This is a transcript. For the video see 20 years of Drupal- An interview with Greg Lund-Chaix.

[00:00:00] Michael Meyers: Hello, welcome to another edition of the Tag1 Team Talks, the blog and podcast of Tag1 Consulting. I'm Michael Meyers and Managing Director at Tag1, and we're here today to talk about and celebrate 20 years of Drupal. Everyone's really proud to have been a part of Drupal history since the earliest days, and we thought it would be great to sit down with some of our team members that have been in the community for a really long time to get their unique perspective and insight as to how you know, Drupal grew and what it was like to be a part of that growth. I'm joined today by Greg [Lund-Chaix], one of our senior infrastructure engineers.

Greg, could you just quickly introduce yourself, say hello to everybody and talk a little bit about some of the areas that you've been involved in Drupal over the years.

[00:00:46] Greg Lund-Chaix: Sure. Yeah. I'm Greg . I have been in the Drupal community since about 2006. So right around the Drupal 5 era I've been involved primarily with infrastructure.

[00:00:59] I'm primarily an admin and infrastructure engineer. So almost all of my work with Drupal has been with the infrastructure and security teams in the Drupal community.

[00:01:12] Michael Meyers: Awesome. I thought it would be great to sit down you Greg, because of that person effective, you know, we've talked to a lot of people that are involved in the code side of group.

I think people need to hear more about, you know, running a Drupal website and what it was like to scale Drupal as a platform. And you know, websites like, you know, Pfizer or companies like Pfizer and all their websites wouldn't be using Drupal today. If it didn't have those infrastructure capabilities as well, it's not just software.

A Drupal is made up of many components. Do you remember how you first came into contact with Drupal or discovered it, and, and what you were doing with it?

[00:01:51] Greg Lund-Chaix: [Yeah, I pretty much my first week on the job when I started at the OSU open source lab. The first project that got handed to me was the migration of the RSL owned website, which was on a mixture of plowing and some Drupal 4, I think.

And we had upgraded into Drupal 5. And so I had to, I got completely, you know, as a non-developer and CIS admin, I got thrown into trying to figure out what the hell this Drupal thing was and how did I make it go? And this was maybe a couple of months after got flown into Corvallis on a private plane.

That happened just before I started. So this was all a very new thing, both at the OSL and even newer to me. And so I just had to kind of dive in and kind of grew up around and figure out what the heck I was looking at. So that was getting thrown in the deep end. Pretty, pretty much pretty early on the

[00:02:56] Michael Meyers: people that discovered Google because they needed to solve our problem.

And there are people that were thrusted to report, you know, indoctrinated by fire. And for those who don't know, the, the OSU OSL is the Oregon State University Open Source Lab. And they host well over a hundred open source projects, including the Python fFoundation and stuff for patchy you know, open street maps.

[00:03:24] Greg Lund-Chaix: so many others,

[00:03:27] Michael Meyers: Yeah.

It's a, it's amazing what they do. You know, so you know that you're not a quote unquote you know, like, software developer But have you made any contributions to Drupal that you are particularly proud of?

[00:03:48] Greg Lund-Chaix: So I am, I don't know if I'm, I may be the longest term involved person in the Drupal community to never have a commit show up anywhere. You can search the entirety of the Git logs anywhere in the Drupal community, and you'll probably never see my name because the vast majority of the work that I did was with the infrastructure team. And was often as not was some something as you know, analog as physically lifting a server or, you know, moving cables around or, you know, wiring up a router or something like that.

[00:04:28] So a whole lot of my work in the Drupal community had to do with the physical, literally physical infrastructure of Which of course is never going to show up in git commit anywhere. So yeah, we

[00:04:46] Michael Meyers: they're not going to get any, get committed, but infrastructure ain't running. So

[00:04:49] Greg Lund-Chaix: no, exactly that too.

Yeah. So you know, it was it's, it's one of those things where we were all kind of groping around in the dark learning how to do large-scale Drupal when nobody had done it before. And so, you know, we leaned on each other a lot and we all learned a lot from each other at that time. And, you know, I, I still use a lot of those lessons that I learned, you know, 15 years ago and managing the Drupal systems I manage today.

[00:05:18] Michael Meyers: And you, you did mention when we were chatting earlier about the, the varnish VCL. So you know, I don't know if that's code per-se figuration, like, so.

[00:05:31] Greg Lund-Chaix: Yeah. So yeah, I was, I ran I think I was the first production use of the varnish module.

Back when it first came out, when Josh from- that was way before Pantheon existed when Josh kind of released it. And I think I, I released the VCL config for varnish that I use to get going on on a project I was working for, for the state of Oregon. The Department of Education and Josh scooped that up, included it in the docs for the varnish module.

And I haven't looked, you know, in several years, but the last time I looked that code was still sitting up there. So that's as close as you're ever going to get, probably to see any code that I actually wrote for the Drupal community. And it's not, it's just probably not going to show on a commit anywhere, but my name is at least was at least on the module page for quite some time.

[00:06:26] Michael Meyers: There are, there are many different ways to contribute to Drupal that aren't code. Yeah. So that's, that's very important.

[00:06:34] Greg Lund-Chaix: Yep. I actually, that's one of the things that I like to discuss with, I, I tend to go to the newcomer social back when we had DrupalCons in person I was one of my favorite things to do is for the first time or social that they usually have the first night is to go talk to folks that have never been to a DrupalCon before, or are new to Drupal.

First of all, cause it's a great way to meet people. But also I think it's a great way for me to tell. You know, as a, you know, to be a living example of this is how you can hear I've contributed to Drupal for 15 years. And not, I don't have a single git commit out there. You know, there are so many different ways you can contribute, whether you, whether it means showing up at a first time social or whether it means, you know, doing a config for you know, a reverse proxy cache, there are a ton of different ways you can commit to contribute.

[00:07:28] Michael Meyers: I, I love the the first timer social. I think that I've always wanted them to have like a buddy system or a mentor system where if it's your first DrupalCon or you're new to Drupal, you can check a box that says, like, assign me a buddy, you know, and you know, people that want to mentor or help them you know, we'd get paired up because when I, you know, w actually they, when we first got involved with Drupal, the community was really small.

[00:07:59] It was really easy to meet, you know, key contributors. It's very easy to know what was going on. Now, you know, I mean, it's just crazy, you know, it's so hard. And so it's awesome that you're doing the first time social that I think, you know you know, a big part of Drupal is the community. So my favorite question what is your favorite and least favorite?

Features or aspects of Drupal.

[00:08:28]Greg Lund-Chaix: And of course now I'm drawing a complete blank.

Brutal put me on the spot. And so my favorite part is absolutely the community and the people. I mean, I know that's it's trait. I know that we all talk about it and it's kind of, you know, it gets hammered away. Excuse me, I have a cat in my face. You know, it gets hammered away at every keynote where, you know, it's all about the community, but it really is.

I mean, you know, I live back when we had DrupalCons in person. I loved going to the DrupalCon not to go to the sessions, although the sessions are all excellent. But I can watch those afterwards, but to actually sit down in the hallway and just catch up with people and learn what people are doing and, and meet the new, the first timers, you know, and make new friends.

And that is probably the thing that I found most valuable. And it's something that I think is not necessarily unique to the Drupal community, but one of the things that makes it special because when I was at the OSL I was there for what eight years I got involved with a lot of open-source communities and saw the different characters of the communities and, and what they're like, you know, the kernel community and the Apache community and, and the Python community.

And they all have their benefits. They're all wonderful people. But there's something special about the way the Drupal community works and how you deal, how, how we all interact with each other. And it's the reason I'm still here. It's the reason I'm at Tag1. It, it it's, you know, it's the community.

[00:10:00] Michael Meyers: Yeah. There's definitely something special. I agree. I'm I can't put my finger on it. Everybody is so open and welcoming and there's just so many good people that want to do good. And they're a pleasure to be around and it's good to remember that not every open source project is like that. And how good the, you know, we have it as members of the community.

All right. Least favorite feature or aspect of Drupal. It seems like you're stalling on that.

[00:10:30] Greg Lund-Chaix: I am. And I'm trying to - Composer. So, and this is not a, you know, and, and that's, that's a reach, right. Because but I'm not a developer, right. So I don't work with Drupal code any more than plopping it on a server and making sure it runs well. So for me the thing I. Find the most frustration in dealing with ruble is dealing, having to deal with composer in a production environment where I'm dealing with deployment, because it's a pain it's annoying having to do all these workarounds with committing artifacts to get a repo and a separate branch or a separate repo stuff like that is just annoying as all get out.

And so I think that for me is probably the most annoying and frustrating thing. And I understand why it's there. I understand how that benefits developers But from the ops side of the world, Oh God, it's a pain in my Keester.

[00:11:25]**Michael Meyers:**If you had a magic wand and could wave it and make anything happen what would you do with Drupal?

[00:11:35] Greg Lund-Chaix: Okay. I might get in trouble with Jeremy on this one because they know this is something that we do here at Tag1. But I would love to magically upgrade all those Drupal 5, 6, and 7 sites up to at least Drupal 8.

You know, we're an LTS provider. I know. So that's the, you know, that's one of our business models, right. So I'd be leaving my magic wand to destroy a branch of our business. But well

[00:12:01] Michael Meyers: [00:12:01] just think how profitable we'd be. We can upgrade all of these sites.

[00:12:07] Greg Lund-Chaix: Yeah. Charge them off for it. Right. Yeah. So, you know, I mean, I just worked on a Drupal 6 site this week.

You know, I - it's, you know, Drupal 6 is still out there. It's still live. It's still in production. There's nothing technically wrong with it. And, you know, from, actually from a performance standpoint, it's actually quite good. But yeah. You know, that's something that there's a lot of technical debt floating around out there and that, and the community.

And it's something I see. So often when I'm doing migrations or we get called in to, to help when there's an incident on a site, you know, either a scaling and Scimitar, a security incident or something like that. And we look at the site and we realize there, you know, it hasn't been updated in seven years, you know?

Yeah. And so I would love to magically just make that all go away.

[00:12:54]Michael Meyers: It is astounding. I don't think people realize this - how many Drupal 6 sites are still out there and running as extended support or long-term, you know, service provider. We have a really unique perspective into that, but like, we still have clients coming to us and saying, Oh, by the way, I have a Drupal.

It's exciting. We haven't secured it. I need to get it secure. Can you help me? You know, it's the fact that like one they're still, you know, Tens of thousands of sites out there running it, you know, in hundreds working with us. And people still coming to us and finding it blows my mind every time it happened.

And he said, it's still, you know, for a lot of people, it's a great platform. It's great that you don't have to upgrade if you can't like some organizations just don't want to invest the money or it just doesn't make sense. You know, it's not cost-effective, but they want to keep the site running, maximize that investment.

So it's, it's cool that they're able to do that. We always say like the same thing with Drupal 7. It's going to be around for another

[00:13:51] Greg Lund-Chaix: seven years.

[00:13:54] Michael Meyers: Yeah. Yeah, definitely.

[00:13:58] Greg Lund-Chaix: Well, and it's funny too, because, okay,] well, I just want to add one little thing around that one. And it's really funny because they do a lot of migrations and what we get called in a lot on audits and things like that.

I always, people are always embarrassed, you know, they come to me and say, Oh gosh, my site's a mess. You know, we haven't touched it in years. And they're always embarrassed about something that isn't, you know, what the site's working, it's stable, you know? And so I always try to. To flatten that embarrassment a little bit, but yeah, people are so embarrassed and it's like, it's okay.

Really? I I've seen far worse than this.

[00:14:33] Michael Meyers: Yeah. It's - there's no reason to shut it down if it meets your needs. All right. In closing, I know that there are a lot of people along the way that have helped us. And, and gotten us to where we are. But if you think back to the very beginning, when you first got involved, is there someone in particular that stands out that you want to say, thank you for, you know, helping me get started.

You made a huge difference in

[00:15:04] Greg Lund-Chaix: [00:15:04] yeah, so I think and, and. This is going to sound a little bit funny considering I still work with him. But I think I want to call out Narayan because he was at the time still a student at OSU. When I joined the OSL and I was he and I, and the others that worked on the, on the original infrastructure, Jeff included. Well, a lot of what we did was we're kind of feeling our way through in the dark, figuring out how to do this stuff.

And his creativity and brilliance really helped. Me because I'd been thrown into this with no experience at all. And he had a few months ahead of me. And so you know, he helped me figure out what the hell is going on and what I'm looking at. And, you know, here I am, what, 15 years later, still working with him, still doing exactly the same thing where it's like, Hey, you know, I'm thinking, is this a crazy idea, bounce ideas off of him.

And so, you know, and I, I, he's a lifelong friend at this point, you know, he's he's family.

[00:16:19] Michael Meyers: Narayan's amazing, truly brilliant. And I have the, this memory in my head of Narayan, like early on when I met him, I forget where we were. But we were in a you know, like a talk with one of the founders of mySQL.

Maybe it was even Maria DB then you know, it was like one of their, like top engineers, you know, that was like core to the company and then Narayan got up and asked the question. It was like a really small forum. So I read through the source code and I have a question about like, and everyone was just like, wait, what do you mean?

You read through the source code? Like, you know, Narayan just doesn't, you know, use, you know, database and stuff like that. He like, pours through them and really understands what he's saying. So on that note Greg thank you so much. It was often to catch up. These conversations are so much fun for me to just, you know, go down a trip down memory lane and to hear what memories others have as well.

So thank you so much for joining us. Thank you everyone for listening, or you act soon with another Tag1 Team Talk. See you later. Awesome. Brilliant. We're done June. Thank you. June. No edits June Oh. June is going to love us. This is big,

[00:17:41] Greg Lund-Chaix: you know, my degree is in broadcasting. So, you know, this is, you know, it's only, I'm usually the one behind the camera.