What's Drupal Commons?
Let's get the buzzwords out of the way. According to Acquia, Drupal Commons is a free, open source "social business software solution." Based on the popular Drupal (news, site) web content management system. For those who want to check it out, they can either:
- Join the Drupal Commons community site, which runs on Drupal Commons, to experience a demo
- Download the code to install and try it on your own systems
The Drupal Commons community site, where you can experience a demo of the Drupal distribution in action.
This being Acquia, you also have the option of choosing Drupal Commons as a hosted solution with them, or hosting the platform yourself but paying for Acquia support. But you aren't obligated to do either.
What Does Drupal Commons Actually Do?
Drupal Commons is a platform for building community sites. Features include:
- Sign up as a community member
- Create a profile
- Form and join groups, with the group administrator deciding how controlled or uncontrolled the new membership process is plus whether a group and its content is public or private
- Assign more than one administrator for a group
- Discuss in group forums
- Work together in wikis
- Create and post to group blogs
- Schedule meetups
- Track what's happening through personalized dashboards
- Link community members to your company's CRM, LDAP, and marketing automation systems
- Built-in site analytics with graphs for new users, new groups, new posts, and other metrics over various time periods
Where Will Drupal Commons Live?
While the project is currently hosted on Acquia's servers, Drupal founder Dries Buytaert states that the goal is ultimately to host the project on Drupal.org as a Drupal distribution. Buytaert explained that, "Unfortunately, the packaging script on drupal.org needs a bit more work before it can support a distribution like Drupal Commons. Specifically we need support for external libraries."
He pointed to a blog post by Alex Barth from Development Seed (news, site) for more information on the issues around what's needed to enable more sophisticated Drupal distributions to be hosted on Drupal.org.
Obviously the folks at Jive Software had no idea of what they'd start when they foolishly published a whitepaper (which has since been retracted) slamming open source and Drupal. With the release of Drupal Commons, there's now a full-blown, free, open source competitor to their product.
Maybe some happy Drupal Commons user should send them flowers in thanks.