Come for the software, stay for the Community
"Come for the software, stay for the community" - that's not just a slogan, it's a way of life for Drupal developers all over the world. Drupal is many things: a good content management system, a great framework for building robust content-based applications, etc., but it is also a fantastic community. I have been a member of this community for ten years now, and more than anything it is the people of that community who inspire me, intrigue me, challenge me, and keep me coming back for more.
For me it all started with a little known governor from Vermont who decided that maybe, just maybe he could change the world and knew he had to at least try. Around Howard Dean formed a group of talented techies who helped revolutionize American politics. Out of that group emerged a project called DeanSpace, which at its core was essentially a politically oriented distribution of the then largely unknown open source CMS Drupal.
They coalesced around Drupal because it was designed to do the thing they most wanted: bring people together. From its earliest days, Drupal was envisioned as a network of interconnected sites. It included the ability to set up shared login systems before single sign-on had ever been heard of. It had a robust aggregation system and included XMLRPC out of the box. But more importantly, it was designed with a robust set of internal APIs that allowed anyone to write complex modules and contribute them back to the community.
And contribute they did. There are now thousands of modules on drupal.org, many if which are absolutely indispensable - modules like Views, Features, Panels, and others that are now used on nearly every Drupal web site in the world. Some of those projects launched careers. Many of those developers are now contributing directly to Drupal core (the core package ships without any additional add-ons; those can be downloaded separately from drupal.org). The Drupal community has a unique ability to recognize such talent and bring it into the fold, finding the best and most useful projects and assimilating them into core for the benefit of all.
As a result of this meritocritous spirit, a great many people have been pulled out of the shadows and into the center of that community. Those people are part of what makes my job more than just a job. It's a passion - we're building something that people all over the world can benefit from. And more importantly, we're building connections, both to each other and to the world at large. We are a truly international community united behind a common purpose of making the web more connected, more useful and easier to use.
It all started with a useful idea in a college dorm room thirteen years ago and turned into one of the most vibrant open source communities in the world. We create and build for the good of ourselves, each other, and the world. That's what Drupal is and that is why we are so successful.