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.
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).