The Cultural Construction of Drupal


NYC Camp
July 2015 @matthewtift

Matthew Tift (mtift)


Senior Developer at Lullabot

Host of Hacking Culture

Drupal 8 config system co-maintainer

Photo: Satyricom


is the stories we tell


leaves small websites behind

Drupal 8

is for business


Drupal 8

is for the enterprise

Drupal 8

is built by Acquia

Drupal 8

is built by 1000s of people

"I think with small sites I'm not willing to give up on them but I think we just need to say we're more about big sites and less about small sites."

-Dries Buytaert

"We wanted Drupal to be what Red Hat is to Linux, that's why we started Acquia.... I see us as being the next large open source business model to reach $1 billion in revenue, like Red Hat. We're on the IPO track."

-Dries Buytaert


is a Drupal fork

"As Drupal moves itself closer to the Enterprise market, Backdrop CMS emerges to meet the needs of the little guys."

-Backdrop developers

Do this!

Try Backdrop (on Pantheon)

Build Backdrop sites

Maintain Backdrop modules

"The comprehensive CMS for small to medium sized businesses and nonprofits."

Drupal 5

Drupal 6

Drupal 7

Drupal 8

accused of leaving small sites behind

Drupal 8

is for everyone

"Drupal 8 Will Have Something for Everyone to Love"

Drupal 8

is not only for business

Drupal 8

is for small sites

Drupal 8

is for everyone

Drupal 8


development >> staging >> production

Drupal 8

WYSIWYG editor

HTML 5 markup

More accessible

Views in core

Mobile friendly

Multilingual support

"Drupal is open-source software and I'm excited that enterprises, not-for-profits, schools, individuals and Captain Kirk can use Drupal 8."

-Alex Pott


is personal

"I've been working on Drupal for many years and Acquia is my company. I know how Open Source works, I know the Drupal community inside out, I know how companies should work with the community, and I have no intention whatsoever to destroy my own child."

-Dries Buytaert

"People are individuals, not automatons operating within a corporate machine. Even the six of us in OCTO contribute outside of paid time, to things that are not part of our jobs but that we care about. Gábor leads the multilingual initiative because he wants to make Drupal support all languages; Acquia did not prioritize it. Tim voluntarily works on core problems that bug him based on experience building sites and contributed modules, in addition to critical issues Acquia pays him to help fix."


Evil corporate money grubber?


is not personal

"Access without empowerment"

-Benjamin Mako Hill

Monumential crisis

"One of the most significant complaints, stated over and over, was about [the email's] tone"

-Gabriella Coleman, Coding Freedom

"Debian's implementation of meritocracy, like all meritocracies, is a fragile framework easily overtaken by the threat of corruptibility."

-Gabriella Coleman, Coding Freedom

The community was

left imagining

"smoky backrooms"

Can Drupal continue to benefit both the global rich and global poor?

Photo: Sharon Sinclair

Drupal is

Open Media

Open Outreach



is non-profit friendly


is a community of volunteers

Drupal Association replaced an

underground economy

with D8 Accelerate

"Open source is Darwinian. Eventually the best idea wins, but it is much more wasteful. A regular company couldn't have experimented with creating 10 versions of an online photo album, then picked the best one."

-Dries Buytaert

"If you're a developer, and you aren't fixing #Drupal 8 critical bugs, care to share why? Curious what we can do to help momentum."

-Angie Byron

"Perhaps the most important benefit of volunteerism in free software development is institutional independence. Institutional independence in a free software project means that no company or organization has a monopoly on the ability to define specifications or to direct the project. To users and developers, institutional independence means that they get to define the specifications; it is a broad perceived autonomy. Projects that are driven or directed by volunteers are more easily able to appear institutionally independent than corporate or organizationally directed projects or any projects that incorporate paid labor."

-Benjamin Mako Hill

Why volunteer on Drupal when others get paid?


is the GPL

Free software licenses deny anyone the right to exclusively exploit a work

Backdrop can exist

because of the GPL


want to help


learn from the community


want to find a way


evolves code and community


is an activity