How NGI0 Can Help Your Free Software Project

April 6, 2020

Resources for Free Software

Part 3 – How NGI0 Can Help Your Free Software Project

NGI0 consortium members offer best quality services to the free software community covering a wide range of complementary professions: through the lifetime of a software project, all aspects are covered to ensure the best chances of success. This part gives an overview of these aspects that are developed in specific documents referenced hereafter.

1. Low-Friction Grants

Following the lead of NLNet, the NGI0 consortium handles all of the burden of managing grants, so that free software projects can focus on their work without distraction. With two cascading funding projects, Search & Discovery (EU Grant Agreement No. 825322) and Privacy & Trust Enhancing Technologies (EU Grant Agreement No. 825210), the NGI0 consortium offers low friction grants every two months.

Low friction means:

  1. A low barrier of entry application process, that facilitates access to EU funding to smaller teams not usually seen at this level of funding. It only takes up to a day of work to apply!

  2. An easy to follow process for reporting: grantees agree in advance on a set of milestones with clear goals and a price attached; upon completion, the money is released to the grantee. All overheads, including reporting to the European Commission, are handled by the consortium.

2. Mentoring and Best Practice Resources

NGI0 grantees benefit from the unique network of the consortium to cover all the needs of a successful software development: software distribution, community engagement, and security awareness.

Software Distribution

Software is only as good as it is available to its users. NGI0 ensures grantees have access to best practices and expertise in packaging their software for easy and consistent distribution, survey and recommendations for licensing agreements, and support to access standardization processes such as with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

AGPL Highlight

The GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL) is conceived to ensure users can obtain the corresponding source code when using software over a network.

AGPL code is not limited to social networking software. For example, OpenCog was born in 2008 from a donation of six-year-in-development software from Novamente LLC and released under the AGPL: today OpenCog is used to build Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) robotics around the world, creating a level-playing field for global research.

Community Engagement

Free software is a peer production, and as such relies on the strength of the community of its users. Therefore NGI0 supports grantees to ensure their software is accessible to users with impairment and disabilities, translated and localized according to their audience, and properly documented to ease adoption, support, and reproducibility. In addition, NGI0 strongly encourages diversity and inclusion in grantees’ user communities to foster European values of respect for human dignity and human rights, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law.


As software systems become more complex, attention to security becomes a critical matter for success. NGI0 provides resources and expertise to grantees so that they can develop more secure software based upon such principles as privacy-by-default, privacy-by-design, and security-in-depth.

Security is better understood in terms of balance between the value of protected assets and the will and means of an attacker to obtain these assets. Grantees are also informed about responsible ways to handle security breaches and discovered vulnerabilities in their software.

3. Community Outreach

As grantees of NGI0 projects, talented developers have access to a large network of experts and peers. Insider information flows through this network to benefit grantees. Moreover, as funded developers, grantees can spend more time on the development of their projects, working at their own pace, attending developer-oriented conferences where they can showcase their work. NGI0 mentors are available to serve as information sources and orient grantees through the maze of possibilities beyond the production of code, e.g., to sustain their work beyond the grants.

4. EU Visibility

Until now, access to EU funding was mostly reserved to industries that can afford going through large-scale projects involving layers of administrative, business, and international relations that prevented smaller actors from participating.

NGI0 is especially successful in bringing new talents to EU funding, with the prospect of diversifying candidates to future EU funding programs over the coming years. As technology development, especially in the field of free software and open-source hardware, increasingly comes from smaller entities, these grants open the door to further funding opportunities to successful grantees.