The world of Open Source Content Management

After spending seven years trying to maintain Backup Central with standard HTML and Dreamweaver, I decided to move into the world of WWW 2.0: a content management system. The number one goal was to take this popular website and build a community with it.  I want all of us that are dedicated to backup and data protection to start helping each other.

I thought about a Wiki, because Wikipedia is just way too cool.  I thought about a forum, because they're a great way to thread discussions.  I thought about mailing lists, because email rules the world these days. I wanted the forums and the mailing lists to be linked.I wanted a blog and news, and the ability for users to post comments to the blog and news items, and I wanted you to be able to register once, and have everything just work.  AND I didn't want to pay through the nose!

What I found was Joomla! at, and it ended up having a plug-in to do almost everything above, and I had my friend Scott Harris write the one missing piece.  Here's what I used:

  1. Joomla! ( ) is an open-source content management system that runs the whole show.  It manages the user accounts, news, blog, etc.  All the other plugins are designed to work with it.
  2. Phpbb ( ) is the forum software
  3. Phpbb bridge ( ) connects Joomla! to phpbb.  It puts it inside Joomla's style sheets (or not, if you want), but connects your Joomla! user id to a phpbb user id, automatically creating it from your joomla! user id.
  4. Mail2forum ( integrates mailman and phpbb, so that every post to a forum goes to the mailing list, and vice versa.  ROCKS!
  5. Mambo Wiki ( /) is a full install of MediaWiki (the juice behind Wikipedia) to work inside Joomla! Again, uses the Joomla user ID to authenticate you inside MediaWiki
  6. Mailman ( ) runs the mailing lists
  7. A custom Joomla! component written by Scott Harris that connects Mailman & Joomla.  It gets your email address from Joomla, and the list of maling lists from Mailman, and gives you a list, allowing you to subscribe to all of them in one page, without having to interact with a bunch of separate Mailman pages. We've now published this as a Joomla! component (,com_mtree/task,viewlink/link_id,2409/Itemid,35/)
  8. Joomla_comment (,com_mtree/task,viewlink/link_id,677/Itemid,35/ ) allows you to submit comments against articles just like this one.
  9. Google Adsense module that allows you to put Google adsense code into your pages, allowing me todefray the cost of maintaining and publishing the site.
  10. Of course this whole thing is running on top of CentOS 4 ( ), which is a free version of RedHat Enterprise Linux 4.0.

All of these things just installed and worked.  (There were a few rejected CMS packages and Joomla! components, but no sense in talking about that.)  I had to edit CSS style sheets and a few images to get all the colors to match, and I did do a few hacks to make some of them work the way I wanted, instead of the way they were designed.  But, by and large, this whole site is up and running and fully functional from open source software that didn't cost me a dime.  In return, I helped to better document one of the tools, and I'm planning on submitting my mailman/joomla component to the world as well.

Gotta love the world of open source software!

----- Signature and Disclaimer -----

Written by W. Curtis Preston (@wcpreston). For those of you unfamiliar with my work, I've specialized in backup & recovery since 1993. I've written the O'Reilly books on backup and have worked with a number of native and commercial tools. I am now Chief Technical Evangelist at Druva, the leading provider of cloud-based data protection and data management tools for endpoints, infrastructure, and cloud applications. These posts reflect my own opinion and are not necessarily the opinion of my employer.