Episode 109

Dries Buytaert of Drupal on Balancing Makers and Takers to Scale and Sustain Open Source


February 18th, 2022

42 mins 4 secs

Your Host
Special Guest

About this Episode


Dries Buytaert


Richard Littauer

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Sustain! The podcast where we talk about sustaining open source for the long haul. We’re very excited about our guest and even though Richard is the only panelist today, it’s going to be a great episode. Joining us today is Dries Buytaert, who’s the Founder of Drupal, as well as the Founder and CTO of Acquia, which is a very successful open source company that helps out Drupal. We learn more about Drupal and why it’s so successful, as well as how Acquia was born and how it differs from Drupal. Dries goes in depth about a blog post he wrote, _Balancing Makers and Takers to scale and sustain Open Source, _and he shares one of the biggest challenges that we need to figure out in open source sustainability and explains how the work of Elinor Ostrom ties into it. Go ahead and download this episode now to find out more!

[00:01:42] Dries details how it all started for him and how he ended up with Drupal.

[00:03:25] Find out how many contributors Drupal has and how many websites are served by Drupal.

[00:05:16] We learn about Acquia, how it differs from Drupal, and the donation Drupal made to the PHP Foundation.

[00:09:20] Dries explains why Drupal is so successful.

[00:10:46] Richard mentions a blog post to check out that Dries wrote. Dries goes in depth about what he means by the ‘Fairness Principle,’ and explains the takers, makers, and the credit system they use to encourage the makers.

[00:20:57] Richard brings up the Algorithm in Drupal and Dries talks more about it.

[00:22:51] Dries shares advice to people who may be interested in setting up to invest in foundations and the story of how he started Acquia.

[00:27:50] Richard asks Dries what his views are on both digital infrastructure and government involvement in open source.

[00:31:50] Dries explains some challenges for open source sustainability and talks about the work of Elinor Ostrom.

[00:38:20] Dries fills us in on some experiments they’re doing in the Drupal project.

[00:38:55] Find out where you can follow Dries and his work online.


[00:14:15] “Open source is also a common good.”

[00:29:51] “I do think we need to think about how we institutionalize the operations of the project.”

[00:38:03] “Sustainability is often a coordination problem.”


  • [00:40:07] Richard’s spotlight is Rachel Lawson.
  • [00:40:37] Dries’s spotlight is a shout out to all the open source diversity and inclusion communities.



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