Drupal Going Corporate?

n 2009 DrupalCon DC had 1400 attendees. This year there are around 4,000 attending in Chicago. Growth around Drupal has been explosive to say the least. 1.7% of web sites are built with Drupal. How does a community based project like Drupal maintain a vibrant, fresh community while scaling to enterprise proportions? How does an open source project manage this kind of growth? 


During this morning's DrupalCon keynote Dries Buytaert, the inventor of Drupal, answered this question introducing a middle management layer into the maintainers organizational structure. It seems there's no avoiding the corporate org chart. Coincidentally, I had grabbed Clay Shirky's book “Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations” to read on the plane and just read a section describing the history of the corporate org chart. I hadn't really looked closely at the conference schedule so I didn't know that Shirky is tomorrow's keynote speaker. I'm curious what he thinks.

There is a certain sadness seeing an idealistic, scrappy, pure open source project like Drupal growing up. But after hearing about the challenges releasing the latest version I completely understand. Other large open source projects like Linux have had to adopt similar structures. Even in my son's preschool you see how hierarchies natural appear in human endeavors. Ironic that while Drupal helps organizations become organic its success forces it to become more hierarchal.

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