Proprietary software vendors take aim at Open Source
by Jeffrey A. McGuire
Every few months it seems, a proprietary vendor from the closed source world decides that they can take on open source software. Maybe they think it's an easy target; maybe they're worried about losing more and more deals to free software; maybe they're threatened by the fact that communities of thousands can write great code and build great products. Or maybe they are just plain scared.
The latest attack
Whatever the reason, Brent Weaver from Business Catalyst Gurus has done just this, too - but in an incredibly disturbing, over the top way. Have a look at his video, "Business Catalyst Partners Take Aim at Joomla, Drupal and Wordpress" to see what I mean.
Let me show you our values
We ... allow me to speak for the Wordpress, Joomla! and Drupal communities for a moment ... We say and do what we believe in: We produce the best free and open source software we can for anyone to use. According to Gandhi, we are happy: "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony."
Here's an open-source-style answer to Brent: Our values–trust, sharing and openness–are creating real value, whether measured in dollars of business or in improving people's lives by empowering them to help themselves and others.
Our bits, our business
An open source solution like Wordpress, Joomla! or Drupal has some distinct advantages over a proprietary system that can only be accessed as a hosted service from one single vendor. With open source, we own our data, control our code, and we can use or extended it however we want. Business Catalyst can't offer those advantages.
We, at Acquia, even do business this way with OpenSaas products like Drupal Gardens. In the open source world, we don't want vendor lock-in. This is why Drupal Gardens features full site export. When you need to do more, or something different, you can take your complete site–code, files, and database–and move it to the hosting environment that's right for your needs. Business Catalyst isn't open, it's just another form of vendor and technology lock-in.
Learning from Brent
Drupal can do everything the Business Catalayst can. Drupal can actually do a lot more; it blows BC out of the water in terms of extensibility, features, and flexibility ... but maybe not out of the box. What we need to learn from Brent is that beyond a certain point, we have to stop thinking geek and start thinking product. We need powerful, polished, well-maintained packages that can do what Business Catalyst and others can out of the box.
Hundreds of thousands of people have a vested interest in Drupal's health and longevity–and Joomla!'s and Wordpress'. But maybe Brent can answer some questions about Business Catalyst's future that arise from Adobe's recent acquisition of Day Software and its CMS product ... my first question is "Why does Adobe need two systems that are so similar? Is one on the way out?"