Since 2001 the FSFE has been enhancing users' rights by abolishing barriers for software freedom. For 20 years we have been helping individuals and organisations to understand how Free Software contributes to freedom, transparency, and self-determination.

For the next two decades we need your help. We want everyone to be able to control their technology. Free Software and its freedoms to use, study, share, and improve are the key to that goal.

Youth Hacking 4 Freedom

If you like coding, tinkering, and having fun with software and if you are up for a challenge, we have something exciting for you: "Youth Hacking 4 Freedom" (YH4F), the FSFE's hacking competition for young people from Europe!

Three teenagers standing in a hackerspace

Graphic by Lisa Schmidt, CC-BY-SA 4.0 or later

Join Youth Hacking 4 Freedom

Are you up to hacking on a software project of your choice? Do you want to meet like-minded people of your age from around Europe? What about getting the chance to receive one of our cash awards and to travel to Brussels to meet the other winners and great people from the Free Software movement? Then join the YH4F competition! The only conditions for you to join are that you are 14-18 years old and you live in Europe. Start by registering before Sunday, 31 October 2021.

We are dedicated to offering an inclusive environment in the YH4F, and we would like to encourage teenagers of all genders to join! We will make sure everyone will enjoy the process and will leave this competition with added knowledge and a smile.

Start by joining our Opening Event

On Sunday, 10 October at 17:00 CET, join our online event so that you can learn more about the contest. Make sure you have registered in the competition already in order to come to the YH4F Opening Event. You will get to see the people organising the competition, to better understand the concept of Free Software, and to ask any questions you might have. Talk to us or use the chat, whichever feels more comfortable to you.

We are here to help you out, and we will be glad to meet you from the Opening Event, before the competition officially starts. If you are undecided about taking part in the competition you are also welcome to join the YH4F Opening event to figure out if you are up for this challenge.

Register your project!

Only participants born between 01.11.2002 and 31.10.2007 are eligible.
For example, where do you live? What hobbies and interests do you have? What motivates you?

Decide yourself what you code

There is no set challenge or topic for the software you should develop. Embrace your imagination and create what is the most interesting to you. It can address an everyday problem you have, or it can be just fun. It can be a standalone program that you write from scratch, or you can modify and combine existing programs. The possibilities are endless. A vital condition for the competition is that the program should be Free Software, so that others can use, study, share, and improve the code in the future.

Take the time you need

From Monday 1 November 2021 to Thursday 31 March 2022, you will have five months to come up with an idea for a Free Software program and write it. During the coding period you will be invited to an online group meeting, where you and other participants can briefly follow each other’s work, exchange ideas, and share problem-solving tips. You can also communicate on your own, using the chat room in the YH4F space.

Present your program to top experts

Your software project will be in good hands, as it will be evaluated by Free Software experts. Our jury members excel in software development and are deeply involved in the Free Software movement. At the same time, they are excellent people to work with. After you submit your program, you will have the chance to present it to them, as part of your evaluation. This is a nice opportunity for you to discuss your idea and your achievement with experienced people in the field.

Do you have more questions before registering?

Frequently Asked Questions

Awesome awards and experiences await

Based on the jury’s grades, the winners will be determined and announced. The first six places will be awarded cash between 4.096€ and 1.024€ each. The Award Ceremony of YH4F will take place in Brussels in June 2022. All the winners will be invited there with covered costs. The Award Ceremony will have top speakers in the field of Free Software and it will be a time of celebration. You made it! Your hard work paid off. Now you can enjoy 2 educative and exciting days in Brussels and socialise with fellow winners.

Forty years ago, Reinhard Wiesemann won a hacking competition for young people. He used the money from his cash prize to advance his professional development. Now Youth Hacking 4 Freedom is financially supported with donations by Reinhard Wiesemann, Linuxhotel, and Vielrespektzentrum.

Do you want to support the FSFE's work in inspiring young Free Software hackers in Europe?

Become a supporter now

Would you like to feature YH4F? Open our media kit and feel free to use the illustrations found inside.

Media Kit