Water and Stone Open Source CMS Report
Water & Stone, a web development company specializing in Open Source technologies, released a popularity survey of open source content management systems. In the analysis of 19 of the most prominent open source content management systems, Water and Stone evaluated CMS’s on the basis of Rate of Adoption and Brand Strength, as well as a variety of other viability indicators and trends.

Leaving Alfresco Out

Aside the strange fact of not including the open source giant Alfresco in its evaluation, the discussion seems to be pretty interesting. Water & Stone described this decision as “although popular and suitable for web publishing,” Alfresco and others are “primarily intended for more narrow uses.” Not sure what that means, but we will go on. While WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal lead across a wide range of measures, the survey also identified Elgg and MODx as rising stars.

How the Judging Was Done

Whereas the methodology used by Water & Stone is far from the principles of either quantitative or qualitative analysis, the company is judging open source CMS by two categories: * Rate of Adoption * Brand Strength Additionally, and unheard of before, Water & Stone uses Twitter prominence and Social Bookmarking statistics as part of their “scientific” approach to the analysis of open source CMS popularity. Must be the influences of the 21st century… However, what happened to hard facts, numbers, simple mathematics and customer interviews?

The Leaders, Movers and Laggards

In any case, let’s look at leaders, movers and laggards as they are identified in the paper.

Rate of Adoption

To measure the "Rate of Adoption," the company used the following metrics: the number of downloads and installations; and third-party support by developers and publishers. To gain further insight, Water & Stone looked into the publishing market and evaluated open source CMS’s based on the extent of publishing market penetration, i.e. books in print. Granted, they only looked at books published in English -- not sure why -- but Joomla! came in first, closely followed by Drupal and WordPress. To further sabotage the quality of its own data, Water & Stone announce that the adoption rate analysis revealed “no dispositive statistics, due largely to the incomplete and unreliable nature of the data reviewed.” Hmmm, OK. Is it that hard to track downloads and installations? Somehow -- even though unable to review the “incomplete and unreliable nature of the data” -- Water & Stone concludes that WordPress and Joomla! exhibit significant download volumes. It continues with the following statement “Given the lack of direct evidence on the rate of adoption, we are forced to turn to indirect indicators,” and come to the conclusion that Joomla! is the winner in the third-party support group. Seems like Water & Stone folks just gathered around a table, shut their eyes and poked at a random name on a list of open source CMS names, fresh off the printer.

Brand Strength

Brand Strength was measured by the following metrics: * Search engine visibility * Popularity metrics * Evidence of mindshare * Evidence of reputation The search engine optimization methodology has never been more popular. Which leads us to wonder that if an open source CMS vendor did a poor job in filling out all those title and meta tags does their open source CMS suck? Not to mention the fact that Alexa rankings data is not the most accurate source of web popularity out there. News mentions, used as a metric, cannot be as far from reality as the fact that Mars revolves around Earth. Again, the fact that PR folks did a poor job publicizing a certain open source CMS shouldn’t reflect badly on the product. The top three WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal come close in this metric. Hooray to WordPress PR department for being in the news more consistently than any other open source solution. Joomla! is leading the pack by the number of Google's Blog Search entries -- which can be nothing but a mere correlation to Joomla!’s summer release of new versions. Judge the report for yourself. Once you've had a chance to digest it, come back and tell us what you think of the analysis and results.