Joomla is NOT Free!

Written by | 01 April 2017 | Published in 2017 April
The concept of an open-source, 100% community project may seem to be a small portion of the software industry today. It was even less common over 10 years ago when Joomla! was founded. However, 100% volunteer organisations have been around for many years - providing relief to those in crisis and facing all sorts of challenges, promoting social change, and encouraging personal improvement. Each of these organisations rely on people to contribute to the cause solely to help other people.

 

Joomla! is like those other organisations in some ways. There are many people groups around the world who have been materially helped by someone setting up a Joomla! Site to help support their cause.

But Joomla! is different in one significant way. Joomla! has the ability to not only help the recipient of the web services (or the resources raised by those web services), but also countless web integrators, developers, and extension developers - many of whom make their livelihood completely based on Joomla. Not to mention the amount of money saved by organisations around the world using Joomla! for their web infrastructure (as compared to other commercial CMS options).

How Joomla! Saves you thousands each year

If your business wanted to achieve the same level of functionality with a commercial CMS you could easily spend well over $30,000 annually just for the system license - not including any set-up or configuration costs.

If you are a Joomla! Integrator, you could easily be spending up to that $30k each year for each site you develop. You could also be spending hundreds or thousands for each extension - IF the system even makes that possible. Or you could be waiting months or years for important functionalities to be added to the closed-source system.

Instead, right now, you can download a copy of a professional CMS system (that already powers over two million websites), review and download extensions that give you the specific functionality that you need, and even do a bit of ‘tweaking under the hood’ to make it work just like you want it to work - all without even paying anyone anything at all. You can even get it hosted completely for free.

But as they say, “there’s no such thing as a ‘free lunch’”.

Who pays for Joomla?

There are countless people around the world who have ‘paid it forward’ and have worked MANY hours to make all that ‘free stuff’ happen. Those people aren’t just school kids who did this in their free time. Many (if not most) of the people who contribute to the Joomla! Eco-system are professional coders, developers, copywriters, designers, and all sorts of roles. Some get paid large fees for their services to clients, yet they contribute many hours without any pay-back for those hours.

Of course, as noted earlier, those contributions are not just benefiting one group of people. Because of improvements to the Joomla! System, they benefit themselves and their clients, they reap the rewards of contributing to the project directly. However, all of the rest of the Joomla! User community also benefits. When Joe works with the development team to get a new feature added to the core, it doesn’t just benefit Joe, we ALL get to benefit from that added feature. And when one Joomla! Extension developer creates a custom extension for one client they often make that available for everyone - so we all benefit there also.

How is Joomla! different from other open-source CMS?

The one major key difference is that Joomla! survives on its community. If all of the people working to keep Joomla! going were to fall off the face of the earth tomorrow (and nobody took their place), Joomla! would quite quickly cease to be a valid CMS option (or even ‘die’ as some have predicted).

The good news is that in over 10 years of history, through good times and bad, the Joomla! Community has continued on - developing a solid, professional CMS used by millions, and maintaining the teams necessary to handle all the other (non-coding) tasks related to the livelihood of a modern CMS.

A new decade - a new organisation

In an effort to give the Joomla! Community a solid foundation for the next 10 years the organisation of the community was recently re-envisioned and a new leadership structure put in place. Those changes are just now taking effect. A recent meeting of some core leadership of the community resulted in significant new energy and direction for the community. Great ideas, new structures, and enhanced relationships have given an exciting new focus as Joomla! matures into its second decade (and fourth major version).

But, with a small number of volunteers, it is nearly impossible to take Joomla! into the envisioned future. And having only a handful of people helping to take the project forward will not allow Joomla! to reach any greater heights of technological improvements or market prominence.

You do not need to be a coder!

Although contributing code to the project is an important and logical way to keep the project moving forward, there are a LOT of other tasks throughout the Joomla! Community that require no coding skills at all. In fact, if your best skill is breaking software, there is an important place for you in our testing of new releases. And if you are a designer, a writer, a technical documentor, a translator, or love conferences and events there is a place for you. (Yes, EVERY position within Joomla is volunteer - even the marketing).

You also don’t have to commit to 100’s of hours a month to be part of the community. Although we do have a number of people whose careers allow them to contribute more than others, even those who can only give an hour a week (or even less) are welcome in the community.

We want YOU!

If you have benefited in any way from using Joomla! - saving you a bit of money by having built your own website instead of paying for someone else to develop it - or making your entire living off Joomla! - I encourage you to consider giving back to the project in proportion to what you have gotten out.

Check out the present needs on our Volunteer portal to find one that fits your skills and availability.

https://www.joomla.org/contribute-to-joomla.html

And remember, when you contribute to the Joomla! Community you not only help push Joomla! into its 2nd decade, you end up contributing to your own needs as well.

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Chris Paschen

Chris Paschen

Chris Paschen is a business solution provider helping orgnaizations harness the power of the internet to advance their cause and increase their results. He has been using Joomla! to do that for over 10 years (since Joomla! started). He does this through his company Paschen Communications. He also presently serves as the Marketing Team Lead for Joomla!