The Software Heritage project is now open to the public. Launched a year ago at the initiative of Inria, its aim is to collect, organize, preserve and make accessible to all the source code of all available software by creating a modern open-source "Alexandria library". A global challenge. To date, it has collected more than 20 million software projects, archived two and a half billion unique source files and their entire development history, making it already the richest source code archive on the planet.
« Ne decided to launch Software Heritage more than a year ago, and we proved its feasibility. In order to deploy it on a global scale, it is now time to open the project to the widest possible national and international contribution", explains Antoine Petit, CEO of Inria. This is why Inria is today launching a worldwide appeal to join this initiative and is opening the softwareheritage.org. Because the project is now well established.
A boost to the project
Now Inria wants to go further. To collect all the available source code, it needs contributors who point out the thousands of disparate sites in which the world's software heritage is now scattered. It is also looking for contributions from researchers in all disciplines. It also needs human, material and financial resources and partners, both French and international. It will also open up all the source code of its platform so that developers from all over the world can participate in the effort. A real acceleration of the project.
Software at the heart of technological development
Why this project? Everyone knows how important digital technology has become in our lives. And at its core, software. To exchange messages, pay bills, access entertainment, search for information, or plan trips, virtually all our daily actions depend on software run by computers. But this is only the tip of the iceberg: software controls the electronics in our cars and medical equipment, runs transportation and energy networks, banks and the administration of public and private organizations.
Software is at the heart of any technological development and has become indispensable for scientific research in all fields. It therefore plays a central and even critical role in our daily life, our industry and our society. To preserve this heritage and meet the technological and scientific challenges of tomorrow, Inria has sought to build a universal and perennial software archive today.
A great research tool for computer science
The Project Software Heritage has made this desire a reality. It aims to build both a modern "Alexandria library" of the software, the unique repository of the source code and a great research tool for Computer Science. This project, the Institute believes, will enable the preservation and dissemination of the knowledge now encoded in the software, and will increase our ability to access all digital information. In particular, the database will be based on a distributed infrastructure, so as to guarantee the robustness and availability of the data.
Software Heritage has already received support from scientists, industrialists, learned societies, foundations, independent organizations and institutions. At the same time, the first two international partners have already committed themselves to support the project and help it grow: Microsoft, and a public institution at the service of scientific research, the DANS of the Royal Academy of the Netherlands. With the opening to the public, a new stage has now begun.