.o
(2) Dries and other core commiters to work for a.d.o
(3) a.d.o membership fees would help pay for Dries (and others) salaries

Please add to this list. I'm serious lets nail this down.

Off the top of my head the operating budget for a.d.o to pay Dries and other core commiters would probably be on the order of 5 million/ year. Order to Dries' dream org chart a.d.o would need a paid staff of 10, add in the core commiters and you have 12-14. Now you have to add in taxes, accounting costs, medical, etc. etc.
so @ 50k/year USD (which is a very low rate) you have 700K but then you have all those external costs. so our number is really $1,000,00 (USD)

This, of course, doesn't leave any room for R&D and other items. So we double that number to add in support activities. $2,000,000

now reality sets in and 50K/year isn't that great of a salary considering the average salary in the web world. I'm not saying people have to be rich but being secure in life is nice.
So lets double those salaries. $4,000,000

This is just a rough budget.

Where is this cash going to come from? and specifically how is it sustainable?

jredding’s picture

I'm sorry but you keep point this out and you're still wrong.

The OSDP co-op attracted sponsorship/investment from the likes of IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, AMD, RedHat, Novell and many many many others to pay for the development/promotion of linux and to linus torvalds to work full time on linux, as opposed to Linus signing a shareholders agreement and employment contract with just one of those corporations.

It's a pretty simple concept, but, one that worked very well.

OSDL did this nearly a decade after Linux was released. Drupal is still new and it has yet to be proven to be a longstanding application. It is nowhere near the scale of Linux. Linux was released in 1991, ODSL was setup in 2000.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

OSDL did this nearly a decade after Linux was released. Drupal is still new and it has yet to be proven to be a longstanding application

I agree that it's no where near the scale of linux but Drupal was released almost 7 years ago jredding. Drupal is not new.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

Tresler’s picture

A common misperception I've found with debaters, is that they feel if people don't agree with their particular point, then they must need to explain it better.

So let me make this abundantly clear. I understand you. I just think you are wrong.

There is no deterrent to other VC companies. Period. Bigger money than this has long since invested in Drupal with less safeguards.

The 4 core committers are fine, and again, anyone can take the GPL'ed codebase and run with it, regardless of those four guys.

Nothing so far is "fuzzy' and you have yet to explain what 'fuzzy' even means. Everything you have addressed is laid out clearly in either the DA doc, the Drupal doc, or Dries' comments to you.

Finally, I'll go with ya on opportunities for a moment. Please name one that would exist with any other organization than we have now that wouldn't with the same organization. I've read the above threads and still don't see them, please elucidate.

For going on 200 posts one question has not been answered. Why, specifically, is a move like this a benefit? What merit does it have in a meritocracy?

Sam Tresler
-------------------------------------
"A list of common problems and their solutions can be found in the Troubleshooting FAQ."

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

So let me make this abundantly clear. I understand you. I just think you are wrong.

That's fair enough, Sam and I respect that.

A common misperception I've found with debaters, is that they feel if people don't agree with their particular point, then they must need to explain it better.

I agree with you and I've been very concious of that, but, if you look at other posters, such qas jredding, Eaton and they are beginning to arrive at the same conclusions I arrived at before I posted the first comment in the thread.

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

jredding’s picture

I have not arrived at the same conclusions as you in your first comment.

You have stated (1) move the trademark to a.d.o (2) a.d.o hires Dries and others (3) a.d.o becomes a co-op.

Now I am asking you to clarify this and get specific. I proposed a $4m (USD) budget to accomplish this.

Is this enough?
How much cash do we need?
What's the organizational structure?

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Jredding,

You're almost there.

The three suggestions you have quoted are 3 suggestions I have made earlier to help encourage debate. I didn't want to raise the topic without some proven examples and proven suggestions of how things might work. Otherwise it's just an abstract theory and the discussion goes nowhere.

When I raised this topic, I too thought of the questions you are asking now, but, Dries, Jay, I or the community can't answer those questions. It has to be done by experts in that area.

I honestly didn't realise it would take over 200+ posts to arrive at that point and I didn't expect to be attacked, insulted and generally lambasted for raising the topic, but, there you go, they say you learn something new every day.

Instead of throwing out "how much?" questions, I would tend to rewind a little and read the first post in this thread again.

In other words, leaving my suggestions aside, the core thrust of this thread is that Dries and Jay are saying Acquia = Red Hat. That's great, but, who is keeping an eye on the Drupal community and the Drupal Kernel?.

I'm not an expert in linux, I only started looking at the journey that project took when Dries mentioned the parallels between red hat and Acquia it in his blog and in the Acquia press releases.

The way Linux did it was to setup a co-operative that helped protect, develop and promote linux. It also attracted significant financial contributions from corporations like IBM and Novell among many many others.

I specifically mentioned them because both IBM and Novell are already using Drupal in a big way, they understand perfectly the concept of a co-operative and how a corporation can benefit in contributing funds to a co-op and they have already been down that path, recently, with linux

That's as close to a no-brainer as you can get, jredding.

In other words, if a Drupal co-op was setup, Acquia would probably be the first in line to make a contribution (Red Hat were one of the main contributers to the Linux co-operative).

Contributions that could be used to pay expert professionals in that area to carry out a due diligence on a linux type co-operative for Drupal. i.e. you get the experts to answer those questions for you jredding, not, me or someone on this forum.

I hope to jayziz that makes sense...200+ posts and counting.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

eaton’s picture

When I raised this topic, I too thought of the questions you are asking now, but, Dries, Jay, I or the community can't answer those questions. It has to be done by experts in that area.

You've said this a couple of times now. You say that The Drupal Community should be in charge of the code, hold the trademark, make unspecified big picture decisions, and run things while delegating tasks to developers paid for by donations to a central organization. When it comes to every important question, though -- things like 'who might have a voting voice' and 'why would a company donate INSTEAD of hiring' and 'who would have the authority to set code priorities' -- the answer is "We can't answer that. We have to hire experts."

If simple, fundamental questions like that are unanswerable then we're just tossing slogans and truisms back and forth. Drupal Must Be Protected, All Babies Must Eat, etc.

Contributions that could be used to pay expert professionals in that area to carry out a due diligence on a linux type co-operative for Drupal. i.e. you get the experts to answer those questions for you jredding, not, me or someone on this forum.

You've stated that Drupal is already a co-op structure, that a co-op is the only possible solution, that a co-op would open the floodgates for ten times as much VC money as Acquia's pouring into the community, and that anyone with a smidgen of reason can see that a co-op is essential.

If that's the case, why are expert professionals now necessary to answer basic questions about how a structure like that might operate? We've gone from assurances that $70 million in new funding will arrive in 2008 if we adopt the model to a disclaimer that we'll need to donate money to hire consultants to evaluate whether the idea would even work.

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Eaton,

I appreciate your passion for Drupal, Eaton, but, calm down, please. You're not doing yourself many favours.

why are expert professionals now necessary to answer basic questions about how a structure like that might operate?

Well..for starters, it strikes me that members of the Drupal communnity will just end up slagging each other off and taking swipes at each other, rather than looking at things objectively.

I can think of 200+ reasons (posts) why that might be the case and why it might be a good idea to call in independent and objective experts.

You are right, Drupal already is a co-operative, but, that's in the organic, not the business sense.

Independent experts in the area of finance understand how to structure the articles of association, that opens up non-equity investment (donations) from corporations for example, they also know how to structure the co-operative constitution so it fits with the Drupal project.

I'm not suggesting we copy-n-paste the way the linux co-operative was setup. Dries didn't copy-n-paste the red Hat business plan to raise finance for Acquia. All I'm suggesting is that we follow Dries' example...i.e. here's a great example of a path that worked very well for Red Hat, let's see how they did it and tailor/tweak it for our own needs. his own press releases equate acquia with red hat. All I'm saying is that it might be an idea to do the same for the Drupal community and the Drupal kernel code.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

catch’s picture

All I get from this is:

1. Taking a completely volunteer GPL project and turning it into a business (albeit a co-operative one, but there's plenty of bad co-ops out there)
2. Handing much of the decision making over to paid consultants and full time staff rather than contributors

What both of these do is move the drupal code, infrastructure and etc. further away from the people who actually contribute to it, and into the control either an unspecified amorphous mass called 'the community' - which no-one as yet has defined, despite me and several others asking - or consultants and full-time staffers.

That's not to mention that one of the big issues with co-ops (whether consumer co-ops or workers co-ops) is they usually end up being very, very bad employers of staff (low wages, poor benefits, bad working conditions etc.), I'd rather have a remotely decent day job and work part-time for free, than be at the whim of anyone who might download Drupal or pays a subscription to the association (or some financial consultant hired in for that matter).

jredding’s picture

similar to my comments below.

Redhat was formed well before OSDL
OSDL wasn't solely focused on the Linux kernel development (in fact kernel dev was a tiny bit of their work)
The Linux Foundation still isn't focused solely on Linux Kernel development

again you don't really understand how the model was and your example don't line up with the real world. I'm not trying to be an antagonist but its not a "no brainer" like you claim.

I really think we need to stick to how the co-op would work, specifically, with Drupal instead of continually trying to compare Linux/Redhat with Drupal. You've been wrong about Linux facts over and over again.

chx’s picture

Since you have not answered my challenge I have became mum but I won't stand for FUD

I didn't expect to be attacked, insulted and generally lambasted for raising the topic,

Noone did any of that. The idea is not welcome but you are. You were lambasted for abusing your site maintainers' privilege. But then I personally have written a plea after that to you in private to stay with us. I even tried to call you up to help things. You are free to debate this here and noone ever will get anything for voicing opinions.
--
The news is Now Public | Drupal development: making the world better, one patch at a time. | A bedroom without a teddy is like a face without a smile. |

--
Drupal development: making the world better, one patch at a time. | A bedroom without a teddy is like a face without a smile.

eaton’s picture

I agree with you and I've been very concious of that, but, if you look at other posters, such qas jredding, Eaton and they are beginning to arrive at the same conclusions I arrived at before I posted the first comment in the thread.

Not quite. You ceased responding to my questions and requests for clarification about two days ago: that certainly doesn't imply that I'm "beginning to come to the same conclusions" -- Please don't misrepresent my opinions like that. :)

I've been very clear that we have some disagreements on fundamental premises, though I've always agreed that the underlying questions are worth discussion. I've been asking you specific questions about your proposed plans and structures for a couple of days, now, and you have not answered them. I realize that it's a lot to wade through, but the questions remain. jredding tossed out proposed budget numbers and asked if you agreed, and where you felt the money would (realistically) come from. I offered questions about authority structures and operational details, and how the specific needs of commercial enterprises would be balanced with your structure's proposed operation. These are not trivial nit-picking details.

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Eaton,

I think you're there already, but, don't realise it.

I can't answer those questions for you. I think they should be answered by independent experts in that area.

The core thrust of this thread was Dries & Jay are saying that Acquia = Red Hat. Which is great, but, who is keeping an eye on the Drupal community and the Drupal kernel?

The way linux approached it was to setup a co-operative and Red Hat were one of the first to contribute financially to the co-operative alongside IBM, Novell and many others.

I'm very aware that my specific suggestions maybe wrong, Eaton, but, if you follow the thread, I've been careful to point that out, for the purposes of example/discussion...etcetera. In other words, you're actually agreeing with me and you're only just realising it now that you've calmed down and now that you have realised I wasn't intending to attack anyone or anything.

I genuinely had no idea that there would be so many knee jerk reactions to this topic, nor did I think I would be insulted, attacked and generally lambasted for raising the topic. I bet I'm off a few valentines card lists for next feb. That said, I'm glad I stuck with it, because, the questions you, jredding and others are raising now, are the exact same questions I had before I started this thread.

And the answer to those questions should be provided by independent experts in that area...not members of the Drupal community who run the risk of being attacked, insulted or having their site maintainer priviliges removed from Drupal.org (just kidding, Sepeck!).

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

eaton’s picture

Dublin, I've tried to be patient here, and worked hard to bring the discussion back to factual matters rather than innuendo about Dries and Acquia's trustworthiness. But your insistence on baiting other members of the community, declaring rhetorical victories rather than answering honest questions, and condescending to anyone with the gall to disagree is making it terribly difficult. Now, despite the fact that you demand tha the issue "Be Discussed," you say that only outside consultants, to be hired once we set up a co-op and raise money, can tell us whether a co-op will make sense for Drupal's community.

I hereby declare that you agree with me. I'm glad that you see things my way. :)

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Eaton,

On the contrary Eaton, I hold Dries in the same regard as Jonthan Ive (Apples principle designer and the guy behind the ipod design). For me Dries is to code what Ive is to industrial design.

Speaking of patience, you don't know how many times I have had to bite my lip during this discussion and in the same breath, can I say that the knee jerk reactions, snide remarks suggesting I'm calling Dries/Acquia's trustworthiness into question and general lambasting doesn't encourage a platform for open and honest debate.

I'm not insisting that you or anyone else take my word for it on the co-operative model, Eaton, I only really started looking into it when I saw Dries reference the fact that he and jay presents Acquia = Red Hat. It's in the acquia press releases, Eaton.

And if you read the linux roadmap, when they setup their co-operative, red hat was one of, if not the first organisation to contribute finance to it.

As I said earlier, it's as close to a no-brainer that you can get.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

jredding’s picture

Dublin,

With all due respect you have diverted from the original argument of this thread and you continue to bring Linux into the mix. I am really, really not trying to "call you out" on things but, again, you do not understand the history of Linux and how it changed things.

Red Hat was not the first company to donate to the organization and to this day they are not principal company behind the organization. I understand that you're using Dries and Acquia's example here and not bringing in on your own. You are misconstruing their example to fit your quest for a co-op.

Dries and Acquia are referring to the technology advances that Red hat brought to the Linux community. They are not referring to their business model. In the Linux community Redhat is seen as one of the milestones for Linux. When Linux took the step from a hobby project to a full blown enterprise solution. It really has nothing to do with co-ops, non-profit or any of the like. Its all about technology.

When Redhat burst onto the scene I was finally able to tell the companies I work for that Linux was more than a hobby. Linux was for real and Linux was not going away. It has nothing at all to do with their business model. This is the same here.

So, again, your facts on Linux are wrong. I am not trying to criticize you or to publicly "call you out" as I've stated before. I'm not trying to make this a me vs. you debate. Your facts are just plainly wrong.

I have to say that I agree with you on some points. Mainly in that Drupal must be protected. I, however, believe that the community has done the necessary things to ensure that it is protected.

I still believe that Drupal, in the trademark, belongs to Dries. Linus owns Linux, Dries owns Drupal. I'm cool with that.

I also believe that a.d.o has no right to force Dries to work for them just to ensure the future of Drupal. Linus went and worked for V.A, Transmeta and consulted with numerous other companies. I want the same for Dries. He is an incredibly smart guy and he needs to explore the various areas of the business and technology world. He will become a more rounded person, programmer and business person for that. Drupal will benefit from him having this experience.

I do not support the idea of a.d.o paying his salary at this point in time.

Finally. The question of all of this coming to light, in my mind, is of scale. OSDL, now merged into Linux Foundation, was only created when Linux reached a point of maturity such that a body was needed. To steal directly from the Linux Foundation themselves, under "Why was the Linux Foundation formed?"

Linux has experienced tremendous growth since OSDL and the FSG were each formed more than six years ago. Today, Linux has captured significant marketshare across many different industries and has reached a level of maturity that requires a focused and comprehensive set of resources as it enters the next phase of explosive growth.

Specifically I'm referring to "Linux has captured significant marketshare across many different industries..."

Drupal is in a single industry. Drupal doesn't have a significant marketshare.

No offense to Drupal here. But we're making web applications we're not developing an operating system that runs just about every electronic device under the sun. In a dollar sense we're talking trillions compared to tens of millions. The scope difference is insane.

I do not believe that we need to build a cathedral when the bazaar is working out just fine.

-Code is GPLed.
-A.D.O is tasked with preserving the trademark (amongst many other things)
-Dries has a contract that allows him freedom to work on Drupal

If Acquia gives the OK I think it would be good if those particular areas of the contract could be disclosed.

I'm really sorry but you have made a great argument and I have learned a lot from your posts but you have failed to convince me that these steps are necessary.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

HI Jredding,

The fact that you have asked those questions, is precisely the reason I raised this topic. They are roughly the same questions I asked myself before I raised this topic, I just drew a different conclusion. So, there's no offense taken. I respect that.

Drupal is in a single industry. Drupal doesn't have a significant marketshare. No offense to Drupal here. But we're making web applications we're not developing an operating system that runs just about every electronic device under the sun

I actually disagree with those point(s). Drupal applies to so many industries, it would be hard to list them all.

A good illustrative example would be civicspace, which could be described as a Drupal distribution for civic activities. That is an entirely different industry to, yahoo research, for example, or the onion newspaper and with it brings a completely different set of demands.

I would also disagree with your take on linux. Linux isn't just for desktops and devices. There's a "big iron" demand for linux which requires a very different spec. to what you would expect from a desktop distribution of linux. Hence the reason you have different corporations now working on their own distributions of linux for different industries.

Drupal is heading towards a similar cross roads that linux faced a few years ago and the way they approached it was to setup a co-operative, so all these different corporations, servicing different distributions could throw their money into a pool to achieve a common goal.

As Dries outlines in his blog and in the acquia press releases...Acquia = Red Hat...and all I'm saying is, hold on a sec. guys, who is keeping tabs on the Drupal community and the Drupal kernel? hence the connection with the linux Co-operative. I know you don't like the linux analogy, but, it was Dries who brought it up in his blog and press releases for Acquia. Not me.

edited: Just to clarify...What I mean by "big iron" demands is that there's desktop distributions of Linux and "big iron" mainframe distributions of linux as well. In Drupal speak, that means you could have civic distributions, music distributions, personal blog distributions, small-shop distributions, "big iron" corporate knowledge base distributions of Drupal...and so on.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

jredding’s picture

I like Dries' Linux analog because it fits.

Redhat was a major milestone in Linux whether you like Redhat or not. It was massive.

Acquia might be as massive to Drupal.

Whose looking after the Drupal Community? We are!
Whose looking after the Drupal kernel? its GPLed so laws, statutes, etc. and again We Are! You, I and everyone else.

I still don't think the scale is anywhere as near. Yes Drupal is used in a lot of Industries but it still does 1 think. Builds a web site. It doesn't power a phone, a television set, satellites, refrigerators, radios, mp3 players, dvd players, etc. etc.

There is a massive, massive difference between Linux and Drupal. Massive.

Their example still fits.
Yours doesn't.
I'm sorry.

catch’s picture

Well, for me, I think

Drupal -> Debian
Acquia -> Ubuntu

makes more sense as an analogy. But then I never really got on with Red Hat products much.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

HI Jredding,

The fact that you have asked those questions, is precisely the reason I raised this topic. They are roughly the same questions I asked myself before I raised this topic, I just drew a different conclusion. So, there's no offense taken. I respect that.

Drupal is in a single industry. Drupal doesn't have a significant marketshare. No offense to Drupal here. But we're making web applications we're not developing an operating system that runs just about every electronic device under the sun

I actually disagree with those point(s). Drupal applies to so many industries, it would be hard to list them all.

A good illustrative example would be civicspace, which could be described as a Drupal distribution for civic activities. That is an entirely different industry to, yahoo research, for example, or the onion newspaper and with it brings a completely different set of demands.

I would also disagree with your take on linux. Linux isn't just for desktops and devices. There's a "big iron" demand for linux which requires a very different spec. to what you would expect from a desktop distribution of linux. Hence the reason you have different corporations now working on their own distributions of linux for different industries.

As an aside, what I mean by "big iron" demands is that there's desktop distributions of Linux and "big iron" mainframe distributions of linux as well. In Drupal speak, that means you could have civic distributions, music distributions, personal blog distributions, small-shop distributions, "big iron" corporate knowledge base distributions of Drupal...and so on.

Drupal is heading towards a similar cross roads that linux faced a few years ago and the way they approached it was to setup a co-operative, so all these different corporations, servicing different distributions could throw their money into a pool to achieve a common goal.

As Dries outlines in his blog and in the acquia press releases...Acquia = Red Hat...and all I'm saying is, hold on a sec. guys, who is keeping tabs on the Drupal community and the Drupal kernel? hence the connection with the linux Co-operative. I know you don't like the linux analogy, but, it was Dries who brought it up in his blog and press releases for Acquia. Not me.

Dub

P.S. Sorry for the double posting..I can't seem to edit my own posts.

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

hi Eaton,

I see where you're coming from, but, the questions you and others like Jredding are asking, now, are precisely the same questions I asked myself before I started the discussion.

I have some ideas on how much is needed for a Drupal co-operative, but, it's a fraction of the total that Jredding came up with and ultimately, I would argue those questions should be answered by external independent expert professionals that specialise in that area of business.

In other words, if I throw out a contrasting figure to Jredding, it will be just used to nit-pick for another 200+ posts and the core discussion will suffocate under the weight of point-scoring, insults and attacks on individuals.

I also have a fairly good idea how much it will cost to hire some experts to carry out some analysis and a proposed Drupal co-op structure, but, even that would be just a guess, based on previous expeience dealing with VCs and investors. And based on the previous 200+ posts, I would prefer not to even guess, as some might start nit-picking on that figure and using it as a means to attack me, rather than focus on the topic.

Instead, I would suggest following Dries' example, or to paraphrase his mission statement, Acquia = Red Hat and have a look at how the linux co-op was formed and how it was financed. If I inderstand Dries correctly, the Linux co-op was setup after Red Hat made their Initial Public Offering and had no problem investing into the linux co-operative when it was setup.

In the same breath, Easton, would it be rocket science to suggest directing your questions at the business analysts who carried out that process for the linux co-operative, rather than asking me?

Haven't they already been through the process at least once already, with the linux co-operative?

I'm not suggesting that we copy-n-paste the business plan, I agree with Jredding that Linux isn't the exact same as Drupal, but, the fundamental principles behind what they did are very similar to where Drupal is at now...hence Dries' Acquia = Red Hat comparison.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

eaton’s picture

I also have a fairly good idea how much it will cost to hire some experts to carry out some analysis and a proposed Drupal co-op structure, but, even that would be just a guess, based on previous expeience dealing with VCs and investors. And based on the previous 200+ posts, I would prefer not to even guess, as some might start nit-picking on that figure and using it as a means to attack me, rather than focus on the topic.

If "what can we do to protect Drupal, and would it work in conceivable scenarios" isn't the topic, I'm not sure what is. I have no desire to attack you. I'm just trying to maintain an open mind and figure out whether the radical change you've advocated makes sense. You're telling me that all will be revealed once there's cash for a consultant.

I'm sorry if you're scared that people will say mean things about you if you provide compelling reasons to agree with you. I would encourage you, though: be brave. Say the number. Is it $50? $50,000? Can we put up a chipin account and raise the money in an afternoon? Who's one of these experts? Who will they talk to to understand the Drupal community? I'd like to see some of these questions resolved. I'm willing to toss in some cash if I know who we'll be talking to and The Community has control over what questions are asked.

If I come up with an idea that would revolutionize Drupal and make it the strongest web platform ever, but we have to raise a million dollars before anyone can hear the specifics of the idea, I'd consider that a pretty serious strike against it. If it required $10, not so serious. What is the initial investment in dollars and time, before we learn whether it is a promising approach?

Previously, you've said that the structure of a co-op is so obvious it doesn't even need to be explained, that it's so critical that it's the only way for Drupal to succeed, and that it's just a formality because we're already a co-op. I simply don't grasp why such a simple and elementary thing requires a paid consultant..

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

Tresler’s picture

I don't actually need to write anything, just blockquote my previous post that you ignored:

Finally, I'll go with ya on opportunities for a moment. Please name one that would exist with any other organization than we have now that wouldn't with the same organization. I've read the above threads and still don't see them, please elucidate.
For going on 200 posts one question has not been answered. Why, specifically, is a move like this a benefit? What merit does it have in a meritocracy?

Please, stop wasting the time of good people who spent hours giving this idea the benefit of the doubt. No one is trying to be mean here, but you can't raise this discussions, and then abjectly ignore the members of this community, who all have better things to be doing, when they ask questions. Just answer what has been asked, It should be self evident.

Sam Tresler
http://www.treslerdesigns.com
-------------------------------------
"A list of common problems and their solutions can be found in the Troubleshooting FAQ."

brst t’s picture

re: democratizing Drupal and/or formalizing a co-operative style business model
Please no.

I'm a happy new member of the Drupal Association and have lingered around for more years than I've had a login. Nothing yet has made me go, 'eep' with anything to do with Drupal or its structure, Except for these suggestions.

Eep - no.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Thanks for chipping in Trish. You have some very interesting logic.

Having being elected to the Drupal association, I'm surprised you would be so against the idea of democratising Drupal. Isn't that what they call an oxymoron?

Besides, formalising a co-operative worked extremely well for linux and fits very well with Dries's Acquia = Red Hat analogy (see his blog and acquia press releases). Forming a linux co-op attracted a huge amount of money to invest in the protection, development and promotion of linux and red Hat were one of the main contributers.

What I'm suggesting is that we look at 'upgrading' the Drupal association, so you aren't working part time as a volunteer and we have a serious budget to implement serious elements of the Drupal project.

Dub

P.S. In America a co-op is probably more commonly referred to as a consortium.

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

brst t’s picture

Having being elected to the Drupal association, I'm surprised you would be so against the idea of democratising Drupal. Isn't that what they call an oxymoron?

What? Here's the link: http://association.drupal.org ! I never said I was elected to anything. I'm a happy member. Donated to the project and then clicked on that front page link to become a member.

My thoughts on the matter are also in part due to my own experience working with various co-ops- as a regular member, committee member and as a board member. And well, as an outsider, too, I guess. I also vote in every political democratic election and put in some time to participate in the process as a citizen.

And I still don't think either are a good idea for Drupal.

I don't feel the need to elaborate much further. These posts notably stood out as I read through this :

http://drupal.org/node/202638#comment-665742
http://drupal.org/node/202638#comment-670212

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

HI Trish,

my mistake. the way you said it sounded like you were a board (elected) member of the association.

You do realise that Drupal is already a co-operative? (i.e. a group of individuals, companies and organisations working together towards a common goal.) It just hasn't been realised in the business sense.

Do you object to Dries asking people to nominate candidates and voting on Drupal association mandates?

In other words, if I understand you correctly, you don't have a problem donating money to Drupal and are happy to be a member of the association, but, you do have a problem with democratising Drupal.

I take it the previous co-operatives you worked with didn't include the linux co-operative...which appears to have worked very well for Red Hat, Suse and the Linux community.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

jredding’s picture

Dublin,

She made her point; which was quick and to the point. There is no need to rehash things that were already said. This post is just a repeat of roughly the last 50 posts you've made. People do not agree with you on your use of the term "Co-op" moreover your facts on Linux continue to be wrong and misconstrued.

I understand you are passionate about this but rehashing and repeating its not constructive moreover you are misconstruing her words to make your argument stronger. Just because she likes the current model and doesn't want a co-op doesn't mean that she doesn't want to democratize Drupal. It simply means she doesn't agree with the need for a full fledged co-op.

Whether Drupal is a co-op or not Trish, as a Drupal user and now as a association member, has a voice and say in what happens to Drupal. The association, the core commiters, the coders have always and will always listen to the people regardless of if its in a by-law, held up by statues or has a legal structure behind it.

Please let people have their own opinions and if you reply offer new evidence, new arguments to defend your case. It is not constructive to simply repeat what you've already said.

carlmcdade’s picture

As one that sits and codes Drupal for a company that owns several communities, many or which are the same size or larger than Drupal.org here is my perspective. $7 million usd is a lot! Big time capital for a small company. It looks like this is the price tag for the Drupal Community not because this true but because I work for a company that does acquisitions of communities for their growth potential so my view point is very skewed. I have been brainwashed into only seeing the ROI for communities.

So having said that I have to wonder just how much weight the VC put on the popularity of Drupal AND its community. Because without them Drupal is just another CMS and Acquia would be only worth 0.02. The result being all the talk about GPL and code is nonsense. If it were true then Bryght and Civicspace would have gotten the same consideration from VC's for their efforts. The difference being that the persons involved OWN the rights to the name, trademark, rolling popularity and so much more.

The truth as I see it is that Dries is a bright young man who got lucky and is able to capitalize on it. I see that same thing happening to all the owners of communities that we have aquired. It's like mini versions of Facebook which is the trend nowadays. Now the question is where is this going to lead. Quite honestly DublinDrupaller has a good and righteous beef. There should be more transparency in what is going on. If the VC wants to see a 15-23% return on their investment in two years just how is that supposed to happen? What is the product or service that Acquia will be selling that will see them a net value of 10 mil usd in so short a time. How will the production of those products and services effect the community? Will there be a Drupal Pro Edition for sale? ala Alfresco. I would hope so because quite frankly Drupal does not hold up against the pounding that we give it now. We have to mold it it something else. It would be nice if there was a finished product that took up 80% of the trouble. Is this what Acquia is all about?

A bigger question is not what would happen if Dries goes fishing. But what happens if another company comes along and satisfies the VC requirements but also wants the Drupal name and other assets? The Drupal Community is no where near as tight as the previous Mambo devs were there is very little hope that the Drupal Community could pull off what the Joomla Community has done. Any extensions of Drupal like Bryght, Lullabot or Civicspace would be forced to follow along with any aquisition to maintain thier bottomline. So no help would be forthcoming from them. Dries and the core group are also in constant defense of any forking of the Drupal code. Their vigilance will be increased now because its business not "religion" now. Lives are in play and the stakeholders have changed personality and need.

My answer to Dublindrupaller is that the lake is about to become a river of rapids. If you don't swim to shore now all you can do later is go along for the ride and hope for calmer waters.

Hiveminds Magazine - for web publishers and community builders
http://www.hiveminds.co.uk
http://demo.hiveminds.co.uk
Drupal Support Wiki | Drupal Sverige

eaton’s picture

. If the VC wants to see a 15-23% return on their investment in two years just how is that supposed to happen? What is the product or service that Acquia will be selling that will see them a net value of 10 mil usd in so short a time. How will the production of those products and services effect the community? Will there be a Drupal Pro Edition for sale? ala Alfresco. I would hope so because quite frankly Drupal does not hold up against the pounding that we give it now. We have to mold it it something else. It would be nice if there was a finished product that took up 80% of the trouble. Is this what Acquia is all about?

I certainly hope that Acquia is going to be working to build "industrial-strength" solutions with Drupal. As part of Lullabot, I'm working with clients like MTV, Sony, Fast Company, and IBM on sites that demand high availability and high performance. Any work done by anyone anywhere to improve those qualities is awesome news. Between them, they have way more than $7 million on the line invested in the success of Drupal as an evolving codebase. Obviously, if Acquia finds and uses some method of getting around the GPL, and doesn't distribute those improvements but charge access to them, that's very bad. On a smaller scale, it would be like Sony paying Earl Miles to finish Views 2 in time for Drupal 6's release -- but telling him not to check it into drupal.org's CVS repository, so Sony would have an edge. (I don't mean to say that Sony's motivation for doing that would be the same as a hosting/services company, just that on a small scale it could have the same destructive impact on the community). Again, I know Earl and I know the folks at Sony he works with. I don't feel that's likely, but as always it's a situation that must be considered.

A bigger question is not what would happen if Dries goes fishing. But what happens if another company comes along and satisfies the VC requirements but also wants the Drupal name and other assets?

Are you asking, essentially, what Dries would do if someone offered to buy the Drupal trademark and domain name from him?

Any extensions of Drupal like Bryght, Lullabot or Civicspace would be forced to follow along with any aquisition to maintain thier bottomline. So no help would be forthcoming from them. Dries and the core group are also in constant defense of any forking of the Drupal code. Their vigilance will be increased now because its business not "religion" now.

As someone who has a glass box full of python on his desk, with a little stenciled sign labelled "DRUPAL REWRITE: BREAK GLASS IN CASE OF EMERGENCY" on his desk, I'm not sure that's accurate. ;-) I take your point, though. The inertia of the community is around the core Drupal distribution, as many others who've tried to fork the project have discovered.

Were the scenario you describe above to happen, though, it would be a case of Acquia forking Drupal and their employees blocking similar improvements to the Drupal core via exclusive commit rights and personal, not corporate, control of the Trademark. Were that to happen, I honestly do not see why any of the companies would object to forking to a separate CVS repository where improvements could be made without interference.

Now, if the line between 'being a core committer' and 'blocking improvements to benefit Acquia's premium product' were to be blurred -- if people were simply to argue that Acquia should be doing more to improve core and less to work on their own products... I can see that being very divisive and destructive, because it would become purely a matter of mind-reading and trust issues.

Do you have any thoughts on what could be done to help prevent that kind of ugly scenario? Is there information Acquia could offer? Anything you think the community could do to anticipate or plan for potential issues like this? Dublin's suggestion -- start a co-op, raise money, then hire an expert in co-ops to tell us if a co-op would work -- seems to put the cart before the horse. I've yet to envision a structure for such an enterprise that would prevent these problems. It would just shuffle around who we have trust issues with.

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Dublin's suggestion -- start a co-op, raise money, then hire an expert in co-ops to tell us if a co-op would work -- seems to put the cart before the horse.

not quite, Eaton.

Instead of opening up an open ended topic, I offered a possible solution the community could do to anticipate or plan for potential issues like this as an illustrative example, not as a manifesto, to encourage debate.

Dries has equated Acquia to Red Hat. The Acquia press releases make a lot of noise about Acquia = Red Hat, which is what turned my attention to the Linux co-operative as a possible route for the community. It worked for linux and Red Hat were the first to put money into it.

It's taken you 200+ posts for the proverbial penny to drop and arrive at the salient question Anything you think the community could do to anticipate or plan for potential issues like this? . To save everyone the bother of 200+ more posts, I would suggest that it's not exactly rocket science and definitely not putting the cart before the horse to consult the linux foundation. Which is a co-operative, by the way.

dub

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

eaton’s picture

Instead of opening up an open ended topic, I offered a possible solution the community could do to anticipate or plan for potential issues like this as an illustrative example, not as a manifesto, to encourage debate.

Congratulations! There is debate. Many people agree that there are concerns that need to be addressed. Very few agree with your proposed solution, and many disagree with you on which concerns need addressing. This is debate!

Repeatedly, since day one, you've said that a co-op is the answer and questioned the judgment of any who disagreed. It isn't difficult to see why people are trying to nail down specifics.

It's taken you 200+ posts for the proverbial penny to drop and arrive at the salient question

Not really. It took me two posts -- one to correct some basic misunderstandings you had about the structure of the Drupal Association and another to ask some specific questions clarifying the problems you were trying to prevent. You've replied by questioning my intelligence, questioning my experience, telling me that I'm just not smart enough to realize that I already agree with you, and repeating the numbers "Seven Million" and "Twenty Billion" over and over.

You've now said flat out that you don't have, or are unwilling to offer, the answers to my questions about your ideas. I'm curious about Hiveminds' ideas now, please don't confuse that with a desire to circle the track with you again.

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

HI Eaton,

The reason I didn't answer your specific questions is because I was trying to focus the debate, rather than get into nit picking for a few hundred more posts.

I thought I would mention that because you're asking hiveminds similar questions.....i.e. as a tip, to save some time, I thought I would point out that you, I, hiveminds don't have the answers. It requires careful consideration with the help of some professionals expert in that area of business.

That said, I'm fascinated by your claim that the linux co-operative is a bad approach and in the same breath, I can't wait to hear your alternate suggestions for what the community could do to anticipate or plan for potential issues like this.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

carlmcdade’s picture

I am just doing a comparison to what I see is happening in our offices and in Sweden. The VC's from Denmark and Holland are on the hunt nowadays. They also have some hardcore requirements that rival what is happening in the S.F. Bay Area. They want returns and they want to jump out just before a company is sold to grab their percentage. I have no idea of which VC personality Acquia is involved with but it does not bode well if they are short term and "sell high" types.

On the other hand as you hinted it could be very good news for companies like the one I work for that have choosen Drupal.

I will give this some thought and comeback next year ;)

BTW,
My glass box is filled with a Ruby!

Hiveminds Magazine - for web publishers and community builders
http://www.hiveminds.co.uk
http://demo.hiveminds.co.uk
Drupal Support Wiki | Drupal Sverige

eaton’s picture

I have no idea of which VC personality Acquia is involved with but it does not bode well if they are short term and "sell high" types.

Yes, I think this is definitely an important factor. From the looks of the press releases, it's North Bridge Ventures, Sigma Partners, and O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures. Sigma seems to have a portfolio going back to the 80s, including companies like Vignette and Electronic Arts, while O'Reilly is, well. Connected to O'Reilly. While it doesn't ensure any particular intent, it's still a nice name to have in the mix. Each of the companies -- individually -- seem to have a history of making 4-8million dollar individual investments in startups.

I will give this some thought and comeback next year ;)

True, dat. I'm of the opinion that adding a number of additional 'sanity checks' to the code review and commit process, to prevent any suggestion of conflict of interests, is probably the safest move at the moment. Finding trusted core committers is tricky, though.

--
Lullabot! | Eaton's blog | VotingAPI discussion

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

My answer to Dublindrupaller is that the lake is about to become a river of rapids. If you don't swim to shore now all you can do later is go along for the ride and hope for calmer waters.

Wise words, Hiveminds, and it's the river of rapids that concerns me a little more than the $7million dollars from the acquia investors.

I agree with your point about $7 million dollars being an extraordinary amount of money for a startup, it's more inline with a pre-cursor to an IPO, so it's plausible that the investors maybe looking at cashing in their chips then. Maybe not. But Dries and Jay will be locked into NDA's with the shareholders agreement so they probably won't be able to reveal what the exit strategy is. In the same breath, if that is the case, who is to say an Acquia IPO isn't a good thing for the acquia investors *and* the Drupal community?

From my own perspective, mapping out what I'm doing with Drupal in 2008 takes on a completely different shape now. You could say I'm swimming to shore to avoid getting sucked into those rapids. If I was a bit younger, without as many responsibilities and comittments and if i was a little greener, I would probably be like the rest of the cheerleaders, wondering what the problem is and getting ready for the ride.

It's a shame, because, even though I'm not an expert in co-operative business frameworks, I can see how linux safeguarded the community and their future, as best they could, when that project began to take off. So, it's not as if it's an abstract political theory, it's a proven model that has worked very well in the past and a model that corporations like IBM and Novell, who both already use Drupal, understand completely.

A model that allows corporations,individuals, small businesses, designers etc. to jump on board. A model that removes a lot of the uncertainty, so everyone can invest in Drupal and enjoy the ride.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

keith.smith’s picture

If it were true then Bryght and Civicspace would have gotten the same consideration from VC's for their efforts. The difference being that the persons involved OWN the rights to the name, trademark, rolling popularity and so much more.

This is a fair point to consider, perhaps not so much from a historical basis, but certainly looking forward in a world hopefully to be filled with investment beyond Acquia.

I suspect that VC investment in Dries & Company was motivated by what I imagine to be a well-executed business plan explaining their model. Perhaps trademarks and domain names played a role, but trademarks and domain names are, after all, easy to register. But, for the sake of argument, let's assume that the fact that Dries owns the trademark did play a role, if only in the unspoken thoughts of his VC investors.

Dublin Drupaller has said several times that he could envision a future where more VC-funded Acquia's could play on similar footing. Thinking about that, it is fair to speculate, I think, on whether additional businesses with a business model similar to Acquia will find Drupal an attractive community in which to work if they imagine themselves to be competing with Acquia on an unfair footing (because of a supposed bias toward Acquia in the hearts and minds of core committers and core contributors alike). Will another company competing with Acquia be as eager to give back to the community if they know their contributions will be closely and rigorously examined by their competitor's CTO? Will a direct competitor be as eager to help out in the forums and participate in the issue queues if they perceive drupal.org to be the "stomping ground" of the competition?

I haven't been here very long myself, so I likely do not have the history and background to adequately predict the future. I've seen what I've seen, though, and know what I know, until I'm convinced otherwise.

The things I'm convinced of right now are not all that profound, but it's all I've got:

  • When I wonder if Acquia competitors will imagine a bias, it is because I'm doubtful that a real bias will exist. From what I've seen, Dries and Gabor and everyone else are very intense, methodical folks who care deeply about what they do. I think they would welcome a competitor giving back to the community, and treat that patch in much the same way they would treat any patch. (I really think that if they knew it was something submitted by a competitor, they would go way out of their way to be absolutely fair in their evaluation, to avoid even the hint of favoritism.) But, at the end of the day, no patch has a guarantee of commitment, and when a competitor's patch isn't committed, there will always be those who are willing to see the worst in the process. An imagined bias is often as real and hurtful as an actual one.
  • I hope that a direct competitor to Acquia would not take Acquia employees' community involvement as a signal that they would not be welcome in the community. I don't think anyone extant in the community would think that, were they to start an Acquia competitor tomorrow. If I were to launch an Acquia competitor tomorrow and I received $7M in funding, I'm positive that a lot of the people in the community, including Dries, would be happy for me, even if I were starting a rival business. But, it is possible that additional investment goes to startups manned by people outside the community, and I'm not sure how people even newer than me will react to any of this. At the end of the day, we just have to be more resolute as a community to be open to new people, and support open and transparent procedures from top to bottom.
  • Thinking about this issue points out -- as has been mentioned many times before -- one serious weakness: the number of people who can, and do, carefully review patches and other contributions, evaluate their worth objectively, and then post back to the issue. If all of us, including myself, put ourselves in Dries' position during a patch review more often, and carefully considered the bigger picture from all sides, then as a project we would all benefit. In my hypothetical "Acquia competitor faces a rigorous review process" example, if we as a community ask the difficult questions so that Dries does not have to -- and indeed, ask those same questions of every patch -- we help shield the process from the perception of bias and get better code in the process.
  • Do I think, right now, that a co-op or consortium is the way forward? No, not so much. Organizations don't inspire trust, but people do. I trust the people involved here, and the organization is incidental. If my trust gets shaken in the future, then it does, and I move on and adjust. Is that naive of me? Maybe, but so is thinking that a new organizational structure will cure all of our ills. It is also naive to assume that other "experts" have the ability to chart our future more accurately than we ourselves, when, after all, there are a lot of talented folks here with diverse experiences and areas of expertise.

This is an exciting time. Even though most of us, including me, are just watching from the sidelines, this is an exciting time to be involved in the project.

--keith

robertgarrigos’s picture

My suggestion would be to adopt a Co-operative style business model which is hugely succesfull and best described as:

I understand dd concerns, as well as Hiveminds', however, I believe the answer, now, is the Drupal Association, not a coop business model. I've been involved with some coop business models and they are not necessary the panacea.

I think we need to keep debating (calmly) on the new arising necessities while improving our own personal structures (ie Drupal Association), but adopting a new business model would be in fact a huge change now.

I've been with Drupal, as many of you, for a few years now, and this is not, as with many of you, I'm sure, the first OS project I've been involved with. And I think that Drupal is, by far, the strongest OS in the world in terms of human power. (Sorry for my English, but this is the closest word I can think of to the meaning I have in mind). And I'm sure that much of this success is because of Dries B. Trust is the most valuable asset in an OS and no coop business models could survive without it. So, lets trust that Dries will keep doing a great use of the Drupal trademark and domain, as he has been doing, which are the only assets he possesses on Drupal. Because Drupal is GPL so the community already owns it, isn't? And we can democratize the Drupal Association as much as we need to.

So, I really believe that with the tools we have now and some trust (needed in any situation) we will be able to cope with any difficulties we might find in the near future.
---
Robert Garrigos

merlinofchaos’s picture

Dub: I don't think any of the core contributors to Drupal are really going to be interested in this proposal. If you think those contributors (of which I am one) are the very people you don't trust, and want to take the power away from, I think you're using the wrong product.

I think this post was basically public, poor attempt at a coup d'etat that has no chance of success. I think your attempt has lost you a lot of respect amongst the people who drive Drupal's codebase. Users will not drive innovation in a meritocracy, which is what Drupal now considers itself. And Dries is the primary gatekeeper to what goes into Drupal and what does not.

I've fought with Dries over core commits and the direction of Drupal many times. I understand Dries' positions, and I trust that relationship will continue. Dries will be thoughtful and do what is best for Drupal, despite his position with Acquia. In a year's time, Dries term as president is up and if the members of the Drupal Association feel he is acting poorly, he'll be voted out. Currently, there isn't even a ghost of a chance of that happening.

Also, we have the Drupal Association. It will either succeed or fail, and we don't know yet. But while it's around, I don't see the point in another organization that looks like it is going to intentionally compete with the Association.

I think this whole thing is poorly thought out; it looks to me like someone who should be an insider, but is not (for reasons I don't understand) trying to seize some level of power from those who do have power. I don't speak for the rest of the Association when I say this, but as a Permanent Member of the Drupal Association, this post feels like a violation to me. It is a public assault, and while you may not have meant it this way, it was hurtful to everyone in the Association who has poured hours and hours of their time into trying to build something.

If you actually proceed with any action on this, I personally will stand in the way at every opportunity, because I believe what you propose is actively harmful to the community, to the Drupal codebase, and to all of the sites out there who currently rely on Drupal. In fact, the only benefit to this seems to be to those who feel like they don't have enough influence to Drupal's direction.

But, you see, because Drupal is a meritocracy, if you feel you don't have enough influence in Drupal's direction right now, it's because your contributions have not spoken louder than your words.

-- Merlin

[Read my writing: ehalseymiles.com]
[Read my Coding blog: Angry Donuts]

-- Merlin

[Read my writing: ehalseymiles.com]
[Read my Coding blog: Angry Donuts]

Tresler’s picture

I feel these thoughts belong more here than on the above comments I have made, as they are more in line with what merlin is saying.

A) As I have said before this is a bad idea.
B) Again, if you feel this strongly about this, go through the provided channels.
C) Stop, stop , stop putting words in peoples mouths. Including jredding and eaton of above, who have both contradicted your comments about them agreeing with you.
D) Stop being patronizing... trust us, we'll know when we come around to agreeing with your thoughts, it hasn't happened yet.
E) If you are a Drupal community member, I personal apologize for participating in this discussion; I didn't mean to extend the inevitable.
F) My time is valuable, I will now stop wasting it here. This conversation is riddled with flame, mis-stated facts, continually avoidance of questions, disrespect, abject purposeful obtuseness, mis-attribution, confusion about the difference of a co-op business and the word cooperation (Drupal is not a co-op), and above all, NO REAL DIALOGUE. I stick to my Original Post, it is POINTLESS.
G) My advice, fwiw, (and this is in jest) Do not write a detailed post, just give a +1 or -1, preferably without indicating what you are pro or against, and maybe do that 3 or 4 times.

DD, You have some ork in Drupal I respect, none of this is personal, just relevant in the context that has been created.

Sam Tresler

-------------------------------------
"A list of common problems and their solutions can be found in the Troubleshooting FAQ."

Steven Jones’s picture

@Dub: please please either write $7million or 7million dollars. Writing $7million dollars is as bad as LCD display.

Also Dries good.
Acquia good.

---
Regards
Darthsteven

---
Regards
Steven
http://www.computerminds.co.uk

coupet’s picture

Within this thread, there have been some important issues raised that would benefit Drupal as it evolves.

----
Darly

merlinofchaos’s picture

These important issues could have been raised in a way that was constructive to the community.

Instead, Dub has successfully spread Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, while at the same time spreading a lot of obvious misinformation (of which he has been called on several times in this thread and never addresses) as well as insulting pretty much everyone in the Drupal Association and Dries many times over.

This is not community. This is rabble-rousing, pure and simple. This is the kind of talk that gets people with pitchforks who have absolutely no idea what it is they're afraid of, but they are sure as hell going to stop it. It's completely counterproductive in any way, shape or form.

It makes me angry; but more than that, it makes me sad at a very deep level. Sad that Dub (who has been a long time Drupal contributor and is one of the names I remember strongly from my early days) seems intent upon trying to take power away from those who have it and give it to people who don't deserve it.

-- Merlin

[Point the finger: Assign Blame!]
[Read my writing: ehalseymiles.com]
[Read my Coding blog: Angry Donuts]

-- Merlin

[Read my writing: ehalseymiles.com]
[Read my Coding blog: Angry Donuts]

coupet’s picture

Drupal has been around for more than 7 years and includes a strong community that want it to succeed. This thread will NOT adversely affect Drupal.

It makes me angry; but more than that, it makes me sad at a very deep level.

Merlin, you are too smart and nice to feel that way!

----
Darly

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Merlin,

Can I say that I'm disappointed, but, not surprised with your comments?

There is no coup d'etat going on. It's called a REALITY CHECK, Merlin.

I've always maintained that, as a programmer, I hold Dries in the same regard as Jonathan Ives (Apple's lead designer and designer of the ipod). Dries is to code, what Ive is to industrial design.

So, I don't know here you're getting the coup d'etat ideas from. I think Dries should continue as one of the lead programmers for Drupal.

Despite the vitriol, insults and attacks being levelled at me, in a way I'm pleased I raised this topic. Because I've learnt that, behind the illusion of a community based project, you really just have an autocracy bolstered by a bunch of cheerleaders who will shout down any form of constructive criticism.

I'm astonished by the Sort of things sepeck and Michelle are saying about me off-site. It's so mind bogglingly childish and short-sighted, it's beyond belief. It wouldn't surprise me if there were pictures of burning effigies of me on there tomorrow.

That said, I know that you, sepeck, Michelle and others don't represent the wider Drupal community - I have had enough emails since raising this topic from core contributers who share my concerns, but, who are also afraid to speak their minds, to know that not everyone shares your grandiose "coup d'etat" theories.

One of the first remarks anyone who comes across Drupal says is usually that it's very obvious that it's been built by programmers and for programmers. Before anyone jumps out of their pram and starts calling for me to be sent to guantanemo bay, they are not MY WORDS.

That same theme is reflected right across the Drupal project, including big-picture business decisions that affect everyone in the community.

It's that "I know best" approach (where Dries and a few other programmers act as tie-breakers for what goes into core and what doesn't) which has worked brilliantly for code decisions, being applied to big picture decisions.

Acquia = Red hat

And here's the rub, Merlin. I actually think Acquia is a great thing. Dries compares or likens it to Red Hat, to the degree that it's almost a mission statement and is in the Acquia press releases. Which, again, is a great thing for Acquia. All I'm saying, is hold on a sec. who is looking after the community and the Drupal project?

The way Red Hat interacted with the linux community and linux core code was via a co-operative that was setup and which attracted a lot of financial contributions from IBM, Novell and Red Hat among many many others.

All I'm suggesting is that we might (as a community) follow Dries' lead of copying the red hat approach for acquia and look into how the linux community applied the co-operative model so well to safe guard their community, protect the core code and promote Linux.

When the linux co-operative was setup, Red Hat was one of the first to contribute money to the co-operative. IBM and Novell are already using Drupal in a big way and were one of the first to financially contribute to the linux co-operative also.

Now, forgive me for being dim, but, where in all that do you see me calling for Dries to be ousted in a coup d'etat?

What worries me more than any of my concerns about where Drupal is going is how many others like you and who think the way you do, are surrounding Dries.

The last thing in the world Dries needs is to be surrounded by a bunch of cheerleading psychopants. He needs to be surrounded by people with long term vision, people who aren't afraid to speak their minds, voice concerns, raise constructive debates, point out potential weaknesses, people who don't jump down other people's necks when they dare to question anything. more importantly he needs to surround himself with people who have been down this road before, such as the business experts who setup the linux co-operative for linus torvalds.

I prefer that approach, Merlin. In other words, you're not creating a mini-community or clique within a community. Because once that happens, the rochdale principles - (without the rochdale principles, Drupal would be nothing) - begin to unravel quicker than you can say "uh-oh".

It's like I said earlier, the irony is, if the structure I'm talking about was in place, we wouldn't be even having this discussion.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

merlinofchaos’s picture

So, I don't know here you're getting the coup d'etat ideas from. I think Dries should continue as one of the lead programmers for Drupal.

Your whole premise is to change the power structure that controls Drupal. You call Dries an autocrat regularly, and your speech is highly mixed. You seek to change that. That's a coup.

I'm astonished by the Sort of things sepeck and Michelle are saying about me off-site. It's so mind bogglingly childish and short-sighted, it's beyond belief. It wouldn't surprise me if there were pictures of burning effigies of me on there tomorrow.

Yes, you are boggled because you are unable to see your own mistake and refuse to see it. You posted this to the front page. Michelle had the right and the authority to demote it. you re-promoted it. Things happened because you defied the existing rules for front page posts, and are trying to blame the people who did their jobs rather than accept that you did something wrong.

That said, I know that you, sepeck, Michelle and others don't represent the wider Drupal community - I have had enough emails since raising this topic from core contributers who share my concerns, but, who are also afraid to speak their minds, to know that not everyone shares your grandiose "coup d'etat" theories.

No? What is the 'wider' Drupal community? A bunch of people who use Drupal but don't really know much about it? A bunch of people who have not earned merit in the meritocracy? I know that our opinion is generally shared by the core developers of Drupal, and the people who are using Drupal right now to build very large, enterprise sites. The people who are intimately involved in Drupal and know what's going on.

One of the first remarks anyone who comes across Drupal says is usually that it's very obvious that it's been built by programmers and for programmers. Before anyone jumps out of their pram and starts calling for me to be sent to guantanemo bay, they are not MY WORDS.

What's ironic is that you're using this phrase on the developer who has spent probably the most time and effort to make Drupal friendly to non-developers. And even without that, so what? In a meritocracy, the people who write the code are the ones who get to choose. In some alternate third world, you're making the developers the indentured servants of the users. Guess what? Developers will leave.

That same theme is reflected right across the Drupal project, including big-picture business decisions that affect everyone in the community.

It's that "I know best" approach (where Dries and a few other programmers act as tie-breakers for what goes into core and what doesn't) which has worked brilliantly for code decisions, being applied to big picture decisions.

This statement requires evidence to be backed up. I think this is a bullshit statement. Show me some big picture business decisions that have worked in this manner? You can't. You know why? Because you don't know of any. You're making stuff up. You know how I know this? I'm a member of the Drupal Association, and I actually know how it works. And guess what? It doesn't work the same way as the Drupal codebase.

You know this, but you refuse to accept it.

All I'm suggesting is that we might (as a community) follow Dries' lead of copying the red hat approach for acquia and look into how the linux community applied the co-operative model so well to safe guard their community, protect the core code and promote Linux.

Wrong. You are proposing a system where 1 share = 1 vote. Let's examine this scenario. In this scenario, the people who do the work right now are maybe 5% of the people who would be voting. That means that a group of random yahoos would instantly outvote even a majority consensus of the people who do the work. That system is wrong.

What worries me more than any of my concerns about where Drupal is going is how many others like you and who think the way you do, are surrounding Dries.

The last thing in the world Dries needs is to be surrounded by a bunch of cheerleading psychopants. He needs to be surrounded by people with long term vision, people who aren't afraid to speak their minds, voice concerns, raise constructive debates, point out potential weaknesses, people who don't jump down other people's necks when they dare to question anything. more importantly he needs to surround himself with people who have been down this road before, such as the business experts who setup the linux co-operative for linus torvalds.

I am not a cheerleading sycophant.
I am not afraid to speak my mind.
I am not afraid to voice concerns.
I raise constructive ideas all the time.
I am heavily involved in debates.
I have convinced Dries to commit code that he was absolutely, positively not interested in committing at the beginning, because I used good, solid arguments and real world evidence.
None of the members of the Drupal Association, nor the core committers, nor core contributors are cheerleading sycophants.

Dries spent thousands of dollars of his own money travelling to talk to the leaders of many open source projects. He has gotten a lot of real information about how other projects have gone and what had worked and what has not. He has investigated things that made other projects fail. Ridiculous amounts of work have gone into research into considering the future. You seem to feel like everything is "the whim of Dries" but you're wrong.

Ok. Now that you've dropped into insult mode, let's get into it.

You've insulted me. You've just claimed several things that are absolutely not true.
You have abused the privileges you were given.
You have rudely insulted everyone in the Drupal Association.
You are spreading lies about the existing power structure.
You are saying the way things are not are not working when in fact they appear to be.
You continue to push this idea without any real background. You continue to use Linux as a model, and yet people consistently refute your claims and yet you continue to make your inaccurate claims.

You repeatedly conflate the response to your inappropriate action as an attempt to silence you, when in fact it is pure enforcement of drupal.org policy. Go on, be a martyr. Except, if you're being martyred, ask yourself: Why was this post not deleted? Not locked? It was merely demoted from the drupal.org frontpage; a place that it is wholly inappropriate to be.

You've been repeatedly told how you can affect change. But you consistently disagree.
You've been repeatedly spread lies and misinformation.
Your behavior here is reprehensible. I find this repugnant.
The good points that are brought up in this discussion are completely buried by your lies, errors and insistence that you speak the Truth. You remind me of certain far-right evangelicals who have decided the world is exactly one way, and simply close your ears and go 'la la la' when people disagree with you.

It's like I said earlier, the irony is, if the structure I'm talking about was in place, we wouldn't be even having this discussion.

You're right, because I would've left the project because I don't actually believe that democracy, where the will of the mob rules, is actually the right course for an open source project.

P.S: I'm not reading this post anymore. If I want to be subjected to more lies and bullshit, there is a US Presidential election going on. At least it's more meaningful than this tripe you're delivering. Go ahead. Respond to this. Get the last word in. I hope it makes you feel better. But it won't make you any less wrong.

-- Merlin

[Point the finger: Assign Blame!]
[Read my writing: ehalseymiles.com]
[Read my Coding blog: Angry Donuts]

-- Merlin

[Read my writing: ehalseymiles.com]
[Read my Coding blog: Angry Donuts]

jredding’s picture

Dub,

I've repeated myself about 3 times now but you still aren't listening. Your facts on Linux are wrong, plain wrong.

Redhat did not fund OSDL and to this day they are not a core contributer.
Redhat and Acquia are very similiar in that they are milestones, not in business models.
Redhat did not help Linux setup a co-op and I don't believe that Linux is a co-op as you put it. (Please don't respond to this with "Linux already is a co-op, we've all heard those words before and I simply do not agree with you)

Linus did NOT go to work for OSDL immediately, he went and worked for several private companies during those beloved IPO days. Your facts on this are wrong. Please stop repeating them.

Now moving onto other things. I would like to start the winding down of this topic.

It has become clear that many, many people are not in agreement that a co-op is necessary at this time and I do not believe that continuing this thread is going to give any traction to a movement to create one. At this point continuing this thread is counterproductive for everyone involved

I do apologize if any of my personal posts sounded like an attack on you, they weren't meant to be. I simply wanted to ensure the history of Linux is stated accurately. Linux and OSS is something I'm extremely passionate and, at times, sensitive about. I apologize if my posts were a bit edgy.

I do want to thank you for bringing up the topic and I urge you to continue with your contributions in the Drupal community.

This issue about trademark was good to bring up. PHP foundation owns the PHP name, Apache foundation owns the Apache name, Linus owns the Linux name and Dries own the Drupal name. So we have examples on both sides.
The consensus, at this point, is to leave it as is. People are comfortable with Dries owning the name. Possibly later when a.d.o becomes more mature (its still a baby) the trademark will move over OR a.d.o will become the exclusive licensor of it thus preventing Dries from doing anything silly with it.

The issue of having Dries be independent was also great to bring up (co-op or not). I personally believe that having Linus Torvalds independent is a boon to the Linux community. I do not believe that Drupal is anywhere near the scale or maturity of Linux thus I believe its too soon to have a.d.o hire Dries. Possibly when a.d.o becomes more mature Dries will want to work for a.d.o.

Also the issue of IF V.Cs/Angels/general investors will be worried to invest in Drupal because Dries is working for Acquia is a good point. We don't have an immediate answer to this BUT news travels and if any investors are worried they will bring that nervousness to the table. That can then be communicated to the community and we can react as necessary.
As you have stated you've been through the V.C process so you are definitely "in the know" so I hope that you continue in the community and let everyone know if you hear of anything.

I'm extremely serious when I say the above things. Although the consensus appears to be against a co-op right now it may be a better model down the road. Please get involved with a.d.o, give them your ideas and help guide this community in the right direction (as you have right now). You will not always win the fight but that is what democracy is.

Many a time I have shaken my head as decision was being made knowing full well of the consequences. I have to respect the majority though.

Again I apologize if you were attacked or if some of the posts came across as an attack. Emotions ran extremely high in this thread.

I don't believe anyone wants to see you leave the community. In fact I think everyone wants to see you stick around and help be the watchdog, raise those warnings and help steer the community aware from danger. However you must respect the majority and simply shake your head at the bad decisions. If the community wants to head towards the rocks because they think its a nice fluffy pile of pillows you have to let them/us.

Most of all lets all stop the needless back and forth name calling. We should all accept fault and move on (please).

Good points, thanks for bringing them up. Now let see what the future brings!

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Jredding,

I don't claim to be an expert in Linux, all I saw was the Acquia = Red Hat noise Dries and jay were making in their Acquia press releases, but, the linux site has a different set of facts that you're presenting.

If you have a look at the dream team of management personel that the ODSL (which merged with another co-operative to form the linux foundation co-operative) and the sort of financial heavyweights contributing to the co-operative, it paints a very different picture to what you're painting Jredding.

http://old.linux-foundation.org/about_osdl/management.html/document_view

Note how they seperated the management team, from the Fellows, like Linus and Andrew Mortin and also note how it allowed Linus to make millions. A classic example of round pegs in round holes - i.e. A meritocracy - where business managers with experience are in business management positions - not programmers.

The Linux Foundation is a nonprofit consortium dedicated to fostering the growth of Linux. Founded in 2007 by the merger of the Open Source Development Labs and the Free Standards Group, it sponsors the work of Linux creator Linus Torvalds and is supported by leading Linux and open source companies and developers from around the world. The Linux Foundation promotes, protects and standardizes Linux by providing unified resources and services needed for open source to successfully compete with closed platforms.

note: a consortium = a co-operative.

http://www.linux-foundation.org/en/About

Note also that the co-operative model worked so well for Linux, that they continue with it to this day.

You're also incorrect when you say that Red Hat didn't contribute to the ODSL linux co-operative.

The four core founders of OSDL -- Hewlett-Packard, Intel Corporation, IBM, and NEC -- have pledged to contribute significant equipment and funding to the lab over the next several years. Additional contributors and sponsors include Caldera, Dell, Linuxcare, LynuxWorks, Red Hat, SGI, SuSE, TurboLinux, and VA Linux. OSDL will be based near Portland, OR.

As I said earlier, Jredding, I'm not an expert on linux, but, it's pretty clear to me that Red Hat were one of the first to contribute to the linux co-operative.

That said, instead of bouncing back and forth with your versions of the linux co-operative and what it says on the linux website, can I suggest we suggest asking/hiring someone from the linux foundation to clarify a presentation?

Dub

P.S. A consortium *IS* a co-operative.

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

jredding’s picture

I fully support you hiring someone to sort out if the Linux foundation is a co-operative or not. I personally don't care as its not productive in furthering Drupal. You do not have consensus for your argument and at this point you're simply being an antagonist.

I stand by my original argument and my request for this to stop. This is not productive and these 3 main issues should be taken directly to a.d.o in a formal manner.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

It's a mistake to assume that because only a few on this thread are raising any questions, the opposing view is the majority.

Many are afraid to post up here, Jredding because of the way some have jumped down my neck for daring to raise this discussion.

That's not the sort of behaviour you would expect from an open, community-based project and I'm genuinely astonished with what Sepeck, Michelle and others are saying about me off-site.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

jredding’s picture

Everyone please stop.

This discussion was great and I think everyone learned a lot. Unfortunately I think that to continue it is counterproductive to everyone.

I am kindly asking that this discussion cease and the the issues and solutions brought to light during the discussion are formalized and presented to the a.d.o (Drupal Association).

I also urge those that are passionate about seeing issues like this carried out through the a.d.o become a part of the a.d.o. Apply to become a board member, permanent member or simply a member. You can directly create change in Drupal through the a.d.o! Get involved, NOW is YOUR chance!
http://buytaert.net/applications/

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Jredding,

No offense, but, after the way the cheerleaders jumped down my neck and attacked me, insulted me and generally lambasted me for just raising this topic, what you're suggesting is for someone else to stick their neck above the parapet.

In other words, what's pretty clear from this thread, is that Dries is surrounded by cheerleaders, bordering on psychophants, who will jump down the neck of anyone else who dares to question anything.

I've received more than a few emails since this thread kicked off that suggests not all of the community share the same sentiments, but, all are reluctant to speak their minds.

As an example, I wouldn't agree with your call to present issues and solutions, because the cheerleaders will just shout that down and attack it in any way they can. Instead I would have suggested, like did in my opening post in this thread, presenting the opportunities that Dries' Acquia = Red Hat analogy represents. The cheerleaders will probably still try and attack it and shout it down as fud, but, it will be interesting to see if that happens.

In other words, it will be an indication to whether Drupal is really an autocrasy, supported by an inner sanctum of cheerleaders, presenting the illusion of community, rather than a genuine, bone fide community-based project.

So, in that context, I agree with your earlier comment..i.e. interesting times ahead.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

jredding’s picture

OK, you've been granted the last words.

I'm making an honest plea.

Please nobody else respond, lets just stop.

laura s’s picture

Being extremely late to this discussion, I nevertheless thought I should sound off from my own perspective, not to stir anything up and certainly not to call anyone names or put words into anyones mouth.

  1. Drupal is open source under GPL. We're all here because we choose to be. We can be led here, but nobody made us drink. (Okay, bad analogy. We're not horses. Anyway....)
  2. If things were to go wrong, such as any sort of power play or whatever, people will go elsewhere. Joomla seems to be doing quite well post-Mambo, yes?
  3. Maybe this is just a personal thing, but I confess I am a bit disturbed about the idea that anything any Drupal Community member does in his or her own personal or professional affairs is in any way the business of the community at large. As Dries points out, there are lots of us running ventures tied in with Drupal in one way or another, and I think the Drupal community and Drupal project have benefited immensely from that fact.
  4. If Dries has put himself into a situation of potential conflicts of interest -- and I am not saying that he has -- then that is for him to determine. One thing seems clear to me: Dries is one very smart guy who moves cautiously.
  5. While Dries may, as founder and trademark holder of Drupal, may be in a unique position to potentially undermine Drupal through results of any conflict of interest, he would be the biggest loser. I think he knows that. (It would also seem to be out of his character to do so.)
  6. If the VC is as smart as Dries says, and I have no reason to doubt it, they certainly must know that actions they take that harm Drupal would harm their own bottom line. Drupal is much bigger than Acquia and always will be.
  7. Let me repeat that: Drupal is much bigger than Acquia and always will be. Why? Because it is open source, and, head to head, open source in the end tends to win "against" proprietary. (And I'm not at all claiming Acquia is trying to proprietize (is that a word?) Drupal. Nor am I saying that anyone is claiming that.)
  8. The Drupal Association is brand new and is still becoming what it will be. And that will always change. Democracy has its place. But Drupal is what it is as a direct and undeniable result of this do-ocracy. (And personally I am gratified that so many here have sounded off making that same point. It tells me that the democracy of the Drupal Association will embrace do-ocracy.)
  9. Add money == add problems and concerns. That is certainly true, which is why I personally am leery of any idea that the Drupal Association or community in any form should seek out VC money (and again, I'm not trying to put any words in any mouth). You think this thread has gotten heated?
  10. Transparency is good. The community is transparent -- and anyone can join in. That's one beauty of the do-ocracy. The Drupal Association is getting there in terms of transparency. While the tone has turned negative in this thread, I hope that people can still feel free to disagree publicly -- with courtesy and respect. But in the end, we should all remind ourselves of point #1.
  11. imho

    Laura
    _____ ____ ___ __ _ _
    pingVision, LLC

_____ ____ ___ __ _ _
Laura Scott :: design » blog » tweet

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Laura,

Thanks for a well considered post. I agree with mostly everything you said, but, as an addendum, I would tend to stress that when I started this thread, I wanted to focus on the positives.

i.e. you make a very good point about VC money for the community that I agree with, but, there's a lot of non-equity money out there *for the community* that can be tapped into as well - if the structures and framework is in place.

In other words, Dries' vision of Acquia = Red Hat is actually a great, positive, thing, imho, not just for the Acquia shareholders, but, everyone involved in Drupal.

The comparison of Acquia to red hat alerted me to the way linux tapped into *non-equity* funding and the structure they used to maximise the opportunities that followed. The structure they applied was based on the co-operative model (more commonly referred to as a consortium in the USA) that not only safeguarded the community, protected the core code and promoted the project, it also tapped into a rich vein of non-equity finance for the community to fund all their activities.

So, for me, the discussion shouldn't really be focussed on negatives, I think it should focus on the positives and the opportunities. That makes the end-game is very simple.

Ironically, if we had such a structure in place, discussions about transparency, joomla scenarios or who is a good guy or not, wouldn't be even taking place.

Dub

Mini disclaimer: Before anyone decides to jump out of their pram and demand that I'm sent to guantanemo bay for daring to suggest we should consider the red hat/linux model , please note that I do not claim to be an expert in Linux. Please read the details behind the linux co-operative (a co-operative is a consortium in US English) and read this archived documents outlining the OSDL which was a pre-cursor to the Linux foundation co-operative. In other words, don't shoot the blinking messenger.

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate