Open source software has been taking the world by storm in the last decade and it seems to be accelerating at an ever so rapid pace. This is especially true in the enterprise where every day huge corporations are using it to drive innovation, interact with their customers, and improve their bottom line. We work with some of these companies on a day to day basis helping with their implementations and so we understand why. It's obviously a huge win-win.
Corporations, large and small, get to take advantage of the hard work of large communities of developers working tirelessly, day and night on projects that they enjoy, all for free. It's often impossible for their large internal development teams to even come close to creating an internal service or external product that can meet or exceed what already exists with popular open source projects. These projects have come closer and closer to meeting the enterprise requirements and in cases where they aren't met, those requirements are sometimes shifted or the company will jump in and share a contribution that makes it meet their requirements. That's the beauty of open source.
Open source has matured, evident by it's widespread usage large and small. We all use it even if we're not aware, from our browsers to the very servers sending the web pages to us. One of those projects that we rely on everyday is Drupal. It's our livelihood and dare I say, our love. It enables our small team to do what would otherwise be impossible, creating complex, beautiful web sites and web applications that meet enterprise requirements quickly and within budgets that don't break the bank.
While it's easy to do so, we don't want to just take advantage of these projects. We strive to do our little part by joining the communities, taking part, and giving back. We recommend, encourage and help to our clients in doing the same. We're certainly not the best at it but we do our best to follow in the footsteps of the many other rock stars who have pioneered the way.
These leaders in open source have given us inspiration and have shown that we can do it too. This can be hard given our day to day work and deadlines, but it's a must. It's been written, talked about and presented on many times and there are great resources to guide you along your way.
Here are the little ways we do our part and we urge you to do the same. First there are really only two ways you can contribute, with your time or your money. We recommend both. While we're not the first to do this, one way we accomplish this is by allowing our team to devote 20% of their time to open source projects, we call it Open Source Fridays and would love to see more companies and teams implement this. Fridays are naturally a great day for this and it's a great way to start your weekend off where you may likely continue working on your open source projects.
The next most important item is to get involved in the community, online and off. Attend local monthly meetups, camps and conferences. Present at them, donate to them. Run an install fest or a Users Helping Users session. Sponsor an Open Source event. We were a platinum sponsor of Drupalcon San Francisco not for marketing reasons, but rather we wanted support the event from the beginning to help throw, along with our friends at Chapter Three, the best Drupalcon ever (and I believe we were successful in that effort.)
Online you can, regardless of your skill level, start by submitting bug reports. Detailed bug reports are extremely valuable even if you aren't a developer. Test and update those reports with your experiences. Help others with issues you have already solved, in the forums, issue queues or IRC.
We also recommend supporting the Drupal Association in it's efforts and initiatives. Great work is being done through the association supporting the Drupal.org infrastructure and leading new efforts such as the Great Git Migration to improve the tools allow us to have one of the most incredible online open source communities that exist.
One of those important community initiatives is being led by our very own Jacine Luisi. Dries has requested her to lead the HTML 5 initiative, one of 5 major initiatives for Drupal 8 and she has graciously accepted. We hope you can join and support this important effort!
Finally, last but not least, we'd like to offer a HUGE thank you to everyone involved in the Drupal community that have helped make it what it is today. We wouldn't be doing what we do without the amazing work you have done and it's your involvement in the project that keeps us here, happy and enjoying what we do everyday.