Dries Buytaert, the Belgian developer behind the Drupal open-source content management system, is launching a start-up to take parts of the effort commercial. Debuted in 2001, Drupal powers newspaper sites including Bluffton Today, New York Observer, SavannahNow.com and Dagbladet Information, but it has remained a non-profit project heavily supported by a developer community and a recently formed association.
Now Buytaert has formed Acquia with the aim of being “a company that is to Drupal what Ubuntu or RedHat are to Linux”. Wrote Buytaert: “If we want Drupal to grow by at least a factor of 10, keeping Drupal a hobby project as it is today, and taking a regular programming job at a big Belgian bank is clearly not going to cut it.”
In this sense, Drupal is resembling not only Red Hat but Automattic, the commercial arm set up by developers of the WordPress blog platform. Acquia will offer several different Drupal distributions aimed at digital media operators, community networks, corporates and others. The outfit claims as its CEO Jay Batson, founder of net telephony firm Pingtel, and has investment though Buytaert did not say from whom. The extras Acquia aims to sell include “an automated upgrade/update service, an uptime and performance monitoring/reporting service, a configuration management service” – all of which may come in handy for professional users of the CMS.