Berlingske Media, Denmark’s biggest publisher of daily newspapers, is considering making free open source software Drupal its online publishing system of choice.
Former Mirror-boss David Montgomery’s Danish lieutenant, Lisbeth Knudsen, is contemplating the move, which could save a substantial sum of money – but it does not come without risk.
Berlingske Media already runs some of its sites on Drupal – a long-time favourite free content management system (CMS) of web hacker-geeks – but many consider the open source solution more vulnerable to hackers than proprietary systems.
“Our sports portal, launched early in June, is developed in Drupal, and we will use this for more sites. We are in the process of evaluating future online solutions, and will make a decision on this later this year. So far we have chosen Drupal for some of our smaller sites and Saxotech online for the bigger,” Knudsen told me.
But is Drupal up to the task?
The Danish newspaper publisher is in the process of integrating all its titles into ‘verticals’ that deliver copy across platforms and titles, and its sports site carries material from several of Berlingske’s titles.
Henning Sund, head of digital development for newspaper publisher Edda Media, is sceptical about how well Drupal is suited to such large-scale projects.
”I think part of the reason Berlingske Media is considering Drupal is that they are so desperate to get away from Saxotech Online. That is a desire I understand perfectly,” he said, explaining that Edda Media, Mecom’s Norwegian division, is also in the process of replacing Saxotech Online, but Drupal is not a candidate.
”I do not feel the security in Drupal is well-documented enough. We want a provider that can take responsibility for this, something we will not get with Drupal,” said Sund, adding that you also have to spend a lot of money on developing the desired functionality in Drupal, as it is not ‘plug and play’.
Berlingske-owned AOK.dk, a city guide for Copenhagen that runs on Drupal, has used an east European company to develop extra functionality in Drupal – a concept that has been exported to Berlin and Mecom Germany.
However, Sund does not think that Mecom boss Montgomery will impose Drupal as the standard CMS throughout the company should it be a success:
“Montgomery has made it very clear that as long as you reach your budget targets, you can choose the solutions you see fit. However, if you do not reach these targets, you will get Montgomery breathing down your neck, and that is something you would do anything to avoid.”
For more news on newspapers harnessing open source read about The Jewish Chronicle’s launch of a beta site using Drupal.