My Sunlight colleague, John Wonderlich, has a gift for finding interesting government web pages. This week he found the schedule of GPO’s data system upgrade. John notes, “we should be at least somewhat familiar with their plans.”
The page (excerpted in screenshot) may just be a release schedule, but release schedules are big deals in the software and hardware world. Release schedules for Vista, OS X, iPhone, and Wii are major new stories. Fortunes rise and fall around releases. Accordingly, massive coordination occurs between those releasing platforms and those offering products for those platforms. The goal? Launch with impressive benefits for end-users.
Government is increasingly viewable as a kind of operating system for democracy, markets, and civil society. It’s great to see GPO doing a very OS-like thing and announcing their upgrade schedule for their piece of GovOS 09.
Publishing release schedules would be a great thing for us at the Sunlight Foundation to do, too. In many areas we in the Open Government Data community function like the platform “vendors” for GovOS that we are. But we could do more. (So could governments.) We could start planning and coordinating around platform release schedules the same way software and game companies do for major hardware and operating systems upgrades. We could starting regularly scheduled conference calls discussing the next couple of years worth of GovOS Releases. We could, internally and as a community, start timing our own releases of products and services with related GovOS releases and upgrades and thereby provide impressive benefits to our end-users, American citizens.