Software Heritage: Inria archives the World Heritage of free software

Towards a global library of free software. © CC by 2.0 Germán Poo-Caamaño

20 million software projects and 2.5 billion source files (with all their development history). The French National Institute for computer science and applied mathematics (Inria) has collected a huge part of the free software memory within Software Heritage, that it has just put online. The objective of the project, started on the sly a year and a half ago, is to collect, organize, protect and allow access to the source code of all free software. On the new platform, anyone can now take part in one’s web development, add source files or free programs, or dig deep in codes to carry out one’s own tinkering.

Behind Software Heritage, Roberto Di Cosmo, Italian researcher at ENS and Paris Diderot university who proposed the project to Inria, gathered a team of scientists and engineers committed to the open source ecosphere. According to the French newspaper Usine digitale, Inria allocated an annual budget of €500,000 over three years.

Today, the database represents “20% of the free software available worldwide”, according to Roberto Di Cosmo. In order to collect the other 80%, the president of Inria Antoine Petit is appealing to scientists, manufacturers and contributors.

“We decided to launch Software Heritage more than a year ago and we have proven its feasibility. In order to spread it worldwide, it is now time to open the project to the largest contribution, national and international.”

Antoine Petit, Chief Executive Chairman of Inria

Already partners of Software Heritage, the Dutch public institution Dans (Data Archiving and Network Services) and… Microsoft: “We applaud the project Software Heritage as an open project that will contribute to organize and preserve knowledge in the form of source code for future generations”, says it managing director Jon Paoli.

Learn more about Software Heritage and contribute to its development

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