Tim O'Reilly has been called one of the most powerful voices in the open source movement, and gave a keynote at DrupalCon San Francisco about some biggest trends that he sees on the web today. In this Drupal Voices interview, Tim talks about where Drupal can fits into the ecosystem of what he terms the "Internet Operating System."
O'Reilly saw very early on that cheap commodity software such as open source and open protocols of the Internet was starting to drive value towards large databases that were populated with user contributions. He branded this shift as "Web 2.0." He says that the fact that a lot of the value is now coming from massive amounts of data is a challenge to the idea of open source because it's not just about the code any more, but instead has a lot to do with additional resources such as infrastructure, business processes, people and these huge repositories of data.
O'Reilly sees the next big phase of the Internet as being a war between giants who are building out cloud services-driven platforms and are trying to control the repositories of data. He elaborated on this in his keynote as well as his most recent update on the State of the Internet Operating System. These huge data sets are in the cloud and enable a lot of the cutting edge mobile applications coming out today. The data are going to be owned by someone, and it's not going to be the small, open source developer who's going to own it. So where does Drupal fit into all of this?
O'Reilly still sees a future in independent developers, and that Drupal developers have to start thinking about how to share data between sites. He says that there needs to be new protocols for cooperation so that it's not just a few companies that control the future of the web. He also talks about the key to successful open source projects is whether or not it's able to create an "Architecture of Participation."
O'Reilly says that "Drupal is clearly becoming one of the largest and most important open source projects" due to the size of the community around it. He sees the that Drupal has been able to foster a "wonderful participatory community" by creating a context in which other people can contribute. He notes that Drupal developers may not get the same amount of respect as Linux kernel developers, but that other people in the tech community should take note of the size and diversity of community that has formed around Drupal. He sees Drupal as a platform that has helped to democratize the ability to create, and that Drupal represents the DIY spirit because it's an empowering technology that allows non-technical people to build complex, dynamic web sites.
For more on how O'Reilly sees Drupal fitting into the Internet Operating System, then be sure to listen to our interview or check out the video of his DrupalCon keynote: