GitHub Preserves the World’s Open Source Code Deep in an Arctic Mountain, Digital News


With the rapid pace of technological advancement, it can be very difficult to keep up with everything. But sometimes someone slows down and asks: what if everything goes away?

GitHub announced that the GitHub Arctic Code Vault is now in production, an ambitious archive of all open source projects in its repository.

On February 2, GitHub took a snapshot of all active public repositories on GitHub to archive them to the vault. This also includes any repository with at least 250 stars, regardless of when their most recent activity occurred.

Additionally, it captured the repositories with all commits between November 13, 2019 and February 2, 2020, as well as anything that has at least one star and commits in the previous year.

Production of the Arctic Code Vault will take approximately two months. In the spring, they will travel to Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, to bury it in the World Arctic Archives.

The goal is to protect open source software for future generations – it is stored on silver halide film, where data is encoded in frames of 8.8 million pixels each and designed to last over 1 000 years old. In comparison, today’s hard drives and CDs last only a few decades.

The Arctic World Archive is a dedicated data preservation facility, located next to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which protects against accidental loss of diversity.

The records are located about 150m underground inside an abandoned coal mine in a mountain, and due to the surrounding climate and permafrost, the temperature in the vault will remain below freezing even in the event of power failure of the installation.

A guide is even included, with instructions on where each repository is located and how to retrieve the data. Maybe a future historian will use it. Or maybe aliens will stumble upon this remnant of our civilization and realize we weren’t just a bunch of apes.

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This article first appeared in Hardware Zone.


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