Drupal.org, speed and the future
You may have noticed that the Drupal website has been slow lately. Since the 4.5.0 release, Drupal has gotten a large increase in popularity (more than 10.000 visitors per day worth 70GB of traffic/month). This, coupled with the heavier theme and an aging server has been the source of the performance issues.
Kjartan is busy moving Drupal.org to a new server and host. The old server (a four year old Pentium 3 1Ghz) was not only running the Drupal.org website, but also other sites as well as the Drupal mailing lists, archives and CVS repositories. Our new server (a Pentium Xeon 3Ghz) should be able to handle all those things much better. We'll be moving over to the new server as soon as possible, hopefully before the weekend. Because we are going to switch DNS servers shortly, the site, mailing lists and the CVS repositories might become unavailable while the DNS changes propagate.
On the bright side, the stressed server has allowed us to further analyse Drupal's performance: some performance enhancements already made it to the Drupal code, others are still being worked on.
All this prompted us to think about Drupal's future. We figured that some form of Drupal foundation might be useful. The foundation's purpose would be to manage resources for Drupal: collecting funds, taking care of hosting costs, promoting Drupal, etc. At this point, we are merely investigating the available options, as well as collecting advice.
For now, we have installed a Paypal donation button on the website. The money we receive will be used for supporting and growing the Drupal project. For example, for LinuxTag 2004, the Drupal team designed promotional brochures which were handed out to visitors there. Getting the brochures done involved a lot of overhead in printing and distribution. And of course the new hardware for beefing up Drupal.org is expensive too. The goal is to see how much interest we get for Drupal and figure out how exactly a foundation could help the Drupal project in the long run.