The archive program of the code host GitHub has stored the code from 130 million open source repositories on microfilms in the Arctic Spitsbergen. The aim of the program is to keep code for future generations. On July 8, 2020, the microfilms were now stored in the GitHub Arctic Code Vault on Spitsbergen.
The program GitHub announced at its developer conference Universe in late 2019. The project team members actually wanted to deliver the films themselves, but the corona pandemic had prevented that.
Code instead of coal
On February 2, 2020, GitHub took a snapshot of all active GitHub repositories. Repositories that have had at least one commit and one star between February 3, 2019 and February 2, 2020 are considered active. The resulting 21 TByte data was then copied by the Piql company in Drammen, Norway to 186 microfilms. The films were then transported from Norway to the island of Spitsbergen. There they are now in an old coal mine that goes from Piql to Arctic World Archive was rebuilt in permafrost.
It’s no coincidence that Spitsbergen was chosen. There is also the worldwide seed vault, the largest of 1,400 seed stores in the world. Its purpose is to ensure that the seeds of important crops and food plants are not lost. You have to see whether the choice is really good, because the seed safe is already struggling with water ingress due to climate change.
They are partners of the program Internet archivessponsored by UNESCO Heritage Foundation software as well as Microsoft’s Project Silica. The latter is said to develop a storage medium that will last for 10,000 years.
Badges and instructions
Anyone who contributed to the archived repositories will receive the Arctic Code Vault Contributor Badge. It appears as a highlight on the GitHub profile page and shows all open source projects that the person has worked on.
The roles still have human-readable instructions for decoding the digitized data. This “Guide to the GitHub Code Vault” is written in five languages and is also available on GitHub. There is also information about contemporary software development, open source, programming languages and computer technology.