[This article was contributed by Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier]
The third Open Source Content Management
(OSCOM) Conference this week has all eyes on Open Source Content
Management Systems (CMS). Well, maybe not all eyes, but Open
Source CMS are certainly getting quite a bit of attention this week.
There are far, far too many Open Source CMS projects under development
to touch on all of them here, so consider this an overview of some of
the more popular, interesting and/or capable CMS projects being used
today. Note that this includes actual CMS systems, not Content
Management Framework (CMF) projects like Midgard, Mason or Zope, which typically require significant
assembly work before they can be deployed for any particular application.
Almost all Open Source CMS projects support features like RSS feeds,
threaded comments, user authentication, templates, integrated search
engines or support for external engines, version control, in-browser
editing, scheduled publishing, support for multiple languages and so on.
Perhaps the most important feature for most developers is which language the
project is written in, and how easily extensible it is.
Slashcode, more frequently referred
to as just Slash, is arguably the
best-known CMS out there. Slash is pretty
much aimed at news/Weblog-type sites, so it may not be best for general
purpose sites. Slashcode is written in Perl, uses a MySQL backend and
is available under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Slashcode is
owned by OSDN.
In a similar vein, there's Scoop, the code that powers kuro5hin and a slew of other news
sites and weblogs. Like Slashcode, Scoop is written in Perl with a MySQL
backend and is available under the GPL. If you're looking to run a news
site or Weblog, but prefer PHP to Perl, there's PHP-Nuke, PostNuke and PHPSlash.
For more of a "professional" approach to running a news site, there's Cofax. Cofax ("Content Object Factory") was
mostly developed by
staff at KnightRidder.com and Philly.com with participation from other
Knight Ridder newspapers. Cofax is designed to help simplify the
presentation of newspaper content on a Website, and to speed up
real-time Web publication. One example of Cofax in action is the Silicon
Valley site; it is also used to power more than 30 Knight Ridder
newspaper sites. The Cofax CMS is written in Java, uses MySQL or
Microsoft SQL Server for data storage, and is licensed under the GNU
Lesser General Public License. The instructions on the Cofax site are
Windows-specific, but it has also been tested under Sun OS 5.8, and
could probably be coaxed to work on a Linux server as well.
There are a number of CMS projects for more general sites.
Though Red Hat is best known for its Linux distribution, it also
offers an Enterprise
Content Management System. Red Hat's CMS is written in Java,
requires PostgreSQL or Oracle and a J2EE servlet container and is
supported on Red Hat, Solaris, Windows, AIX or HP-UX. Unlike most of Red
Hat's offerings, the Red Hat CMS is available under the IBM Public
License rather than the GPL.
Another all-purpose CMS is OpenACS.
OpenACS is a little different, in that it is written in Tcl rather than
Perl, Java or PHP. OpenACS has a number of applications such as bug
trackers, chat, e-commerce features and much more. The OpenACS code is
distributed under the terms of the GPL, and requires AOLserver and an
Oracle or PostgreSQL backend. The Creative Commons site is just
one example of a site powered by OpenACS.
Where would we be without Wiki-type sites? There are a number of
Wiki-inspired packages out there, but tikiwiki may be the most
full-featured. Tiki is PHP-based and offers LDAP authentication, webmail, tasks
and notepad features, image galleries, games and a slew of other
features not normally found in Wiki implementations. If you'd like to
get a feel for Tiki, check out the demo site.
Bricolage is another general purpose
content management and publishing system. Bricolage is written in Perl
and uses PostgreSQL to store content. Macworld recently announced that
it is using Bricolage to power its site. If you'd like to run
Bricolage you'll need Apache with mod_perl and Mason. Bricolage is published under a
The WebGUI folks call
their solution a "application framework" rather than a CMS, but it does
the job just as well. WebGUI is written in Perl and can use MySQL or
PostgreSQL as a data store. It will run on Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, and
Windows with Apache or IIS. The Law Society of Western
Australia is using WebGUI for their site. WebGUI is available under
the GPL and is developed by Plain Black Software.
OpenCms, is pretty
flexible in that it will run on LAMP platforms with Tomcat or on Windows
platforms with Oracle and BEA Weblogic. OpenCms is used on a number of
sites, including the Tribeca Film Festival site. OpenCms offers a WYSIWYG editor through a Web browser, but only for folks using Internet Explorer. Development for OpenCms is coordinated by Alkacon Software.
This is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg. There are quite a few
other Open Source CMS projects out there, curious readers can start with the OSCOM Matrix of CMS
Finally, OpensourceCMS is
another site worth visiting if you're shopping for an Open Source CMS.
Especially if you're looking to test-drive Open Souce CMS packages
before actually messing with installation. The nice thing about Open
Source is that you can always "try before you buy" but the
installation process for many CMS packages can be a bit painful, or at
least very time-consuming. OpensourceCMS does not have every CMS project
available, but they have a pretty good list of demos you can try out.
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