Home Drupal Founder Critical of SaaS and its Proprietary Nature

Drupal Founder Critical of SaaS and its Proprietary Nature

Drupal’s founder is calling for open source in the enterprise and in the cloud. This should be no surprise, coming from someone like Dries Buytaert. But it is still interesting, considering the source and the point he makes about the actual lack of open source in cloud computing.

Drupal is one of the most popular, open source content management systems. Buytaert created it initially as a messaging board. It went open-source in 2001.

Dries, who is now the co-founder of Acquia, says the SaaS model need to be updated, modeled on open source values. He points out that SaaS companies for the most part are built on proprietary software.


“….they might allow you to export your data, but they usually don’t allow you to export their underlying code. While a lot of these services might be built on Open Source components, they have a lot more in common with proprietary software vendors than Open Source projects or companies.”

It’s in Dries view that this model can be disrupted by open source. For example, he says, the Drupal Gardens community improves the overall platform by contributing to it. The goal, as Dries says, is for people to export their Drupal Garden site in their entirety ” the code, the theme and data — and move the platform to any Drupal hosting environment.”

His example points to a huge issue with cloud computing. It’s not easy to export data from cloud computing services. Third-party services offer methods for exporting the data but for the most part, cloud computing services are proprietary. No open standards exist for passing data.

As Vint Cerf said in January to the Commonwealth Club: It’s like 1973 for moving data around in the cloud. IBM, Google and Amazon have no way to interoperate. There are no cloud standards.

Open-source communities are faring well in the enterprise space. Matt Asay of the Open Road posted a story last week that illustrates the success of oepn-source enterprise efforts.

In particular, he referred to some of the most successful companies: Alfresco Software, Sugar CRM, Jaspersoft and Zimbra. Here are the numbers he presented:

Open-source communities thrive in all sorts of places, even the enterprise space. The next step is to bring this same community drive into the cloud community. Our bet is it will happen sooner than we think.

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