The product, called Carbon, offers the core Drupal install and 30 of 1,800 community developed modules, aimed at meeting the needs of "social publishers" looking for a product to assist in content management, social media and Web frameworks.
"What Drupal does really well is help create interactive Websites, so we think social publishing is a way for us to highlight what Drupal does really well," says Bryan House, director of product marketing. "What we're starting to see is people building sites and wanting to create a more interactive experience. There's more to just reading brochureware -- people want to connect and build relationships."
Led by Jay Batson and Drupal creator Dries Buytaert, Acquia will sell a yearly subscription service with Carbon. The start-up plans to provide a range of maintenance and support subscriptions to meet the requirements of individual developers and organizations using Carbon. Acquia says the subscriptions will enable customers to harness Drupal power without sacrificing the accountability and support of commercial software.
"Today, anyone can go to Drupal.org, install it on their site and get a site up and running," House says. "But if they have a question or have a technical issue, there's no one to call to answer questions about Drupal."
Aquia's annual subscription entitles users to technical support and an update service for notifications codenamed Spokes, which automatically provides users with specific information to maintain system performance, security, and stability. Aquia will have reviewed these updates for security and compatibility, House says. Carbon will be freely licensed under the GPL v2 open source license.
By keeping the project open source, House says the company can offer a reliable, robust platform without the financial burdens of closed software. "I think the opportunity is we can provide support and reliability and testing that an enterprise demands of software, but do it in a way where we don't burden them with expensive licensing costs," he says.
Drupal has been downloaded more than 2 million times. The Drupal.org community currently has more than 240,000 members.