Open Source Obama

Open Source Obama

Summary: The U.S. government isn't just using open source, it's creating it, and even the White House has gotten into the act.

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TOPICS: Open Source
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Every day, tens of thousands of developers from businesses, colleges, and homes contribute patches or new code to open-source programs. It's not every day though that the White House does it. That's exactly what happened last week when the White House's New Media Director Macon Phillips announced the White House's second code release to the open-source Drupal content management system (CMS).

Drupal, for those of you who don't know it, is an excellent CMS. According to a 2010 survey by Water & Stone, a digital marketing agency, "WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal dominate the marketshare (PDF Link) and brand strength ratings in the open source CMS market. The Big Three lead in almost every metric and we have seen little this year to indicate that their leadership is being challenged in the near term. "

It's easy to see why. While WordPress is great for blogging, and indeed it can be used for massive publishing platforms such as ZDNet, but you have to built onto WordPress to make it a full-scale CMS. While, starting with WordPress 3.x, the popular blogging program is becoming more and more like a complete CMS Drupal, along with Joomla!, work well for people who want a ready-go-platform for sophisticated CMSs.

That's one of the reasons why Obama's White House went with Drupal. Since then, the White House hasn't just used it. They've contributed to it.

Specifically, this is what the White House's IT staff have contributed back:

Today's code release constitutes a few modules we developed for ourselves, as well as a recognition of our sponsoring the development of modules widely used in the Drupal community, which improve the administration of our site in a variety of ways: file management, content presentation, and URL shortening are just a few examples.

For the code originating from within the White House, we wanted to improve the functionality offered by a popular file manager, IMCE, so we developed a module called IMCE tools, which has three major functions:

First, IMCE Directory Manager provides an interface for specifying which directories a user can access via the IMCE module. It is useful when you have users which have the same user roles but need to be confined to directories which cannot be derived from user data.

Second, IMCE Search allows for searching for files in the IMCE interface which helps identify the location of uploaded files.

Third, IMCE File Path easily presents the URL of a file, facilitating sharing it as a link.

We also recognize that there are really good projects already embedded in the Drupal community and reached out to help support their development. Several of these are used in the collaboration software suite, Open Atrium: Features, Spaces, Boxes, Context, StrongArm, and Admin. We also supported the development of an auto-tagging module, Calais; a bulk file uploading utility, IMCE SWFupload, as well as the module that powers our shortened wh.gov domain, shortURL.

This isn't the first time that the White House has contributed code to Drupal. Last April, the Feds also submitted improvements to Drupal's scalability, communication, and accessibility functionality.

Over the last few years, the U.S. federal government has become more receptive to open source, thanks in no small parts to both open-source's own innate virtues of low cost and high quality and the efforts of organizations like the Open Source Software Institute and Open Source for America.

You shouldn't think though that the U.S. government moving to using and working on open source is a new development. It's not.

The U.S. government was using and creating open-source and free software before either term even existed. For example, NASA's COSMIC software collection and VistA, the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) electronic health records (EHR), which is now used in open-source EHR systems such as WorldVista and OpenVista, date back to the 60s and 70s. By embracing open source, Obama is returning to free software's government roots.

Topic: Open Source

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25 comments
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  • ok there are truck load of maniac

    that will be screaming and kicking that obama this obama that .... the world is gonna end .....

    where are those chip and beer the evening will be great watching the blood bath
    Quebec-french
    • What? What did anything you just say

      @Quebec-french
      pertain to this article?
      AllKnowingAllSeeing
      • RE: Open Source Obama

        @AllKnowingAllSeeing
        LOL - he doesn't pertain to anything. But he is damn funny to read.
        ItsTheBottomLine
      • RE: Open Source Obama

        @AllKnowingAllSeeing

        Great grammar there, Pliney.
        SpikeyMike
      • spikey Mike. Grammar?

        He was probably attempting to write it with the lack of grammar that Quebec-French might be able to recognize.
        xuniL_z
      • great at least i make you laugh

        @AllKnowingAllSeeing <br>compare to other its a bonus have a nice day
        Quebec-french
    • Frenchy

      @Quebec-french who cares?

      And when did zdnet hire sjvn? Please try and tell me this guy doesn't perpetually look like he's on the 3rd day of a crack binge.
      xuniL_z
      • who svjn or obama who,s on third

        @xuniL_z
        Personally since SJVN is filling the shoe's of dana blankentorn ... the place have been a bit less interesting but still Dana shoe were kind a huge too fill ......

        as for who care its news everybody is entitles to is opinion ( damn i just said that .... quick a beer something fast im actually saying that everybody is intelligent enough to have a intelligent comment on something .... i must have fever or im sick or im getting sober quick alcohol fix haaa much better )
        Quebec-french
      • Frenchy......

        First of all, it's no secret that you are a lush. You can go pull a Jim Morrison or a Bon Scott for all I'm concerned... <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/wink.gif" alt="wink"> <br><br>But me saying "who cares" was just MY opinion about what you posted. As you, i'm allowed to post my opinion and that was it. <br><br>Dana Blankenhorn was indeed one of the main ABMers of the zdnet lineup and you'd think sjvn would take over that role perfectly, he's made his career out of ABM propoganda. Sounds like zdnet has asked him to tone it down and try to sound a little bit non-biased but that is impossible for sjvn, just like it was for Blankenhorn.
        xuniL_z
      • ComputerWorld threw him off, articles here are better controlled

        @xuniL_z
        His posts were so spiteful and inaccurate that CW tossed him aside. Be glad that ZD has some editors that seem to keep him in check. Articles here are much more reasonable than the CW days. You may not agree (personally believe anything politicians do is a waste of time and my money) is worthless. Just 'cause WH released a couple modules is immaterial in the grand scheme of things.
        Cynical99
      • Jim Morrison or Mr scott are model that i look foward

        @xuniL_z
        but been a lush its great , been on booze all the time prevent me from seeing all the majority of endless sea of moron and idiot that exist out there .... think about it 2 sec ... when you realize how much idiot are out there in all walk of life .... it the best way to prevent madness or worst genocide .... If Hitler ,stalin,and many other madman had been lusher imagine all the trouble we would have miss..... think about it lushing is the way to go.

        If kissinger had been a lusher Allende would still be alive. think about all the live who whould have been save man .... come on drink with me
        Quebec-french
      • Cynical99

        I agree with you. I said it appears zdnet has asked him to tone it down...which was my way of saying the editors are keeping him in check.
        I agree he was worse before coming here, for sure. That's the basis for my opinion of him.
        I'm not sure that is the part you were saying I may not agree or not. You lost me a bit in one part of your post:

        <i> You may not agree (personally believe anything politicians do is a waste of time and my money) is worthless. </i>
        I'm not sure exactly what you meant with this..did you leave a word out or something. I mean that in a good way, not nit picking. I just am not sure.
        xuniL_z
      • Q-Frenchy......

        You know Hitler had his own personal pharmacist or doctor, right? Sort of like Michael Jackson...too bad he didn't OD him.
        But it was mind altering substances, of which alcohol is certainly part of, that made Hitler as whacked as he was..he was taking such a wild cocktail of drugs every day he was never in touch with reality.
        I'm not sure about the others you named, I would guess they were drinkers since they came from regions where drink was very popular among the politicians and aristocracy.
        Besides, if you drink to block out the sea of morons..and have been drinking, how do you know anyone here is a moron or there are any moronic posts..if you are that wasted to erase it all?
        hmmm...somebody is full of something here....you better check your pants either way. If you are full of it, or if you really are drunk, you probably will find a mess.
        ha ha.
        I would drink with you, but I'm afraid you can't keep it in check.
        xuniL_z
      • poor Xunil_Z so much stress

        @xuniL_z<br>You have no sense of irony, no love for the debate .... the typical anglo-saxon win win win ...... <br>if there 1 thing im full off its laughter it a freccking blog nothing will come out of it , its here to debate have some fun and wind-up at someone expense .... if you have not learn that its neither your naive or very young at blogging .<br><br>zdnet make money at our expense there no life and death situation here only personal value and concept exchange.<br><br>and yes there tons of moron and idiot who goes crazy like mad dog over a blog ..... a blog...... <br><br>and yes come drink with me ill keep the check dont worry

        why so serious
        Its not like it the end of the world , its not like we are at war .... smile have a cold one relax nothing matter anyways
        Quebec-french
      • Q-Frenchy......

        You know Hitler had his own personal pharmacist or doctor, right? Sort of like Michael Jackson...too bad he didn't OD him.
        But it was mind altering substances, of which alcohol is certainly part of, that made Hitler as whacked as he was..he was taking such a wild cocktail of drugs every day he was never in touch with reality.
        I'm not sure about the others you named, I would guess they were drinkers since they came from regions where drink was very popular among the politicians and aristocracy.
        Besides, if you drink to block out the sea of morons..and have been drinking, how do you know anyone here is a moron or there are any moronic posts..if you are that wasted to erase it all?
        hmmm...somebody is full of something here....you better check your pants either way. If you are full of it, or if you really are drunk, you probably will find a mess.
        ha ha.
        I would drink with you, but I'm afraid you can't keep it in check.
        xuniL_z
  • If Drupal is so excellent, then tell us what it is

    Ah, here you go:

    http://drupal.org/about

    I cannot believe this article is so opinionated compared to news articles (anyone remember ZDNet News back before like 2007 or so?).

    Well, I guess it's all about blogs and not technology news; nevertheless, some bloggers do tend to provide news, even if it's just opinions instead of facts. :)
    Grayson Peddie
    • RE: Open Source Obama

      @Grayson Peddie
      Right on. but blogs also count as opinions right whether they are biased or not.
      Ram U
  • RE: Open Source Obama

    Thanks Good content Blog. :)
    <a href="http://www.solangul.com/" title="SOlangul forum, solangul forumlar?" rel="external nofollow">Solangul forum</a>
    sehmuss
  • RE: Open Source Obama

    Remember Obama put out a research inquiry about open source during his very first week in office. What surprises me is that there has not been a public national launch yet!
    linuxperson
  • RE: Open Source Obama

    This is great news...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TB50-dgcDc0&hd=1
    dawleylad