Whitehouse.gov using Drupal

Big, exciting news! The flag ship website of the U.S. government, Whitehouse.gov, just relaunched on Drupal. 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.

Whitehouse gov

First of all, 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 that enable open communication and participation. This combination is what we refer to as social publishing and is why so many people use Drupal. Furthermore, I think Drupal is a great fit in terms of President Barack Obama's desire to reduce cost and to act quickly. Drupal's flexibility and modularity enables organizations to build sites quickly at lower cost than most other systems. In other words, Drupal is a great match for the U.S. government.

Second, this is a clear sign that governments realize that Open Source does not pose additional risks compared to proprietary software, and furthermore, that by moving away from proprietary software, they are not being locked into a particular technology, and that they can benefit from the innovation that is the result of thousands of developers collaborating on Drupal. It takes time to understand these things and to bring this change, so I congratulate the Obama administration for taking such an important leadership role in considering Open Source solutions.

Being one of the world's largest consumers of computer software, the U.S. government is not new to Drupal. Several agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Education, and the General Service Administration have been using Drupal, for example. Drupal adoption is growing rapidly within the U.S. government. However, Whitehouse.gov switching to Drupal goes above and beyond any other Drupal installation within the U.S. government, and is a fantastic testament for Drupal and Open Source. It will raise awareness about Drupal across the U.S. government, and across all governments world-wide.

Personally, I'm thrilled by the idea that Drupal can help governments provide greater transparency, higher velocity, and more flexibility.

Disclosure: my company Acquia was involved in the development of Whitehouse.gov in partnership with General Dynamics Information Technology, Phase2 Technology, Akamai, and Terremark Federal Group. Additional details can be found in this TechPresident post (PDF version).

Comments

Rick Hood (not verified):

Wow this is huge! Though maybe not unexpected; Obama's a smart guy. ;-) Congrats to you Dries and the Drupal community!

Jo Wouters (not verified):

Do you have knowledge of a technical writeup of this Drupal installation ?
I'm very curious if the team was able to use standard Drupal, or needed to tweak some stuff in order to
- have the security level needed for this kind of high profile site
- support Akamai
- support commontags

btw funny how the keywords contain several spellings of the presidents name "Barck, Barek, Barak, Barrack, Barrak, Obma"

ximo (not verified):

This is huge! Congratulations to the Government for an excellent choice, and to the Drupal community and all companies involved for this shiny feather in the cap :)

Kerre (not verified):

Wow, this will be "the next dimension" in Drupal! Open Source gives new eyes in the IT landscape of today. The Open Source market grows grows grows :-)

Jim T (not verified):

Congrats to Dries and the Drupal Community!!!

This is truly awesome news! Dries must be extremely proud. This coupled with the fact that even Microsoft is scrambling to be a provider of Drupal means that David has met and severely beaten Goliath!

Nathan DeGruchy (not verified):

Congratulations! Drupal is one of my favorite pieces of software, one of the ones I am able to point and show people how awesome and successful it is. Great job, guys! Keep up the good work!

Mark Ring (not verified):

this must be the best moment of your life!
kudos to everyone who was instrumental in the development of drupal, as it's a beginning of something bigger (abolishment of software patents, anyone?)

sirkitree (not verified):

Wow Dries! This is not only a huge win for Drupal and Open Source in general, but it must feel very awesome indeed to you personally! I can only imagine coming up with something, having it grow beyond myself, and a government taking notice. Truly amazing, heroic even! Congratulations, everyone.

chx (not verified):

There are no words to express my feelings today.

Anonymous (not verified):

Obama looks very happy with Drupal on the photo :D

larowlan (not verified):

Congratulations, this truly made my day!

Stijn (not verified):

Just read about it on O'Reilly. Congratulations to Dries and everyone involved in the Drupal community. This is excellent news and great exposure for Drupal.

StingReay (not verified):

This is great. That's one down, One to go. *sigh* Now if only Canada would copy their neighbours to the south and make the switch too, their largely asp.net and static-html powered sites are slowly driving me insane!

cosmic (not verified):

Well, This is going to the top of my marketing materials.

Matthias (not verified):

Wo-how! That *is* great news! There's some serious backing here that could potentially drive open source and business.

Makes me proud to be part of the community! Thank you, Dries and all the other devs!

Anonymous (not verified):

It's ironic that an european created cms is running the whitehouse website.

Joris Dirks (not verified):

People in public administration and web 2.0 in The Netherlands are already using this excellent demonstration of both how mature and professional Drupal is, as well as showing how web 2.0 should be embedded in every major website.

Anonymous (not verified):

The previous site ran flawlessness since inauguration, and it was developed in .net, never was hacked and security was never breached. Let's see what happens with this after 10 months. By the way, the first site was the biggest launch in the history of the internet, and now the readership of the site is less than 1/20th of what it was.

Gabriel Radic (not verified):

My thoughts exactly. The great strength of Drupal is its extraordinary, resourceful community. It's also its weakness, as those contrib modules sure can backfire.

Nonetheless, I think this announcement will only help Drupal be even more successful ...and secure.

Mark Losey (not verified):

I have immediately forwarded this to all stakeholders in our company, ensuring they understand the extent to which Drupal and Open Source have become an established, stable platform for the enterprise. What bigger Enterprise is there than the US Gov.

This incident should justify many a web-guys decision making process within their organization.

Thanks for drupal, thanks for sharing.

UK Drupaler (not verified):

Be careful with this win Dries - if a conservative backlash happens against Obama, you have to be prepared for that.

I would suggest pushing Drupal into the GOP or independent political sector next - to keep things balanced - and to ensure the long term survival of Drupal as a brand. Being associated with a particular brand of politics is always a very dicey number in the long term.

That is not to denegrate what is a fantastic win for Drupal and open source in general.

( if only the UK government with their fixation on Microsoft would listen.. and their insane 20 Billion pounds sterling NHS database... )

Justin Flavin (not verified):

Funny thing about this government-open source stuff is that the inverse has happened in the UK, in terms of the "left-right" divide.

While in the US the Democrats have embraced it, over here in the UK, it's the Conservative Party - with governing Labour firmly in the proprietary Microsoft loving camp.

more here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8290181.stm

http://www.conservatives.com/News/News_stories/2009/01/Improving_IT_pro…

http://article.wn.com/view/2009/10/06/Obama_adviser_Richard_Thaler_join…

But in any case - whitehouse.gov is a HUGE win for Drupal. Well done Dries. And thanks for the efforts into getting this going - this will help the image of Drupal worldwide immensely. I doff my cap to you. What an enormous win.

Rich (not verified):

@George Moses - it actually looks like Drupal 5 judging from the version of jQuery that is aggregated with the JavaScript.

Usamah M. Ali (not verified):

I fear the drawbacks! In case you don't know, Recovery.gov actually switched back from using Drupal! Does anyone have info about what caused the move back to Microsoft's proprietary ASP, which seems to be the engine of the new website?

I think there should be some sort of official follow up by the Drupal community when such high-profile institutions decide to use (or drop) Drupal in order to overcome any difficulties or concerns.

Michael, Jamaica (not verified):

Congratulations! This is an huge endorsement of the power of the Drupal platform and open source. Great work guys keep it up.

DC watcher (not verified):

I think Recovery.gov dropping Drupal is more political.
I have couple of contacts in DC and I found that the recovery board folks wanted their chosen people to work on the recovery website instead of the whitehouse chosen contractor (I think its RCI systems).
This led to the project being given controversially to another contractor called Smarttronix (18 million for the website !).
Looks like these folks are into Microsoft side of things and they thought Sharepoint will be a better choice than drupal. :) .
The whole new site is based on the mapping technology borrowed from ESRI. There is nothing much to the site.

The funny thing is recovery board which should be all for cost cutting and money savings , ditched open source based Drupal to go for 18 million worth of share point site. I bet Nothing more crazy in these the downturn times!
I bet recovery.gov board is a bunch of stupid people with less knowledge on technology, or else they wouldn't have chosen sharepoint to drupal ignoring the bigger picture.

E-Fee (not verified):

Wow Dries, this is really great news!
I'm proud that I have decided to build all my future projects in Drupal, it's so much fun working with it.

Sonja (just remember Froscon and waiting for the barbecue ;-))

Kathy (not verified):

This is great news! It is a strong endorsement and will have an impact on the continued growth of Drupal. Congrats to everyone who worked on the project!

Henok (not verified):

That's a great news for Dries and the drupal community. Congrats! I am a webmaster and I haven't used drupal yet. But form now on I'm planning to develope my next projects using this amazing open source! Keep going Drupal!!

Alexis Bellido (not verified):

Congrats to Dries, the Acquia team and all the Drupal community.

I wonder what tech details from this setup can be shared. Is Whitehouse.gov considered a high traffic site? I mean, compared to drupal.org or any other well known sites based on Drupal.

Cheers everybody.

parisj13 (not verified):

Congrats! I am fairly new to Drupal, but have been immersing myself in it (podcasts during my 2-hour daily commute, safari books, and general playing with Drupal). I've been trying to get my co-workers to choose it over MOSS 2007 for the project we are working on, but have been getting dismissed. One comment made was "recovery.gov switched from drupal to SharePoint and we need to move in the direction that government is going". I'm excited for them to get in this morning so I can STRONGLY agree with them that we should follow government...right from the top!