Fiduciary Programme Acceptance Guidelines
FSFE seeks to support as many Free Software projects as possible
with its fiduciary activities, which follow the same non-profit
long-term Free Software orientation that governs all of FSFE's
As a non-profit organisation dedicated to the long-term success of
Free Software, FSFE cannot afford to accept all projects, and should
not accept projects on which it feels it cannot do the job well enough
to meet its own criteria of quality of work.
FSFE therefore needs to make decisions on a case to case basis for
each project that seeks to have FSFE as its fiduciary. Criteria that
FSFE uses to this purpose are:
- FSFE seeks to use its resources in ways that make the highest impact
for Free Software in general. It will therefore give preference to key
technologies and projects that solve technological bottlenecks.
- 1: a copy of existing services
- 5: central system technology
- 10: the critical missing link in a central area
- In order to spend resources most effectively, FSFE also needs to
assess the resources needed to maintain such a project in its
fiduciary program. It will generally seek to have some commercial
Free Software projects to cover for the costs of the non-profit ones.
- 1: expensive: high effort to low funding ratio
(e.g. purely fun project by University students with no
commercial interest and a large number of contributors)
- 5: somewhat neutral: average effort to average funding ratio
(e.g. professional Free Software project without commercial
background and a medium number of contributors)
- 10: money maker: low effort with good funding ratio
(e.g. commercial Free Software project with low number of
contributors that brings support for other activities into
- The copyright history of a project is an essential part of the
assessment to take on the legal work in the scope of the fiduciary
activities -- it determines how much work it will be to get things in
shape, and whether there may be difficulties down the road.
- 1: sloppy: sloppy copyright history, unclear contributions
- 5: medium: relatively clean history, can be resolved
- 10: good: clean copyright, no unclear contributions, all shiny
- While FSFE seeks to protect the interests of all Free Software, it
needs to know the risks that it enters with certain projects, also to
maintain the long-term perspectives of the other projects in its
- 1: high: lawsuit already underway
- 5: medium: no legal problems in sight, but project may see some attacks in the next 2 years
- 10: low: project is unlikely to ever raise "predatorial interest"
- The licensing policy of a project will greatly determine how effective
FSFE's fiduciary program can be in terms of guarding the rights of the
developers, and ensuring the long-term legal maintainability of the
project. FSFE prefers projects where it can make a bigger difference.
- 1: no legal policy: project has no clear legal policy on how to deal
with third-party contributions or the contributions of regular
- 5: weak policy: project encourages assignment and legal standing, but
has no policy to only accept contributions when they are also assigned
- 10: strong policy: project has a binding legal policy to only accept
contributions for which copyright is assigned to FSFE's fiduciary
Upon application for entering the FSFE's fiduciary program, the FTF
Coordinator will assess all these five points, assign scores to them
which are supplemented with a brief one or two sentence description of
the reasoning behind the score, and then give the overall score and
This recommendation should either be to a) accept a project into
FSFE's fiduciary activities, b) further discuss with the project, or
c) decline the project and possibly point them to other groups.
The recommendation is then reviewed by FSFE's Executive Council, and
either approved or - at the discretion of the Council - passed for decision
to the FSFE General Assembly and/or Team.