Augmenting Software Heritage archiving capabilities


Paris, Tuesday, March 24th 2020 — Two ambitious French companies, Octobus and Tweag, will contribute new key open source components to Software Heritage, a non profit initiative started by Inria, in collaboration with UNESCO.

Software Heritage’s mission is to collect, preserve and share all software that is publicly available in source code form, which is an important part of humankind’s heritage. “We are delighted to welcome Octobus and Tweag, with support from an European grant managed by NLNet, as contributors to Software Heritage’s long term mission”, said Roberto Di Cosmo, director of Software Heritage, “Building the universal archive of software source code is a humbling undertaking, and the participation of leading experts to our development effort is of paramount importance to succeed”.

Octobus will develop specialised connectors that allow to efficiently archive software developed using the Mercurial version control system. "We are happy to put ten years of Mercurial expertise at the service of a great mission. We will improve Software Heritage capability to import Mercurial repositories, and the experience gained in this process will allow us, Mercurial developers, to better understand our user base." said Pierre-Yves David, CEO of Octobus, "Working with Software Heritage to refine their data model is a great opportunity to learn more about the other systems and to find new way to make Mercurial an even better version control system”.

Tweag will develop the components needed to ensure that the source code used to build packages using the Nix functional package manager is systematically archived in the Software Heritage archive. “Reproducible components are the basis of collaboration and progress in software engineering. It is this belief that made Tweag a pioneer of reproducible software systems at industry scale and a fervent supporter of Nix, a tool that allows putting such systems into place.”, said Mathieu Boespflug, CEO of Tweag, Collaborating with Software Heritage to combine Nix with a long-term source code archive is really the natural step forward”.

“The Next Generation Internet Initiative is a significant R&D effort backed by the European Commission to make the internet more trustworthy, resilient and sustainable. The internet is an amazing global technical and social resource, but it was built for the short term - like a house of cards", says Michiel Leenaars, director of Strategy at NLnet Foundation and project lead for NGI Zero. "Everything that we can click to, download or link to today, may be gone tomorrow. Software Heritage secures the technology commons of today for the long future ahead of us, so how could we not support such a forward-looking endeavour given our mission to reimagine the internet for the next millennium and beyond?

"The European Commission appreciates the forward looking nature of Software Heritage, and we are very happy to contribute to the long term sustainability of the technology ecosystem", states Oliver Bringer, Head of the Next Generation Internet Unit at the European Commission. "This is the first R&D programme that takes such a step, and it is a natural fit for the NGI initiative. We need solid technological foundations to build the internet of tomorrow and an open repository of publicly available software source code is clearly one of these foundations."

About Octobus

Octobus is a company focussing on commercial support for the Mercurial source control system. Their work ranges from building a hosting solution ( to ad-hoc development for companies who need performance boosts, custom features or workflow consulting. Octobus provides a significant part of current Mercurial development. In particular, for a couple of years, Octobus drove the effort to use the Rust programming language in Mercurial, improving both the performance and the robustness of the codebase. You can learn more at

About Tweag

Tweag is a software innovation lab that helps deep tech startups quickly scale their engineering performance and execute on high-risk, high-reward projects with confidence. Tweag’s team of engineers are behind today’s boldest innovations in machine learning, distributed computing and biotech. Applying mathematics, computer science and the methods of open source to software engineering, Tweag stretches what’s possible for clients. Learn more at

About NLnet Foundation

NLnet Foundation is an independent organisation whose means come from donations and legacies. The history of NLnet goes back to 1982 when Teus Hagen announced the European Unix Network (EUnet) which became the first public wide area network in Europe and the place where internet was introduced to Europe. NLnet also pioneered the worlds first dial-in and ISDN infrastructure with full country coverage. In 1997 all commercial activities were sold to UUnet (now Verizon) and since that time NLnet has focused on supporting the open internet and the privacy and security of internet users. The articles of association for the NLnet Foundation state: "to promote the exchange of electronic information and all that is related or beneficial to that purpose". NLnet's core business is to support independent organizations and people that contribute to an open information society and to a safe, secure and open internet. NLnet currently spearheads NGI Zero, a unique consortium that funds privacy and trust enhancing technologies and improves search and discovery as part of the Next Generation Internet initiative of the European Commission. Please visit

About Software Heritage

Software Heritage is a non-profit initiative with the stated mission is to collect, preserve and share all software that is publicly available in source code form. Started by Inria, in collaboration with UNESCO, Software Heritage is building the largest public archive of software source code, for the benefit of society as a whole. For more information, please visit