Who sponsors Drupal development? (2016-2017 edition)

Last year, Matthew Tift and I examined Drupal.org's commit data to understand who develops Drupal, how much of that work is sponsored, and where that sponsorship comes from. We published our analysis in a blog post called "Who Sponsors Drupal Development?". A year later, I wanted to present an update. This year's report will also cover additional data, including gender and geographical diversity, and project sponsorship.

Understanding how an open-source project works is important because it establishes a benchmark for project health and scalability. Scaling an open-source project is a difficult task. As an open-source project's rate of adoption grows, the number of people that benefit from the project also increases. Often the open-source project also becomes more complex as it expands, which means that the economic reward of helping to improve the project decreases.

A recent article on the Bitcoin and Ethereum contributor communities illustrates this disparity perfectly. Ethereum and Bitcoin have market capitalizations valued at $30 billion and $70 billion, respectively. However, both projects have fewer than 40 meaningful contributors, and contribution isn't growing despite the rising popularity of cryptocurrency.

Number of Bitcoin contributors between 2010 and 2017
According to Bitcoin's GitHub data, Bitcoin has less than 40 active contributors.

Number of Ethereum contributors between 2014 and 2017
According to Ethereum's GitHub data, Ethereum has less than 20 active contributors.

Drupal, by comparison, has a diverse community of contributors. In the 12-month period between July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 we saw code contributions on Drupal.org from 7,240 different individuals and 889 different companies. This does not mean that Drupal is exempt from the challenges of scaling an open-source project. We hope that this report provides transparency about Drupal project development and encourages more individuals and organizations incentive to contribute. We also will highlight areas where our community can and should do better.

What is the Drupal.org credit system?

In the spring of 2015, after proposing ideas for giving credit and discussing various approaches at length, Drupal.org added the ability for people to attribute their work to an organization or customer in the Drupal.org issue queues. Maintainers of Drupal modules, themes and distributions can award issues credits to people who help resolve issues with code, translations, documentation, design and more.

Example issue credit on drupal org
A screenshot of an issue comment on Drupal.org. You can see that jamadar worked on this patch as a volunteer, but also as part of his day job working for TATA Consultancy Services on behalf of their customer, Pfizer.

Credits are a powerful motivator for both individuals and organizations. Accumulating credits provides individuals with a way to showcase their expertise. Organizations can utilize credits to help recruit developers or to increase their visibility in the Drupal.org marketplace.

While the benefits are evident, it is important to note a few of the limitations in Drupal.org's current credit system:

  • Contributing to issues on Drupal.org is not the only way to contribute. Other activities, such as sponsoring events, promoting Drupal, and providing help and mentorship, are important to the long-term health of the Drupal project. Many of these activities are not currently captured by the credit system. For this post, we chose to only look at code contributions.
  • We acknowledge that parts of Drupal are developed on GitHub and therefore aren't fully credited on Drupal.org. The actual number of contributions and contributors could be significantly higher than what we report.
  • Even when development is done on Drupal.org, the credit system is not used consistently; because using the credit system is optional, a lot of code committed on Drupal.org has no or incomplete contribution credits.
  • Not all code credits are the same. We currently don't have a way to account for the complexity and quality of contributions; one person might have worked several weeks for just one credit, while another person might receive a credit for ten minutes of work. In the future, we should consider issuing credit data in conjunction with issue priority, patch size, etc. We can also reduce the need for trivial credits by automating patch rerolls and automating coding style fixes.

Who is working on Drupal?

For our analysis we looked at all the issues that were marked "closed" or "fixed" in the 12-month period from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. What we learned is that there were 23,238 issues marked "closed" or "fixed", a 22% increase from the 19,095 issues in the 2015-2016 period. Those 23,238 issues had 42,449 issue credits, a 30% increase from the 32,711 issue credits recorded in the previous year. Issue credits against Drupal core remained roughly the same year over year, meaning almost all of this growth came from increased activity in contributed projects. This is no surprise. Drupal development is cyclical, and during this period of the Drupal 8 development cycle, most of the Drupal community has been focused on porting modules from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8. Of the 42,449 issue credits reported this year, 20% (8,619 credits) were for Drupal core, while 80% (33,830 credits) went to contributed themes, modules and distributions.

Compared to the previous year, we also saw an increase in both the number of people contributing and the number of organizations contributing. Drupal.org received code contributions from 7,240 different individuals and 889 different organizations.

Contributions by individuals vs organizations
The number of individual contributors is up 28% year over year and the number of organizations contributing is up 26% year over year.

While the number of individual contributors rose, a relatively small number of individuals still do the majority of the work. Approximately 47% of individual contributors received just one credit. Meanwhile, the top 30 contributors (the top 0.4%) account for over 17% of the total credits, indicating that these individuals put an incredible amount of time and effort in developing Drupal and its contributed projects:

RankUsernameIssues
1jrockowitz537
2dawehner421
3RenatoG408
4bojanz351
5Berdir335
6mglaman334
7Wim Leers332
8alexpott329
9DamienMcKenna245
10jhodgdon242
11drunken monkey238
12naveenvalecha196
13Munavijayalakshmi192
14borisson_191
15yongt9412189
16klausi185
17Sam152184
18miro_dietiker182
19Pavan B S180
20ajay_reddy176
21phenaproxima172
22sanchiz162
23slashrsm161
24jhedstrom155
25xjm151
26catch147
27larowlan145
28rakesh.gectcr141
29benjy139
30dhruveshdtripathi138

Out of the top 30 contributors featured, 19 were also recognized as top contributors in our 2015-2016 report. These Drupalists' dedication and continued contribution to the project has been crucial to Drupal's development. It's also exciting to see 11 new names on the list. This mobility is a testament to the community's evolution and growth.

Next, we looked at both the gender and geographic diversity of Drupal.org code contributors. While these are only two examples of diversity, this is the only available data that contributors can choose to share on their Drupal.org profiles. The reported data shows that only 6% of the recorded contributions were made by contributors that identify as female, which indicates a steep gender gap. Like in most open-source projects, the gender imbalance in Drupal is profound and underscores the need to continue fostering diversity and inclusion in our community.

Contributions by gender
The gender representation behind the issue credits. Only 6% of the recorded contributions are by women.

When measuring geographic diversity, we saw individual contributors from 6 different continents and 116 different countries:
Contributions by continent
Contributions by country
The top 20 countries from which contributions originate. The data is compiled by aggregating the countries of all individual contributors behind each commit. Note that the geographical location of contributors doesn't always correspond with the origin of their sponsorship. Wim Leers, for example, works from Belgium, but his funding comes from Acquia, which has the majority of its customers in North America.

How much of the work is sponsored?

Drupal is used by more than one million websites. The vast majority of the individuals and organizations behind these Drupal websites never participate in the development of the project. They might use the software as it is or might not feel the need to help drive its development. We have to provide more incentive for these individuals and organizations to contribute back to the project.

Issue credits can be marked as "volunteer" and "sponsored" simultaneously (shown in jamadar's screenshot near the top of this post). This could be the case when a contributor does the minimum required work to satisfy the customer's need, in addition to using their spare time to add extra functionality.

While Drupal started out as a 100% volunteer-driven project, today the majority of the code on Drupal.org is sponsored by organizations. Only 11% of the commit credits that we examined in 2016-2017 were "purely volunteer" credits (4,498 credits), in stark contrast to the 46% that were "purely sponsored". In other words, there were four times as many "purely sponsored" credits as "purely volunteer" credits.

A few comparisons with the 2015-2016 data:

  • The credit system is used more. Between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016, 37% of all credits had no attribution while in the more recent period between July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017, only 28% of credits lacked attribution. More people have become aware of the credit system, the attribution options, and their benefits.
  • Sponsored credits are growing faster than volunteer credits. Both "purely volunteer" and "purely sponsored" credits grew, but "purely sponsored" credits grew faster. There are two reasons why this could be the case: (1) more contributions are sponsored and (2) organizations are more likely to use the credit system compared to volunteers.

Contributions by volunteer vs sponsored

No data is perfect, but it feels safe to conclude that most of the work on Drupal is sponsored. At the same time, the data shows that volunteer contribution remains very important to Drupal. Maybe most importantly, while the number of volunteers and sponsors has grown year over year in absolute terms, sponsored contributions appear to be growing faster than volunteer contributions. This is consistent with how open source projects grow and scale.

Who is sponsoring the work?

Now that we have established that most of the work on Drupal is sponsored, we want to study which organizations contribute to Drupal. While 889 different organizations contributed to Drupal, approximately 50% of them received four credits or fewer. The top 30 organizations (roughly the top 3%) account for about 48% of the total credits, which implies that the top 30 companies play a crucial role in the health of the Drupal project. The graph below shows the top 30 organizations and the number of credits they received between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017:

Top 30 organizations contributing to Drupal
The top 30 contributing organizations based on the number of Drupal.org commit credits.

While not immediately obvious from the graph above, different types of companies are active in Drupal's ecosystem:

Category Description
Traditional Drupal businesses Small-to-medium-sized professional services companies that make money primarily using Drupal. They typically employ fewer than 100 employees, and because they specialize in Drupal, many of these professional services companies contribute frequently and are a huge part of our community. Examples are Chapter Three (shown on graph) and Lullabot (shown on graph).
Digital marketing agencies Larger full-service agencies that have marketing-led practices using a variety of tools, typically including Drupal, Adobe Experience Manager, Sitecore, WordPress, etc. They tend to be larger, with the larger agencies employing thousands of people. Examples are Wunderman and Mirum.
System integrators Larger companies that specialize in bringing together different technologies into one solution. Example system agencies are Accenture, TATA Consultancy Services, Capgemini and CI&T.
Technology and infrastructure companies Examples are Acquia (shown on graph), Lingotek, BlackMesh, Rackspace, Pantheon and Platform.sh.
End-users Examples are Pfizer (shown on graph) or NBCUniversal.

A few observations:

  • Almost all of the sponsors in the top 30 are traditional Drupal businesses. Companies like MD Systems (12 employees), Valuebound (34 employees), Chapter Three (27 employees), Commerce Guys (7 employees) and PreviousNext (20 employees) are, despite their size, critical to Drupal's success.

    It's worth highlighting MD Systems, which ranks second in the list of the top 30 contributing organizations, and is the number-one contributor among traditional Drupal businesses. What distinguishes MD Systems from most others is that it has embedded contribution into its corporate philosophy. For every commercial project, MD Systems invests 20% of that project's value back into Drupal. They believe that using commercial projects as the foundation for community contribution leads to more meaningful and healthier contributions for Drupal and a lower total cost of ownership for their customers. This is different from other organizations, where employees are allotted a number of hours per month to contribute outside of customer-facing projects. There is no denying that MD Systems has had a tremendous impact on the Drupal community with contributions that are both frequent and impactful.

  • Compared to these traditional Drupal businesses, Acquia has nearly 800 employees and several full-time Drupal contributors. Acquia's Office of the CTO (OCTO) works to resolve some of the most complex issues on Drupal.org, many of which are not recognized by the credit system (e.g. release management, communication, sprint organizing, and project coordination). However, I believe that Acquia should contribute even more due to our comparative size.
  • No digital marketing agencies show up in the top 30, though some of them are starting to contribute. It is exciting that an increasing number of digital marketing agencies are delivering beautiful experiences using Drupal. As a community, we need to work to ensure that each of these firms are contributing back to the project with the same commitment that we see from firms like Chapter Three, MD Systems or CI&T.
  • The only system integrator in the top 30 is CI&T, which ranked 6th with 664 credits. As far as system integrators are concerned, CI&T is a smaller player with approximately 2,500 employees. However, we do see various system integrators outside of the top 30, including Globant, Capgemini, Sapient and TATA Consultancy Services. Each of these system integrators reported 30 to 70 credits in the past year. Finally, Wipro began contributing this year with 2 credits. We expect, or hope, to see system integrators contribute more and more, especially given the number of Drupal developers they employ. Many have sizable Drupal practices with hundreds of Drupal developers, yet contributing to open source is relatively new and often not well-understood.
  • Infrastructure and software companies play an important role in our community, yet only Acquia appears in the top 30. While Acquia has a professional services division, 75% of the contributions come from the product organization (including the Office of the CTO and the Acquia Lightning team). Other contributing infrastructure companies include Pantheon and Platform.sh, which are both venture-backed platform-as-a-service companies that originated from the Drupal community. Pantheon has 17 credits and Platform.sh has 47 credits. Amazee Labs, who is building an infrastructure business, reported 51 credits. Rackspace is a public company hosting thousands of Drupal sites; they have 48 credits. Lingotek offers cloud-based translation management software and has 94 credits.
  • We saw two end-users in the top 30 corporate sponsors: Pfizer (251 credits, up from 158 credits the year before) and the German company bio.logis (212 credits). Other notable customers outside of the top 30 were Workday, Wolters Kluwer, Burda Media, University of Colorado Boulder, YMCA and OpenY, CARD.com and NBCUniversal.

Contributions by technology companies
Sponsored code contributions to Drupal.org from technology and infrastructure companies. The chart does not reflect sponsored code contributions on GitHub, Drupal event sponsorship, and the many forms of value that these companies add to Drupal and other open-source communities.

We can conclude that technology and infrastructure companies, digital marketing agencies, system integrators and end-users are not meaningfully contributing code to Drupal.org today. How can we explain this disparity in comparison to traditional Drupal businesses who contribute the most? We believe the biggest reasons are:

  1. Drupal's strategic importance. A variety of the traditional Drupal agencies have been involved with Drupal for 10 years and almost entirely depend on Drupal to support their business. Given both their expertise and dependence on Drupal, they are most likely to look after Drupal's development and well-being. These organizations are typically recognized as Drupal experts and are sought out by organizations that want to build a Drupal website. Contrast this with most of the digital marketing agencies and system integrators who are sized to work with a diversified portfolio of content management platforms and who are historically only getting started with Drupal and open source. They deliver digital marketing solutions and aren't necessarily sought out for their Drupal expertise. As their Drupal practices grow in size and importance, this could change. In fact, contributing to Drupal can help grow their Drupal business because it helps their name stand out as Drupal experts and gives them a competitive edge with their customers.
  2. The level of experience with Drupal and open source. Drupal aside, many organizations have little or no experience with open source, so it is important that we motivate and teach them to contribute.
  3. Legal reservations. We recognize that some organizations are not legally permitted to contribute, let alone attribute their customers. We hope that will change as open source continues to get adopted.
  4. Tools and process barriers. Drupal contribution still involves a patch-based workflow on Drupal.org's unique issue queue system. This presents a fairly steep learning curve to most developers, who primarily work with more modern and common tools such as GitHub. Getting the code change proposal uploaded is just the first step; getting code changes accepted into an upstream Drupal project — especially Drupal core — is hard work. Peer reviews, gates such as automated testing and documentation, required sign-offs from maintainers and committers, knowledge of best practices and other community norms are a few of the challenges a contributor must face to get code accepted into Drupal.

Consequently, this data shows that the Drupal community can do more to entice companies to contribute code to Drupal.org. The Drupal community has a long tradition of encouraging organizations to share code rather than keep it behind firewalls. While the spirit of the Drupal project cannot be reduced to any single ideology — not every organization can or will share their code — we would like to see organizations continue to prioritize collaboration over individual ownership. Our aim is not to criticize those who do not contribute, but rather to help foster an environment worthy of contribution. Given the vast amount of Drupal users, we believe continuing to encourage organizations and end-users to contribute could be a big opportunity.

There are substantial benefits and business drivers for organizations that contribute: (1) it improves their ability to sell and win deals and (2) it improves their ability to hire. Companies that contribute to Drupal tend to promote their contributions in RFPs and sales pitches. Contributing to Drupal also results in being recognized as a great place to work for Drupal experts.

The uneasy alliance with corporate contributions

As mentioned above, when community-driven open-source projects grow, there is a bigger need for organizations to help drive their development. It almost always creates an uneasy alliance between volunteers and corporations.

This theory played out in the Linux community well before it played out in the Drupal community. The Linux project is 25 years old and has seen a steady increase in the number of corporate contributors for roughly 20 years. While Linux companies like Red Hat and SUSE rank high on the contribution list, so do non-Linux-centric companies such as Samsung, Intel, Oracle and Google. All of these corporate contributors are (or were) using Linux as an integral part of their business.

The 889 organizations that contribute to Drupal (which includes corporations) is more than four times the number of organizations that sponsor development of the Linux kernel. This is significant because Linux is considered "one of the largest cooperative software projects ever attempted". In fairness, Linux has a different ecosystem than Drupal. The Linux business ecosystem has various large organizations (Red Hat, Google, Intel, IBM and SUSE) for whom Linux is very strategic. As a result, many of them employ dozens of full-time Linux contributors and invest millions of dollars in Linux each year.

What projects have sponsors?

In total, the Drupal community worked on 3,183 different projects (modules, themes and distributions) in the 12-month period between July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. To understand where the organizations sponsoring Drupal put their money, I've listed the top 20 most sponsored projects:

RankProject nameIssues
1Drupal core4745
2Drupal Commerce (distribution)526
3Webform361
4Open Y (distribution)324
5Paragraphs231
6Inmail223
7User guide218
8JSON API204
9Paragraphs collection200
10Entity browser196
11Diff190
12Group170
13Metatag157
14Facets155
15Commerce Point of Sale (PoS)147
16Search API143
17Open Social (distribution)133
18Drupal voor Gemeenten (distribution)131
19Solr Search122
20Geolocation field118

Who is sponsoring the top 30 contributors?

Rank Username Issues Volunteer Sponsored Not specified Sponsors
1 jrockowitz 537 88% 45% 9% The Big Blue House (239), Kennesaw State University (6), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (4)
2 dawehner 421 67% 83% 5% Chapter Three (328), Tag1 Consulting (19), Drupal Association (12), Acquia (5), Comm-press (1)
3 RenatoG 408 0% 100% 0% CI&T (408)
4 bojanz 351 0% 95% 5% Commerce Guys (335), Adapt A/S (38), Bluespark (2)
5 Berdir 335 0% 93% 7% MD Systems (310), Acquia (7)
6 mglaman 334 3% 97% 1% Commerce Guys (319), Thinkbean, LLC (48), LivePerson, Inc (46), Bluespark (22), Universal Music Group (16), Gaggle.net, Inc. (3), Bluehorn Digital (1)
7 Wim Leers 332 14% 87% 2% Acquia (290)
8 alexpott 329 7% 99% 1% Chapter Three (326), TES Global (1)
9 DamienMcKenna 245 2% 95% 4% Mediacurrent (232)
10 jhodgdon 242 0% 1% 99% Drupal Association (2), Poplar ProductivityWare (2)
11 drunken monkey 238 95% 11% 1% Acquia (17), Vizala (8), Wunder Group (1), Sunlime IT Services GmbH (1)
12 naveenvalecha 196 74% 55% 1% Acquia (152), Google Summer of Code (7), QED42 (1)
13 Munavijayalakshmi 192 0% 100% 0% Valuebound (192)
14 borisson_ 191 66% 39% 22% Dazzle (70), Acquia (6)
15 yongt9412 189 0% 97% 3% MD Systems (183), Acquia (6)
16 klausi 185 9% 61% 32% epiqo (112)
17 Sam152 184 59% 92% 7% PreviousNext (168), amaysim Australia Ltd. (5), Code Drop (2)
18 miro_dietiker 182 0% 99% 1% MD Systems (181)
19 Pavan B S 180 0% 98% 2% Valuebound (177)
20 ajay_reddy 176 100% 99% 0% Valuebound (180), Drupal Bangalore Community (154)
21 phenaproxima 172 0% 99% 1% Acquia (170)
22 sanchiz 162 0% 99% 1% Drupal Ukraine Community (107), Vinzon (101), FFW (60), Open Y (52)
23 slashrsm 161 6% 95% 3% MD Systems (153), Acquia (47)
24 jhedstrom 155 4% 92% 4% Phase2 (143), Workday, Inc. (134), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (1)
25 xjm 151 0% 91% 9% Acquia (137)
26 catch 147 3% 83% 16% Third and Grove (116), Tag1 Consulting (6)
27 larowlan 145 12% 92% 7% PreviousNext (133), University of Technology, Sydney (30), amaysim Australia Ltd. (6), Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) (1), Department of Justice & Regulation, Victoria (1)
28 rakesh.gectcr 141 100% 91% 0% Valuebound (128)
29 benjy 139 0% 94% 6% PreviousNext (129), Brisbane City Council (8), Code Drop (1)
30 dhruveshdtripathi 138 15% 100% 0% DevsAdda (138), OpenSense Labs (44)

We observe that the top 30 contributors are sponsored by 46 organizations. This kind of diversity is aligned with our desire not to see Drupal controlled by a single organization. These top contributors and organizations are from many different parts of the world and work with customers large and small. Nonetheless, we will continue to benefit from more diversity.

Evolving the credit system

Like Drupal itself, the credit system on Drupal.org is an evolving tool. Ultimately, the credit system will only be useful when the community uses it, understands its shortcomings, and suggests constructive improvements. In highlighting the organizations that sponsor the development of code on Drupal.org, we hope to elicit responses that help evolve the credit system into something that incentivizes business to sponsor more work and enables more people to participate in our community, learn from others, teach newcomers and make positive contributions. Drupal is a positive force for change and we wish to use the credit system to highlight (at least some of) the work of our diverse community, which includes volunteers, companies, nonprofits, governments, schools, universities, individuals, and other groups.

One of the challenges with the existing credit system is it has no way of "weighting" contributions. A typo fix counts just as much as giving multiple detailed technical reviews on a critical core issue. This appears to have the effect of incentivizing organizations' employees to work on "lower-hanging fruit issues", because this bumps their companies' names in the rankings. One way to help address this might be to adjust the credit ranking algorithm to consider things such as issue priority, patch size, and so on. This could help incentivize companies to work on larger and more important problems and save coding standards improvements for new contributor sprints. Implementing a scoring system that ranks the complexity of an issue would also allow us to develop more accurate reports of contributed work.

Conclusion

Our data confirms Drupal is a vibrant community full of contributors who are constantly evolving and improving the software. While we have amazing geographic diversity, we need greater gender diversity. Our analysis of the Drupal.org credit data concludes that most contributions to Drupal are sponsored. At the same time, the data shows that volunteer contribution remains very important to Drupal.

As a community, we need to understand that a healthy open-source ecosystem includes more than traditional Drupal businesses that contribute the most. For example, we don't see a lot of contribution from the larger digital marketing agencies, system integrators, technology companies, or end-users of Drupal — we believe that might come as these organizations build out their Drupal practices and Drupal becomes more strategic for them.

To grow and sustain Drupal, we should support those that contribute to Drupal and find ways to get those that are not contributing involved in our community. We invite you to help us continue to strengthen our ecosystem.

Special thanks to Tim Lehnen and Neil Drumm from the Drupal Association for providing us with the Drupal.org credit system data and for supporting us during our research. I would also like to extend a special thanks to Matthew Tift for helping to lay the foundation for this research, collaborating on last year's blog post, and for reviewing this year's edition. Finally, thanks to Angie Byron, Gábor Hojtsy, Jess (xjm), Preston So, Ted Bowman, Wim Leers and Gigi Anderson for providing feedback during the writing process.

Comments

Mohammed Razem (not verified):

Very useful stats and thanks for the detailed writeup!

I wonder what methodology you used for "What projects have sponsors?". As I haven't seen Varbase distribution.

Vardot has invested and continues to sponsor an open source D8 distribution called Varbase (it's the 2nd most installed distribution as of this week). We have a dedicated team of 3 developers working on it.

Disclaimer: I'm the CEO of Vardot.

Dries:

Mohammed,

Thanks for all your contributions to Drupal. Vardot as a company is ranked 33. In other words, you're just outside the top 30.

John Faber (not verified):

This is a great follow up from last year!

One issue that needs to be refined is the credit system itself. One credit is issued for solving huge complex bugs and the same credit is given for a tiny code change. Both are valuable contributions to Drupal but they are not the same. Possibly developing some standards around what is a creditable commit would help clear this up. For example - adding a period to a line of readme text does not hold the same value as solving the translated workflow core bug. The goal with standards would be to reduce attempts to 'game' the credit system to rise up in rank on Drupal.org marketplace listings.

Dries:

Agreed! I highlighted that in the post (in two locations) and even discussed it with the Drupal Association, who is responsible for maintaining the credit system. John, thanks for all the contributions that you and Chapter Three make to Drupal. Drupal wouldn't be the same without Chapter Three!

Tim Millwood (not verified):

This problem with the credit system is not just confined to two issues getting the same credit, but work on one issue. Where for example one person spends a year working on a huge ground breaking patch for Drupal, then another person comes in and add fixes a typo in a comment, yet they (and their companies) both get the same amount of credit for the issue.

Dries:

Agreed! The problem you described is exactly the problem I acknowledged in the post. Maybe that wasn't clear. In that case, your clarification will hopefully help others.

dawehner (not verified):

We seem to talk a lot about possible heuristics what matters more than something else. I'm wondering whether we could apply some level of machine learning so we don't have to come up with the heuristics and update them.

For example we could enable a way to let contributions which are the same across the entire community to count less over time. Examples could be code style changes ... This way we would encourage people to automate stuff and solve problems on the longrun.

This would though open up the questions about the training and test dataset. Do we pick a good amount of issues and assign some credit to each contributor?

Maybe this is a pure overengineering though ...

Gábor Hojtsy (not verified):

John, we have a page at https://www.drupal.org/core/maintainers/issue-credit which is some form of "standard" at least for core issues, which we hope contributed modules would adopt as well. It is important to keep in mind that assessing who should get credit for what in a hundred or so comment issue takes a HUGE amount of time as well, even if you internalized all the common suggestions outlined there. So it is not a small part of the time spent committing an issue to figure out.

Jacob Rockowitz (not verified):

I am completely honored to be included on this list. Yes, I am putting in a significant effort into building out the Webform module for Drupal 8.

I do need to point out the number of commits to the Webform module compared to other contrib and core projects is not exactly an accurate comparison because I am using a GitFlow workflow (https://www.google.com/search?q=GitFlow).

With this workflow, I am creating issue/feature branches where I make minor commits extremely frequently (i.e., 3-10 commits per feature branch). These feature branches are then used to generate a single patch/squashed merge which is committed to the 8.x-5.x branch. So the most accurate way to gauge major commits to the Webform module is to look at only commits to the 8.x-5.x branch. (http://cgit.drupalcode.org/webform/log/?h=8.x-5.x)

Dries:

Thanks for those clarifications, Jacob. More importantly, thank you for taking on the Webform module. I've been following your progress through your blog posts.

Wim Leers (not verified):

Note that the data here concern issues, not commits. You only get credit for fixed/closed issues, not for commits. Which means that the commit count and git workflow don't affect the outcome! I don't think you're making issues for every single commit in every feature branch?

In other words: your high number of issue credits is not due to your git workflow, which of course makes it all the more impressive. Thanks for all your hard work!

Hristo Chonov … (not verified):

Hello Dries,

According to this statistics Europe accounts for 39.5 % of all the contributions and for 44.6 % of all the contributors. Taking these numbers into account one might say that Europe is the place of the world where the most contribution came from for the past 2 years and as a gift for all the hard work it has done it is the one for which the Drupal Conference is being cancelled. All the European contributors are loosing their main place for making contacts with different companies, meeting other contributors, talking and enjoying Drupal, learning new stuff about Drupal and its ecosystem and of course contributing to Drupal.

I have just two questions for you:

1) What do you think will happen with all the contributors who don't have their DrupalCon Europe anymore, the Conference for which they all have worked more than hard enough?

2) What will happen with Drupal if the European Community cancels its contribution to Drupal just the same way the Drupal Association has cancelled its contribution to the DrupalCon Europe? This is exactly what is currently happening - the organization taking care of Drupal is leaving behind 44.6 % of its followers! What is your comment on this considering which part of world the Drupal roots originate from?

Disclaimer: I've started working with and on Drupal in 2014 and ever since I've visited each Drupal Dev Days Conference and DrupalCon in Europe which has made it possible for me to make new contacts and learn a lot of new stuff, which in turn improved my contribution to Drupal because I am contributing to the core itself and on new contrib modules and Drupal features among others on the autosave_form module bringing the autosave feature to D8 and on the conflict module making concurrent editing possible in Drupal 8. The company I am working for is on that list, but the comment is my own.

Megan Sanicki (not verified):

Thank you for your many years of contribution and for your very good points in the comments above. You are right that Europe is very important for moving Drupal forward and DrupalCon is a special way of supporting that work. I wanted to point out that DrupalCon is not canceled. It is going through a re-think so it better meets the needs of the European community and is sustainable so it can continue into the future.

I am greatly encouraged by the number of community members already working on solutions. They are doing so at camps, in Slack (see DCEU-Future channel), Twitter, etc. And many are coming together at the Community Summit in Vienna, hosted by the Austrian community. I will be there along with others who can help assist with the new direction. Who knows, we may have a DrupalCon Europe 2018 after all. Many are finding creative ways to make that happen and the Drupal Association supports this.

I hope you can participate in this re-think. We need it to work for you and others like you who see the value in DrupalCon.

Hristo Chonov … (not verified):

Megan, thank you for your reply.

I will be glad to join the Community Summit in Vienna and talk with you and all the other members about what has happened what should happen and how should it happen.

But there is something I would still like to mention - on the first place it shouldn't have to come to the point that Drupal Con Europe is something that is not clear what will happen with. The Drupal Association is a non-profit organization, so having DrupalCon North America making bigger revenue than DrupalCon Europe does not mean that DrupalCon Europe should be left behind, but that the money that has been gathered by DrupalCon North America should be used to support the other not that money-making Drupal conferences at all the other parts of the world.

Drupal has its roots in Europe and the majority of contributors and contributions are from Europe. So leaving Europe behind only because it does not make the same revenue as DrupalCon North America is the wrong decision no matter what. It is similar to leaving behind a sick child or parents only because there is no revenue but only spent money. This is not right. It is not right as well that so many contributors are asking themselves what is going to happen now. This just shouldn't have happened at the very first place. We need a stable and strong community without any fears and doubts, because the great community we have is the biggest contributor to Drupal and the greatest advantage Drupal has.

It would be nice to get a reply from Dries on this subject.

Dries:

I'm sorry that you're feeling left behind, but let's be very clear: Europe is very important for moving Drupal forward.

For that reason, we have historically invested the profits of DrupalCon North America into both DrupalCon Europe and Drupal.org.

Drupal.org is critical not only to contributors in North America and Europe, but to contributors everywhere in the world. Many contributors don't attend DrupalCon at all and rely primarily on Drupal.org for information, documentation, coordination, collaboration, testing, development and more. We should find ways to invest more in Drupal.org, especially because relatively small improvements to Drupal.org can have a huge impact on Drupal globally.

That aside, both Megan and I agree that bringing the European Drupal community together is essential to moving the project forward. What we observed is that attendance at DrupalCamps throughout Europe continues to rise (a positive trend), but that DrupalCon Europe attendance is slowly declining (a negative trend). This means that we need to re-think DrupalCon Europe, both for the Drupal community and the Drupal Association. Similarly, we'd also love to bring the Drupal community at other continents together in a sustainable way.

That is exactly what we are currently doing; figuring out a way to bring the European Drupal community together in a way that works better for both the community and the Drupal Association (and that hopefully allows us to invest more in Drupal.org as well!). Unfortunately, with the small staff the Drupal Association has, it is really difficult to re-think DrupalCon Europe and organize DrupalCon Europe 2018 at the same time.

In the end, we all want the same outcome — a thriving Drupal community in Europe and the rest of the world. We'll have to work together on how to make that happen best. If we end up not having a DrupalCon Europe in 2018, I commit to delivering a DriesNote (keynote) at several European camps. It's how I can personally help bring the European Drupal community together while we re-think DrupalCon Europe.

Thanks for your passion about this topic!

Gábor Hojtsy (not verified):

While there is some uncertainty now and I more than agree that is not good, what is good is the European community came together and is VERY actively figuring out a solution to 2018 and beyond which is a testament to the stability and strength of the European contributors IMHO. I think this is a kind of "server meltdown" situation of sorts (see https://developers.slashdot.org/story/05/07/10/1924256/drupal-needs-a-n… for historic context).

The https://drupal.slack.com/messages/C70PEFHUK (#dceu-future on Drupal Slack) channel is full of activity and dedication :) More info on our slack at https://www.drupal.org/slack

droplet (not verified):

We need some love for code-oriented reviewers and non-storytellers. Quite often I don't get any credits for reviewing patches. I guess because I never drop a story and mark it RTBC directly. :)

If the stats matter, it needs a way to kick out the un-applied reroll and reroll with --reject alike patch. (These issues are auto-credited.) Many rerollers never try to understand the code and never come back again after the first failed attempt. A bit crazy. :S

On the another hand, sometimes a simple screenshot will get credited but someone writing a detailed issue report will not.

dawehner (not verified):

It's interesting what you write for several perspectives.

I've seen people being incredible sparse and incredible verbose in their comments/reviews.

There is of course a lot of value in describing exactly what you think:

  • Explain steps you did
  • Explains steps where you failed. I'm looking at you science community ;)
  • Point out things you liked and why
  • By writing about your thinking process there is confidence added for core committers to know whether something is RTBC.

Once you do that others have an easier time to chime in, pick up others work etc. On the other hand I think there are issues with maximum verbosity:

  • It makes it hard for people which aren't full-time contributors. People which can't spend an hour reading a comment
  • It makes it hard for non native speakers. Reading a lot of stuff can be hard

I think we need to find the right balance here.

@droplet
Try to maybe point out things you like in every review you make. It feels like a small things, but you know, things sum up.

Phi (not verified):

I'm confused by the term "credit". Is this purely an attribution to work performed?

Part of the problem with Drupal's contrib community, is the lack of financial motivation. While I do realize it poses additional problems, I've often thought it would be awesome if there was a way for maintainers to opt in to bounties for fixing things. For example the community wants something fixed. The maintainer doesn't have time to fix it for free. They can set a monetary value to fixing the bug and if the non-coding community wants it fixed, they can pay the small bounty fee.

There are countless modules floating around with show stopping bugs that aren't getting fixed by their maintainers for whatever reason. By giving the Maintainers a little incentive, it might push growth forward.

Many feature requests go by the wayside in favor of general maintenance. If the maintainers had more incentive, it might compel them to look more closely at continual progression.

What we end up with, is 3 modules that basically do the exact same thing, just a little different because the original maintainers quit providing support, or have moved on to other projects, leaving usable modules floating around with little to no support. Sure, anyone can supply a patch, but only the maintainers can commit it and provide an updated stable version. I think folks would gladly throw $5 - $10 at an issue, or $50 at a feature request to see it implemented. Those of us who can't code, are the ones who would pay.

Dries:

I think bounties are a great idea. This is happening to a large extent, and is one of the reasons why many of the contributions are sponsored. Organizations are paying module maintainers to upgrade their module, implement a feature or fix a bug. For example, Acquia spent over $500,000 to fund non-Acquia maintainers in the community to upgrade their modules to Drupal 8. It's just not very visible nor facilitated by Drupal.org. Making bounties easier is a good idea. It does requires an investment in Drupal.org but as I mentioned in one of my comments above, an investment like this could potentially have a huge impact on the Drupal project.

dawehner (not verified):

You seem to talk about crowd funding individual tickets. While this certainly helps on some highly tricky issues, it opens up new questions: Who gets the money, the person implementing the feature or the people reviewing or the people testing etc.? How do we help with maintenance / fixing technical debt?

Personally I had hoped something like flattr would skyrocket, as it would be a model you could also add it to the theme/model level etc. and as such enable some help with maintenance.

Jon Anthony (not verified):

Not wanting to muddy the water... how about Ethereum or even better Drupaleth. As someone sometimes in a position to pay a bounty and sometimes in a position to contribute. I would want to pay in whatever currency was appropriate. However if that bought a Drupal cryptocurrency, and the Drupal cryptocurrency was accepted and had a value, this could take Drupal development to a whole new level.

Dries:

I've been thinking about this for months and have some ideas, but I haven't had time yet to write down my thoughts and research them more. Stay tuned.

catch (not verified):

"Next, we looked at both the gender and geographic diversity of Drupal.org code contributors. While these are only two examples of diversity, this is the only available data that contributors can choose to share on their Drupal.org profiles. The reported data shows that only 6% of the recorded contributions were made by contributors that identify as female, which indicates a steep gender gap."

It's not clear what this statistic is from this paragraph, is it:

- 6% of contributors are women?
or
- 6% of recorded contributions are by women?

Either way, do you have the other statistic, and could you post it?

volkswagenchick (not verified):

Our team finds coding standards errors, missing documentation, and typos while ACTUALLY using and evaluating modules/projects for our client and internal projects.

Since user interfaces and documentation is something future clients can see while we give them demos or when they evaluate Drupal, I think it is important to maintain high standards with spelling and grammar, just as we do with the code clients don't usually see.

Not everyone is a coder, so giving the smaller tasks to those less experienced helps them gain the experience and confidence they need to help with Drupal in the future.

Thank you for taking the time to explain your views. We are currently using this model on our new Drupal 8 build, and certainly appreciate all your hard work.

It takes a village!

develCuy (not verified):

A BIG NO NO to contribute to Drupal core is Acquia's bad karma, IMHO.
This research is of HUGE importance to destroy the myth that Acquia is controlling most Drupal core's development.
Everybody in the community should learn that Drupal's success is their success, period.
Unfortunately there are some (or maybe many) that prefer to let the Drupal ship sink before contributing, because they feel like *working for free* for Acquia.
Dries, maybe the Drupal Association should hold more of the Drupal core sponsorship​, because it is by far more impartial than you and Acquia. I think it will encourage contribution A LOT MORE. After all, Drupal success is Acquia's success, right? Also, with better karma you'll feel more relaxed about hiring more core devs in Acquia, and your competitors as well.

sugaroverflow (not verified):

What's going to be done to increase that gender diversity?

As a female from an underrepresented group who hopes one day to be a part of that 6%, I was hoping there would be some kind of action plan at the end of the article. You've acknowledged there's an issue - but is the issue important enough to follow up on and do something about?

Jim (not verified):

Rather than asking what others are going to do to increase female code contribution, you, as a female could actually make commits increasing female representation.

Drupal is a free, open source project and most people are volunteers. There is literally nothing stopping you or any other groups from getting involved.

Nikki Stevens (not verified):

Hi Jim,

I'm not sure if you're aware that I, sugaroverflow, and many others are _actively_ working to increase female, minority, and other underrepresented group's representation in the drupal contributor base. Not everyone is a coder, but certainly we're including code contributions. Many of us are coders and DO contribute code. I know many women who are counted in the numbers above, which makes it even more frustrating that, statistically, we are so underrepresented.

"There is literally nothing stopping you or any other groups from getting involved." is simply untrue - there are plenty of things that get in the way of anyone getting involved, including institutional knowledge, humans acting as gatekeepers, and old standbys like racism, sexism and homophobia.

I think what sugaroverflow was asking is: what is the _leadership_ of Drupal doing to actively contribute to more female coders (and contributors of all varieties). Institutional changes require top-down initiative to be efficient and successful, and that's what we're not seeing yet.

If you, or anyone else would like to get involved in helping this change, join the Drupal Diversity & Inclusion meetings every Thursday at 9PST/12EST/17UTC, or follow us on twitter @drupaldiversity.

dbt102 (not verified):

Hey Dries,

#1

Great post ... I love the data and analysis !!!

However, w/ a little clicking around, I discovered my FAVORITE part is actually your shout out to @jamadar (www.drupal.org/u/jamadar).

I notice (atm) he has one (as in 1) commit. What I am particularly encouraged by ... and personally find really impressive and admire ... is the fact that YOU noticed.

If I were @jamadar ... I would definitely reference in my bio section as being 'that guy' that YOU noticed in this post.

I think all the big contributors mentioned above can remember the sense of accomplishment & pride they felt the FIRST time their little singular effort was recognized. I know I can.

(note to me --> I need to get back in that groove .. the more I do, the easier it is)

...

#2 yet ...

looking at YOUR last year credits I notice its actually 5x that of @jamadar (generally speaking :-)

... (psst ... I'm not being critical ... just making a point ...)

What if ... every listed Drupal user in @jamadar's company 'contributed' 1 credit per qtr to Drupal?

answer --> Tata would be competing w/ Acquia as 'top dog'.

Say we compare the size of Tata (as a company) to the size of Acquia ... (analogy of a beach vs a grain of sand comes to mind)

As a gut felt axiom, I'd agree that ... as singular contributions increase, there is a direct correlation between increased 'cred' and more more business.

A simple user goal I'd propose is 2x more for next year. If realized internally by just the Big Ten (IT companies) I think Drupal would get an honorable mention on Fox News.

For me, at this point, I think 2x would just put me in the top 30 list ... hmmm ... 1 per day gets me in the top ten ...

...

I wonder how much cred you could get for bringing a whole new vertical market into the Drupal community?

...

Thanks for your blog and your efforts w/ Drupal

Take Care,

Dave

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