Acquia, the commercialization entity that resulted from the Drupal project, has finally released a private beta of Carbon — its commercial Drupal distribution. They've only been talking about the project since the end of April.
Acquia serves as a commercial backbone for supporting clients and businesses who want to utilize the open source project, and it appears that the company is making good on its goal.
Any person who has used Drupal could probably tell the story about how when he or she first saw the project. It looked very complex. It probably was a complex thing to grasp how it worked.
Furthermore, anyone coming from the likes of WordPress would likely be put into a seizure with all the stuff Drupal has going for it. Although, after getting past the initial shell-shock, users tend to quickly realize how vast and impressive the Drupal project really is—the power, the customization and the reliability are all tucked away in a light-weight modular package.
As great as Drupal is, it requires plenty of effort to maintain, support and secure the popular Web CMS.
Acquia, co-founded by Dries Buytaert — the original creator and project lead of Drupal CMS — can step in and provide an extra boost of support and reassurance that isn't available in the publicly released version. The latest release, called Carbon, is exactly the kind of thing that businesses and enterprises desire.
The release is essentially a hardened distribution of Drupal, complemented with technical support and network service offerings. Code named Carbon for now, the package includes a select set of community contributed modules alongside the Drupal core. Acquia has taken the task of pre-testing, reviewing, and comparing all community contributed modules to offer a set of the most relevant and reliable contributions. Site administrators are notified of updates to Carbon modules through the network, code named Spokes. The system differentiates between feature, bug fix, and security updates, and informs users of compatibility issues or other dependencies amongst different modules.
Essentially, Acquia is providing users with a service that it can monetize. That service is support, and it is a great business opportunity that is likely to succeed as the increase of demand in open source software grows. If you would like to explore Acquia's projects and support for the Drupal project, check out their website.
Access to the Beta is currently open to only the first 100 TechCrunch registrants — expect you missed that boat already — or to anyone who requests entry in person at Drupalcon Szeged. But fear not, they are offering new invites every week - so be sure to get on the list to receive yours. Come back and let us know how the beta works.