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24 August 2012, 10:57

The White House open sources its petition platform

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The US government has open sourced the White House's petition platform We the People. The government hopes to share the benefits of the platform and also to improve it through collaboration with third party developers. The platform, like the rest of the web site, is based on the open source Drupal content management system.

Improvements that the government hopes to see through collaboration include giving the application a dedicated mobile interface and social media integration with sites such as Facebook and Twitter. A stated goal is to enable users to not only share petitions on social networks but also allow them to sign them without leaving the third-party sites. The White House developers also have ideas for an API that could be implemented with the help of third-party contributors, which would make sharing and signing of partitions on other pages even more widespread. More information on other planned features is available in the README file of the project.

With the release of the source code to We the People, the Obama administration is fulfilling a promise to that effect which was given last year. An explicit goal of the project is to enable other governments to use the application as part of open government initiatives.

The source code for the We the People platform is downloadable from the White House's GitHub repository along with installation instructions. The system requires Drupal 7, MySQL 5, PHP and MongoDB to run. Although US government works are not protected under US copyright law, the software is licensed under the GPLv2.


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