The power of sharing
Scientia potentia est - Francis Bacon, 1597
Napoleon beat his opponents for years, despite his much smaller army. His knowledge of warfare and the armies of his opponents made him win the wars every time, and ultimately he was able to dominate Europe.
Knowledge is power > Sharing is power
The phrase "Knowledge is power" does not come out of thin air – where you could also explain power as influence, wealth or fame. However, in the knowledge economy of today is just having knowledge not enough. It becomes powerful when you can convey that knowledge. In the Open Source community we see that one who shares the most has the most "power". The real change agents, the core developers; they get done a lot because they not only know a lot, but also share this knowledge. And that goes in many ways: by writing a blog, giving a presentation, or simply just by contributing code.
Open Source is only good if people not only use it, but also improve it. Drupal is great software, but it has bugs. In the core itself, but (especially) in its thousands of community modules. If we discover a bug during a project we could fix this locally and continue with our work; our problem is resolved. However, we won’t. We always make sure that the solution flows back into the community. That can be done in several ways:
Contribute a patch
Can we solve the problem? Great! We create a new issue in the issue queue of the relevant module and deliver the code change as a patch. Example of Martijn: https://www.drupal.org/node/1783678
Describe the problem
Are we unable to fix it ourselves? Then at least create an issue and describe how the issue can be reproduced. This helps another developer to fix this, or recognize them their own problem quickly. Example of Dominique: https://www.drupal.org/node/907504
Launch a new module
Did we write a separate piece of code that might be interesting for others? We’ll then try to offer this as a separate project. The extra time it takes to make a piece of client code generic and configurable is not an issue, knowing that the community as a whole can now help to improve and maintain the code for us. Example of myself, commissioned by the European Space Agency: https://www.drupal.org/project/commons_hashtags
Featured Drupal Provider
By sharing so much code we became one of the 4 Featured Drupal Providers in the Netherlands.
Taking equals giving
At LimoenGroen (Lime Green) everyone gets 10% community time: every other week, our employees have a full Friday to do what they think is important. They experiment with new technology, write a blog, or "open-source" customer code.
To make sure that the client agrees, we add the following boilerplate text to any quote that we write:
Drupal is developed under an open source software license. All, in the context of this project developed software falls under the same license as Drupal itself: GNU General Public License, version 2 or later. The intellectual property is yours. To take full advantage of the benefits of the open source development model, we believe it is important that we have the ability to develop parts of the software generic and share this with the community (with the mention that this is developed for <CUSTOMER NAME>).
Appeal to Drupal suppliers
Taking equals giving is what I truly believe in. Therefore, I call on every Drupal supplier to include the text mentioned above in your offers. By doing so, there will soon be more to take! Who's with me?