Open Source CMS: No need for proof

Hivemind Magazine is a website covering the use and development of open source content management systems, which main purpose is to review installations and usage of OS CMS. Today ‘s featured article is titled “Silver Stripe CMS is Proof that Open Source works“.

review, pleaseProof by Andrew Coulternright

Open source vs. Commercial

If you take a look at the more popular CMS software like Joomla, Drupal and Typo3 you will see that they have a common failing. There is a problem with getting things fixed. Open source PHP projects tend to go with the phrases like “eat your own dog food” (using your own application) and “scratch your own itch” ( making changes according to you own personal needs). These phrases bring to mind some of the unpleasantries surrounding open source. When I think of dog food I think of a nasty can of smelly paste that is not really fit for human consumption. Scratching your own itch brings up thoughts of fleas and parasites. You get the idea that some PHP open source projects are a bunch of savvy street mutts. This is not very far from the truth.

So where does Silver Stripe CMS come into the picture? Silver Stripe is one of the best examples of how a previously commercial only CMS can become open source to the benefit of all. In other words how a pedigreed, trained attack dog is a better alternative to a mean junkyard dog that will do anything for food. First let’s take a look at what Silver Stripe CMS provides that you don’t see in your typical PHP open source CMS project.

The author here is clearly confusing commercial with proprietary, a quite common mistake. What really amazes me is the assumption that a previously commercial only CMS makes a better product. I recognize that some CMS followed this pathpast, last but not least Zope just to name one of them, eventually turning into a community product supported by many OSS firms. Neverthless it is the very first time that I read a metaphor for community-driven projects like that – a mean junkyard dog that will do anything for food – really suggesting indeed!

Support

Because Silver Stripe is backed by a commercial entity that is dedicated to web development there is variety of possibilities when it comes to getting support for the CMS. The typical community support is further complimented with commercial alternatives. The commercial support is not provided by a third party company that is “involved in the community” but a product distributed by the core creators of the CMS. This direct connection is one that makes Silver Stripe a dream come true for both small and large businesses.

I went throught the Silver Stripe service page, and here I must admit the author is right talking about dream, not so sure about coming true indeed – Premium support for Priority 1 issues offers response time 1 hour maximum 24x7x365 !!!

Conclusion

After a telephone interview with Sigurd Magnusson I felt very comfortable about recommending Silver Stripe to anyone building a commercial website. I immediately adjusted my personal favorites list of content management systems to include Silver Stripe. Sigurd and company have a very positive attitude to sharing their source code with the world. When I asked Sigurd the unavoidable question about profitability and the effects of open source releasing the software the answer was that business has never been better. Their approach to open source is one that many non-commercial projects would do well to emulate. The attractive packaging, powerful code base and the fact that it is licensed under the BSD make Silver Stripe CMS a perfect partner in any web endeavour.

While I wish the whole Silver Stripe team the best of luck for their recently opensourced product, I really hope to not get used to read articles like this. Phone call may even let the author feel very comfortable recommending it, no question, but the whole article makes a little sense. Even talking about profitability, how could they possibly evaluate returns, considered that it has been opensourced just on the 10th of October? As a matter of fact searching “Silver Stripe”+CMS you get 128 results, I can’t believe that they already took advantage of word of mouth.

Last but not least, I would like to know why choosing the BSD make it a perfect partner in any web endeavour..

Technorati Tags: Open Source, CMS, Silver Stripe

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