Red Hat Sets the Base for the Fedora Foundation

At a LinuxWorld press conference yesterday, Red Hat provided an update on the Fedora Foundation, RH’s effort to share control of Fedora’s future development with the open-source community. RH is creating the Fedora Foundation with the intent of moving Fedora project development work and copyright ownership of contributed code to the foundation, says Mark Webbink, deputy general counsel at Red Hat.

Red Hat introduced plans to establish the Fedora Foundation during the Red Hat Summit in June. "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,” Webbink says. “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 FF will help coders do what they do best: Move technologies forward, he says.

The FF 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.

Red Hat has drafted bylaws for the incorporation of FF and is in the process of selecting board members.

For more information on Fedora, visit Fedora Red Hat.