GitHub had announced in 2019 about its plan to store all its open-source software in an Arctic vault as part of its Archive Program. The company says it has now finished the project with the aim of keeping the data safe for 1,000 years so that it can be accessed by future generations.
GitHub is home to the world’s largest community of developers and their projects, and it allows collaboration and sharing of code.
The archive has been stored in a decommissioned coal mine in Svalbard, Norway.
As part of the project, GitHub also joined hands with with Piql which wrote 21TB of repository data onto 186 reels of piqlFilm. These reels of film can be read by the computer as well as humans.
GitHub’s Director for Strategic Programs Julia Metcalf revealed in a blog post that the original idea was to have their own team fly down to Norway and oversee the open source code’s storage in the Arctic.
“Our original plan was for our team to fly to Norway and personally escort the world’s open source code to the Arctic, but as the world continues to endure a global pandemic, we had to adjust our plans. We stayed in close contact with our partners, waiting for the time when it was safe for them to travel to Svalbard. We’re happy to report that the code was successfully deposited in the Arctic Code Vault on July 8, 2020,” she said.
The code is now housed in a chamber deep inside hundreds of meters of permafrost.
In order to recognise the millions of developers across the world who contributed to the open source software now stored in the Arctic Code Vault, GitHub has designed the Arctic Code Vault Badge.
“Every reel of the archive includes a copy of the “Guide to the GitHub Code Vault” in five languages, written with input from GitHub’s community and available at the Archive Program’s own GitHub repository. In addition, the archive will include a separate human-readable reel which documents the technical history and cultural context of the archive’s contents. We call this the Tech Tree,” Metcalf wrote in the post.
The Tech Tree will consist primarily of existing works, selected to provide a detailed understanding of modern computing, open source and its applications, modern software development, popular programming languages, etc.
“Encapsulating the world’s cultural context and technical history is a challenging prospect, and we expect the Tech Tree to evolve and iterate over time. We will soon publish to the Archive Program’s GitHub repository a very initial draft list of works selected for the Tech Tree, along with, importantly, a request for community input. We look forward to incorporating ideas and suggestions from the GitHub community before the Tech Tree is added to the Arctic Code Vault, she added.