Drupal Planet

Authoritarian structure in Drupal: a case study

I posted this article in the hope it could contribute to constructive reflection and debate around Drupal's power structure in the current context of governance discussions. I realize though that I don't have the energy for potential acrimony, so I've taken it down.

I'll say simply instead: looking at a moment when a Drupal community member raised questions of lasting import to the project, what can we learn about what's needed to create space for critical perspectives and change?

I'm happy to connect offline with anyone who's interested.

Thanks! Nedjo

Dries, Acquia, and the Drupal Association--Some Essential History

I posted this article in the hope it could contribute to constructive reflection and debate around Drupal's power structure in the current context of governance discussions. I realize though that I don't have the energy for potential acrimony, so I've taken it down.

I'm happy to connect offline with anyone who's interested.

Thanks! Nedjo

From Critique to Action: Transforming Drupal Through User-Centered Economics

As controversy swirls around the Drupal project leadership, community members are asking searching questions about the role of corporate influence in the project.

It's a good time to take a step back and look at broader questions of economic structure. What different economic models could help spur alternatives? What would an economic model look like where free software is owned and shaped by users as well as producers?

Fortunately, there are many dynamic and successful models to learn from.

The Coming Drupal Fork

Conditions are ripe for a fork of the Drupal project. But what kind of fork?

In recent days there's been a bunch of insightful and thought provoking reflection within the Drupal community (as well as a share of bullshit). I've benefited from hearing perspectives that remind me of my biases and privileged placement as a cis white male. A comment by Melissa Anderson, someone I know and respect, had particular impact for me.

A lot of attention has focused on a particular action by Drupal project owner Dries Buytaert. But many are going deeper.

The trouble with Drupal is not so much any individual action.

The trouble is that, for all its collective trappings and thousands of contributors, Drupal is formally structured as a dictatorship.

Really? In 2017? Yes, really.

As detailed in documentation of the Drupal project structure, the self-anointed "benevolent dictator for life" not only exerts ultimate control over code but also "preserves [that is, controls] the philosophy, culture, and principles of the project."

Wow. Think about that for a minute.

Announcing Drutopia

Drutopia is an initiative within the Drupal project that prioritizes putting the best online tools into the hands of grassroots groups. By embracing the liberatory possibilities of free software and supporting people-centred economic models, Drutopia aims to revolutionize the way we work and cooperate.

Drutopia is at once an ethos of Drupal development and a fresh take on Drupal distributions for users to build upon, all based in a governance model that gives users a large role in the direction of the project.

Core values of the Drutopia initiative include:

  • Be inclusive regarding gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, ability, age, religion, geography and class.
  • Commit to protection of personal information and privacy and freedom from surveillance.
  • Put collaboration and cooperation above competition.
  • Prioritize human needs over private profit.
  • Foster non-hierarchical structures and collective decision-making.

Drutopia focuses on shared solutions. Drupal excels at providing the tools to develop and distribute specialized website platforms that can be freely shared, reused, and adapted. Of the three most-used free software content management systems (CMSs) – WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal – only Drupal has the built-in ability to package and share highly developed distributions.

Distributions are essential in attracting and meeting the needs of groups that want to support the free software movement but don’t have the technical know-how or resources to create a site from scratch. For developers, too, distributions hold a lot of potential because they do the heavy lifting of initial setup, allowing developers and site builders to bypass many hours of unnecessary effort. Drupal distributions so far have been held back by a series of factors that Drutopia aims to address.

Drutopia is about returning to Drupal’s roots in free software and progressive social change. Since its founding years, the Drupal free software project has both reflected and contributed to the democratic potential of the internet: to empower citizens to freely collaborate and organize outside the control of governments and corporate media. Long before it powered Fortune 500 sites and whitehouse.gov, Drupal was a tool of choice for small, grassroots, change-oriented groups.

This initiative aims to reclaim Drupal for the communities and groups that have always been its core users and adopters and have contributed to much of its best innovation.

Join us at drutopia.org.

Customizing the Open Outreach distribution: A case study

As part of a long-term collaborative partnership with the University of Victoria's Geography Department, Chocolate Lily has been working on producing a customized version of Open Outreach suitable for community mapping. In a nutshell, we have been able to take the work we produced on a customized site build in 2013 and bundle those features into a new distribution called StoriedMaps.

Drupal 8 configuration management: what about small sites and distributions?

In a recent blog post, Drupal 8 co-maintainer Alex Pott highlighted a seismic shift in Drupal that's mostly slipped under the radar. In Drupal 8, he wrote, "sites own their configuration, not modules".

To see why this change is so far-reaching, it's useful to back up a bit and look at where exportable configuration comes from and what's changed.

Open Outreach welcomes new partner Praxis Labs

A managed hosting service will be the first fruit of a new partnership between Chocolate Lily Web Projects and the Montreal-based cooperative Praxis Labs aimed at strengthening and expanding the nonprofit-focused Open Outreach Drupal distribution.

Collaboration between Chocolate Lily and Praxis comes out of a community engagement process that began last fall.

What can Joomla learn from Drupal about distributions?

Browsing joomla.org, I recently noticed the following in the Joomla roadmap:

The Joomla! CMS [content management system] seeks to create a variety of distributions of the CMS to address a variety of common niche markets.

Good idea!

As a Drupal developer with a longtime focus on distributions ("distros"), I'd like to support this Joomla initiative. As a first step, as followup to posting in the Joomla development forum, I thought I'd try to write up some observations on Drupal, Joomla, and distros.

I've written this with an intended audience of Joomla developers. But if you're a Drupal contributor, please wade in as well!

Pages