White House adopts open-source code

White House officials say the open-source approach will make the site more secure, since the people building the software bake in security measures, correct errors and refine the programs along the way.
It's also cheaper than custom software programs designed specifically for one government office that isn't easily transferrable for another office's needs. Developers say open-source code also allows for greater innovation.


The White House went with Drupal, an open-source Web platform that's been used for other government projects, including Recovery.org. TechPresident wrote up more details about Drupal and how it's being used by the executive branch. I have to admit, it took a full day of wandering around DrupalCon, a conference dedicated to the programming language held in March, to get a decent understanding of how Drupal works.

And new media and Gov2.0 afficianados think the open-source model is indicative of the administration's desire to incorporate more ideas from citizens and the private sector.

As Nancy Scola of TechPresident wrote, "it's possible to see the White House's move to open-source software as a move towards the idea that collaborative programming can inspire -- or at least, support -- a more distributed politics....This idea, that a politics crafted by the people could be a powerful thing indeed, emerged in a slightly mutated way during the Obama presidential campaign, but has arguably receded below the surface during the first nine months of the Obama Administration."