JISC Beginner's Guide to Digital Preservation

…creating a pragmatic guide to digital preservation for those working on JISC projects

The End of NeSCForge: Preserving Software

Posted by Marieke Guy on 10th December 2010

On 20 December 2010, the NeSCForge service, a collaborative software development tool for the UK e-Science community, will be turned off. The main reason for this is that there isn’t any money to keep thee service running. The official message on the site is as follows:

Posted By: David McNicol
Date: 2010-09-27 13:48
Summary: NeSCForge closure 20/12/2010

Dear NeSCForge community,

Because of various grants finishing, we will be losing the IT staff and skills required to keep the NeSCForge service running properly. Rather than leaving it running until something goes wrong with no clear idea of ownership and responsibility for the service, we have taken the difficult decision to shut it down on Monday 20th December 2010.

We would encourage you to review your projects and take copies of any code or documentation you wish to keep before that date. Unfortunately, the software that NeSCForge runs is bespoke and fairly obfuscated so we cannot offer a method of extracting bug reports, forum posts and so on.

If you have any questions, please email them to:


David McNicol

A shame that the some of the issues, such as the bespoke nature of the software, were not addressed earlier down the line!

The closure leaves many organisations, including the National Grid Service (NGS), without a software repository. The UK National Grid Infrastructure has now moved it’s data with the help of the The Software Sustainability Institute, which offers a collection of guides inlcuding one on Retrieving project resources from NeSCForge. The NeSCForge portfolio of projects includes DIALOGUE, ComparaGRID, BRIDGES and Triana.

The only option left to many is Sourceforge, a resource for open source software development and distribution.

The JISC Beginner’s Guide to Digital Preservation has a section on how to preserve Software.

Is your software held in NeSCForge service? How sustainable are other services like Sourceforge? How do you archive and preserve your software?

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