Skip to content, sitemap or skip to search.

Personal tools
Join now
You are here: Home About Board of Directors Code of Ethics

Board of Directors Code of Ethics

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on Dec 16, 2021 01:45 PM


The Free Software Foundation ("FSF") is a nonprofit with a worldwide mission to promote computer user freedom.

We live in a world where unethical nonfree software is pervasive and will strive to act ethically as we try to liberate software users everywhere.

Members of the board of directors shall abide by and conform to the following code of ethics in their capacity as board members. All members of the board of directors must strive to speak and act with the mission and effectiveness of the organization in mind.


  1. Each member of the board of directors will abide by all the regulations of the organization, including but not limited to the certificate of incorporation, the bylaws, and this Code of Ethics.

  2. Members of the board of directors will conduct the business affairs of the organization in good faith and with honesty, integrity, due diligence, and reasonable competence.

  3. Members of the board of directors will not engage in or facilitate any discriminatory or harassing behavior directed toward staff, members, officers, directors, suppliers, contractors, or others in the context of activities relating to the organization. The board will interpret these criteria in a reasonable fashion.

  4. In addition to the organization's policies on confidentiality, members of FSF's board of directors are obligated to uphold the privacy and confidentiality of internal proceedings.

  5. Members of the FSF's board of directors will not make use (beyond incidental use) of information, staff, property, or resources provided by the organization, or acquired as a consequence of the board member's service, in any manner other than in furtherance of the organization's activities, and especially not for personal gain.

  6. Members of the board of directors will keep the organization's physical property secure and preserve the organization's copyright and trademarks and aid in their proper management. Members who leave the board while holding the FSF's physical property of value will return it.

  7. Members of the FSF's board of directors acknowledge that their statements and actions have greater potential to reflect broadly on the organization because of their leadership position and will take seriously their position of public visibility and trust.

  8. Members of the FSF's board of directors agree not to persuade or attempt to persuade any FSF employee to leave the employ of the FSF. Furthermore, no member of the board of directors shall persuade or attempt to persuade any member, director, associate member, funder, donor, advertiser, sponsor, subscriber, supplier, contractor, or any other person or entity with an actual or potential relationship to or with the organization to terminate, curtail, or not enter into its relationship to or with the organization, or in any way reduce the monetary or other benefits to the organization of such relationship.

  9. Members of the board of directors will not undertake an activity that substantially hurts the FSF. When acting as board members, they will work toward the success of the FSF.

  10. Board members shall all avoid placing--and the appearance of placing--one's own self interest or any third-party interest, including the interests of associate members, above that of the organization as a whole.

  11. Board members shall not speak on behalf of the FSF unless given explicit permission. Directors must not represent that their authority as board members extends any further than it actually extends. The board speaks as a whole, not as individuals.

  12. Board members shall not solicit or accept gifts, honoraria, or any other item of value from any person or entity as a direct or indirect inducement to provide special treatment to any such donor or entity with respect to matters pertaining to the FSF.

  13. Board members shall not provide goods or services to the FSF as a paid vendor to the organization without full disclosure to, and advance approval by, the board, and adhering to any related procedures adopted by the board.

As a member of the FSF's board of directors, I affirm my endorsement of this Code of Ethics and acknowledge my commitment to upholding its principles and obligations.

If in the future I am no longer a member of the board of directors, but remain a voting member of the FSF, I will uphold those parts of this code which are pertinent to voting members.

Document Actions

The FSF is a charity with a worldwide mission to advance software freedom — learn about our history and work. is powered by:


Send your feedback on our translations and new translations of pages to