I feel lucky to be a part of creating and building Drupal. According to BuiltWith, Drupal powers 2.8% of websites in the top 1 million. That translates to 1 out of 35 websites. I've been thinking about what that means in terms of real impact: if any of the 3.2 billion internet users today have visited 35 or more of the top 1 million websites, they've "used" Drupal. I imagine most active internet users have visited more than 35 websites, and as such, Drupal must have "reached" almost everyone on the internet. That is a pretty incredible thought.
I've heard so many amazing stories about how Drupal sites have been a part of cultural, social and political movements. One of the stories that I'll never forget is from the Egyptian uprising in 2011, when the internet shut down for days and people took to the streets in protest of the Mubarak regime. This moment showed the profound impact of the web and the injustice citizens feel when it is taken away. The Drupal site Al Jazeera was an essential news source on this uprising for the rest of the world and remained online despite traffic to its live blog spiking 2,000 percent during the crisis.
Another such story is that of the Global Disaster Preparedness Center (GDPC), whose 189 partner organizations (including the American Red Cross) needed a better way to collaborate on disaster relief issues. GDPC embraced Open Source and built a multilingual Drupal site where disaster preparedness professionals can share information and resources that otherwise wouldn't be available. Considering the recent rise in natural disasters, this information has saved lives.
These two stories show how the web has the power to change lives, fuel economies, educate the masses and make the world much smaller in the best of ways. According to Cisco, Internet traffic in 2019 will be 64 times the volume in 2005. It is expected that another 1.8 billion people could come online by the end of 2018.
Yesterday, we announced the first Drupal 8 release candidate after almost five years of hard work by thousands of people in our community. The road towards Drupal 8 has been long and hard, but I'm excited that Drupal 8 will touch the next billion people who join the internet. They are joining fast. I hope you'll share stories of the impact Drupal has made on your lives as we continue to grow.
— Dries Buytaert
Dries Buytaert is an Open Source advocate and technology executive. More than 10,000 people are subscribed to his blog. Sign up to have new posts emailed to you or subscribe using RSS. Write to Dries Buytaert at firstname.lastname@example.org.