Home / Proprietary software vendors take aim at Open Source

Proprietary software vendors take aim at Open Source

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.

What makes this especially odd is that Business Catalyst is an Adobe product and Adobe has long been a champion of open source in general and Drupal, Wordpress and Joomla! in particular.

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.

The future

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?"


Posted on by Brent Weaver.

Hi Jam,

Nice reply. We got some serious flack for posting this video from a lot of sides and have respectfully removed it to prevent future headache from all parties involved. However, you bring up some great stuff here that I am looking forward to responding to.

I am actually out of the office this week, but am looking forward to a more positive discussion next week if you are game?

Posted on by Jeffrey McGuire.

Thanks for the offer.

- jam | Jeffrey A. McGuire | Senior Writer, Evangelist | jam@acquia.com

Posted on by Kris Vanderwater.


I'm afraid you got caught somewhere between "linkbait" and "offensive". I spent a pretty significant period of time in the "proprietary" world before seeing the light of open source, and even with my most hated competitors (who were screwing their customers REALLY badly) I would never have dreamt of doing such a thing (and we have plenty of guns here in Oklahoma...).

You're definitely going to need to step up the positive responses here if you want to have any credibility with the web development communities at large ever again. The portion of the market that is exclusively proprietary is far more fractured and segmented than the open source side, which of course is why it makes sense to come after "us" collectively. But the bottom line is that there's virtually nothing a proprietary CMS can field that Open Source can't clone or best in a relatively short period of time, so if a customer says to me "you lost because of feature X", you know I'll evaluate that feature, determine if the client is correct, and fix the problem. And of course there's the little issue of owning your own content and controlling your own code... just tiny little issues that most proprietary CMS products/companies fail to address with any real satisfaction.


I think your response was very well measured, and fair. Thanks for that. It's easy to overreact to such material, and I think you treated it amazingly well given the topic and circumstances.

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