Building a Timeline of Open Source in the US Government

I spent the last couple days on this project, and it’s looking pretty good so I thought I’d give an early peek. Eventually, I’d like to throw this up on Open Source for America and integrate it with CivicCommons’ list of government open source projects. But, you know, baby steps. At the very bottom of the page, you can learn more about how this was created.

Anyway, this is a timeline of the major events, publications, and code releases in the history of the US Government’s adoption of open source. I think it’s interesting to see all the moments of open source lined up together. It gives a nice feel for the flow and momentum of the movement.

Of course, I don’t have all this information at my fingertips. I just added what I knew about already. If you see something missing, you can contribute to the list of events in the form below. Once I can review it for spam, it’ll show up on the timeline. Thanks for contributing!

{{Exhibit}} {{Footnotes}}

[I removed the embedded version because the alternate version is way better and full-screen.]

If you want to totally nerd out, check the colophon, which I wrote about the by-hand version I’d created on this page before I was turned on to the Datapress plugin.

6 thoughts on “Building a Timeline of Open Source in the US Government

  1. It’s nice to see you using our simile project timeline.  If you’d like an easier approach, try our datapress extension for wordpress: .  It lets you set the timeline up using a wizard dialog with no coding.  On top of that, by incorporation our exhibit tool ( it also lets you create maps, lists, and tile views, and facets for filtering the data on, for example, type of contribution.  It’s all served out of a google spreadsheet like you are doing now (or, you can upload your data to your wordpress installation).  You can embed the timeline as you did or, for more space, place it in a pop-up lightbox.

    One example site using datapress in production is here: .  Besides a “when was it started” timeline it also shows a map of locations and a table of detailed data. 


    1. Thanks for the suggestion, David!

      I loaded Datapress, but it seems to choke on the (presumably) well-formatted sheet here:

      Any suggestions? Where should I ask for help?

      Thanks again!


      1. It looks like our latest release may have a bug; we just got a similar report from someone else.  Will post an update in a couple days.


  2. Hi Gunnar,

    Thanks for trying out Datapress! 

    We think the Google Spreadsheet importer is choking on the colon in the spreadsheet name. On our copy of Datapress, the spreadsheet is imported, but the properties it finds in the spreadsheet are a bit odd, and some property names overlap with words in the spreadsheet title.

    As a quick test, could you try renaming the spreadsheet to something with only alphabetic characters? 

    Also, feel free to follow up with us at and I can help debug further.


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