I got the chance to catch up with Alan Burke at DrupalCon Prague. He and I go back a long way; we met at one of the first Drupal events I ever attended, DrupalCon Brussels in 2006. In the meantime Alan and his co-founder Stella Power have built up the successful Drupal agency Annertech in Ireland and they have an impressive list of contributions to Drupal to their names. Here, we speak about Drupal's technical history over the last 8 years and the exciting improvements coming in Drupal 8, the business climate for Drupal in recession-plagued Ireland, and the Drupal community's culture of teaching, learning, and sharing.
I also thought of calling this episode of our Four Freedoms podcast series "The interesting journey of a company producing proprietary software being involved in an open source project," ... not so catchy. Or maybe "Why business and openness do not have to be enemies." The point is that on February 12, 2013, Opera Software announced that it was dropping its own, proprietary rendering engine in favour of the open source WebKit engine. I wanted to know more about that decision and the consequences going forward. What I discovered is a company with a commitment to open standards, knowledge sharing, liberal licensing, and a long-term history of actions to back those claims up.
Robert Douglass, Director of Products at Commerce Guys, the originators and maintainers of Drupal Commerce sat down with me this week. We talked about how content, community, and commerce relate and help each other and why Drupal is the best platform to provide you with the digital elements of your users' experience of your online presence. Commerce Guys, in partnership with Acquia also has the support mechanisms that you need to succeed with Drupal and Commerce: from architecting your site, to training your developers, to the ongoing enterprise support that you would need for a serious store in the long term.
Three great past podcasts this week on Drupal in government. The first (and the audio included directly here) is "Helping the Federal Government solve public sector problems with Drupal" with Acquian Bryan Hirsch, originally from May 2012. Check out the other two I have linked to for other interesting perspectives on this important subject.
Heather James, Acquia's Manager of Learning Services, has been in and around Drupal since the version 4 days. She says people new to Drupal "have an easier time at this stage coming to Drupal" than they did 6 years ago. Nonetheless, her early experiences learning how to use Drupal are still reflected by the questions people ask learning Drupal today. This, combined with her excitement about Drupal's potential and her background as an educator, motivated her to become a Drupal trainer. She is passionate about education ("When you're teaching, you're building a bridge from what people know to what they don't know.") and says about her job at Acquia, "I feel like I have a patron who helps me do the things I like to do, which is get out there and teach people."
Mark Sonnabaum, performance engineer at Acquia, comes to open source on a straighter path than some ... despite his university degree being in music composition! He was a systems administrator at the University of North Texas and chose Drupal – in the Drupal 4 era – as the replacement for a mish-mash of legacy, static systems at the university. Today, he is a contributor who has made significant improvements to how Drupal performs for all of us.
This is part three of a conversation I had with Anthony Ferrara – PHP core contributor, security expert, and Senior Architect at NBCUniversal – at the PHP BeNeLux '13 conference. In part one of our conversation, we talked about open source as an ethos and how it affects business. In part two, we talk about what the Four Freedoms mean to us as IT and web professionals, and the growing impact and influence of open source software.