Random words for the love of Drupal

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Free software is more than simply downloading and installing new applications. It is a cultural shift. I made the shift about 10 years ago following a period of intense anxiety of what would happen to me if I gave up my comforting Windows XP and MS Office cage. If only I knew how liberating the experience is.

Since then, I never had a hint of doubt that I did the right thing. It feels so good knowing that your laptop runs free software. Starting up your computer and not having to withstand corporate advertising for 2 minutes feels good. Choosing the type of free environment to work on (yes there are many) after start up feels good. Having no anti-virus pop-ups after logging on feels good. Reporting unexpected behaviour of your software to the maintainer feels good.

Rule number one with free software: "never complain about it". If you do not like something you can change it or make a case for a programmer to change it. Drupal is built with this idea in mind. It is all about modifying the software. Drupal gives a standard set of functions and allows these to be changed as desired. This ability for customisation feels good. Drupal does not stop me do things I want to do online. If the functionality is not there, I either sit down and build it myself, or make the case for someone else to do it.

How do I change the functionality myself? I am not a programmer. I am a conservator. "Conservators do not do programming". Cultural shift. Programming feels good. People who say they cannot programme have not tried it. It is easy, you just change what other people have done. Nobody starts writing code on an empty file. You open up an existing piece of code and change it. Because the software is free and because it is given to you to learn and improve. So free software is about learning.

UAL is a learning institution, yet we feed our students non-free software. We prevent them from learning. Drupal does a great job of putting websites together and it does a great job of teaching us how to do it. This is why I love it.

Some examples of Drupal sites in conservation:

http://www.ligatus.org.uk/

https://www.iiconservation.org/

http://www.taylorpearce.co.uk/

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cfollows's picture

Great post, thanks ! - Also just came across this to compliment - Open source summer reading list http://red.ht/16Bh93M  

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