In Saturday’s keynote, Ryan Szrama of Commerce Guys presented the most engaging presentation of my Drupal career. He pointedly avoided another discussion of Drupal Commerce (gasp! see his awesome commerce-related keynote from 2011) and titled Saturday's keynote, "How the GPL Inverted Drupal's Learning Curve." Honestly, this didn’t quite pique my interest, but au contraire! Ryan delivered a fascinating talk. He argued that the kickass, lock-tight nature of GPL 3.0 allowed us (you, me, the Drupal community) to build an extensible, modular, pluggable framework that differs significantly from other top CMSs.
While we do face significant usability issues (thus, the inverted learning curve), Ryan argued that we face them precisely because the incredibly safe environment provided by the GPL allows us to tackle extremely complex problems that other CMSs can't manage.
What did Ryan mean by "safe environment"? The GPL protects us, community developers, from the very real possibility that someone might incorporate our work into their own non-GPL licensed project and then tell us what we can and can’t do with our own work (think: Monsanto). Ryan noted how community development in some other CMSs turned into “silos” of paid add-ons (such as Joomla project pages with links to buy instead of download) and explained how the lack of GPL protection incentivized developers to hide their work behind a paywall, inhibiting collaboration and community spirit. This contrasts with Drupal, where the safe and collaborative spirit afforded by the GPL led to the development of some incredibly complex plugins that power the vibrant ecosystem of modules on drupal.org. Ryan highlighted: Ctools, a plugin to support other plugins (I honestly don't know what it does, and I think that's awesome); Views, one query builder to rule them all; and Rules, an entire programming language in it's own right.
Ryan’s talk kicked off 6 rounds of sessions from a national lineup of presenters. My favorite? Dave Terry’s talk, Starting & Growing a Drupal-based Business: 6 Valuable Lessons I Have Learned. Now you might say to yourself, “How convenient that the presentation Derek liked best is the one by his boss,” and you’d be right. But it’s true, too! Dave has a wealth of experience in an area that makes no sense to me (that is, anything business-related), and I always enjoy hearing him expound the philosophies behind the business of Mediacurrent (also see: the video at the bottom of this post).
Some thoughts from fellow attendees
“As always, it's great to meet new people. As the organizer of the sessions, I try to talk to all the speakers and that gives me the opportunity to talk to people I haven't met before.” -Don VanDemark, Session Organizer “I found DrupalCamp Florida to be a grassroots, volunteer-led effort that truly embodies the spirit of open-source software principles. The camp provided an exciting day of learning and networking. I particularly appreciated the hospitality displayed by the local community and organizing committee.” -Dave Terry, Presenter "The best thing about Drupalcamp Florida 2013 is what is the best thing about all Drupal events, the community! I had a great time networking, learning and sharing information with all the 300 or so other Drupalers that attended this year. The worst thing about Drupalcamp Florida 2013 ... that it had to end. See you again next year!" -Dustin Cooper, Presenter
With over 300 attendees for the past two years, DrupalCamp Florida will grow even bigger and better next year when you join us! Expect another transcendental keynote, stellar sessions, and quality food - this year, a local BBQ joint came out! Until then, check fldrupalcamp.org for the about-to-be-posted session videos and this link for more photos from the event festivities. Also, be sure to mark October 19th on your calendar for DrupalCamp Atlanta! Additional Resources
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Going Mobile with Drupal | Mediacurrent Blog Post