[ TL;DR: you can now donate to support our work! ]
Software is at the heart of our digital society and embodies a growing part of our scientific, technical and organisational knowledge, to the point that we can say it is now part of our cultural heritage. The Software Heritage project’s stated mission is to ensure that this precious body of knowledge will be preserved over time and made available to all.
We do this for multiple reasons. To preserve the scientific and technological knowledge embedded in software source code, that is a precious part of our heritage. To allow better software development and reuse for society and industry, by building the largest and open software knowledge database, enabling the development of a broad range of value added applications. To foster better science, by assembling the largest curated archive for software research, and building the infrastructure for preserving and sharing research software.
We do this now, because we are at a turning point: on one side, the founding fathers of computer technology are still around, and willing to contribute their knowledge, but only for a limited time. On the other side, we seem to be at increasing risk of massive loss of source code developed by the Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) community, in particular due to code hosting sites that shut down when their popularity decreases.
The ambitious goal of the Software Heritage project is to address these risks, by collecting, preserving, and sharing all available software in source code form. Together with its complete development history. Forever.
We have already archived over four billions unique source code files and over one billion unique commits, spanning more than 80 million projects from major software development hubs, GNU/Linux distributions, and upstream software collections. This great start shows that we can succeed in the long run, if all stakeholders, from individuals to companies, from public to private entities, contribute actively to this mission.
A few major sponsors have supported our mission already. Today we are delighted to answer a frequently asked question, and announce that we now accept donations online. Yes, this means that everybody can contribute to this great mission: big or small, all donations help us make progress faster and they show your support to preserving the Software Heritage of mankind.