If you were wondering if growth and interest in open source was just hype, Liferay provided a little additional evidence today that open source is thriving. The open source portal maker has announced its community expanded to 56,000 members in 2011 — an almost 40% increase over the previous year.
Liferay’s community grew an average of 1,300 members per month in 2011, and those members were just signing up for accounts. Contributions to forums, community wikis, blogs, code and special projects all increased consistently throughout the year. Eighteen new user groups formed and forum posts grew by 25%. The number of answers voted as helpful shot up an impressive 125%, and as any of you that frequent technical forums or blogs might know — technical folk aren’t usually the nicest or most benevolent population.
In addition to community growth, last year Liferay created a new program, BugSquad, which focused on usability and functionality testing. The community supported effort was a major contributor to the stability of Liferay Portal 6.1 CE. In addition to the BugSquad, Liferay also began a Liferay Community Leadership program to recognize leaders in their open source community. The new recognition program didn’t just pat consistent contributors on the back, it also improved the open source community’s organization and structure. Liferay seems to be consistently showing a strong commitment to its open source contributors, and not just using them for cheap labor. The effort seems to be paying off. The portal was listed favorably in several analysts’ reports and industry reviews in 2011.
What’s Next for Liferay
According to Liferay representatives, there are no plans to slow the community momentum. Liferay is planning several new initiatives for 2012 including Liferay Community Projects, Community Blog Stream, Developer Contests and a Liferay University. Liferay is also targeting two major product launches this quarter — file-sharing technology Liferay Sync and the latest version of the company’s portal, Liferay Portal 6.1 EE.