Permanently Important Information Systems
During the heyday of the Internet Boom, I started to chat with colleagues about the nobility of ‘permanently important information systems’ — anything less seemed unworthy of the energies of the gifted engineers and designers I had met. Digital media content and games seemed to attract a disproportionate amount of attention in those ‘convergence’ years. But my highest admiration was reserved for the builders of large-scale information systems. As we’ve grown comfortable with the Web, we’ve seen how software can enhance our most important institutions, making government more transparent and effective, engaging more people in the political process, and generally strengthening our democracy. Growing numbers of us are beginning to recognize the need for ‘permanent’ systems, with open data formats and no vendor lock-in.
But there are far more qualified commentators than I on this subject. Ted Leung of the OSAF makes some interesting remarks on a recent essay by Dan Bricklin on software that lasts 200 years. The sentiment is out there, among the key influencers.