Acquia, the company that tries to make money from open source “social publishing service” Drupal, announced several additions today to the services it offers for websites built using Drupal.

A rich community has grown up around Drupal (which can be used to build everything from a blog to a social network to a wiki), creating new modules that enrich the system. It powers some high-profile websites, including the recent addition of, the site for tracking President Barack obama’s economic stimulus plan.

Most significant among the new features is the fact that Acquia now offers to host websites in the Internet cloud. That’s not a hugely innovative idea, but it does mean that any company wanting to build a Drupal website can treat Acquia as the “one-stop shop” for getting that site up-and-running. The Andover, Mass.-based company is also adding a search feature (based on the open-source search platform Solr) which can be plugged into any Drupal site. Acquia Search is available for free to any Acquia customer, and once the beta testing period ends, different levels of search will be incorporated into the company’s pricing plans.

Acquia is also making it easier to give Drupal a try by adding Drupal stack installers. Previously, developers had to install a LAMP stack (a bundle of software needed to run a web site or service) on their own before they could install Drupal. Now they can just use Acquia’s install program to set up the entire Drupal stack.

Acquia’s Bryan House says the company plans to continue making Drupal more accessible and usable. There’s a project in development code-named “Acquia Gardens” that should provide an interface allowing users, not just tech-savvy developers, to build Drupal websites

Since launching in the fall, Acquia has signed up more then 30 customers, including Adobe and Florida Hospital.
The company raised $7 million at the end of 2007. It also just announced that it has a new chief executive — Tom Erickson, who is also chairman of the Acquia’s board of directors