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GitHub wants code to survive the apocalypse in an Arctic vault

GitHub is taking no chances when it comes to protecting its code.

- 02:00

Microsoft's Project Silica will be one of the ways GitHub ensures its data is safe for the long haul. 


With concerns about climate change, politics and the general state of global affairs you could be justified if you thought end times were fast approaching. While no one knows what the future has in store, GitHub is taking no precautions and has teamed up with a host of organizations to make sure that regardless of what happens its open-source data will be safe. 

Called the GitHub Archive Program, the initiative will incorporate a host of technologies and locations to help ensure that GitHub's open-source code can survive long into the future. Using a method online archivists call "LOCKSS" (an acronym for "Lots Of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe") the company is putting its code onto multiple locations, including various internet archives, Oxford University's Bodleian Library and even in a vault in the Arctic that is designed to preserve the data for 1,000 years. 

The latter endeavor, known as the "Arctic World Archive," will see the company capture a snapshot of every active public repository, to be preserved in the GitHub Arctic Code Vault, which it will enter on February 2, 2020. 

GitHub says the data will be "stored on 3,500-foot film reels, provided and encoded by Piql, a Norwegian company that specializes in very-long-term data storage," adding that the film technology "relies on silver halides on polyester" which should give it a "lifespan of 500 years." 

The company says that "simulated aging tests indicate Piql's film will last twice as long," to allow for the data to survive a millennium. While "most of the data will be stored QR-encoded" GitHub says that a "human-readable index and guide will itemize the location of each repository and explain how to recover the data."

As if that wasn't enough, GitHub is also working Microsoft's Project Silica to "archive all active public repositories for over 10,000 years, by writing them into quartz glass platters using a femtosecond laser." Microsoft, which purchased GitHub last year for $7.5 billion, recently announced a completed concept test of the new glass data technology by storing a copy of the 1978 Superman movie with the tech

So those worried can now rest a little easier. In case of an apocalyptic event, we now can be assured that at least two things should be safe.