GitHub, the world’s largest open-source software site, just had mounds of data stored in the permafrost chamber of an old coal mine deep in an Arctic mountain for 1,000 years

The old coal mine in Longyearbyen, Norway, where 21TB of GitHub data will be stored for more than 1,000 years. GitHub/Business Insider
  • GitHub just stored a full archive of all current public repository data in a frozen Norwegian mountain.
  • Dubbed the GitHub Arctic Code Vault, the project was designed “to preserve open-source software for future generations” for the next 1,000 years.
  • Similar to how you’d back up a disk drive, GitHub is archiving all of its code to date to ensure it remains secure.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Our successors 1,000 years into the future will be able to access data from what was the world’s largest network of open-source software at the start of the 21st century.

The GitHub team just had a full archive of all current public repositories safely tucked into a decommissioned coal mine in the Norwegian town of Longyearbyen on the archipelago of Svalbard.

Gitub arctic code vault
GitHub teamed up with data preservation company Piql to transfer the code onto film reels. GitHub

Named the GitHub Arctic Code Vault, the project was originally introduced in 2019 and was finally carried out in early July “to preserve open-source software for future generations by storing your code in an archive built to last a thousand years,” according to a company blog post on Thursday.

On February 2, GitHub took a snapshot of all active public repositories on the site. In computing speak, snapshot refers to a copy of a system captured at a particular point in time. So GitHub is archiving all of its code to-date, similar to how you’d back up a disk drive to ensure your files are more secure.

Github code arctic vault

According to the blog post, GitHub teamed up with Piql, a Norway-based computer services company that specialises in data preservation, to write 21TB (terabytes) of repository data onto 186 reels of digital photosensitive archival film. The boxes of film reels, emblazoned with GitHub’s Octocat logo, were then shipped to Longyearbyen, a town of more than 2,000 people.

The code was officially stashed not only inside the mine but even further inside a chamber “deep inside hundreds of meters of permafrost.”

The stored data will be near the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a large storage facility of a wide variety of plant seeds that was installed in 2008.