Help us spread the word about Free Software across Europe! Contributions until the end of September will be used to translate our 'What is Free Software' video into more European languages

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Youth Hacking 4 Freedom

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions on the Youth Hacking 4 Freedom you can always reach us with an email to We will be happy to hear from you! However, We have already answered some questions below that might be helpful.

When and where does YH4F take place?

Step 1. Registration

If you are interested to participate, please make sure to register until 31st of December 2022.

Step 2. Coding phase

From 1st of January 2023 to 30 June 2023, the participants have six months to come up with an idea for their Free Software program and write it.

Step 3. Evaluation

From June on, the jury members evaluate the submitted programs. Afterwards, the winners are announced and invited to Brussels.

Step 4. Award Ceremony

In October 2023, the winners receive their awards in Brussels and join social activities.

The competition welcomes participants from all over Europe, therefore it takes place remotely. The award ceremony for the winners takes place in Brussels/Belgium.

1. Registration

I do not have an idea for a software project yet. Can I register?

Yes, only personal information is required for the registration. You can start organising your project after the start of the coding phase.

I am a beginner in programming. Should I participate?

Yes, we would like to encourage you to participate despite being a beginner. Aim to have a program at the end of the coding phase that is simple and completed. Creating a simple program at your age is a major achievement. Everyone who submits a complete program gets a participation certificate.

Isn’t hacking illegal?

Hacking is a word that is often misunderstood. It is not about breaking illegally into systems of other people. Instead, hacking means that you think around the corner and make things with computers that are innovative, meaningful, interesting or just fun. It is about taking control over your technology and use it freely for your ideas.

Will I fit in?

Yes, we are welcoming everyone in Youth Hacking 4 Freedom. Technology has to be inclusive so that it addresses all peoples’ needs. The competition is open to people from 40 countries, and welcomes people of all cultural backgrounds and all genders. Your interest in technology is all that is needed for you to fit it perfectly.

2. Coding phase

What happens during the coding phase?

From the 1st of December, it is time to start developing your program. During the coding period you will be invited to an online group meeting. There you will have the chance to present what you have done so far and briefly follow what the other participants are working on. This is a good time for everyone to share ideas and advice that might help others.

Can I collaborate with others?

Collaboration is an intrinsic value of Free Software. You can exchange ideas and collaborate with others, and at the same time you should have a clear understanding of the program you submit.

What type of software should I make?

Think of a simple program that you wish it existed but you have not found it. Its aim can be artistic, or it can be practical. It can address an everyday problem you have, or it can be just fun. Everything is welcome and we look forward to seeing your ideas. Of course, it should be Free Software, so that others can use, study, share, and improve the code in the future.

Can I make contributions to other software projects?

Yes. You can modify and combine existing programs, contribute to an existing project, or close an issue in the git. If you decide to do so, you should clearly indicate what exactly your contribution was, and what was done by others.

Can my program make use of hardware?

Yes, it is fine if your program involves hardware, but it is important that we and the jury members are in a position to see how your program works without accessing the hardware. We should be able to run your program on standard Free Software operating systems. If there is hardware involved, please keep in mind that the jury members cannot access it. Please document the software project in a way that the jury members can fully see the result and evaluate it. Share your code and consider additional ways of showing how your program works, such as a video. Please upload all the necessary files to your repository.

How much time should I invest?

It is up to you to choose how much time you want to invest in your project. You do not have to spend all the coding phase to your project. We know you are busy with school and possibly other activities too. You can be flexible with your schedule and plan it as you wish. We are glad to offer you plenty of time so that you can expand your program as much as possible and learn by doing.

I run into a problem in programming. Can I ask the FSFE for help?

If you run into problems in project, we would encourage you to seek for help from a person you trust, or from an online tech community. There are plenty of coding meetups where you can get specific advice online and offline, and learn by following the work of others. We cannot provide solutions or hints, but you are welcome to get advice from people who can help you.

3. Evaluation

How will I present my idea?

You will upload your program and the jury members will evaluate it. Then, you will be invited to present the software yourself to the jury members, and share a few words about yourself. How did you come up with your idea? It would be good if you explain the program step by step and show to a jury member what it does. Then, one member of the jury will ask you some practical questions. For example: ‘Why did you use this path instead of another?’ That is because we would like to understand your thinking and how you came up with your solution. There is not necessarily one right or wrong answer here. Feel free to share which problems you faced and how you overcame them. The jury members will take into account the age of the participants too.

4. Award Ceremony

Who is joining the Award Ceremony?

The Youth Hacking 4 Freedom will invite six winners of the competition to Brussels. If you won the competition and you are under 18 we would like to invite a parent of yours, so that you will not travel alone. We will cover the travel and accommodation costs for you and one of your parents. In Brussels, you will meet other winners and members of the FSFE team.

Can I come to the Award Ceremony if I have not won the competition?

If you have submitted a complete project but did not win the competition you are welcome to join the award ceremony if you decide to do so. Just let us know in advance. We will be glad to meet you.

What am I going to do in Brussels?

You will spend two days in Brussels, staying in a nice hotel. The FSFE staff will help you get to the venue where the Award Ceremony takes place. The event 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 and you will receive your award. You will get to know other winners, FSFE staff members, and guest speakers. We will have an educative tour in Brussels, visit the EU Parliament, and enjoy the best spots of this beautiful city. Meanwhile, you will be spending time with other like-minded Free Software hackers.

For any other question on the Youth Hacking 4 Freedom competition please send us an email to We are here to help you!