Drupal at LinuxWorld in San Francisco
by Kieran Lal
We had over a dozen volunteers from the South Bay, San Francisco, and Berkeley group at the Drupal booth. We also had at least four people ask about a North Bay group. One of the problems when you have so many fun and interesting people working at your booth is you start talking to them instead of all the people who are looking at you with the "What's a Drupal?" look. But we did a great job talking to hundreds of people in three days and I believe that this will help to grow Drupal usage in both the Bay Area and the broader Linux community.
Fortunately, the Joomla folks Ryan, Louis, and Anthony in particular were there and that raised a little friendly competition. Our booth team had to be creative in politely explaining the differences. Of course, when you've got videos all these awesome looking Drupal sites, booth visitors get the message quickly. The Joomla folks were good sports and I even took a turn talking to some of their visitors while keeping a straight face :-)
We got off to a slow start and onlz had a couple of hours to recruit folks to my talk at the Kick-apps developer lounge. As expected attendance was light and I decided that it would be better to pick a couple of projects from the attendees and try to scope how Drupal could help them. The first site we were asked to help with was for the Free Body Movement, which I'll summarize as NudeTV. I pointed to more sedate sites like Lifetime TV and iFoodTV as good examples of sites which integrated both a TV and web video presence. The second site we advised on was a gossip site for the rich and want-to-be famous in Aspen. We explained the benefits of community generated content and social publishing to help drive more content to this site.
Getting to know the Joomla folks was fun. I spent most of my time talking with Joomla 1.5 maintainer Anthony. He has interesting insight into users leaving Drupal and particular leaving Drupal to Joomla or vice versa. We discussed different the different models for our development team, benevolent dictor, versus Joomla previously closed but now distributed branch and feature maintainers model. Barry, Anthony and I discussed security approaches. We discussed how Drupal's security team cover both core and contributions and Joomla was looking to copy that model. We discussed how both security teams have been dealing with security consultants who are taking off the shelf security tools and reporting false positive security report which ignore built in security filters in both our frameworks. We are tacklng similar problems and it's good to confirm we are taking similar approaches and learning from each others projects.
Linux Foundation party
The Linux Foundation threw a VIP party. The party was a lot of fun and I got a chance to talk to the creator of Puppet, Luke Kanies. I also got a chance to meet former Koumit Drupal hacker Fabiano Rodriguez. Fabiano is a senior support engineer at Cannonical working on Ubuntu and we got to talk about open source subscription support.
Motorola is evaluating using Drupal for a project intranet. Some of the IT staff from the Federal reserve and the Treasury department came by the Drupal booth and let us know they were using Drupal. A lot of local california governments had their in-house IT staff come by the booth and ask specific questions for their current WCMS evaluation. In many cases, they are approaching the four year life span of a custom CMS and they are looking for something that is more effective. In many cases, the availability of commercial support was key to their ability to adopt Drupal as part of their IT policies which require commerical support. These developers or system administrators frequently use Drupal for their personal or volunteer work and they are promoting it be used for their business work. As their employers re-evaluate the license fees for their proprietary CMS or the costs of continuing to maintain an inhouse CMS Drupal becomes the obvious choice.
Tom Geller has recently completed recording of a Drupal Essential Training series. The Linda.com people were very generous and offered up a 300 dollar value 1 year subscription to their service and some t-shirts and day passes. We used these as prizes in Barry's Quick and Dirty development track talk on Drupal.
I've really enjoyed meeting and working with Mitch Pirtle. Mitch was one of the founders of the Mambo project and filed the paperwork for it's successor Joomla though open source matters. Mitch has since left the Joomla project but he was such a powerful evanagelist for Joomla that his early work on the Joomla project is paying off today. He was particularly insightful in identifying evangelist and marketing techniques that really payed off big for Joomla. Kick-apps sponsored the developer lounge at LinuxWorld and the Drupal booth team participated in a number of events.