Whitehouse.gov Goes Drupal

Whitehouse.gov started using the Drupal as its software. This was a big win for the Freee/Open Source Software (FOSS) movement, because the tradition has been for larger organizations to pay a lot of money for customized software.

Drupal is free. It's not only cost-free, but also uses a software license (a contract) that gives users rights to acquire the source code.

The source code is what people write to instruct the computer to do whatever it is they do. When you buy software, they don't include the software; Open Source software does, giving the users power. With Drupal, the point is moot, because the software is distributed in source code form, but, the it's the principle of the thing.

It's somewhat like a "public option". It's really more progressive than that - it's a different way to produce software for the public good.

Save Our Community's website has been using Drupal software for most of its history.

That's cool. I'm not

That's cool. I'm not entirely clear on all the specifics, but obviously if the government can operate the many websites it operates without needing to pay for software, that's a good thing.

Well, they still pay for the

Well, they still pay for the consultants to set the software up and whatnot.

The main difference is that with widely distributed open source software like Drupal, there are thousands of people who have at least a modicum of ability to alter the software to perform new functions.

That potentially helps stabilize the labor market for Drupal consultants, and helps lower the cost. On the flipside, it also creates opportunity for specialized consultants to add value. The net effect is that there's a diversity of Drupal vendors many competing on both price and service, some are specialists who charge more, and probably deliver more value.

Also, what happens is that a kind of "guild" forms around the software, and the people at the center tend to have access to the best Drupal contract jobs.

As Drupal gets more popular, it becomes much harder for competitors to enter the market.