OK, now that I’ve got your attention…
At 12:01pm on January 20, the whitehouse.gov Web site got turned over to the Obama administration. The old site was swept away into the loving care of the National Archives, along with the rest of the Bush/Cheney documents — with the possible exception of the torture docs that I suspect VP Cheney threw his back out moving a few days earlier.
After every inauguration, White House operations start afresh. This is why the W-less keyboard meme from 2000 was so powerful; it was, in fact, possible — even if it isn’t true. But all files, all computers, all phone programming — all of it — gets zero-ed out at noon on January 20th. That may be one reason that the White House has been having such terrible trouble with e-mail this week.
But even though an inauguration is a transfer of power, it isn’t The Great American Reboot. Government continues. People continue to need services. It’s not like a new company taking over vacant office space. It’s more like getting a new CEO. The new boss may eventually want his own equipment in there — and some it may be open source — but it’s wasteful and bad IT practice to crash an upgrade on your way in the door.