Happy 15th Birthday Drupal

photo credit: A30_Tsitika - cc
photo credit: A30_Tsitikacc

Drupal, the open source CMS founded by Dries Buytaert on December 29th, 2000, is 15 years old. Drupal version 1.0.0 was released on January 15th, 2001, “The early decisions to open-source Drupal and use the GPL license set the cornerstone principles for how our community shares with one another and builds upon each other’s achievements to this day,” Buytaert said.

You might be wondering why a site devoted to WordPress is publishing a story about a competing CMS’ birthday. The fact is, Drupal, Joomla and WordPress are more complimentary than they are competitors. Each is open source, licensed under the GPL, and is composed of code submitted by thousands of volunteers located across the world. All three projects make up a combined total of 37 years of experience.

  • Drupal – 15 Years Old
  • WordPress – 12 Years Old
  • Joomla – 10 Years Old

When Buytaert founded Drupal, many of the social networking services and browsers we enjoy today didn’t exist:

Chrome, Firefox, and Safari didn’t exist yet; most people used Netscape, Opera or Internet Explorer. New ideas for sharing and exchanging content such as ‘public diaries’ and RSS had yet to gain widespread acceptance and Drupal was among the first to support those. Wikipedia was launched on the same day as Drupal and sparked the rise of user-generated content. Facebook and Twitter didn’t exist until 4-5 years later

He describes many of the things Drupal got right like hooks and modules. There are some things the project got wrong such as adding support for OpenID which never gained widespread adoption.

Near the end of his post, Buytaert reaffirms his commitment through the Drupal project to protect the privacy, serendipity and freedom of the web we enjoy, “As the web evolves from a luxury to a basic human right, it’s important that we treat it that way. To increase our impact, we have to continue to make Drupal easier to use. I’d love to help build a world where people’s privacy is safe and Drupal is more approachable.”

At the State of the Word at WordCamp US last year, Matt Mullenweg announced a similar role for WordPress. At the 46:58 mark, Mullenweg discusses WordPress’ APIs being the key to an open web.

At a time when web services are restricting their APIs to third-party developers, WordPress which is used across 25% of the web with open APIs can help reverse the trend, “I think that we can use this opening up, especially switching to API driven development to open up more of the web. When you think about what open source looks like, when the code being available isn’t the most important thing, when we’re interacting across multiple devices, the APIs become just as important as the code itself being open,” Mullenweg said.

Last but not least, check out this interview where Mullenweg and Buytaert share the same stage in 2011 at an event called Schipulcon. In the interview, the duo discuss open source software and their experience managing open source projects. One of the key takeaways from the interview is Buytaert’s response when asked, how WordPress’ existence benefits Drupal, “If WordPress wins, Drupal wins, because it means open source wins.”

Like Joomla and WordPress, Drupal is a champion of open source. Its existence and continued success should be celebrated. I hope you’ll join us by wishing the Drupal project a happy birthday!


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