New crowdfunding platform targets Drupal development

Drupalfund intended to accelerate development work on the open source CMS

A new crowdfunding platform – Drupalfund – is intended to make it easier to contribute to Drupal and accelerate development work on the open source content platform, according to Jozef Toth.

Toth, a co-founder of Drupalfund and the CEO of Slovakia-based Web development agency Mogdesign.eu, said that a large portion of Drupal development has been based on individuals and companies donating time and money to the CMS.

"The majority of this development, even core development, is done during developers' free time, even in many cases cutting into time that could be spent on paid work," Toth said.

"While this generosity is laudable, it still means many issues, fixes, and changes get pushed back and fixed only when a developer can find or 'steal' some time.

"We've been asking ourselves, 'How much more could we achieve if there was an easy way for people to contribute financially to Drupal’s development? What if companies and individuals could join together and pay someone to build Drupal functionality? What if we could support and reward our developers?'"

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Toth aspires to Drupalfund reaching official status within the Drupal community, and possibly integrating with Drupal.org, which could mean shared user accounts and the ability to turn project issues into fund drives on Drupalfund.

Drupalfund will work in a similar fashion to better-known crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Pozible, with people submitting ideas, donation levels, community feedback and project delivery.

Crowdfunding offers a new avenue for driving forward open source projects, Toth said. "It fosters transparency, accountability, and innovation; and can help drive the 'do-ocracy' we've been running on for the last decade to new heights," he added.

"If we look at Drupal - our community is huge. There are nearly 1 million registered users on Drupal.org. Doing some back-of-the-envelope math, we figure that if only 1 per cent of us donated only 1 per cent of our salaries each month, we’d raise more than US$5 million a year.

"With that kind of money, in a community crowdfunding effort, the possibilities are mind boggling. That's enough money to hugely accelerate Drupal core development and module porting, adding features and functionality to Drupal.org, or some of the many Drupal installation profiles. We could also support the production of new books, training materials, products and services in the community."

Toth said that the Drupalfund team had spent a lot of time discussing the idea with community members, including project and module maintainers and owners of Drupal-based businesses, as well as Drupal's creator, Dries Buytaert.

"The vast majority of them were very supportive and excited about the idea. We got several offers to help, from payment gateway solutions, to hosting, to help with marketing," he said.

"We have sensed that as Drupal-the-software and Drupal-the-community grow and mature, we are coming to a point where we must find additional, sustainable ways to continue Drupal’s growth and success. We need to find an easy way how the community could contribute and support Drupal development – which is what Drupalfund aims to meet."

Toth aspires to Drupalfund reaching official status within the Drupal community, and possibly integrating with Drupal.org, which could mean shared user accounts and the ability to turn project issues into fund drives on Drupalfund.

The response to Drupalfund has been positive so far, Toth said.

"We have been approached by several project/initiative owners and maintainers who are eager to use Drupalfund to raise funds for their projects and we hope that the community will participate," he said.

"I personally think that one big motivation will be giving back to Drupal. So many of us owe our living, social circles, and more to the Drupal project. We, our projects, and our clients are making a difference across the Internet and the world.

"All of us involved with Drupalfund have gotten so much out of Drupal and we all feel that it's time to give back. It doesn't matter if you are part of a large organisation, an individual, or anything in between: Drupalfund wants everyone to be able to make a difference to Drupal."

Drupal-centric Web development shops and Acquia, the Drupal development and support services company founded by Buytaert, will continue to play an important role in pushing the Web platform forward, Toth said.

However, crowdfunding is a channel that can help speed up Drupal development. Drupalfund can help lower the barrier for contributing to the community, particularly for non-coders, he said.

"Drupal development is not broken, but the project needs more sustainable practices to grow beyond where it is now," Toth said.

"In the past, volunteering was the only way we got things done, but we have had to deal with contributor burnout, velocity problems, and now also scale. With the project's home approaching 1 million registered users and roughly 2 per cent of the internet running on Drupal, we owe it to ourselves as a project and everyone who relies on Drupal to take it to the next level, in an open, fair, and sustainable way."

Along with the Mogdesign.eu team, Toth said Robert Douglass, Jeffrey A. McGuire, and Kristof Van Tomme had signed on to be community advisers for Drupalfund. Drupalfund will hold a BoF session at DrupalCon Prague on 25 September.

Contact Rohan Pearce at rohan_pearce at idg.com.au or follow him on Twitter: @rohan_p

Tags open sourcecrowdfundingcrowdsourcingdrupal

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4 Comments

anon

1

I'm not a fan of Drupal, but I've worked for many people who mistakenly beleive it's a panacea permitting considerable savings when compared to hiring a 'proper' developer. For some projects they are right.

Drupal is ok if you want to throw something together but for anything serious you'd never want to go near such a badly engineered abomination. Of course, there isn't a CMS which doesn't suck, what annoys me is how certin elements of the Drupal community have the tendency to lead the less tech savvy to beleive it can do anything.

It's great to support open source developers, but personally, I'll only give to projects which I feel are actually sustainable and are so because the basic implementation is well considered, elegant and not backed by a deranged toss pot (Buytaert) with a clear vested interest.

Dave Lane

2

anon - while I agree with you that Drupal's not the best tool for every (even most) jobs (disclosure: I've developed for Drupal for 8 years), I *believe* that you'll find Drupal's done more to positively raise FOSS' reputating in the mainstream than another app besides Linux/Android and maybe Firefox. As for Dries Buytaert, I think your flippant ad homemin is deeply flawed. Dries would be the first to admit to Drupal's failings (I've talked to him about them), and he's done more than just about anyone to create a business which has been successful without, in any way, compromising its underlying free and open source software principles. He's a hero, and certainly no "toss pot". If you're going to denigrate others, I recommend that you (wo)man up and put your name to your comments.

Mark

3

And I've been using it (and contributing through forum input and bug investigation) for over 10 years. Whilst I'm a big Drupal fan, it's not going to be perfect out of the box for every situation, and is overengineered for some requirements, but it's a very, very powerful system if you know how to use it, and you can use it - FOR FREE.

I don't agree with toth now being able to pay developers by steering this project in this way. Call me cynical, but I'm guessing his company is the lead company offering to fix core for a fee? That's not open-source, that's commercial use of an open-source system that has millions of hours spent on it. And that, my friend, is a blatant rip-off dedicated people's time, which will make people leave the community if it happens. Why should I give my time for free when his company is funded by it? If his company want to use it, they should contribute back to the community unpaid, like everyone else has (and continues to do).

taylor

4

This is great news for Drupal. Also keep in mind there are a few companies contributing to the advancement of Drupal as a Development platform. Drupal 8 will be OOP. This is a big step. It will be interesting to see what companies like Acquia and Pantheon do with this.

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