Faith in numbers: Six more tech cults

These six sects of fanatical loyalists prove there is no end to passion in tech

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Tech cult No. 4: The Temple of Drupal

Established: 2001

Gathering of the tribes: DrupalCon

Major deity: Dries Buytaert

Holy scriptures: The Drupal Handbooks

Religious icon: The Drupal Drop

It's the biggest conspiracy you've never heard of. General Motors and Proctor & Gamble, the White House and the World Bank, Christina Aguilerra and Mensa -- all have joined the Temple of Drupal, the open source content management platform created by Belgian programmer Dries Buytaert in 2001.

It's estimated that 1 percent of the world's Websites use the social-media-friendly Drupal, a number that may increase dramatically after Drupal 7's code is finalized, which is expected to happen later this summer.

"The thing that set Drupal apart and allowed its community to grow so large and so rapidly is, first and foremost, Dries, the guy who founded it," says Matt Tarsi, project director for Accession Media, a Web design, development, and marketing agency that relies on the Drupal CMS.

Dries is currently co-founder and CTO of Acquia, which offers its own flavor of Drupal and sells support services for it.

"I think he really knew how to cultivate the developer community from very early on," says Tarsi. "Even now, as Drupal gets serious enterprise adoption, the company leading the way there is Acquia. Ever hear the phase 'Nobody got fired for choosing IBM or Microsoft'? CIOs like to have a vendor to lean on for product support and upgrades and to scream at when things go wrong. Acquia has now become that for the Drupal community."

Drupal Drop

The faithful gather twice a year at DrupalCon and 24/7 at sites like Drupal.org, where they welcome newcomers and politely tolerate comparisons to other open source CMSes like Joomla and WordPress, says Tarsi.

Drupalistas are usually easy to spot, he says. They often sport stickers and T-shirts featuring the Drupal "Drop," a Smurf-blue figure with a Hershey's Kiss-shaped head that's become as iconic as the Linux Penguin to earlier generations of geeks (pictured right).

"Someone mumbling about hook_form_alter() or preprecess_node() is also a dead giveaway," he adds.

See tech cult No. 5: The Way of the Warp (OS/2)

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