Colleague Billy Sylvester has an interesting idea for RSS feeds and pings – patchcasting. It’s not quite as media-hip as podcasting, but could be a nice new part of the blogosphere on its own. The idea is to host a “feed portal” where software publishers of all kinds could host feeds chronicling releases of their software. When a new update ships, an new entry is added, and the appropriate ping is generated and sent out to the ping server.
The updated entry information would be nominally human-readable – version and descriptive information about the release would be useful to interested reader – but for the most part these feeds would best read and consumed by other machines. Users would be able to choose which software packages they want to monitor via patchcasting, and the operating system (eventually?) or a helper software agent would check for updates to the subscribed feeds, and react accordingly, depending on the policy set by the user. For critical OS updates from Microsoft with a valid trust assertion, say, new entries would be downloaded and installed automatically. For other packages, the pending patches, updates and upgrades would simply be presented for user action when the user checked in.