WordPress rides the open source juggernaut

Eight years after it was started by a 19-year-old college freshman as a blogging software, WordPress now powers 14.7 percent of the world’s top one million websites. It is used in 55 million websites.

In his annual State of The Word address last week, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg also said the open source content management system (CMS) now runs 22 out of every 100 new websites created in the US.

The velocity in WordPress adoption and its dominance illustrate the strength of the open source model, where the community is involved in the development of the software. It is not a coincidence that the top open source CMS packages today, WordPress and Drupal, also have the most active developer and user communities.

Matt Mullenweg giving his State of the Word 2011 address

Matt Mullenweg giving his State of the Word 2011 address.

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Nice work if you can get it: Ella sings and WordPress blings

I took the plunge. This blog, as well as a host of other sites I run using WordPress, is now using the latest release of the popular open source blogging software: WordPress 2.1 “Ella,” named after the great Ella Fitzgerald, one of my favorite singers.

I did not encounter errors in the upgrading process, which took less than an hour for all the blogs I oversee. I am, to continue with the Ella theme, in the mood for “making whoopee.”

Major upgrades, like WordPress 2.1, are not to be taken lightly. I botched a major Serendipity upgrade oh so many years back (my fault) and lost at least 50 blog posts. On hindsight, though, the posts are better off in digital limbo.

WordPress update CPANEL FEATURE. Cpanel allows you to upload a packaged file (i.e. zip, tar) and then uncompress this using a point and click interface. This saved me time in uploading new WordPress files while upgrading several blogs I run. Click on image to view larger version.

Unlike security releases, which I implement as soon as I read about them, I usually take days to upgrade to a feature release. This gives me time to read about problems of others who took the plunge earlier. The major cause for worry with the latest WordPress version is the compatibility of plugins for your website blings.
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Newsforge: A lot to like in Serendipity but nothing compelling to switch

Open source news site Newsforge has published a review of the 1.0 version of Serendipity, the blog script that I used for previous versions of the Cybercafe Experiments.

According to the article, installing Serendipity to manage your blog “is a breeze” and shouldn’t be a problem to someone who has experience installing web scripts like WordPress. What sets Serendipity apart from other blog content management system (CMS), according to the article, is that it gives you the option to use databases other than MySQL: PostgreSQL and SQLite.

Serendipity also got high marks from Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier, the author of the Newsforge article, for its ability to import data from other blogging scripts. Brockmeier tried it out and he was able to import data from his blog with two years worth of posts “with no problem at all.”

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Why open source makes sense for non-geeks like me

If you hold a gun to my head demanding that I write a PHP code to print “Hello World” without searching the web for hints, I’d be dead in a minute. I do not know how to program – in any computer language. If the technology world were J.K. Rowling’s universe, I’d be a squib.

And yet I was able to install and deploy various content management systems for my Cybercafe experiments, personal sites as well as sites of my friends. I was also able to deploy an online classroom for participants of both my and my wife’s lectures as well as classes under Newsletter Solutions. I was also able to deploy a newsroom intranet system (using a discarded PC) with a portal, an online news style guide and a searchable database of new sources.

I was able to do all that because I use open source scripts.

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