[FSFE PR][FR] Software Heritage initiative to create an archive of Free Software code

press at fsfeurope.org press at fsfeurope.org
Thu Jun 30 17:10:12 CEST 2016

 = Software Heritage initiative to create an archive of Free Software code =

[ Version en ligne: https://fsfe.org/news/2016/news-20160629-01.fr.html ]

The Free Software Foundation Europe supports the creation of the
Software Heritage initiative, a platform for the distribution,
advancement, and, especially, long-term preservation and archiving of
Free Software code. The Software Heritage initiative collects and
collates vast amounts of free licensed code to protect it for future

The importance of software in the modern world cannot be overstated.
Software is at the crux of all contemporary technological development
and has become essential for all areas of scientific research. Software
plays a pivotal role in our daily lives, our industries and our society.
Software has become the reflection of our technological, scientific and
cultural progress.

However, software is prone to disappear, either because it stops being
profitable, or projects get cancelled, or the code is deemed obsolete
and gets erased, or is left to fade on storage that physically degrades
over time.

The Software Heritage[1] initiative is created and funded by Inria[2].
It collects programs, applications and snippets of code distributed
under free licenses from a wide variety of active and defunct sources,
its aim being to protect code from sinking into oblivion. The
distributed and redundant back-end hardens the system against a
potentially disastrous losses of data and guarantees its availability
for users.

Users can check if a certain file exists within the system and propose
new sources the Software Heritage engine can explore in search of more
code to store. Soon users will also be able to find out where the code
originated from using the Provenance information feature, browse the
stored code, run full-text searches on all files, and download the

The Heritage stores only Free Software, in other words, software that
can be used, studied, adapted and shared freely with others; and this is
because the Software Heritage initiative relies on being able to share
the software it stores. The Software Heritage website is designed to be
a useful tool for professionals, scientists, educators and end-users.
Users must be allowed to re-use the code in other products, cutting
development time and costs; engineers should be able to discover how
others solved certain problems; or compare the efficiency of different
solutions to the same problem. And, of course, researchers must have
explicit permission to study the evolution of code over time. This is
only possible if the code is distributed under a Free and Open Source

Matthias Kirschner, President of the Free Software Foundation Europe,
says: "Software is the most important cultural technology of today's
society; it frames what we can and what we cannot do. Software shapes
our communication and culture, our economy, education and research, as
well as politics. It is important to preserve our collective knowledge
about how software has influenced humankind. Collecting source code
makes Software Heritage a valuable resource to understand how our
society worked at any given time, and to build upon knowledge from
humankind."  The Software Heritage intiative ensures today's code will
be around for everybody in the future.

 === About Inria ===

Inria[3], the French National Institute for computer science and applied
mathematics, promotes "scientific excellence for technology transfer and
society". Graduates from the world's top universities, Inria's 2,700
employees rise to the challenges of digital sciences. With this open,
agile model, Inria is able to explore original approaches with its
partners in industry and academia and provide an efficient response to
the multidisciplinary and application challenges of the digital
transformation. Inria transfers expertise and research results to
companies (startups, SMEs and major groups) in fields as diverse as
healthcare, transport, energy, communications, security and privacy
protection, smart cities and the factory of the future.

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 1. https://www.softwareheritage.org/
 2. http://www.inria.fr/en/
 3. http://www.inria.fr/en/

  == About the Free Software Foundation Europe ==

  The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a non-profit
  non-governmental organisation active in many European countries and
  involved in many global activities. Access to software determines
  participation in a digital society. To secure equal participation in
  the information age, as well as freedom of competition, the Free
  Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) pursues and is dedicated to the
  furthering of Free Software, defined by the freedoms to use, study,
  modify and copy. Founded in 2001, creating awareness for these issues,
  securing Free Software politically and legally, and giving people
  Freedom by supporting development of Free Software are central issues
  of the FSFE.


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