In today’s world digital technology has become for many an essential tool for social existence, communication, creation, sharing, and is increasingly indispensable for accessing public services. However, the role of software development is still largely underrated, as is the recognition of software source code as an intellectual effort and as the receptacle and expression of part of our knowledge.
That is why it is crucial to work towards preserving the technological and scientific knowledge embodied in software source code. This objective is at the core of the cooperation between UNESCO and Inria, which started in 2017.
An eminent group of international experts met upon invitation of UNESCO and Inria in November 2018 at UNESCO’s Headquarters to discuss software preservation. Emerging from this meeting is the Paris Call, representing an important first step towards a coordinated response to the challenges that have been identified. These challenges include the importance of raising awareness among decision-makers, and the recognition of software creators as well as of the contribution of women and minorities to digital innovation and software. The Call goes further to argue for greater access to software source code in order to ensure that citizens, and young people in particular, are empowered with sufficient digital skills and literacy to fully participate in today’s digital society.
These efforts, however, are just starting. It is our collective responsibility and we all must ensure that the knowledge accumulated – and constantly being generated – is not lost.
The Paris Call becomes a strong basis to imagine and build new actions around the preservation of the code, and sustain Free and Open Source Software communities through the exchange of the knowledge now archived as part of the Software Heritage Initiative.
The experts report annexed to the Paris Call further highlights the importance of preserving software in general, and software source code in particular, as important levers for sustainable development.
Should you like to be part of the signatories, please send your request to email@example.com
Signatories at 26 February 2019
|1||Abramatic, Jean-François||Inria||Emeritus Senior Scientist|
|2||Albert, Kendra||Software Preservation Network||Legal Advisor|
|3||Alberts, Gerard||University of Amsterdam||Historian|
|4||Bradley, Kevin||Australian Collection and Reader Services, National Library of Australia||Assistant Director-General|
|5||Buckley, Robert||PERSIST Policy Working Group||Chair|
|6||Chue Hong, Neil||Software Sustainability Institute, University of Edinburgh||Director|
|7||Clipsham, David||The National Archives (UK)||Digital Preservation and Archiving Technical Architect|
|8||Cochrane, Euan||Yale University||Digital Preservation Manager|
|9||Di Cosmo, Roberto||Software Heritage, Inria||Director|
|10||Duplouy, Laurent||Multimedia collection, BNF||Curator|
|11||Gharsallah, Mehdi||French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation||Conseiller stratégique pour le numérique|
|12||Greenberg, Joshua M.||Alfred P. Sloan Foundation||Program Director, Digital Information Technology|
|13||Guerry, Bastien||Free Software at Etalab (France)||Head|
|14||Hinchey, Mike||International Federation for Information Processing||President|
|15||Inverardi, Paola||University of L'Aquila (Italy)||Rector|
|16||Issarny, Valerie||ACM-Europe and Inria||Computer scientist|
|17||Madhavan Pillai, Arun||ICFOSS, Government of Kerala, India||Program Head|
|18||Marzano, Flavia||Roma Semplice||Councilor|
|19||Miura, Grégory||Bordeaux Montaigne University||Director of the Shared Documentation Service|
|20||Moreau, Patrick||The French National Centre for Scientific Research||Industrial Partnership Manager|
|21||Nardelli, Enrico||Informatics Europe||President|
|22||O'Donohue, Pearse||Future Networks Team in DG CONNECT at the European Commission||Director|
|23||Osuna Alarcón, Maria R.||University of Salamanca||Senior Lecturer|
|24||Palm, Jonas||SCOT, Memory of the World Programme||Chair|
|25||Perelmuter, Tanya||Software Heritage Foundation||Strategic Partnership Director|
|26||Phipps, Simon||Open Source Initiative||President|
|29||Sassi, Melissa||IEEE Digital Skills Working Group||Chair|
|30||Schüller, Dietrich||Austrian National Committee||Chair|
|31||Seles, Anthea||International Council on Archives (ICA)||Secretary-General|
|32||Shustek, Len||Computer History Museum||Chairman|
|33||Smith, Arfon||Space Telescope Science Institute||Head of the data science mission office|
|34||Webb, Mary||International Federation for Information Processing||TC3 Member|
|35||Wheatley, Paul||Digital Preservation Coalition||Head of Research and Practice|
|36||Wyber, Stephen||IFLA||IEEE Digital Skills|
Signatories after 26 February 2019
|37||Attias, Luca||Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Italy||High Commisioner for the Digital Agenda|
|38||Béchard, Lorène||Centre Informatique National de l’Enseignement Supérieur (CINES)||Digital Preservation Manager|
|39||Jean, Benjamin||Inno³ / OpenLaw||CEO / President|
|40||Nicolaides, Byron||Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS)||President|
|41||Palamidessi, Catuscia||INRIA||Research Director|
|42||Paradinas, Pierre||Société informatique de France||President|