Issue #10 August 2005

Building the Fedora Foundation: Goals established

In a recent press release, Mark Webbink, Deputy General Counsel at Red Hat, offered attendees an update on Red Hat's efforts to give the community greater control in directing future innovation in Fedora. Red Hat is creating the Fedora Foundation with the intent of moving Fedora project development work and copyright ownership of contributed code to the Foundation.

Red Hat first introduced plans to establish the Fedora Foundation during the Red Hat Summit 2005 in June. Since then, Red Hat, with support from several community members and advisers, has made great progress. Webbink stated: "As with the development of open source software, the formation of the Fedora Foundation has been a process driven by those who write code and documentation. Our aim is to conform a legal structure to the needs of the Fedora community, not force the Fedora community to adjust development practices to fit a legal structure."

Webbink covered two main areas of Fedora Foundation development: Setting the mission and organizational status. The purpose of the Fedora Foundation is to advance, defend, and promote the development and distribution of free and open source software by facilitating individual developers and companies via a range of services. By providing administrative and legal support, the Fedora Foundation will help coders do what they do best: Move technologies forward.

Specifically, the Foundation will provide:

  • Establishment and expansion of an open source patent commons. The Foundation will fund patent filings for inventions of open source developers to provide a protective patent shield around open source code
  • An entity for copyright assignment, allowing the Foundation to assure compliance with open source licenses
  • A way for individuals or corporations to directly contribute financially to the development and protection of open source code, including Fedora
  • A non-profit entity to organize and manage volunteers. These volunteers, programmers and otherwise, will have the assurance that they are working on freely available code and documentation that will always remain available to the community

Organizational aspects of establishing the Fedora Foundation are progressing rapidly. Bylaws leading to the incorporation of the Foundation have been drafted and initial board members are being selected. Fedora Projects also continue with strong community involvement. The launch of the Foundation is expected to accelerate these projects. Today there are over 200 Fedora mirrors and millions of Fedora downloads.

For more information on Fedora and how to get involved, go to For more information on Red Hat's patent policy, please see