Red Hat is Extending Open Source Principles Beyond Technology
Opensource.com is a website from Red Hat, the trusted provider of enterprise software, that explores the different ways that “the open source way” is having a positive impact on business, education, government, and our daily lives. It is designed to be a community of purpose that brings together people who believe in sharing knowledge, collaborating to solve problems, and furthering intellectual freedom.
“The open source way” – this is more than just a software development model; it’s a way of looking at the world, a philosophy that emphasizes transparency, collaboration, and innovation. By working together and openly sharing ideas with the world, open source communities offer a way to more effectively solve difficult problems and reveal new possibilities for making the world a better place.
To achieve their objectives for the site, the team at Red Hat chose to work with open source tools and companies that share this vision of collaboration. Drupal’s open source nature and unique ability to combine content and community in a unified experience made it a natural choice as the technology platform to support the social publishing objectives of opensource.com.
Using Drupal’s Built-in Functionality to Build a Community Platform
Acquia and Chicago-based Palantir worked closely with the team at Red Hat to implement the site’s design and technical vision. Leveraging much of Drupal’s native flexibility and core features, Palantir developed an environment designed to support a large community of visitors and contributors. This made it possible to build a powerful, feature-rich site requiring a minimum amount of custom code.
Opensource.com allows users to relate their experiences through five different channels: business, education, government, law, and life. Using a Drupal plug-in module called “Organic Groups”, Palantir was able to give each channel a unique look and feel while at the same time building an overall branding for the site. It also made it possible for each channel to have its own moderator to manage user-submitted content. Administrators can also add and brand new channels as the site’s community grows and evolves based on feedback and participation.
With a large number of users contributing a high volume of content to the site, opensource.com requires a versatile user management system that supports a variety of publishing workflows. For example, site administrators can assign roles to site contributors that allow them to either publish stories without moderation or submit articles that will need moderator approval before they can be published. Subject area moderators can flag articles to suggest them for inclusion on the site homepage. Higher level moderators can select articles from this list and rebuild the homepage at any time as needed.
To encourage a dialogue between site visitors,site administrators can highlight specific comments that may be particularly insightful or thought-provoking. These comments then appear in a featured content box on each channel’s landing page. Other featured content boxes include polls, a list of the site’s most popular articles, a Twitter feed, and taxonomy-based browsing--all of these encourage additional site interaction.
Since the site’s content comes from such a variety of contributors, opensource.com needed a way for users to quickly and effectively search across topics, keywords, authors, and content types. The solution was provided by Acquia Search, a cloud-based search service that gives visitors a multi-faceted site search experience, ensuring that no piece of site content is far from reach.
Extending Open Source Principles Beyond Technology
“Opensource.com highlights how open source software, hardware, and the open source way of working collaboratively is being applied to technology, society, and beyond. Our success is largely based on community contributions and participation. Drupal provided all the elements we needed to build a solid foundation for Opensource.com, the flexibility to build exactly the kind of environment we needed to encourage participation, and all within our timeline.” – Jason Hibbets, Opensource.com Project Manager
Opensource.com is a community that aims not only to define the future of open source, but to help individuals come together to harness it as a force to change the world. As open source businesses, Palantir and Acquia share in this mission to empower and enable people to make their own communities better places through the use of the open source model.