OSCON report- "I keep hearing about Drupal in every talk" - Microsoft employee
by Kieran Lal
This year we had about a dozen members of the Drupal community show up to help run the Drupal booth at OSCON. We frequently needed at least 4 people at the booth to answer all the questions and still had people waiting to learn more. A large part of our visitors were already Drupal users and they were just coming by the booth to say "hi!". They wanted to let us know how many sites they were running or wanted to know how add a new feature or meet some new business requirement. Where we had time, we were able to answer their questions.
We had a lot of people learning about Drupal for the first time. They were suitably impressed with what you could do with Drupal, when we showed them the Drupal showcase slideshow.
One of the goals of having a booth at OSCON is to help raise awareness and consideration of Drupal. The Drupal community is really good at taking Drupal users from initial commitment, past loyalty, straight to evangelism (click to see map of local Drupal groups).
Most of our visitors to the booth were developers. But we saw a strong representation of big companies making use of Drupal including Sony Computer Entertainment America, Computer Sciences Corporation, Cannonical (Ubuntu), Mentor Graphics, HP (Fossology), and of course McClatchy Interactive the largest Newspaper chain in the United States.
My favorite visitors were from Microsoft. One visitor from Microsoft came to the booth and said "I keep hearing about Drupal in every talk, so I thought I'd come by and see what this was all about". My second favorite visitor was from the WS02/Microsoft partner booth. They came by to tell us they used Drupal for their developer portal. I was pretty excited to add another developer community that was using Drupal to my list. When I checked out their site the web services oxygen tank I was impressed. So much so that I asked if they would be interested in speaking about their site in my session at FOSSCoach on building your developer community with Drupa. They agreed to do so and spent about 20 minutes showing an amazing amount of features and community involvement around open source services oriented architecture projects. The presentation was a great example of Drupal community collaboration.
Melissa Anderson and Michael Halstead organized a fantastic "Drupal community welcome party" Wednesday night. The space was beautiful, and the catering by Devine Cafe was outstanding. Drinks flowed freely thanks Sake One, Bridgeport, and Rogue. Rasmus Lerdorf was there and we explored the possibility he would attend Drupal Szeged while he is in Europe. Some of the folks from Open Source Labs at Oregon State University made the party and it was great to meet up with Lance, Eric, Narayan, and Greg.
I also got to have lunch with the 2008 Open Source Contributor of the year, Angela Byron. Just a couple years ago I was asking Angela to write a Drupal recipe for Organic Groups, and to document the Forms API to make it easier for people to upgrade from Drupal 4.6 to Drupal 4.7. Both were efforts based on user experience research we were doing at CivicSpace to make Drupal more accessible to Non-profits and grassroots organizations. Now she's got a Drupal recipies book from O'Reilly coming out and she's teaching legions of new Drupalers how to use Drupal at Lullabot. Congratulations Angie, you are truly inspiring! I also got to have lunch with Matt Westgate, from Lullabot. We caught up on joint efforts to grow Drupal and reminisced about discovering that you could actually get paid to work on Drupal.
As Ethan Kaplan, VP of Technology at Warner Bros Records, recently noted it's not good enough to just meet, talk and party. We need to actually use the amazing tools we've got and innovate. To that end Andrew Morton, Portland Drupal user group coordinator, along with Aaron Winborn, and Darryl O'Pry (remotely) held a Drupal media sprint. Aaron blogged about the Media Sprint Goals and provided (one, simple test for hook_file) status updates about the sprint. It's great to see the Drupal community is firing on all cylinders!