Update 2013-10-01: The Backdrop handbook is now online!
Update 2013-09-16: Added twitter streams for #backdrop and #backdropcms (recommended) at the bottom.
Update 2013-09-13: Peer reviewed by Doug Vann.
Photo: "Tear Drop" by Kristina L. Hall
#Backdrop needs to exist to preserve the #Drupal community and market. Why it exists and where it’s going at http://backdropcms.org/
— Nathan Haug (@quicksketch) September 11, 2013
Why Backdrop is a great move? Why should we care about it? Is it a good time to start new Drupal forks? Does Drupal 8 will ever be released? Lot's of questions arise when thinking about Backdrop, a Drupal fork that got lots of attention and good feedback.
What is Backdrop?
Backdrop is "an iteration of the existing Drupal 7 APIs: before Symfony, PSR-0, and the Drupal Kernel", as described by Nate Haug, a courageous well know and respected Drupal developer that has contributed a lot! and that finds particular interest in improving site usability.
Nate Haug is breaking paradigms
In religious terms, "Nate is a big sinner" because he is violating the highest Drupal community law: Don't hack core. Yes, he is actually removing lots of elements that makes Drupal so complex and moving it back to be a usable CMS, which is curiously closer to the original Drupal principles (low resource demands, ease of use, etc), given the fact that Drupal gets slower and consumes more memory on each new release.
Forking is good and healthy
It is not the first time that Drupal is forked (i.e: Pressflow and Typical text), actually, it is a signal of good health and freedom when Free Software is forked. The weird thing with Drupal is that Dries Buytaert (Drupal's benevolent dictator) dislikes forking, stating that Drupal distributions are better than forks because they promote collaboration instead of competition. The question is: Does that make sense now? I doubt it...
Forking the software != Forking the community
The Drupal community is well know by their vicious to nessy: friendliness, kindness, openness, craziness, happiness and etcness of nice things. The real thing at the end of the day, is that Drupal is a good business and is not affordable, given the fact that gives you lots of unmanageable power. So, the community is composed by a bunch of genius developers that love cats, a few self nominated slackers that commit patches to the core, workaholics that send patches, hardworkers that contribute thousands of modules/themes, and lots of happy/frustrated drupal users that waste/safe a lot of money trying to build the next big website with one of the most expensive piece of free software ever. So, who would like to move somewhere else? you got it: the frustrated people that feel that wasted their time and money, or might be in that situation once Drupal 6 and 7 are set off maintenance mode.
Forking is risky, just like profitable businesses
If a Drupal fork provides same or more value at lower cost, being it easier to use or to develop with, then it will be great for the community, and a great opportunity for new businesses to born. Also, current Drupal users that don't find it affordable, might try a second chance. The risk of course is that Backdrop falls and you end up maintaining a big piece of insecure + old + unknown software, being forced to move back to Drupal or to an alternative that fits into your budget. Good investors know that the higher the risk, the higher the potential profit, so we still need to listen what business men have to say about Backdrop, is a matter of time.
Make forks, not war
So it is time to fork and don't feel embarrassed about it. Let's fork Drupal and demonstrate that your version of it has solid points that add value and improve the original. At the end of the day, Drupal will have to adopt the improvements or silently fall behind a better fork, just like Mambo got forked and surpassed by Joomla. After all, Drupal is 13 years old, a teenager! it has to consolidate its personality by exploring alternatives in a practical way: do-ocratically forking!
If you wanna take the risk you can support Backdrop's funding campaign
More about Backdrop and forking
- Is it time to fork Drupal? by chx
- Remove quicksketch from MAINTAINERS.txt
- Forking or collaborating: the mix of open source ethics by Laura Scott
- Backdrop: Forking Drupal by Laura Scott
- New Drupal fork Backdrop might split the community by Lucio Waßill
- Programadores descontentos con Symfony crean un fork de Drupal 8 (spanish)
- Backdrop: Drupal-Fork als Rettungsboot für Amateur-Entwickler? (german)
- Backdrop and Drupal from a Product Manager’s perspective
- Drupal Forked! My take on it by Alexei Rayu
- Backdrop, forking Drupal, and the next few weeks by J-P Stacey
- Backdrop proves the case for Top Shelf Modules
- Introducing Backdrop CMS, a Drupal fork by Jen Lampton
- Drupal 8 as an intuitive platform by Brian Vuyk
- Backdrop: A Drupal Fork by Drupalize.Me Podcast
- BackDropEasy Podcast 114: No Crying at Sprints by DrupalEasy.com Podcast
- The world is flat by Daniel F. Kudwien
- Why nonprofit developers and decision-makers should track Backdrop by Michelle Murrain
- Why I Donated To BackdropCMS by Randy Fay
- Welcome Backdrop! and the road not taken by Nedjo Rogers
- Dropping forward by Larry Garfield