Going into the R.I.P Content Management System session -- led by Drupal project founder Dries Buytaert -- at SXSW (news, site), I was not too sure what to expect. I know of Drupal Web CMS and their very large developer community that contributes to the overall success of this open source content management system.

I also understand that Drupal is behind hundreds of thousands of websites, so I was interested in hearing what Buytaert was going to present.

All About Drupal

Unfortunately, the session was tailored around Drupal, highlighting sites that are powered by Drupal and their large developer community.

Buytaert pointed to their user community and how passionate they are, running through slide after slide of the different things that their community does with the logo -- creating socks, wearing a costume, making cookies -- which was interesting, but I was still curious what that had to do with the session.

Buytaert described how open source systems are light years ahead of traditional content management systems because of the ability to leverage their incredibly large developer community. He discussed specific examples of where he felt that Drupal was ahead of these traditional content management systems.

Main Takeaways

Buytaert did make a couple of interesting points during the initial part of his discussion though:

Problem #1

Your webmaster doesn’t scale. Open source (Drupal) redefines the role of the web developer and (pretty much) eliminates the role of the webmaster.

Problem #2

Closed source CMSs are slow to innovate. It is impossible to implement every new feature, so they wait to see what goes mainstream and then integrate them. They are slow to adopt new technologies. Open source solutions are quicker to adapt to changes in the landscape due to their community.

I understand problem #1, and I think that was an obvious point. While I also understand that open source allows for quicker and faster deployment of features and functionality, I think that he was downplaying the features and functionality that traditional content management systems currently have integrated within their products.

The title of this session misled a lot of individuals, as they were not expecting a Drupal overview session. I do like the fact that Buytaert actually listened to the back channel on Twitter (hashtag #RIPcontentmgmt) and did apologize for the session being to tailored around Drupal.