GitHub preserves open source code in the Arctic (just in case …)


GitHub has completed its mission to preserve all open source code for the repository in the Arctic.

The code hosting platform first announced the initiative last year as part of its archiving program. The whole coronavirus issue has delayed GitHub’s plans a bit, but the company has now confirmed that the code was successfully filed on July 8.

A snapshot of all active public repositories was taken on February 2, 2020 for deposit in the frozen safe.

To ensure the archive can survive a global power outage, GitHub has partnered with Piql who has spent the last few months putting 21TB of repo data on 186 reels of their “piqlFilm”.

piqlFilm is a fusion of new and old technology that allows data to be stored on digital photosensitive archival film that can be read by a computer, or even just by someone with a magnifying glass.

GitHub had originally planned to fly to Norway and accompany the code to its resting place. COVID-19 then happened, and instead, GitHub kept in touch with its partners while waiting for a time when they could travel safely to Svalbard.

Svalbard reopened to visitors from European countries on July 15. The 186 reels of code landed in Longyearbyen from Oslo Airport and made their way to a disused coal mine. At the bottom of a chamber inside hundreds of meters of permafrost; the code now resides pending.

To recognize developers whose code is now archived in the Fortress of Solitude room, GitHub designed the Arctic Code Vault badge. The badge that is displayed in the highlights section of a developer’s profile.

I’m sure most would agree that 2020 has been somewhat apocalyptic so far, so it’s heartwarming to know that an archive of some of humanity’s best accomplishments should be preserved … just in case.

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Key words: archive, arctic, code, encoding, featured, github, open source, piql, safe


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