Thursday, October 6, 2016

Software Heritage Foundation

Back in 2009 I wrote:
who is to say that the corpus of open source is a less important cultural and historical artifact than, say, romance novels.
Back in 2013 I wrote:
Software, and in particular open source software is just as much a cultural production as books, music, movies, plays, TV, newspapers, maps and everything else that research libraries, and in particular the Library of Congress, collect and preserve so that future scholars can understand our society.
There are no legal obstacles to collecting and preserving open source code. Technically, doing so is much easier than general Web archiving. It seemed to me like a no-brainer, especially because almost all other digital preservation efforts depended upon the open source code no-one was preserving! I urged many national libraries to take this work on. They all thought someone else should do it, but none of the someones agreed.

Finally, a team under Roberto di Cosmo with initial support from INRIA has stepped into the breach. As you can see at their website they are already collecting a vast amount of code from open source repositories around the Internet.
softwareheritage.org statistics 06Oct16
They are in the process of setting up a foundation to support this work. Everyone should support this important essential work.

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