GitHub preserves open source code in the Arctic (just in case…)

Ryan Daws is a senior editor at TechForge Media, with a seasoned background spanning over a decade in tech journalism. His expertise lies in identifying the latest technological trends, dissecting complex topics, and weaving compelling narratives around the most cutting-edge developments. His articles and interviews with leading industry figures have gained him recognition as a key influencer by organisations such as Onalytica. Publications under his stewardship have since gained recognition from leading analyst houses like Forrester for their performance. Find him on X (@gadget_ry) or Mastodon (

GitHub has completed its mission to preserve all of the repository’s open source code in the Arctic.

The code-hosting platform first announced the initiative last year as part of its Archive Program. The whole coronavirus thing set GitHub’s plans back a bit, but the company has now confirmed that the code was successfully deposited on July 8th.

A snapshot of all active public repositories was taken on February 2nd, 2020 to deposit into the icy vault.

To ensure the archive could survive a global power outage, GitHub partnered with Piql which has spent the last few months putting 21TB worth of repo data onto 186 reels of its ‘piqlFilm’.

piqlFilm is a fusion of new and old technology which enables data to be stored on digital photosensitive archival film that can be read by a computer, or even just someone with a magnifying glass.

GitHub originally planned to fly to Norway and accompany the code to its resting place. COVID-19 then happened, and instead GitHub stayed in contact with its partners waiting for a time when they could safely travel to Svalbard.

Svalbard reopened to visitors from countries within Europe on July 15th. The 186 reels of code landed in Longyearbyen from Oslo Airport and made its way to a decommissioned coal mine. Down in a chamber deep inside hundreds of meters of permafrost; the code now resides in wait.

To recognise developers whose code is now archived in the Fortress of Solitude chamber, GitHub designed the Arctic Code Vault Badge. The badge which is shown in the highlights section of a developer’s profile.

I’m sure most would agree that 2020 has felt somewhat apocalyptic so far, so it’s some comfort to know that an archive of some of humanity’s better achievements should be preserved … just in case.

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