France’s Inria unveils open s…

France’s Inria unveils open source preservation project


Software Heritage archive starts with 2.6 million source files

France's national computer science institute, Inria, has unveiled its Software Heritage archive. The project aims to “collect, organise, preserve, and make accessible all the source code for all available software”.

From the site:

“We collect and preserve software in source code form, because software embodies our technical and scientific knowledge and humanity cannot afford the risk of losing it. Software is a precious part of our cultural heritage. We curate and make accessible all the software we collect, because only by sharing it can we guarantee its preservation in the very long term.”


screenshot from the archive website


“It is an ambitious initiative”, said the archive’s founder and CEO, Roberto Di Cosmo, professor of Computer Science at the Paris Diderot University. The project has been under preparation for a year.

The Software archive’s web site was officially unveiled on 30 June. It kicks off with “a significant amount of source code, possibly assembling the largest source code archive in the world.”


“The archive currently includes:

  • public, non-fork repositories from GitHub
  • source packages from the Debian distribution (as of August 2015, via the snapshot service)
  • tarball releases from the GNU project (as of August 2015).”

The project is gathering support and testimonials from many open source projects, free software advocacy groups, individual software developers, government bodies, computer science research institutes and ICT firms.

One of the sponsors is DANS, a Dutch computer science research institute. “Our partnership with Inria will concentrate on the fields of software preservation and software sustainability”, the organisation said in a statement.


More information:

Software Heritage archive
Software Heritage archive presentation at DebConf 2016
Statement by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE)

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