For 48 years, the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Arts in New York City operated on a “pay-what-you-can” policy. This was an honor system where visitors could contribute as much money as they wanted (even nothing at all) for unlimited exposure to global history, art, fashion and culture. People in all circumstances had access to the same enriching education and in return, the organization got a diverse audience for its exhibits. However, in 2018, this policy was discontinued for all non-New York residents because the system was “no longer sufficient to meet the museum's daily operational demands.” This change marked the loss of the last major museum with a purely pay-as-you-wish-model.
The same balance between unlimited insights and collective support exists in the digital space too. Open source projects like Drupal continue to thrive because people believe in their vision and invest in their growth. As more large-scale commercial companies embrace open source and the Drupal community, Acquia wants to support sustainable success by encouraging partners and customers to “give what they can” in terms of Drupal contributions and development. We also want to show appreciation for all of the passionate contributions and efforts of the Drupal community and our own customers and partners.
It’s no longer enough for organizations to think and work within their own goals and self-interests; true success depends on making a widely felt impact. The idea that we can do more together is why our partner program at Acquia is partner-first. We work with our partners to find solutions that are better for everyone (rather than just a few individuals) and always focus on achieving long-term customer satisfaction with our partners rather than climbing over them to gain a competitive advantage. Our partner-first philosophy is built on a foundation of trust, shared knowledge and mutual success. These qualities are something we hope that Acquia and our partners live up to not only in terms of how we serve our own clients but also in what we give back to the open source community.
Small Business, Big Impact
Last week, Drupal founder and Acquia CTO Dries Buytaert published his annual analysis: “Who sponsors Drupal development?” which recognizes the individuals and organizations who contribute to Drupal and help shape its growth. Dries celebrated those in the open source community who meaningfully invest in improving Drupal by leveraging engineering talent, writing documentation, fixing bugs, organizing events and other forms of support.
In a follow-up blog, Dries expanded on how these developments are critical to open source sustainability, dividing companies who use Drupal into two categories: Makers and Takers. =
The Makers, “help make Open Source projects; from investing in code to helping with marketing, growing the community of contributors, and much more.” Without their support Drupal could not survive. On the other end of the spectrum are the Takers; companies who monetize open source projects or sell proprietary commercial products and services that complement Drupal without contributing back to those projects. Unfortunately, some companies with the most employees and resources under their helm invest very little (or nothing at all) into improving Drupal’s codebase, despite the fact that they rely on Drupal innovations to fuel their own business goals. As the leading voice in Drupal and the largest current contributor to its growth, Acquia wants to publicly acknowledge those firms who regularly give so much of their energy, qualifications and skills back to Drupal. We hope that by doing so we can encourage everyone to give back and embrace a “community-first” mindset.
Drupal started out as a 100% volunteer-driven project, but today the majority of the code on Drupal.org is sponsored by organizations. Still, just a select group of companies have stepped up to shoulder the bulk of these contributions. Of the 1,000+ current Drupal contributors, the top 30 account for about 25 percent of all Drupal contributions. And perhaps even more surprisingly, these regular contributors are mainly small-to-medium-sized professional services companies, often with fewer than 100 employees. Despite their smaller forces and access to capital, the Drupal expertise and passion for innovation at these organizations is unparalleled.
One standout Acquia partner who has made a huge impact on the Drupal community is Vardot, which ranked 6th in terms of contributions. This web and software is made up of a team of just 36 expert web development specialists. Since the company began in 2011, Vardot has sponsored 55+ Drupal modules, delivered more than 200 successful projects on the platform and their contributions have been downloaded over 250,000 times by other members in the Drupal community.