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Open Source lies: Confessions of a former Commercial CMS Salesperson

I’m embarrassed. I believed what they told me. I echoed the lies about Open Source CMS Software that my proprietary solutions cohorts tell all their prospects.

I guess I can’t blame them.

The truth about Open Source CMS proves to be quite scary to the commercial world. It threatens their business. It pokes holes into all of the things that they hold sacred – their proprietary solutions, their product development roadmaps, their maintenance and support contracts, and so on.

I'm here to set the record straight on my path to contrition. I need to dispel the lies that I told and evangelize the real truth. Here are just some of the unfortunate things that I said about Open Source and the truths that will hopefully clear my conscience:

Lie: Open Source CMS solutions are great for small projects or maybe non-mission critical sites, but don’t meet the standard for large enterprise organizations.

Truth: Some of the largest and most mission critical websites in the world are now being managed with Drupal. Just a query on a tool like builtwith.com will reveal sites like http://www.ge.com, http://www.grammy.com, http://www.examiner.com, and http://www.turner.com. We’ve known for a while that the White House has also been a strong proponent of Open Source CMS solutions as well. Oh, and just recently we learned that one of the largest websites in the world, Weather.com, is moving to Drupal.

Lie: Open Source CMS solutions aren’t secure because their modules and contributions come from different organizations.

Truth: The fear of attacking the security of Open Source CMS is very popular in the commercial world because it can create a great deal of fear amongst organizations. The TRUTH is that most Open Source solutions have more stringent security guidelines than their commercial counterparts. Drupal, for example, has their own Security Team comprised of 40 individuals across 3 continents. Oh, and the LIE about anyone being able to contribute to Open Source? Not True – there is quite a process to go through to even just submit a project before it goes through peer review. For a thorough review of the security protocols with Drupal, go here.

Lie: Open Source CMS solutions don’t integrate well with other commercial products that round out the digital ecosystem.

Truth: This lie couldn’t be any more wrong. The strength of the large community based open source solution is that the community and modules evolve and grow to provide that community of users exactly what they need to succeed. In doing so, modules and tested integrations to the leading third party solutions are readily available when they are needed instead of being prioritized by a commercial product’s release roadmap. Take the story of Pinterest for example. In February of 2012, Pinterest hit 10 million unique visitors. In March of 2012 a Drupal module was created for website users to “pin” site images to Pinterest. Within one month, 15 sites went live with the integration and today that module has been downloaded more than 1,000 times.

Lie: Open Source developers are unique types of individuals who typically drink lots of beer.

Truth: Ok, well after just attending DrupalCon in Portland, Oregon I guess this statement has some truth to it!

So, to all of those individuals and organizations I have spoken to over the years and gave these horrible misconceptions of Open Source CMS solutions to, I am sorry. Please get back in touch and I will set the record straight.

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