Open Source Comes to the White House and Hopefully the Rest of Government

November 4, 2009

By now you’ve probably read the coverage received when it was revealed that it is built using Drupal, an open source content management system.

The White House is not the first to employ Drupal, nor will it be the last, but it does stand as an example to the rest of government. I’ve spent a great deal of time on government websites lately, and government website administrators would be wise to take their cue from the White House and institute change. Navigating, say, the Illinois CHIP website, is a real pain. It present information in a counter-intuitive, non-user-friendly manner, and is almost impossible to find anything, let alone know where you are on the site. Well, not impossible, but very cumbersome. It was actually easier to make a phone call for information than try to find anything on the site.

Perhaps other government agencies are taking notice, though. The Department of Labor website, for example, has gone through a design overhaul. It is much cleaner, and easier to find information. It provides a nice list of bulleted topics, FAQs, latest labor numbers and other rather useful information.

It’s good to see government agencies advancing into the 21st Century, and using open source software to do it. It is certainly a step in the right direction. Government is catching up with what many of already know: open source gets the job done.