SuttaCentral is preserved for 1,000 years in Github's arctic code vault

SuttaCentral has always embraced openness and sharing as core to our philosophy. Since 2012 we have hosted our source code on Github, the world’s largest repository of open-source code. There it is free for anyone to use. This has made it available for all kinds of cool things, such as SC Voice, epubs, books, and more. The philosophy of open source is sharing: together we are more. And it has some unexpected and very welcome benefits.

In 2020 Github partnered with Norwegian state-owned mining company Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani (SNSK) and very-long-term digital preservation provider Piql AS in the Arctic World Archive to create a snapshot of all significant public repos and preserve them. They are kept in a frozen abandoned mine in Svarbald, a glacial archipelago in the arctic circle administered by Norway.

SuttaCentral’s code was included in this. The Dhamma is there, frozen, waiting for future generations to rediscover it.


So cool! (pardon the pun).


I do wonder how readable it will be to the future civilization… and if they can read the data, will any future digital-archeologists even bother wading through the terabytes of JavaScript UI libraries to discover the little gems like SuttaCentral? :thinking: But it is still really awesome, and I guess you never know. Who thought we’d discover thousand-year-old manuscripts and decipher their weird alphabets and recover their ancient words?


I once read that we’ve been losing more information since the dawning of the digital age due to outdated information formats than we did in the pre-digital age. For example, imagine trying to get information from a floppy disk that is in some old proprietary format as opposed to a clay tablet that is hundreds of years old.


Both very valid concerns. And in a worst-case climate collapse scenario, 1,000 years is way too short. It’ll be thousands of years, maybe much longer, until the earth is a pleasant place to build a civilization.


Dharma Pearls in the archive, too. I remember when they sent a message telling me about it.


How on earth did I miss this extraordinary piece of news!

But another problem to consider: do they really believe that the future archeologists will be able to find it when all these school children are sploshing about in the mud looking for theirs? Here’s a warning story:

For the third time in six months, primary school in Western Australia has lost a piece of its history due to a missing time capsule.
In October last year, metal detectors and a 20-metre excavated trench were not enough to find a time capsule buried at Yarloop Primary, in the South West of WA and then in November, a 25 year-old capsule that was dug up at Balingup Primary School turned out to be empty.
Months later and staff at Amaroo Primary School in Collie have called upon members of the community to help them figure out where one, or perhaps two, time capsules are buried


Something about this task smells very automateable :smiley:
If the future folks can read digital data, then perhaps there’s hope that their AI could recognise patterns and separate religious content from the rest. And then maybe even separate religions based on content overlap. Who knows…

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