Drupal 7's End of Life was recently extended to November 2025, but the community seems divided over its ultimate fate.
Drupal core ideas is a place on Drupal.org to submit Drupal core ideas and see them through the validation and planning stages. Together, all problems tagged as "Approved plan" and "Active initiative" give a decent high-level picture of what's being worked on to enhance the Drupal core product.
The Drupal Ideas project's purpose is to make Drupal product management choices more visible and explicit. What we're doing to get there:
Create a dedicated space for users to suggest modifications to main products.
Have a more systematic method of debating and assessing the relative effect of various approaches.
To avoid rework, aggravation, and exhaustion, create an implementation strategy for major changes before writing the majority of the code:)
Everyone is welcome to submit and debate ideas, however, the Drupal core product managers are in charge of the ideas project:
Reasons to keep it going
Recently, Joseph Olstad reignited conversation on an idea from late 2021 where he posed the idea that Drupal 7 End of Life be suspended and the version continues to live on.
Drupal 7 has a much higher adoption rate than Drupal 8 and Drupal 9 combined. (Granted, Drupal 9 has not yet been around for even two years yet).
Drupal.org itself still runs on Drupal 7, thus there's a case to be made for community support of Drupal 7 to guarantee Drupal.org gets the best support possible.
There is no reason why Drupal 7 and Drupal 9 or even Drupal 10 cannot co-exist.
There’s an opportunity to utilise Drupal 7's strengths, and potentially create ways to increase Drupal's market share by utilising Drupal 7's capabilities and reliable API.
Jacques Blier added that on all existing Drupal sites, Drupal 7 still has the most market share. It should be supported indefinitely until Drupal 7 or below is used by less than 10% of Drupal sites. Maintaining the current EOL will be detrimental to the Drupal community, since many Drupal 7 sites will be side-graded to other CMS or platforms rather than being updated to Drupal 9 or 10.
Instead of Drupal 7's End of Life - keep it and rebrand as “Drupal Classic”
Joseph suggested that a rename could help differentiate the product. He proposed that an update to policies to allow or disallow the development of Drupal classic in various ways might be an idea. To create a product strategy, identify the strengths of Drupal Classic, and expand on those strengths.
Agreement came from many users as “if it ain’t broke, why throw it away?”
However, opposers took the view that remarketing Drupal 7 as Drupal Classic would undermine Drupal 8 in terms of uptake, as well as confusing users.
Is extending the life of Drupal 7 an easy thing to do?
Chris McCafferty posed several important questions:
- Who would be responsible for maintaining the software indefinitely? Today, there is just a tiny group of committers; would they continue their work indefinitely?
- Who would analyse security fixes for backporting?
- What resources would be available to host the product and its documentation?
- What resources would be available to keep Drupal 7's testing infrastructure running indefinitely?
- How would Drupal 7 be made PHP 5 through 8, and beyond, compatible?
- How would Drupal 7 support future database engines in addition to the ones it already supports?
Reactions to the idea - Are we discrediting Backdrop CMS?
One Backdrop CMS founder, Nate Lampton, argued that Backdrop is fundamentally described by a bunch of these characteristics of a “Drupal Classic”. Backdrop has an alternate story in which Drupal did not embrace Symfony). It is still compatible with PHP 5.3, is quicker than Drupal 7, and includes all of its requirements in a single package (which are much fewer).
The one major drawback to all of this is that Backdrop is not 100 percent Drupal 7 compatible, which is a significant limitation. At the time, Drupal 8 development had already spanned more than four years, and this included multilingual modifications as well as the introduction of configuration management. Backdrop was formed right about the time Symfony was introduced.
Even yet, the transition from D7 to Backdrop is still far less difficult than the transition from D8 and onward. Backdrop is a long-term, alternative project that is not a stepping stone to Drupal 8 or 9.
While both Backdrop and Drupal are derived from the same origin, they serve distinct purposes. Backdrop is designed for smaller, more nimble sites, whilst Drupal is designed for bigger, more complex ones.
If the goal is to have a "Drupal Classic" that will be maintained and updated with new features, then Backdrop is the solution, yes.
If the goal is otherwise to provide ongoing support for existing Drupal 7 sites, then postponing Drupal 7 EOL would be an excellent reason to do so (or stick with Extended Support).
Should we postpone Drupal 7's End of Life?
There doesn't seem to be a definitive answer as to whether Drupal 7 End of Life should be postponed indefinitely. The conversation, however, is certainly interesting you can catch up on the full thread by following this link to Drupal.org.