Github Has Deposited All of Its Open Source Code in the Arctic

The archive is built to last for a thousand years.
Loukia Papadopoulos

In a blog post on Github's site, Director for Strategic Programs Julia Metcalf revealed that the GitHub Archive Program was finally complete on July 8 after some delays due to the coronavirus. "Our mission is to preserve open-source software for future generations by storing your code in an archive built to last a thousand years," wrote Metcalf.


The project started back on February 2 when the firm took a snapshot of all active public repositories on GitHub to archive in the vault. Working with Piql, the company wrote 21TB of repository data to 186 reels of piqlFilm (digital photosensitive archival film).

Originally they planned to fly to Norway and personally escort the world’s open-source code to the Arctic but the global pandemic thwarted their plans. Instead, they had to wait till July 8 to deposit the code in the Arctic Code Vault. 

Metcalf went on to explain how the codes came to be in the Arctic vault. "Your code’s journey begins in Piql’s facility in Drammen, Norway where the boxes with 186 film reels were shipped to Oslo Airport and then loaded into the belly of the plane which provides passenger service to Svalbard," wrote the director.

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The code was then sent to Longyearbyen where a local logistics company took the boxes and placed them into a secure intermediate storage overnight. The next day, the boxes finally traveled to the decommissioned coal mine set in the mountain.

They were then stored in a chamber deep inside hundreds of meters of permafrost. This means the world’s open-source code will be preserved for over 1,000 years.

But that's not all. To recognize the millions of developers around the world that contributed to the open-source software, Github designed the Arctic Code Vault Badge. This badge is exhibited in the highlights section of a developer’s profile on GitHub. 

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