Interesting article by Dan Bricklin: Software That Lasts 200 Years.
I will call this software that forms a basis on which society and individuals build and run their lives “Societal Infrastructure Software”. This is the software that keeps our societal records, controls and monitors our physical infrastructure (from traffic lights to generating plants), and directly provides necessary non-physical aspects of society such as connectivity.
We need to start thinking about software in a way more like how we think about building bridges, dams, and sewers. What we build must last for generations without total rebuilding. This requires new thinking and new ways of organizing development. This is especially important for governments of all sizes as well as for established, ongoing businesses and institutions.
In a nutshell, the article recommends some form of private-public parternship to develop infrastructural software in an open source manner with an eye toward long term utility rather than short-term profit.
I think the Open Source Applications Foundation might be a step in this direction.