The Web 2.0 CMS Race

The existence of a large and healthy crop of open source content management systems (CMS) is nothing new: Some claim more than 500 active projects are floating around out there in cyberspace. While the actual number of vital projects is most certainly much, much lower, the existence of relatively mature solutions like Mambo, Drupal and Plone prove that the open source CMS market is at the healthiest state in its history and that users now have more viable choices than ever.

What has been lacking, however, is an effective open source Web 2.0 CMS. Existing players are responding to the Web 2.0 functionality challenge by relying on third party developers to release extensions which can be plugged in to provide various pieces. Some systems, like blogging platform WordPress, are more naturally inclined towards Web 2.0, but it is still a stretch for any of the existing players to embrace the community-generated content and interaction which is the hallmark of a true Web 2.0 implementation.

While extensions are fine, as far as they go, they lack the integration that a proper purpose offering would bring. Into the breach roars a new crowd of open source CMS products.

A trio of new systems, while clearly in their early days, show some of the promise this change will bring.

Pligg: An open source CMS built around community interaction and user-create content. This system is about to go to full production release and has some very interesting features. It’s early days, though, and this one could clearly go either way.

Elgg: An open source social networking platform. An interesting system, though of a narrow focus on pure social interaction and sharing of content.

People Aggregator: In many ways the most interesting of the crop, though of a dual license nature (commercial use is not free). Like Elgg, PeopleAggregator is focused on the social networking aspects of the Web. This system is backed by a commercial enterprise lead by the man who brought use Macromedia.

Check ’em out — let me know what you think.

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