Tuesday, 24 November 2009

White House goes Open Source

The White House launched a new version of its website on 24th October. While little has changed on the surface, the underlying technology is now powered by the open source Drupal content management system.

White House hosting history
The www.whitehouse.gov site was previously served by Microsoft IIS 6.0, but the new server software identifies itself as "White House". The new site continues to use Akamai's content delivery network for caching.

White House server headers

Drupal is the 6th largest PHP-based content management system in Netcraft's Web Server Survey, being found on more than 400,000 websites. Drupal's security will no doubt be put to the test in the coming weeks, as the White House website has always stood as an obvious target for hackers. Drupal's security team has a full disclosure policy of announcing security problems after they have been fixed, rather than withholding the information from its users.
Drupal's core security advisories are made public at http://drupal.org/security. Eight advisories have been published so far this year, which have included two highly critical file inclusion flaws which could have allowed remote attackers to execute code on Windows servers.

One of the things that Open Source software needs is high profile visibility. It isn't until people see it working that they will consider using it themselves.
I don't think that corporations like Microsoft will ever lose the majority market, but I think that as open source starts to take hold they will most certainly have to adjust their pricing to be able to compete.
Microsoft have lost two UK councils now who have migrated to Open Office because of the cost savings. The French government now gives USB keys with Open Office and other open source software to students. AOL have open source on all PC's, The Guardian saved so much money migrating to Open Office in December 2008 that they had a party with an open bar.

An open bar for journalists!

How much money do you have to have saved to be able to comfortably do that?

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