All proposed projects will follow a defined workflow which includes evaluation by a committee along criteria outlined below.

This process is inspired by Systematic competitive cluster's evaluation process with the goal to maximise legal and fiscal certainty for any donation.

Evaluation Criteria

In order for a project to be eligible to receive funding for:

  • Short-term improvements/extensions
  • Long-term maintenance

The following criteria have to be met:

  • The software must be Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), with all source code and documentation available online.
  • The software must be generic, meaning it is not specific to the needs of a single organisation.
  • If the software is browser based, it should be compatible with at least two independent web browsers (ex. Firefox and Chrome).
  • If the software is server based, it should be compatible with at least two independent operating systems (ex. GNU/Linux and FreeBSD).
  • If the software is smartphone based, it should be compatible with at least two independent operating systems (ex. Android and iOS).
  • The software must be easily accessible to the general public, meaning it is installable via a single click or a single command line.
  • The software must be easy to contribute to, meaning it's source code can be remotely edited and contributed to through the web.
  • The project must be of general interest (software, documentation, education) which cannot be financed through existing R&D grants in Europe.

The following criteria have to be met in addition for long-term maintenance:

  • The software must be in existence for more than 10 years.
  • It is used by companies or institutions and needs to be maintained for at least another 10 years.

Process Stages

Step 1: Register a new Project

An executive summary/abstract of the project has to be sent to contact (a)

In your abstract, please briefly outline the

  1. project scope,
  2. its expected outcomes,
  3. how you are using the software you would like to propose,
  4. what technical developments you would want to adress and an
  5. analysis of alternative technologies, their market position, strengths and weaknesses.

Please note, that the following documents will have to be provided during later stages of the evaluation process:

  • Executive summary/abstract
  • Presentation of the project
  • Technical specifications of the project
  • Technical annex - details of specifications, estimated development effort

Step 2: Initial Committee Validation

The committee will evaluate all project proposals based on the outlined criteria with initiators being able to provide suplementary information if required. In case the project is to be undertaken in a different country and jurisdiction, the committee will forward the project to the respective legal body in that country (if existing).

Step 3: Project Details and Briefing

Once validated by the committee, the initiators will have to create an in-depth project specification based on the project objective. It must include development milestones, details of what features or functionality is to be developed, a breakdown in specific tasks and outcomes along with the estimated development effort. The final vote will be based on these criteria to ensure funds are invested along clearly defined and measureable objectives. This phase will also include providing a detailed presentation which will be provided during the vote.

Step 4: Final Vote

Once the project audit is complete and sufficient information for a vote deemed available, the committee will put the project proposal up for vote. The vote will be held among eligible members of FDL. These consist of the Excutive Board and official members. The vote will be held by secret ballot. Details to the voting procedure can be found in the statutes of FDL.

Once a project has been approved, a letter of approval is sent to the projects initiators. The project will then be registered and queued for funding. It will commence within the timeframe outlined in the letter of approval.