Whitehouse.gov Switches to Drupal

by on October 24, 2009 · 13 comments

There was some buzz earlier this year when the White House used the free, open-source Drupal content management platform for Recovery.gov. Now the administration’s marquee Web site Whitehouse.gov will be using it.

The AP story linked just above does a good job of recounting the benefits of open source in this application: chiefly, low cost and high security.

Arnold Kling wrote recently on the Library of Economics and Liberty blog relating the work Elinor Ostrom did to win the nobel prize in economics to how the Internet enables private provision of public goods—no regulation, little to no centralized authority at all.

Open source is nothing if not an example of that, and it’s good to see this use of open source joining many others across the big, beautiful Internet.

  • http://kitchen-aid-part.blogspot.com kitchen aid part

    The gov should realize what is the professional is it.

  • http://www.twitterthoughts.com RogerJH

    Agreed. It's encouraging to see this official endorsement of open source. Besides software, we are seeing more and more models of open source that are showing proprietary ownership of knowledge is not the only way to capitalize on knowledge. Imaginatively used open source (be it software or some other commodity) shows that the true wealth and value is in conceptualizing. This is the basis of the idea economy.

  • http://techliberation.com/author/berinszoka/ Berin Szoka

    So does this mean the Republicans will have to use WordPress just out of red team v. blue team spite?

  • mwendy

    Roger, it seems to me that while open source can be a good way to develop products and services – the latter (i.e., development of products and services), no matter how it occurs, is where true value lies. Conceptualizing – heck, we do that all day. Ideas, if one wants to base risk models on them, must result in other than the ether.

  • http://www.twitterthoughts.com RogerJH

    As I understand it, open source is an asset or commodity that can be used for free. I agree that value cannot be realized without development, but conceptualizing is the essential first step. Without that, you have nothing. If you consider how a country like the US or UK is going to compete with China or India, it is in the generation of ideas, and its concomitant value-add. Such ideas can then be developed (for lower cost), adding to value.

  • mwendy

    I think one cant conceptualize and develop in both models – open source and proprietary. We see it daily. I don't think open source has a monopoly on the conceptualization process. For some parts of the open source ecosystem, such as for GPL licenses,the model may have an edge on the proprietary model in that – where accessed through skilled technicians – one can see the underlying instructions / code. Thus, in terms of those who can plausibly access the instructions versus closed systems, the potential to conceptualize based on that access might be greater. Who knows. It seems impossible to make any generalization on this.

    Ideas also find generation through selfish, moral means. Private property – i.e., proprietary ownership and access – has proven to be one of the greatest wealth and public benefit generating forces man has ever seen.

  • mwendy

    Roger, it seems to me that while open source can be a good way to develop products and services – the latter (i.e., development of products and services), no matter how it occurs, is where true value lies. Conceptualizing – heck, we do that all day. Ideas, if one wants to base risk models on them, must result in other than the ether.

  • http://www.twitterthoughts.com RogerJH

    As I understand it, open source is an asset or commodity that can be used for free. I agree that value cannot be realized without development, but conceptualizing is the essential first step. Without that, you have nothing. If you consider how a country like the US or UK is going to compete with China or India, it is in the generation of ideas, and its concomitant value-add. Such ideas can then be developed (for lower cost), adding to value.

  • mwendy

    I think one can conceptualize and develop in both models – open source and proprietary. We see it daily. I don't think open source has a monopoly on the conceptualization process.

    That said, for some parts of the open source ecosystem – such as for GPL licenses – the model may have an edge on the proprietary model in that where accessed through skilled technicians, one can see the underlying instructions / code. Thus, in terms of those who can plausibly access the instructions versus closed systems, the potential to conceptualize based on that access might be greater.

    But, who knows?

    It seems impossible to make any generalizations on this. Ideas also find generation through selfish, moral means. Private property – i.e., proprietary ownership and access – has proven to be one of the greatest wealth and public benefit generating forces man has ever seen.

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