Drupal and the Obama White House

Drupal and the Obama White House

whitehouseExperienced webpreneurs recognize the power of the Drupal open source content management system to create interactive websites. The Obama administration clearly agrees, ditching the proprietary system previously used by the Bush Administration, and switching to Drupal. The goal of this change is to encourage stronger interactions between American citizens and the government executive branch.

While the updated Whitehouse.gov site may look much the same, the tools visitors use to engage White House officials and each other have been significantly improved. The revamped White House website went live on Saturday.

Dries Buytaert, the creator of Drupal is clearly pleased. He said, “This is a big day for Drupal, and for Open Source in government, and something all of us in the community should be very proud of.”

The former system used by the White House team was implemented by the George W. Bush administration. The proprietary, older technology couldn’t stand up to Obama’s plans for the site. New, innovative tools such as Drupal create the interactive environment Obama wants. White House website visitors will also appreciate their comments have more value and impact.

Along with improved public interaction, Drupal technology is faster to update and more secure. Open source means many people are looking at the underlying code so bug issues are fixed quickly. The result is a final product that works more effectively.

The open source concept fits in with the Obama pledge to create an open, transparent government. Buytaert continues, “I think Drupal is a perfect match for President Barack Obama’s push for an open and transparent government – Drupal provides a great mix of traditional Web content management features and social features and enable open communication and participation.”

Indeed, it’s a fundamental belief in the open source world that “nobody is as smart as everybody,” said Tom Rabon, executive vice president of corporate affairs at Red Hat and a member of the Open Source for America steering committee.

Other companies participating in the development of the new government site include Acquia, Phase 2 Technology, Terremark Federal Group, General Dynamic Information Technology and Akamai.

The free and open source (FOSS) community is pleased with this White House decision. Thomas Rabon, executive VP of corporate affairs at Red Hat and member of the Open Source for American steering committee, stated, “We are delighted with what the White House has done…this is way more than a first step…it’s a very, very significant step, because this is the White House.” Rabon says this Obama decision will “make it much easier and more palatable for other federal government agencies to use open source software.”

While webpreneurs are familiar with Drupal, many mainstream customers are not. Rabon feels Drupal and open source software will grow even faster now that the White House is using it. Not only will there be increasing acceptance by other government entities, consumers will recognize the power of Drupal. Rabon indicated, “There’s no question in my mind that when the public understands the value of using open source software, it will grow even faster.”

The Obama White House team has made great strides by using Drupal open source software. The updated White House website will be more functional and interactive to create a more meaningful experience for everyone involved. Drupal can do the same for any website, no matter how large or small.


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