About six years ago I started working on Drupal. Drupal, at that time, was an experimental platform that helped me explore new web technologies from my student dorm. Contrast this with the present. Today, there are hundreds of people contributing to the project, building and relying on that foundation, and hundreds of thousands of people downloading it. What started as a hobby project is now starting to get on the radar of some of the bigger projects and players ... It is no longer the casual hobby project it used to be.

It is fair to say that Drupal's growth makes for some interesting questions, both for me personally, and for the Drupal community at large. It makes me feel increasingly responsible, and that certainly adds some pressure. How to help run this thing as it continues to grow? Do we need a Drupal Foundation or not? How should I deal with my growing sense of responsibility? Or how to deal with being labeled an anti-Bill Gates?

I'm particularly interested to hear what other projects and people in a similar position do, or have done. So in an effort to make some connections and relationships with leaders in the FOSS community, I'll be taking a "Drupal road trip" to the San Francisco Bay Area from June 25th to June 30th.

Jeff Robbins from Lullabot is helping me contact people and set up my schedule. We set up personal meetings with some of the smartest people in the FOSS and internet community:

  • Tim O'Reilly (Founder and CEO of O'Reilly & Associates)
  • Chris DiBona (Open Source Programs Manager at Google)
  • Mitch Kapor (Co-founder of Lotus-1-2-3, founder of the Open Source Applications Foundation, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, chair of the Mozilla Foundation)
  • Jeffrey Veen (Google / Measure Map / Adaptive Path)
  • Channel Wheeler and Bradley Greenwood (Yahoo!)
  • Janice Fraser (CEO of Adaptive Path)
  • Guido van Rossum (Founder of the Python project, Google)
  • Larry M. Augustin (CEO of VA Linux)
  • Anders Tjernlund (VP of Support Services at SpikeSource)
  • Brian Behlendorf (co-founder of the Apache Foundation)

If you would like to connect us with others in the Bay Area that should be on this list, please contact us.

These meetings will give me a chance to talk to these people about what is happening with Drupal and the Drupal community, and get a chance to promote all the great work we've done together. We're going to try and make sure that Drupal can be a little more connected with the larger FOSS community. Maybe it will open up further possibilities for collaboration and support. As always, we'll let things go naturally. Most importantly, I hope to learn from these people and that alone is going to be an invaluable experience.

As well as all of these "official" meetings, I would love to connect with the local Drupal community. We're leaving at least Thursday evening (the 29th) open for a Drupal meetup, but there should be other opportunities to hang out. Check the Bay Area Drupal group for details on time and place.


merlinofchaos (not verified):

Wow. The 29th is my 4th wedding anniversary and as such I'm unlikely to make something on that date, but I can try to do something about my schedule and make a different date for one of the other opportunities.

At the same time, I was pointed at your wishlist completely unrelated, and I was thinking to myself -- roughly 5 minutes ago -- that if you come to the Bay Area I can hook you up with a friend of mine whose yacht club does amateur racing and has been known to accept friends and visitors on their boats. Heck, I even got to help operate sails (though not in a race) -- which is pretty amazing since I'm really too clumsy to be comfortable much on a boat.

Anyway, LMK if you would like me to pursue an inquiry. I suspect your schedule is going to be tight enough that you'll be unlikely to, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

Andre Charland (not verified):

Wow Dries sounds like a great trip! I'm leaving SF on the 25th back to Vancouver. So I'll just miss you. :( Next time. Glad to hear you're on the road spreading some Drupal love!

I know of another Vancouver based music start up using Drupal as well now. Let the good times roll!

moshe weitzman (not verified):

That sounds like a terrific tour.

I would guess that Guido and Larry and friends are going to tell Dries to follow his instincts regarding the management of the project. At least, that's what I would say. Furtunately for Drupal, Dries has great instincts so this is sage advice.

In my ideal world, Dries is paid a handsome sum by several organizations and his primary responsibility is to keep on running the project.

Mixel Kiemen (not verified):

As a comment to Moshe last paragraph "In my ideal world, ...":

As Drupal is a community tool and we are living in a country that has several community-services (Belgium), you should expect more from the government. I mean, its not only the fact that there is much political care for "services to its community", we also hear about how they should stop the brain drain and how there should be more funding for ICT. So it looks to me that our government, if it is consequent with its policy, should start funding Drupal (as it is).

Drupal is a tool both usable for profit and non-profit organization, so it looks like you should expect funding of both as well.

Anisa (not verified):

Have fun! You know what they say about all work and no play!