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Software Heritage, preserving software source code

CEA-List provides strategic support to the Software Heritage Foundation, a multi-stakeholder nonprofit that is building a universal software archive.

Published on 24 January 2023

​Losing software source code is like losing the first edition of a book. Software, undoubtedly among the most complex artifacts ever created by humankind, has been around for decades. Today, it represents a vast repository of knowledge spanning virtually all domains, from science and technology to culture and society. The Software Heritage Foundation was established in 2016 to conserve this knowledge. In 2021, CEA-List joined Inria and the initiative's nineteen other members, providing strategic support.

In terms of its sheer size, the Software Heritage database is unprecedented. It contains a complete history of each software application—not only the final release, but also any previous versions and variants. CEA-List utilizes its own resources in its activities for the Foundation, and is working with fellow member Inria on strategies to ensure that the initiative has a long future ahead of it as one of the "commons" of our digital world.

One of the actions spearheaded by CEA-List has been the implementation of dedicated infrastructures at CEA-List's premises to store and structure the software objects collected. The 2,000 TB ultra-fast memory will store Software Heritage's 13 billion source codes.

The goal of Software Heritage's knowledge conservation efforts is to support innovation and scientific excellence.

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