Randy Fay

Drupal 6 Long Term Support is My Favorite Feature of Drupal 8

Long Term Support for Drupal 6 might be my favorite new feature included in Drupal 8. (I know, that might be stretching things for the fundamentally awesome step forward that Drupal 8 is, but bear with me.)

Long Term Support for Drupal 6
Long Term Support for Drupal 6

If you're like me, you have loved the power of building websites for people that expose their ideas or services to the world. If you're like me, you've ended up "owning" a number of these websites that you somehow ended up supporting along the way too. And if you're like me, you've ended up with lots of Drupal 6 websites to support, even though D6 hit End-of-Life on February 24th, 2016.

There are a lot of D6 sites out there with no money for an upgrade, but which still have a niche to fill or useful information for the world. Those can be an albatross around our necks and a time sink. We don't have the resources to update (and their owners don't either) but we can't set the site owners adrift.

When previous versions of Drupal hit end-of-life, it was always a catastrophe for those of us with sites out there. Upgrade or else. Very costly in time and effort or money. But this time, with the release of Drupal 8, the Drupal Security Team and a number of vendors teamed up to actually offer real commercial support for Drupal 6. Yay! Yay!

One of those vendors is Tag1 Consulting with our slick new Tag1 Quo service, which monitors both Drupal.org security releases and your D6 site to make sure you know what the security issues are. We even work with the community and the Security Team to backport discovered D7 security fixes. (Full disclosure: I got to work on development of the very nice D8 Quo site.)

The Tag1 Quo Dashboard
The Tag1 Quo Dashboard

I got to beta test Tag1 Quo with several of my old sites this year, and it was surprisingly easy. I just installed the D6 Tag1 Quo module on each D6 site, and immediately got a summary (on the Tag1 Quo site) of the security status of each site. Then, when Drupal 7 Security Advisories have gone out in recent months, I get an email with a patch or even a tarball for the affected module.

Drupal 6 Long Term Support is a huge step forward for our community, and great kudos are in order for the Security Team for arranging and supporting it and the vendors for providing it.