Drupal gets commercial support

BOSTON ' An increasingly popular open-source Web content management program, called Drupal, will soon be available in a commercial enterprise edition. A start-up company, Acquia, announced that it would deliver a supported version of the program by the end of the year.

The company made its announcement last week at Drupalcon, a user conference held in Boston.

Drupal can perhaps best be thought of as a social publishing tool, said Bryan House, director of product marketing at Acquia.

"What makes Drupal different from other Web content management [applications] is that it is so far ahead in all the social and community aspects" of the Web, House said. Most content management systems do not have as wide a range of support for functions such as single- or multiuser blogs, wiki collaboration and discussion forums.

The publishing industry has been an early adapter. The Web sites for Fast Company, Popular Science and The Onion all run on Drupal, House said. Small nonprofit groups also use Drupal quite a bit, House said.

Drupal creator Dries Buytaert, who co-founded Acquia, first wrote the software in 2001 as a message board. In the years since, it has been downloaded more than 2 million times, Acquia said. It's written in PHP, and uses the standard LAMP Web application stack. Buytaert designed the software so that additional modules can easily be added to the core program, House said, making the software very extensible.

Thus far, the open-source community that has swelled around Drupal has contributed about 1,800 modules, ranging from blog software to a photo slideshow viewer. "Each one of those modules is an open-source project unto itself," House said.

"What this allows you to do is rapidly assemble a Web site,' House said. 'You add your modules to the core and get 85 percent of the way there within an hour."

Acquia's version, code-named Carbon, will be based on the current version of the software, Drupal 6. It will include some of the most widely used modules as well as performance and security management software. The company will provide a range of maintenance and support subscriptions.

Drupal is licensed under Version 2 of the Gnu Public License, as will be the Carbon version.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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