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Acquia releases beta of commercial Drupal

If you like Drupal but have wanted a stable, enterprise-grade version for deployment, Acquia may have just what the doctor ordered.

Acquia has finally taken the wraps off its commercially supported Drupal distribution, and it looks like the wait was worth it. Drupal was already a great web content management publishing system, but Acquia's spin on it should make it even better:

The release is essentially a hardened distribution of Drupal, complemented with technical support and network service offerings. Code named Carbon for now, the package includes a select set of community contributed modules alongside the Drupal core. Acquia has taken the task of pre-testing, reviewing, and comparing all community contributed modules to offer a set of the most relevant and reliable contributions. Site administrators are notified of updates to Carbon modules through the network, code named Spokes. The system differentiates between feature, bug fix, and security updates, and informs users of compatibility issues or other dependencies amongst different modules.

I really like the idea behind Spokes. Drupal has a fantastic community, but some of the code it produces is not up to enterprise quality. Enter Acquia to make it clear what is worth using, and what is not. Complexity breeds opportunity.

What I'd like even more is for Acquia to notify the customer as to whether its own modifications to the Drupal distribution will work with an update, and what would be required to make it function if an update will break the modified distribution.

I think this is a great first step - boiling down the Drupal ocean to a comprehensible choice of add-ons - but given that modification is a fact of open-source life, enabling customers to color outside the lines and still be supported...that's the Holy Grail.

Disclosure: My company, Alfresco, competes with Acquia in web content management. I'm also a fan of Acquia. The two aren't necessarily contradictory.