As I have been watching the rumors to see how explicitly the Obama Administration supports, promotes and uses open source software (I’ve posted on this thrice so far: 1, 2, 3.), naturally their choice to deploy Drupal for the Recovery.gov site is quite exciting!
Indeed, Recovery.gov is designed for transparency in multiple ways. First and foremost, its entire purpose is to make the details of federal government spending on the stimulus package visible to anyone and everyone, which should set a strong precedent of fiscal accountability that has been lacking for too long.
Second, to those geeks interested in infrastructure, the choice of running on an open source software stack is another vote on behalf of transparency. The software has a community of users and developers and has earned trust and respect through its open design and development process. This is subtle, but important, because it shows the depth of commitment to the ideal of transparency, when an organization chooses transparent, openly-designed tools because they are honestly committed to the concept.
More thoughts on the issue can be found at TechPresident in Why the White House’s Embrace of Drupal Matters. Author Nancy Scola also points out the well-known fact that open source software means no licensing fees were spent in implementing the software, further saving scarce dollars for other investments.