Successors to Open Publish?

Tran's picture

Since Phase2 has unceremoniously dumped Open Publish, what are some alternative distributions for publishers?

1) Nodemaker --
Started with promise -- especially since it was tied to the launch of ThemeGeeks, Himerus' premium Omega theme company.
Sadly, Nodemaker has seen almost no development since about the same time Phase2 gave up on OP.
Also, Theme Geeks hasn't launched yet. It was supposed to launch this time last year. Best thing about Nodemaker was that it was Omega based -- so it fit fairly nicely with OP.

2) NodeStream --
I wish I'd gone the Nodestream route as the company that creates NodeStream appears more stable and dependable than Phase2. I've played with NS, but not extensively.

Any others?


Any others?

temelkoff's picture

Any others?

I believe this distribution

lslinnet's picture

I believe this distribution have died out along with the financial problems that Wunderkraut Sweden formerly NodeOne has.

Afaik they are currently not putting any work into nodestream and the majority of contributers have moved on to new jobs.

If anyone think differently please correct me.

@Tran, could you point me to

webtomme's picture

@Tran, could you point me to few sources that states Phase2 discontinues supporting OP?

I'm using OpenPublish and

oemb29's picture

I'm using OpenPublish and NodeStream too and my recommediation is use OpenPublish.

The RIP OpenPublish issue

kreynen's picture

The RIP OpenPublish issue does a pretty good job summarizing the death to OP

I can't believe anyone would recommend starting a site using OP, much less continuing to use it. It installs with version 7.16 of Drupal core as well old versions of several contrib modules. That version of core and contib have known security problems like,, and

The fact that you can easily identify OP sites with Google by searching for profiles/openpublish path makes running this really insane from a security perspective. It's like giving someone a blueprint to hack your site.

I've exploited both

oemb29's picture

I've exploited both distribution in 3 magazine and I can say that OP is more dynamic to design and manage than NS. It is my opinion and of course taking security considerations and updates the core and modules. If you want a distribution package that has it all at once is possible that you require a lot more work than you thought

Two going strong

imagenews's picture

I've built three websites on OP3, the most recent was only one week ago. Imaging my surprise when this post commenced! Knowing what I know about Drupal, which is little, I can attest to the OP distribution as a reliable and well structured platform for getting off the ground quickly, in fact it is very well set up as a theme. Because core is not up to date it's a simple update to complete that which I did immediately after the install last week. To clarify, I did install on a clean site. What frustrates me (and many others I'm sure) is that OP2.41 was extremely well thought out and I think many expected Phase2 to do the same with OP3 which they didn't, and, as time passed they completely left it alone. I've sent some communications to Phase2 with no response. Maybe it's time for another developer to take the initiative and build a new "advanced news theme" for D8 using the OP model. I've looked at the other news themes listed here and they have nothing on Open Publish out of the box. I just hope that one day D8 can be loaded to my existing site OP, but I very much doubt that will be possible. For now I'll settle with OpenPublish.

D8 News/Mag Distribution

webtomme's picture

If those rumors about Phase2 discontinuing the support for OP are true, then hoping and wait till a Drupal magazine/news distro gets adopted by end-users is far from feasible. We need to compete against professional products out there that's very price attractive and has tons of design options and technical support on top of it.

Maybe one reason why Phase2 might dump this project is that there is not huge interest behind OP at all and they can't justify their efforts. There are really only few well-known active names here in this group and their requests are very limited to their own use cases, not many that have a big goal in mind and want to reach out to enterprises with this solution.

We have built several OP sites including customized themes and it perfectly suites smaller publishers to get started fast and cost-effectively. One of our most successful Drupal magazine including multi-lingual, Google Adwords & Analytics all well integrated but again they are willing to pay because it's just not usable for business owners out of the box.

My suggestion (having an interest to push Drupal News as a viable product to end-users), those here that have an interest in a News/Mag Distribution (D8 preferably) should get together and collaborate and first brainstorm again about high-level requirements:
- most wanted features,
- most successful commercial off-the-shelf solutions out there (non-Drupal)
- common architecture,
- readiness for commercial OP themes say @100$ each including support?
- What is the preferred paradigm for sitebuilding and layout? Panels vs Blocks/Regions vs Boxes and what not..
- What are features of the underlying theme? It's stupid to request Omega has to go with OP, it's just one solution and they have their own interests of course. Better focus on requirements specifically for a magazine. Their are tons of way more robust front-end frameworks that is easy to integrate (Foundation, Boostrap etc.)

Realistically, a magazine distro is pretty easy to architect as it has a big common sense feature list, as already designed very well with OP, so let's don't start from scratch.

Anyway, if there is no business interest behind a big product, there won't be some dude sitting all day and do stuff for fun and for free! It's tough competition out there in the News-software market. Even "non-profits" rather pay monthly cost for getting their site up and running immediately without even requiring a developer.

OP is the second most

Tran's picture

OP is the second most downloaded distribution, according to

I've used OP 2 and OP3

Phase 2 never showed any enthusiasm for OP3. From the very get go -- Phase 2 nearly unrepsonsive to the Drupal community. They alienated many OP2 users by saying from the get go there would be no upgrade path from OP2 to OP3.

I guess the idea is to create a great big distribution that catches the eyes of big media companies that then hire you to develop their website. Phase 2's prices are ridiculous unless you're a big company with a big budget.

So OP really doesn't make any sense the way they do it.

I think there is a market for OP.
Some company creates a an OP type of Distribution -- partnering with say the Suburban News Association, National Newspapers Association, or one of the dozens of state press associations ---
Create a basic news distro like Open Publish --- Sell Premium themes to give small and medium publishers their own look -do some consulting/training with medium sized companies, or some development for small publishers who need help

There are thousands of independent publishers looking for smart, cheap solutions.

Phase 2 dropping support for

kreynen's picture

Phase 2 dropping support for OpenPublish isn't a "rumor"...

Thanks for your interest in OpenPublish. Phase2 sees our distributions as community assets - they are completely open source and, like any open source project, they belong to the community. As of summer 2013, OpenPublish is not currently under active development, but the community is always welcomed to help jump start any new development they’d be interested in.

That statement is somewhat misleading since the community has requested several updates in the OP issue queue that are just ignored. Because of the way's packaging and updates work, the community can't do any new development without Phase2 adding additional maintainers to the project.

What's next?

webtomme's picture

Thanks kreynen for pointing me to statement. What a bummer sort of "announcing" it in a comment. Wouldn't expect that from a reputed team like Phase2.

I don't think it would be too tough to get into the maintainer list. The more importing thing is to question if we can gather enough people that have an interest in making it a real product that has long term value for community and end-users!

That would include amongst many other factors:
- feature development,
- paid support for subscribers,
- create a SaaS Magazine/News offering,
- developing slick themes that compete against other existing platforms,
- identify trusted go-to devs for potential customization works around this "news distro"
- starting with an ACTIVE working-group and evolving from here

Open Publish Newspapers & Magazines

Pica's picture

Morris Communications in the newspaper industry is/was using Open Publish . We took a different path and bought D7 premium themes and they are working well for our newspaper clients.
I may be off on this, but it seems like the commercial themes are filling the need for Drupal magazine / news themes. Is Open Publish irrelevant?

Actually, no ...

yelvington's picture

We didn't use OpenPublish at Morris. Some of the people at Phase2 formerly worked for Morris DigitalWorks. Other alumni are at MediaCurrent and Palantir. Morris DigitalWorks is gone. Some of the crew are now with NITT Media Services, which now provides technology support to Morris Publishing Group.

Overall I have found installation profiles like OpenPublish to be useful in terms of helping people learn how to create something complex, but personally I prefer to roll my own.

There was a time when I compiled my own Apache, but I did eventually come to my senses. :-)

Weekly Newspapers Using Drupal

Pica's picture

Here is sample of Drupal newspaper clients that we work with: MN, IA,
Price: Less than $3000 one time set-up. Wasn't that the vision of Open Source - quality software and inexpensive?

One of the most valuable

Mediacurrent's picture

One of the most valuable skills someone can try to learn is that of empathy, which to me is being able to view issues from the perspective of others.

If Phase2 decided to pivot resources, time, funding, etc. from Open Publish to other initiatives then who are we to critique them? As an owner of a 40 person Drupal-centric agency, I can tell you first-hand how difficult it is to balance community time, internal projects, billable work, etc.

Could the messaging and overall communication been better here? Yes, absolutely. But, lets not be critical if they chose to go in another direction and speculate on "why" they did until we hear more from them.

I know Phase2 has spent thousands, yes thousands, of hours maintaining distributions, and in general, supporting the Drupal community. In short, let's give them the benefit of the doubt on this.



febbraro's picture

Dave, thanks for seeing our side of it

Phase2 was decidedly lacking

Tran's picture

Phase2 was decidedly lacking in the empathy for users of OP3.

Regardless ... this wasn't supposed to be about Phase2, but about options for publishers -- and not just the big business publishers that make the big-name-drupal players see dollar signs.

@Tran - OP is something they

Mediacurrent's picture

@Tran - OP is something they were doing on their "own" time, just like thousands of other contributors. You are rightfully trying to identify what other options exist, but your tone comes across like you are perturbed at Phase2 for orphaning OP3. All I am saying is lets reserve judgement until they follow-up, and be appreciative of the time they did/have spent. Lets hope more businesses of all sizes leverage Drupal (i.e. distributions or custom), that has a positive impact on the entire Drupal ecosystem, including you.

I am perturbed at Phase2 for

Tran's picture

I am perturbed at Phase2 for dumping OP. Why wouldn't I be? Wouldn't you be, if your business was built on OP3?

While I’m really happy to see

febbraro's picture

While I’m really happy to see that you’ve built a successful business on top of OP, the fact that you have built that business on top of work we have contributed to the community, as you note, does not create an obligation of support on our part. This is true for any module, any distribution, and any community member in Drupal. If your business relies on OpenPublish and you want to be able to control when it is updated and improved, consider a version/fork of OpenPublish that you maintain.

You're right

Tran's picture

You are right. Had I known 18 months ago what I know know, I wouldn't have used OP.
And the more I think about it, the less use there is for distributions.

Let me ask you ... Why build a distribution at all and make it available for download if you feel no obligation to maintain it?

You are mistaken

febbraro's picture

We maintained the OpenPublish distribution for over 4 years. We even ported it from D6 to D7. If you read my comment further down you will see why it is not getting any love recently. Just because a company produces some software and releases it to opensource does not mean there is any obligation to maintain it inperpetuity. While it is useful to us, we have maintained it. As it became less useful, we maintained it less.

@Mediacurrent To be fair to

kreynen's picture

@Mediacurrent To be fair to @Tran, any maintainer that announces they are no longer supporting a project in a blog comment, never adds this information to the project page, and ignores requests to apply security updates should expect some criticism. I've been trying to get someone at Phase2 to address the status on the project page for months... not because I'm using OpenPublish, but because of the impact abandoning it is having on the opinion potential users have about distributions in general.

As someone who's put a lot of effort into promoting the benefits of packaging distributions on and maintaining the packaging whitelist to make that possible, the way Phase2 handled ending support for OpenPublish has had a negative impact on all distributions.

What I can't wrap my head around is a @grayside has been actively updating patches like and lists his current employer as Phase2?!?

If the Phase2 employees are maintaining this on their own time, the project page should reflect that.

Realistically, a magazine distro is pretty easy to architect as it has a big common sense feature list, as already designed very well with OP, so let's don't start from scratch.

@Tran I think you're really underestimating the amount of work it takes to maintain a distribution when you only control part of the code. The Drop keeps moving... and as a distribution maintainer, you have to move with it. Tools like Profiler Builder make it easier than ever to start a profile, but making updates after users have started customizing the content types and views originally included in a Feature export can be very difficult.

I'm a big advocate of using the starter kit approach to distributions over the product approach. Include the modules and some features, but more time is spent on documenting how to configure those than trying to do the configuration for the site builder and on fostering a community around the distribution that can support each other and help keep the distribution moving forward.

It takes more work to get a site up and running with the starter kit approach, but updates are much easier and this approach works well with the virtuous cycle of overriding modules in a distribution with newer versions until the distribution is updated. The only code that can't be moved to sites/all/modules to override an outdated version in a distribution is core. Keeping core up to date/secure should be a VERY high priority for anyone who agrees to maintain a distribution.

I was planning on making my next "beardcast" about using to convert a basic wiki/documentation site into an OpenAtirum site. I should add how to use it to convert an OpenPublish site back to using the Standard core profile so it's secure while retaining the initial OpenPublish configurations as well.

We helped make distros on d.o possible

febbraro's picture

@kreynen we were the organizers and a primary funder of distros on, including the whitelist functionality, so we certainly have skin in that game. It’s never our intention to cast Drupal in a poor light, and I feel that our regular, sizable investment in Drupal projects, teams, and community efforts, to be all the proof you need of that.

Wow! I'm not even sure what

kreynen's picture

Wow! I'm not even sure what to say to that. Please read

Please read:

febbraro's picture

I should have said organizers of the funding.

However, please read:

I am only starting to understand

Tran's picture

I can't even fathom the work that goes into packaging all these modules and creating all these custom views.
I'm a small town reporter, surfing the drupal wave, trying not to drown in my constant trial-and-error existence.

Thanks for the interesting

kirkcaraway's picture

Thanks for the interesting discussion. I had tried working with the different versions of OpenPublish and Nodestream, and wasn't particularly fond of either, so I just rolled my own.

As a long time online news website developer/manager/editor, I have long harbored thoughts of creating my own Drupal-based system, as a distribution and/or a hosted service. That interest has increased recently after the initial launch of an ad system we built in Drupal ( ) that is focused on the needs of small publishers.

But as we have gone out and talked to small news website publishers, we keep seeing these horrible sites so many are using, and their desire for something better.

I would like to gauge what interest there is here in developing something new to succeed OP and NS, that is responsive out of the box, and that comes with some advertising/business system options built in to get small publishers up and running quickly. What say you?

Drupal 7 Newspapers for Small Publishers

Pica's picture

@kirkcaraway: we're already building Drupal websites for small publishers. (Not using OP). We have over 200 and growing. I'm interested in NowAds as module.

@Pica, I would be interested

kirkcaraway's picture

@Pica, I would be interested in seeing some links to those sites. Did you build these from the same base install, or are each of them different? Are you hosting them, too?

Can't release NowAds as a module, as parts of it are not open source, and some is outside of Drupal, and is tied in with our patent application, a consequence of seeking venture funding.

But we can offer the service to news websites via . It's easy to embed in a block. You can sign up for a free trial to see how it works.

domineaux's picture

I have pretty well given up on all distributions, because the developers all eventually seem to quit supporting them. There are so many updates and security fixes that keep coming from drupal devs it is very hard for the distribution devs to keep up and have a life.

The worst part of distributions is they try to do too much with them.

1) If the dist.devs would use standard released modules or a few of their own creations that would help.

2) If the dist.devs would use readme to tell users what to enable and why, in lieu of just enabling modules for users.

3) If the distribution devs would use standard drupal folders/files structure the would create far less support requests for themselves.

The D7 has the great update tool now, which identifys updated modules and users can update as they need to update. This is important, especially if user has done some proprietary coding in some modules.

Currently, I use the kickstart distribution. I started using it because it helped me alot when first starting out to know how things worked. I really don't need the distribution now, but I continue to use it. The dist.devs have done a very good job to keep it updated, and it doesn't appear to be going the way of other distributions.

The commerce team has their act together

Just a little tweak thought

domineaux's picture

Most distributions are probably spin offs from paid development for companies that have allowed the code to be used within the community.

Most dstributions have proprietary hooks in them by developers to prevent other devs from building on their code base. Don't laugh I can't tell you how many times clients have brought in new ferrets to work on their sites (unknown to me at the time). These ferrets cause a mess and then guess who gets blamed?

The people with the money do often want to bring in someone else,especially with major employee changes. A new IT manager or such often has people preferences and the original developer can be odd man out, unless the new IT manager doesn't want to create his/her own job security (rare these days).

I refer back to the post immediately above. The 3 little things I mentioned would make distributions make sense for regular drupal site builders. Distribution devs know how to do this, and can easily drop their proprietary hooks, and code anomalies. They can revert back to regular drupal core, build their own modules without the custom coding.

I would also be interested to read other points of view on the topic as well, since I only know what I know.

Anyway, things being what they are. I love Drupal for my site building over 5 years now. I am just grateful the core drupal devs and the other excellent Drupal developers are dedicated to a consistent quality modular concept as we have enjoy.

Kudos to Drupal

Some words from Phase2

febbraro's picture

Hey everyone. Thought I would jump in here and say a few words, I’m Frank one of the founders of Phase2 and the CTO. Let me start with the thing you folks are most interested in. We are planning to roll a new release of OpenPublish with core and security updates in the next few weeks.

As for the future of OpenPublish, we are discussing what our future directions are for this distro. OpenPublish was one of the first popular distros for Drupal…we initially created it over 4 years ago. Our business has changed a lot since then, and OpenPublish is not used in the same way we used it for many years. All of the innovation we did on OpenPublish was done as part of implementing it for clients. Now, our clients in news and publishing have different needs, and we're simply using OpenPublish less to serve them.

Many of you may believe that Phase2 is this big company with a lot of extra resources, but really, we are a small company too. We are a services company, so our most valuable asset is time. OpenPublish (as well as OpenPublic and Open Atrium 2.x) have been built together with our employees and members of the Drupal community. We have invested in their time to work on it, but they have also invested a ton of personal time to these products. We rely on client work to fuel further development, and we honestly just haven't been building many OpenPublish projects lately. Open Atrium and OpenPublic are not suffering from these effects because we use them all the time on projects, so you're seeing more regular investment and releases on these projects. We also rely heavily on the community investing in these open source projects in order to push them forward, and we have seen far fewer contributions to OpenPublish than in other projects we're working on in Drupal.

So there it is, I do apologize for the lack of communication around this. We will update the project page shortly, and as I noted, will be rolling a release in the coming weeks. We look forward to letting everyone know what our plans are around it in the near future. If you're interested in being a part of those future plans, please contact me directly so we can discuss how.

Project status for

febbraro's picture

Project status for OpenPublish is now updated too.

Frank, we have built few

webtomme's picture

Frank, we have built few small news sites with OP and I can tell first hand you guys have been doing a great job for the Drupal community.

Be it evolving business environment or re-focus of your company, you sure have good ideas what you team plans to be doing and we are thankful for your care of OA's next version, as we use it ourselves.

A shame we haven't paid a dime for your time so far, and that's the unsustainable part about the current contribution model on a distribution level (differently on the modules level). We feel we owe you developers not only a few beers but also some dedicated man hours joining hands with your team and it should be easy enough to do so.

Frank, I'll mail you, my team is determined to collaborate with your architects to push OP forward (code, testing?, documentation) and make OP a real competitive product for publishing.


febbraro's picture

Thanks for the kind words Tom. I'm looking forward to your email and seeing what we can do in the future.


jamescarvin's picture

Thank you for your contributions! Just one little security fix at Pantheon would also be so sweet!

James Carvin
Thank you for your help!

New release

febbraro's picture

Just to follow up, a new release updating all modules, etc. has been published. Beta9 as of 12/13/2013

Alternative approach

zoon_unit's picture

Let me throw in a few comments. I was an early adopter of OpenPublish so I was dismayed when support waned. But I also became familiar with the downsides of distributions. They are hard to update, due to dependencies. They suffer from "black box syndrome" where distro developers bury functionality in misc. distro modules, making it hard to debug or alter. They also insulate developers from the knowledge gained by building their own sites. Distros are also less "agile." Because of their contingencies and upgrade needs, distros have a hard time adapting to the latest Drupal advances and contrib modules.

I soon found a better way. First, I commend Phase II for moving toward a more open architecture with their newest distros where most functionality is located in contrib modules. I then took OP3 and used it as a learning guide, seeing how functionality was accomplished, and then reproduced those methods in my own custom site code. (placing modules in their traditional sites/all locations)

I found OP3 to be an excellent learning tool, but by reproducing the functionality vs. simply using the distro, I became far more capable as a developer, knew precisely where all functionality came from, and had a flexible, custom codebase that was easy to update and maintain. I'm a better Drupal developer for it, and I commend Phase II for providing the community with such strong teaching tools.

Drupal has become so powerful of late, that almost anything can be accomplished with contrib modules. You just need to know the best approaches to use for each "need." Distros provide an excellent roadmap without the need to become dependent on a codebase that others have developed. Let's give Phase II a round of applause for making us all better developers.


Kent Lester

2 more cents

jamescarvin's picture

Well, I certainly hope I don't have to wait for something to compete with OpenPublish, or be recreated in D8 by others because my business needs are more immediate. New releases of drupal take too long to get sufficient modules to think about moving away from D7, when some of what I need is often still only available in D6.

I wouldn't have known about OpenPublish if I hadn't loaded it up on Pantheon but now there aren't any updates to core and what I'm hearing here is that there won't be any. Good grief. Somebody steer me in the right direction.

James Carvin
Thank you for your help!

My Site uses Openpublish

esavoie's picture

My site uses openpublish. I started with the Gazette theme and made some slight modifications. So far I have been pretty pleased with everything.

yes openpublish is milestone

rasoolakhter's picture

I started to use openpublish on my news site and really very help full and now really I am able to concentrate on front end and just I put site on cache but little bit slow may you people have any solution and I am on shared ip solution sever service. If you can check my site for any suggestion then I will love to listen.


OpenPublish alternatives

Pica's picture

There are alternative news website solutions available, we use 4 different templates, Neptune Themes Masthead D7 the most frequent.
Here's a recent launch
Does that help?

Pica, do you know if this

webtomme's picture

Pica, do you know if this theme is based on any publicly available distribution? I think this thread is more about finding good alternatives to Open Publish (a distribution). So if this theme is build with "sections, box etc.." you'd know it's Open Publish. Or if there is something like Panels in there? Or it's even completely built from scratch?

I think a good model for premium themes is to base building on top of a viable distribution which allows for other to collaborate.

We are looking for options for this very problem at

Newspapers on Drupal

Group organizers

Group categories

Topics - Newspaper on Drupal

Group notifications

This group offers an RSS feed. Or subscribe to these personalized, sitewide feeds: