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The Nation's Oldest Weekly Magazine Moves To Drupal


Take my love of web development, Drupal and politics. Now mix them into a story that I can't pass up. Today The Nation magazine, the oldest weekly published magazine in the U.S. has switched over to Drupal to power their web site. In a post the magazine did about the switch, they explain not only the power of Drupal, but also the power behind open source software:

Of all the many changes at, the one you won't readily detect is the technology underlying the new site - the open source content management platform "Drupal." With redesigns, readers naturally focus on the "front-end," (did the colors change? are there new features?) but the real innovations are often in the "back-end," the platform, or language, that runs the site. In this case, the "back end" is an important part of the story, as The Nation opted to use a technology that also makes a political statement.

"Open source" software code is published and made freely available to the public, enabling anyone to copy, modify and redistribute it without paying or earning royalties or fees. It’s like a song that a musician can sample or remix for free. This creates a community of global web programmers who can share and improve the platform. The idea is rooted in community: One person creates, another person improves, and the knowledge is widely shared. If he understood open source, Glenn Beck might well denounce it as a socialist practice.

Open source as a concept goes beyond software. Its political analogy, "open politics," reflects core values which The Nation has long advocated: government that is transparent, open and rooted in the public interest.

Applied to political organizing, co-founder of the Personal Democracy Forum and former Nation editor Micah Sifry summarized in a 2004 Nation article, "open source would mean opening up participation in planning and implementation to the community, letting competing actors evaluate the value of your plans and actions, being able to shift resources away from bad plans and bad planners and toward better ones, and expecting more of participants in return. It would mean moving away from egocentric organizations and toward network-centric organizing."


For sites like the Nation, a news site trying to embrace the new media, the decision to move to Drupal is a winner. Drupal's enormous community and thousands of modules makes it one of the best open source content management solutions on the web. Congratulations to The Nation for their big move and here's hoping to years of success with your new online partner.