Software embodies a large part of the technical and scientific knowledge that lies at the heart of our modern societies, and free and open source software constitutes the bulk of it. Communications, finance, transport, energy, health, entertainment, education, research, and politics have all come to depend heavily on software, which is a precious, essential, intangible asset.
Software Heritage’s mission is to collect, organize, preserve, and share the source code of all publicly available software. Roberto Di Cosmo surveys the motivations behind the launch of Software Heritage, which has already archived more than 3 billion unique source code files and 650 million unique commits, spanning more than 25 million FOSS projects from major software development hubs.
Everybody can take part in this endeavor. Everybody should.
Roberto Di Cosmo is the director of IRILL, a research structure dedicated to free and open source software quality, as well as a full professor in computer science at Université Paris Diderot. He is currently on leave from Inria to lead the Software Heritage project. Previously, he taught for almost a decade at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris and successfully led the European research project Mancoosi. Roberto’s research interests span a wide spectrum from the semantics of programming languages, type systems, rewriting, and linear logic to functional programming and parallel and distributed programming. He currently focuses on new scientific problems posed by the general adoption of free software, with a particular focus on static analysis of large software collections. Roberto is a longtime free software advocate and has contributed to its adoption with the best-selling book Hijacking the World, seminars, articles, and software. He also created Systematic’s free software thematic group, which has helped fund over 40 research and development projects.
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