It’s not about the money
Unlike other open-source CMS projects, Joomla is fully volunteer-driven. This means there’s no large company behind it and no corporate interests to take into account. We have a genuinely non-profit organisation, Open Source Matters, facilitating the project by providing financial, legal and organisational support. Every penny Joomla gets from partnerships and sponsors goes directly into the project, and no one contributing to Joomla gets paid. So why do we do it?
People often wonder what makes Joomla unique. After all, it is ‘just’ a CMS and certainly not the only one. Of course, Joomla has features other systems don’t have, but that’s not it. What makes it unique is that everyone within Joomla is a volunteer, from developers to designers to user group and conference organisers, even the president. This means that Joomla is fuelled by passion, and not driven by financial goals and stakeholder interests, as you see happening in the large tech companies. We are - as far as I know - the only open source CMS platform not backed up by a company.
And that means we are free. Not only free as in ‘free beer’, but truly free to make our own choices.
What does Joomla stand for?
In short, our mission is to provide a multilingual, flexible and free platform for digital publishing and collaboration, made and sustained by volunteers (there’s more: read about our mission, vision and values here: https://www.joomla.org/about-joomla/the-project/mission-vision-and-values.html).
Powered by people
To put the word ‘volunteers’ in the first sentence of our mission, that is a major statement.
It tells us that Joomla is not about making money.
It’s not about being the largest, biggest, most thriving business in the world.
It’s about providing a great platform for people, by people.
Wilco Alsemgeest, who has been a Joomla volunteer for over thirteen years (and counting), says: “Open Source is all about creating possibilities for everybody in the world, by providing free solutions with which you can reach your own goals like creating a website with the Joomla! CMS, for hobby, your business, foundations and many more.” Joomla is a tool not just for people creating their own website, but primarily used by thousands of web professionals around the world to provide online solutions to their clients, from stunning websites to complex web applications.
So it really is about empowerment. Joomla empowers people, and at the same time is powered by people.
Powered by passion
This all sounds really great, but doesn’t this actually mean that the Joomla volunteers are a bunch of stupids, working for free on things they would be paid for in other organisations? Well, that’s one way of putting it, but a lot of Joomla’s volunteers will tell you that what they gain from their work as a volunteer is much more valuable than that.
Take David Jardin for example. For this Joomla-developer whose business is built on Joomla, volunteering is a no-brainer: “I make my living out of Joomla - each and every minute that I invest in Joomla is a long term investment in my future - so it’s just a natural thing to do.”
Contributing to Joomla enables you to be part of, or even create, Joomla’s future as a CMS.
Volunteering at Joomla gives you the ability to learn an awful lot. That’s why devoted Joomla-techie Tobias Zulauf does it: “Joomla and its community gives me the opportunity to work on a great open-source project allowing me to learn every day and meet great people around the world.”
Working on your own future as well as Joomla’s, and contributing while getting smarter yourself. That doesn’t sound stupid at all. It sounds sensible. But there’s more. Because when you’ve learned, and decide to share your knowledge, it can give you status and authority, if you care for that kind of stuff.
The most important benefit of volunteering lies in Joomla’s name, which, as you probably know, means ‘All together’ in Swahili.
Working at Joomla brings you friends, likeminded people you meet online or at Joomla events, and people who can inspire you and help you to achieve things you’d never have achieved on your own. Or, as Wilco puts it: “Joomla Community is all about doing things together, providing a solution to make the world somewhat easier and better.” He loves being part of that: “For me it's satisfying that I'm able to spend some free time within the Joomla community working together with great people, to do my share in making the world better by providing a free solution for everybody to create wonderful websites.”
And that means so much more than money; it may very well be the greatest benefit of all.