Big news today! I'm doing a Drupal startup.

The Drupal community does an incredible job building the Drupal technology and making sure that Drupal is on the forefront of the technical innovation. The Drupal Association does a great job supporting and protecting that community by improving our server infrastructure, by organizing Drupal conferences, by helping to protect the Drupal trademark. Last but not least, the Drupal consultants do an outstanding job developing websites and training people to use Drupal. Together we managed to create an incredibly successful project.

However, one piece is missing. Before we go there, let me provide a little more context.

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the future of the web, and the future of Drupal in particular. I’ve also increasingly been spending time on what I want to do after I’m done with my PhD work. Since the two of those are coming together shortly, it’s time for me to start blogging about the next stages of Drupal, and my life.

The vision

First, Drupal 6 and Drupal 7 should be all about reaching out to more and different people. Making Drupal easier to use, easier to theme, easier to translate, and easier to develop for. Drupal 6 will do exactly that, and with Drupal 7 we should maintain that strategy. We want to make Drupal the best web content management platform; “the Linux of the web”.

The beauty of Drupal is that people can build powerful websites with little effort simply by combining different modules into one site; it is something we should continue to optimize for. I hope that that as a community you want to join me in putting (more of) the custom content types and (part of) views into Drupal core. But not just that; Drupal’s success arises from its community and the hundreds of contributed modules this community creates. We should continue to empower our contributors so they can continue to write great modules and deliver them in an exceptional way.

Second, with the rise of Facebook, Open Social, and friends, I’m not sure there is a future for (social community) websites that don’t provide an API. Starting with Drupal 7 we should also start to focus more on the ability to create, share and mash up managed content. The idea is to let Drupal be a data repository that can be accessed by tools and websites across the network. It is where custom content types, web service APIs, semantic web technologies and Drupal’s fine-grained access control mechanism come together. I want Drupal 7 to be a stepping stone when it comes to data mobility. This will allow people and companies to create value-added services that improve the users’ efficiency.

Third, when I examine the landscape of open source projects that have had big impact on the technology industry, I’ve concluded that projects which have had the biggest impact (usually) have a well-capitalized company behind them. Jboss, Linux and MySQL have all benefited not only technically, but the presence of a well-capitalized provider for those projects has made those projects palatable to users who might not have otherwise tried the software.

The company

So what is missing? It's two things: (i) a company that supports me in providing leadership to the Drupal community in exploring the vision I described above, and (ii) a company that is to Drupal what Ubuntu or RedHat are to Linux. If we want Drupal to grow by at least a factor of 10, keeping Drupal a hobby project as it is today, and taking a regular programming job at a big Belgian bank is clearly not going to cut it.

Thus, I'm starting a Drupal company whose current working name is 'Acquia'. Acquia's software products will include a number of Drupal distributions -- for community networks, digital media properties, corporate websites, and others. In addition to providing Drupal distributions, Acquia will build the Drupal-tuned analogue of the RedHat Network, over which we can deliver a wide variety of electronic services intended to be useful to people developing and operating Drupal websites. An example such service is an automated upgrade/update service, an uptime and performance monitoring / reporting service, a configuration management service, etc.

I was fortunate enough to meet an experienced CEO, Jay Batson, that I have come to like and trust, who managed to translate this vision into a business plan and who can complement my technical strength and community management skills with business experience in running open source software companies. (The last company Jay started was Pingtel, and open source enterprise-scale IP PBX, recently acquired by Bluesocket.) Jay has been invaluable so far.

The inevitable fear

Well, fear not.

Acquia is not going to fork or close-source Drupal. Acquia wants to see the Drupal community succeed and to do so, Acquia will listen to and work with the community to advance Drupal. The Drupal Association continues to operate the domain, I continue to own the Drupal trademark, and the Drupal community continues to set the technical direction of the Drupal project. has not been sold.

Acquia's success is directly tied to overall success of the Drupal project - and to how widely-used it becomes. We understand better than anyone else that Acquia will never succeed on its own; we will only succeed if we are part of the larger Drupal community. We will contribute to Drupal development just as other companies or individuals do today. Our investors fully expect us to use a portion of the resources they’ve provided to help make Drupal even better, since our own success depends on significantly growing the widespread use of Drupal.

Furthermore, I'm expressly permitted to make decisions within the Drupal project that may not always be in Acquia’s best commercial interest. This was a hard requirement for me. Acquia fully expects that a portion of my time will be spent on activities associated with the project at large (vs. Acquia’s own software development). In essence, since the health and vitality of the Drupal project at large is extremely important to us, we’ve taken great pains to make sure that I am able to continue to act for the best interests of the Drupal community at large as I have done for the past 7 years.

The community has my heart and respect, and that won't change. Fear not.


So rather than working on Drupal in my spare time, I will soon have the time and resources to provide the leadership it takes to help get Drupal to the next level. I'm looking forward to leading the many thousands of you to the next step of this incredible adventure. It's been a little bit hard for me to not say anything about this before - mostly because I'm so excited about it. But it didn't make business sense to speak about this effort until it was for-real. Now that it is, I'm much happier that I can talk about it, because I want to think together with all of you about how we can make it a really really good thing for Drupal.

As a start, I've prepared a FAQ for our website. We (the company) will have more to say as we go along, and I will, too. Keep an eye on this blog or on our company website.


Benjamin (not verified):

Way to go Dries, very nicely done!!

This is indeed the next logical step for Drupal. You really deserve this after all those years of tremendous work in the Drupal community.

Dries Knapen (not verified):

This is probably one of the best things that happened to Drupal since a long time! I'm really looking forward to witnessing the leverage your company will undoubtably bring to the project. Congratulations!

chx (not verified):

Be Ubuntu and not RedHat and everyone will be happy.

Jeremy (not verified):

This is wonderful news, Dries. Very exciting for you, for Drupal, and for the community!

I have been consistently impressed by your management of the Drupal project for many years now, and have absolute faith that not only will Acquia be an extremely successful venture, but also that it will prove to be very beneficial to Drupal as a whole.

Djun Kim (not verified):

Fantastic! Congratulations, Dries. This is wonderful news, both in terms of a path for you, our fearless leader, and for the Drupal community in general. Great ideas, as usual, and at the right time... Wishing you every success!


theborg (not verified):

Good luck with your new company!!
You deserve it.

Wim Leers (not verified):

Awesome news! This must be the most exciting time ever (or, so far) to be part of the Drupal community: there are so many contributors, so much new cool stuff, so many cool new Drupal sites, the list is endless. And now this... :)

Good luck!

Caleb (not verified):

Very good!

I take you very much at your word about upping the Drupal user base ten-fold over the next few years. Given how awesome Drupal it might have happened even without your increased involvement...with your increased involvement we should not settle for anything less than seeing to it that every person on earth has Drupal on their desktop, laptop, AND mobile device. ;-)

DaveNotik (not verified):

Excellent news, Dries!

Ensuring that there are companies both with a vision *and* the pragmatism to create a viable business around Drupal is ensuring Drupal's very existence and growth.

This news is even more exciting for me, because it reaffirms what we're doing with Woven. The timing is amazing! I'll say it here first: We'll be fostering a community and a roadmap dedicated to making Drupal the best team collaboration platform. We'll support the development of a Drupal distribution (install profile) that includes the kinds of things a distributed team needs to work together effectively, regardless of geographical location.

Think about it: The Drupal project and its community are working in a distributed fashion already. Imagine if there's a expanded, concerted effort to better that very platform we all depend on. There's certainly a huge market as social networking and "Web 2.0" style collaboration makes its way into the enterprise.

Look for a formal announcement in the coming weeks. Dries, I'd love to talk with you about this, get your take, share visions.

Great news.


P.S. Hmm, see my predictions:

Roel Guldemond (not verified):

Good move!

According my experience you describe an idea, which has been challenged by many. It is a good move that you write: "The idea is to let Drupal be a data repository that can be accessed by tools and websites across the network."

Since in actual information systems it is still needed: "to improve the users’ efficiency", according what you write above.

I felt in the last 20 years, users are too often frustrated by only have a "call-number" for a problem, for which IT-departments can not deliver a satisfying solution.

Drupal is trying to improve this. As your Acquia-plans are. Congratulations with this move!

eigentor (not verified):

Wow, wow, wow wow wow, wow wow. ;)
This is incredible. I'm very proud taking part in that project. :o] Though quite visionary: why should Drupal not become the linux of the web? It depends of what we make of it. You don't even need the best system, but push a little harder than the others do. So WITH the best system - what's the limit? ;)

Larry Garfield (not verified):

You know, with some people and projects I might be worried. However, Dries, I've been consistently impressed with your abilities as the BDFL of Drupal. This sounds awesome. :-)

I was just talking to my boss the other day, and we were talking about the need for a Red Hat or MySQL AB or something for the Drupal world. I agree with chx, though. Be Ubuntu, not Red Hat. :-)

Although, shouldn't the company be called "Blue Ballcap" or something? :-)

BryanSD (not verified):

Great for you Dries. Exciting times!

I love the FAQ but can someone fill me in on whether the word "acquia" has any special meaning? With Drupal (druppel in Dutch) meaning "drop" is there any chance acquia translates into "water"?

Mario Moura (not verified):


I am happy to see Drupal grow up more.

You are making the future.

Welcome Acquia!

Mario Moura

Pieter & Kristien (not verified):

Sterk Dries, met jouw gedrevenheid en engagement wordt dit beslist een succes.

Pieter & Kristien & ....

yoroy (not verified):

Van harte en dat wordt vast een vliegende start! Klinkt allemaal goed doordacht en zuiver, ik had niet anders verwacht. Veel succes en enjoy.

Itkovian (not verified):

First of all, I am glad you finally decided. No doubt it will prove to be the right decision. I am certain you will do very well. Your work at the university was fabulous, and a lot of things would not have been done if it was not for you. So, I am confident that this next step in your life will prove to be awesome for everybody working with you as well. I hope your colleagues will appreciate your hard work as much as we did. Finally, I hope we stay in touch.

Benjamin Melan… (not verified):

Congratulations, and this is fantastic, and I echo everything good everyone said! This will hugely benefit Drupal, especially with adoption by larger organizations. More than anything, more people paid largely for general core work (not least of all yourself!) and fill-in-the-gaps as you wrote may be more than huge, it may be transformational for Drupal.

Just two points (entirely separate from one another) outside of the glowing praise:

1. Phrasing in this announcement worries me that while Drupal code will always be open source free software, everything else Acquia does may be non-free (as in freedom) or at any rate secret. I urge Acquia to be as open with producing Drupal-enhancing development, deployment, and other tools as it possibly can.

2. As mentioned, Acquia will be a huge part of meeting the unmet big needs of big players, to the benefit of all current and potential Drupal users. I remain convinced that a common space for aggregating the needs of smaller organizations and businesses (pledge X amount for Y functionality) could similarly put Drupal on a new level of usefulness and use. This should be under nonprofit auspices if not and I'd love to talk to anyone about that anytime.

Actually I think Acquia's stated focus on distributions of Drupal (presumably way better installation profiles, and the critical first step of automatic packaging is already started by hunmonk and dww's work on Project module) goes a long way toward addressing both my comments: this will realize the potential of Drupal distributions now hinted at with installation profiles, and this easy way of "getting the Drupal you want" is just what the little guys need. But just saying congratulations is boring ;-)

wowbagger (not verified):

Very inspiring Dries, good luck with your venture.

Andre Molnar (not verified):

What is exciting from a business perspective is that people have finally clued in and are funding this kind of start up.

It would seem like a no brainer considering the breadth and depth of Drupal(tm) projects on the web. But sometimes the obvious is overlooked.

This is very exciting news. While my direct tangible contributions to the project are relatively few since joining the project 3 year and 16 weeks ago, I have been a tireless cheerleader for the project/product letting everyone that will listen know how truly amazing it is.

I wish you all the best.


Jure Mav (not verified):


I know you will be with us till the end, and that you will not be spoiled by the money and believe us, you will be rich.

At the end we all will be laughing how we started.

good luck!

Jure Mav - Slovenia

bertboerland (not verified):

Dropping in late -one day offline and I miss this announcement- but good to see you make this move. Congrats man. Unrelated? I resigned yesterday and signed up with an open source company. Not my own company but I'm in for some changes as well, lets make sure it will be a fun and profitable time! And be sure to take some time off for your family.

Greg Holsclaw (not verified):

This is good news. The company I work for has always been slightly nervous about the long-term health of Drupal. With RainCityStudios, Lullabot and now this all supporting Drupal, the amount of commercial backing will make them rest a bit easier.

Eithquan (not verified):

I think this is a tremendous step. Congrats Dries :)

I am sure the Drupal project and the community will benefit greatly by moving Drupal into an API model. This is exactly what's needed.

Good luck!

Stefaan Lippens (not verified):

The inevitable has happened ;)
Congratulations and good luck.

Rob Safuto (not verified):

Congratulations on the start of your commercial venture Dries. There is definitely a growing need for strong Drupal expertise. Who could be better than you in providing that expertise? Your new firm is a welcome addition to the mix.

Hydrant (not verified):

Congrats Dries,

We're all really looking forward to the future! Stability and viability can only be a good thing for all of us who use Drupal commercially.

Steven (not verified):

I like the name a lot :-) Dries, I'll support you with whatever I can, go for it!

Paul (not verified):

Finally! I know the decision will not have been easy. We wish you all the best with the company. And you know that you can always ask me for help. Success for the future from your godchild Kato also.

Eddie (not verified):

Congratulations Dries!

A great product needs great support! Without it it can not grow.

Now is the time. Alot of organisations have heard great things about drupal but were to scared to implement it because lack of support.

Now it finally has come!


Jason (not verified):

That's great news! I wish you all the best!

Are you hiring? I'd love to work under and learn from the master/creator of the best CMS in the world :)

Randy Fisk (not verified):

Congratulations Dries!

One of the sessions I was compelled to attend at OSCMS was Drupal as an enterprise solution. It was an interesting discussion and Acquia sounds like a big step toward addressing concerns expressed.

Best of luck!

Keith Smith (not verified):

Congratulations! I'm excited for you, and wish you the very best of luck with this venture! (Though having watched you work in the community, luck will be only a small part of what makes Acquia succeed.)

John Berns (not verified):

Think BIG!

Great news. It is a idea with a lot of potential. Money is looked down upon by a lot of OSS people--but money makes resources available to move development along--and we all want to see Drupal evolve as fast as possible.

To make Acquia viable, you will have to follow the money. (That's not a bad thing--where is the money is is where we all want to be--so developing Drupal into a product that large companies want will develop a set of features we all want--if not now then when our own websites get to be huge successes.) ;-)

My suggestion would be to start focusing resources on Drupal performance and scalability so that Drupal can be used on large websites. Big companies can afford to pay big dollars (Euro, Yen, Sheckles, Kip, Dong--whatever) for services and support. Big web companies need infrastructure that can support large high-traffic websites.

If Drupal can be made to support very large scale websites, you will be opening up a potential customer base of large companies with large budgets for large websites--budgets that they can spend at Acquia.

10,000 small companies or 1000 mid-size companies don't have the economic muscle to spend that one Major Player can spend without even blinking an eye. But they spend on large projects that require scalable software.

Just my two-cents worth.

MobilePublisher (not verified):

Please don't forget, that the Web is [partly] going mobile! Drupalists should consider this fact and ... not ONLY take the "classical" approach, but ALSO think about the mobility of Drupal (for instance mobile-backend, mobile-javascript, mobile-modules etc.)! A little mobile-project I am about to finish soon with the help of Drupal is called MobilePublisher (in German).

Jeremy (not verified):

Wow. Well Done! So you are going to start a product like a Drupal Starter Pack and provide 90 days Technical support? For a fee??


Andrew Hoppin (not verified):

I've always been impressed by your consistency, humility and integrity, Dries, even as the software and its community have grown and changed so much over the years. You're the perfect person to do this, and you richly deserve it. Congratulations, thank you, and good luck! :)


Tommaso Beccuti (not verified):


This is actually one of the best move the Drupal Community could expect - we'll all benefit from that.

I wish Acquia all the best, you deserve it and I'm sure you'll succeed.


Frank van den Hoven (not verified):

I just read this today because I am, or better was, still orientating on which platform I should prefer to have my new online content publishing platform build in. I bought and read a lot of books on CMS, CRM, ERP, webshops, analytics, usability (from the perspective of visitors of a site), SEO/SEM, forums, blogs etc. etc. I visited congresses and workshops about all this, talked with IT and publishing people.
And together with what I read about Drupal here and there, the inspiring spirit that is going on on the community on, the recent release of version 6 with all the improvements, the further plans for improvements in version 7-to-come, your State of Drupal-presentation of last autumn, the announcement on this page, and the opportunity to hire one of Drupals top-developers, all together convinced me of the fact that I should choose Drupal as the preferred platform to have my "renewed" online publishing company build on, so that I will be able to make optimum use of the opportunities of all the Web 2.0-features that exist nowadays, what will make me ready for the publishing challenges in the next years. So I'm happy to join your community! (as a user).
Please all of you go on with all the good developing work, as you did in the last seven years, with Dries as your inspiring leader that should be succesful, so that one day in the next few years, Drupal will not only be the best CMS, what it already is, but also the most well-known and preferred CMS (you already recognised that there are some marketing challenges to go), the CMS with the best usability from the perspective of developers as well as administrators and site-visitors (also some challenges to go, I read you're already working on that), and at last the most used CMS!
Succes with all the challenges!

Kursat Unlukara (not verified):

A nice step for a stronger Open Source project.
Projects that have deals with end users like Drupal must have
such kind of commercial teams to have a better understanding of the realities of the market.
Cool starting, i am glad to hear this news, hope you are going to successful.

Happy Drupal Days!