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Zacker on Drupal Core

Zack of CivicSpace made two posts recently. One about what the community needs to do (or if anything needs to be done) to ensure the long term development of Drupal Core. The other is about the costs of forking and how consultants should estimate a line item for "roll changes back into the core" into their bids. The goal on the second one is long term supportability for the client, and partially ensuring core gets the mods back even from all the "busy" consultants in the world.

I've been a Mozilla groupie for a few years now and I think that they've done a lot of great things to create a sustainable Open Source project where the core does get a fair amount of attention. Part of that comes from some special benefactors (Netscape, IBM, Google, Linspire, and others) who have/had private motivations to pay for people to work on the various projects. There are also customizers (like mozdev group) who will create custom products and there are individuals getting paid to create various extensions (like Disruptive Innovations).

I've heard that CivicSpace is creating a bounty module (you would certainly know more about this) which seems like it will be very helpful. Personally, I am a community and small business website developer. My PHP skills are not extraordinary, but I try to help in bug triage. I'm also looking to find other ways to help support core development and would be happy to contribute to bounties. Various Bounty programs have started (like Donorge) but I haven't seen a really successful one.

To some extent we can rely on community members to provide work on these core items simply because they need it for a paid project or because it interests them and they work on it between paid projects.

However, as you point out this is getting to the "big time" in terms of the money flowing around. In order to take it to the next level I think we need some more formal organization (foundation?) to manage donations and paid partnerships, pay stipends to core contributors/evangelists/thought leaders, and generally make sure that there is focus on the right areas of core functionality. I've read a bit about the idea of a Drupal Guild which seems like it could help in similar ways to a foundation. It seems there are a lot of people who really want some sort of a centralized organization to provide a roadmap and training and certification - somewhat like the split between MoFo and MoCo.

I'm not sure what the answer is, but I am sure that there is a lot of good discussion of the ideas going on over at the Consulting list.

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