Monday, October 26, 2009

The White House Goes Open Source

Will future Presidents and President-ins have to be web-prescient and Internet savvy?

Ed Berridge writes, for the Inquirer:
The Whitehouse Website Goes Open Source.

Good Enough For Obama
The Website for the US President's mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, a Washington, DC address that had to be rebuilt after the British burned it during the War of 1812, has been converted to open source.

The White House website at '' has been switched to open source code in a bid to make the site more accessible. White House new media director Macon Phillips told the Associated Press that open source was state-of-the-art technology and the US government is a participant in it.

Although the website looks the same, apparently the back-end is totally different and the existence of a large open source software community developing and supporting the code makes it more secure. The changes to the website mean that the Administration can use more tools and interact better with the public.

While the software used for the website framework, called Drupal, is one of several web software schemes that are widely used and is not particularly unusual, the fact that the normally paranoid US government has shifted such a high-profile website to open source is a coup for free-as-in-freedom software advocates. After all, if it is considered secure enough for the first website likely to be attacked in any international cyber war, it is probably good enough for ordinary business.