As we've seen time and again, in an increasing number of enterprise software categories, open source has become a promising alternative to commercial software. But there's no free ride.
Support from developers is often problematic, and you need to find products with a large enough following so that programmers have an incentive to build add-on modules. When the Test Center reviewed open source CMSes (content management systems), these two factors often broke the tie between otherwise robust solutions and gave Alfresco the advantage.
Yet if you take support out of the equation, Drupal emerges as the better solution for many enterprise Web projects. That's because this social publishing solution starts with a mature Web CMS, adds a blog system, and then offers discussion forms, community features, and extensibility through 1,800 add-on modules – many of them also open source. Given this flexibility, it's not surprising that Drupal powers about 250,000 live sites – including big names such as Federal Express, The Onion, and Popular Science.
But big organization or small, there's a dark side to Drupal: You'll probably need the services of an experienced support staff or a costly consultancy that has mastered a complex setup and knows how to assemble all the building blocks into a workable system. Now, for those with limited resources, Acquia is stepping in with a commercially supported Drupal distribution along with a network that delivers patches and security updates.