Drupal 8 lead PHP developer Larry Garfield (Crell) forced to leave the project

Submitted by dryer on Fri, 04/14/2017 - 18:47
Drupal 8 logo

Over the last few weeks the Drupal community has been in turmoil over the news that Drupal 8 lead developer Larry Garfield AKA Crell has been forced to leave the project:

A few weeks ago, I privately asked Larry Garfield, a prominent Drupal contributor, to leave the Drupal project. I did this because it came to my attention that he holds views that are in opposition with the values of the Drupal project.

This comes due to personal differences in thinking of the Project Lead Dries Buytaert and Larry. The exact reasons remain murky, but no crimes have been done - this much is certain.

Larry has been open in his communication from his part, in a series of articles - ending with Regarding the continued mystery. In the meanwhile the Drupal Association has also been communicating to the community, and Dries has promised expediting organisational changes to the Drupal Association.

While the backstory remains unclear the bottom line is that for the Drupal project Larry is a great loss. He was fundamental in architecting the underpinnings that make Drupal 8 tick, actively developing as well as maintaining relations with the broader PHP community.

Apparently Larry had already been looking at focusing on other things, and this was key in Dries' decision to enforce his power to expel him from the project. Regardless of whether or not Drupal will continue to be a large part in Larry's life, we hope all the best for him both professionally and personally.

It's worth nothing that these news comes in just months after the ousting of another key member of the Drupal community, Karoly Négyesi (chx) following accusations over edgy personality. The key teaching here is that Open Source is very much politics and committing yourself too much into a single project with a strong leader can be risky.

Looks like the Drupal community has already felt the tremors in the form of the Drupal Confessions movement:

As you are painfully aware, recently a controversy erupted in our community that has shaken the community to its core, one which has shocking implications for all those of us who work in the Drupal community; one which has caused all of us to question our desire for continued involvement in the project.

It looks like the upcoming Drupalcon Baltimore in the US later this month will be an interesting event and can be a significant watershed for the Drupal project.

Update: In some recent news the Drupal Community Working group has taken to say that Larry has NOT been officially exiled from Drupal, but that this is only Dries personal move which is yet to be ratified. In the meanwhile Klausi, who originally did reporting on Larry's activities has been temporarily banned from Drupal:

The Community Working Group asked me to step down as core maintainer and PHPUnit initiative lead in order to allow the community time to heal and to give others time to rebuild trust with me. I agreed to that.