What are the underlying principles that govern SFOSC?

What are the underlying principles that govern SFOSC?


We are a unified body of individuals, scattered throughout the larger society, who work in support of the creation, evolution, use, and extension of free and open source software; while ensuring its longevity through meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the community of the future to meet its own needs.

The Core Commitment

We want the software to exist, to solve our problems, to continue to improve, and to be available for our use. Therefore, we commit that we will uphold these four freedoms for all, under all circumstances:

  • The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1).
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help others (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3).

The Sustainability Principles

  • The software must be released under a Free and Open Source license.
  • Rules for membership in the community must be published and adhered to.
  • Membership must be open to all classes of contributor to the community. It must not be limited to technical contribution, nor to any kind of external status.
  • Membership must have requirements for validation of identity, and review of contribution to the community (to avoid stacking the membership roles). Any impediment to membership must be low enough that a person with the least advantage could achieve it.
  • Voting processes must be put in place, which give each member an equal vote.
  • All positions of authority in the project must be, directly or indirectly, the result of a vote.
  • We must have a strong code of conduct, with clear, fair enforcement mechanisms.
  • Any patents included in the software must be granted under the terms of the open source license.
  • All contributors must retain their copyright, unless the software is being managed by a foundation for the purposes of license enforcement
  • All contributors intending to have their work incorporated into a distribution must contribute their work under the same terms as the software license they received it under.
  • Any commercial activity around the software must further the sustainability of the community, and the potential for commercial benefit must be available to all.
  • The incentives in any commercial model must bend away from the creation of proprietary downstream software