Drupal has always been a great open-source Web content management system. . Its biggest deficiency was arguably a lack of enterprise-class support and polish to support the project.
On Tuesday, however, Acquia, the company behind Drupal, remedied this void, launching its commercially supported distribution of Drupal and a network service to provide updates and other services around the core Drupal distribution.
Acquia is taking a page out of Red Hat's playbook, boiling down the complexity of the deep and wide Drupal community. While I like the look of its Network service, it is the Acquia Drupal distribution that I think is most newsworthy for enterprises looking to adopt Drupal. Dries Buytaert, Drupal's co-founder, explains:
(We are) releasing Acquia Drupal today. Acquia Drupal (previously code-named Carbon) is our Drupal distribution that bundles some of the best, most essential Drupal modules for building social publishing sites. Acquia Drupal is available for free, and all our bug fixes and improvements go straight to the module maintainers on Drupal.org. Acquia Drupal defines the collection of modules that you can get technical support for.
In other words, there's still an open world of community-supported Drupal for those that value cash over time and other resources. But for those that wouldn't mind a shortcut to Drupal-based productivity, there's Acquia Drupal.
It will be interesting to see how well this service takes off, and how its community reacts. As OStatic notes, Acquia's biggest competition will be the Drupal community or, rather, the developers and system integrators who currently make a living providing Drupal-based support. The response so far, however, has been positive from the Drupal community, and I think this will continue.
I suspect Acquia will do just fine as it learns to walk the line between commercial and community. Drupal is an excellent open-source project, and Acquia is filled with similarly excellent people. The marriage of the two should be a boon to enterprises that have adopted or are considering adopting Drupal.