FSF Relationship Framework
Written by Lisa M. Goldstein and Richard M. Stallman in September 2005.
A Relationship Framework for FSFs
This a draft framework for the relationship between the FSF sister organizations in various parts of the world. It says which activities are to be carried out which FSFs, either individually or working together.
FSF-NA refers to the original Free Software Foundation with headquarters in Boston. A "major FSF" refers to an FSF that covers a region which is a whole continent or contains a large fraction of the population of the continent it is in. The hope is that the number of major FSFs will be limited.
The following activities will be carried out initially by the FSF-NA after consultation with the other FSFs. We intend, in the future, after we have gained experience working together, to develop a system wherein these decisions are approved jointly by a specific list of several major FSFs.
Set policy regarding free software licenses, including the criteria for free software, the development of licenses, and the criteria for choosing the license to use for a program.
Define official positions on major new circumstances, such as new technologies, new legal issues, etc, which globally impact the Free Software movement or our licenses, and publish position papers to state these positions.
Make major changes in the management of the GNU Project.
Approve translations of licenses into languages other than English. (Translation of licenses requires special care and we will have to approach this cautiously.)
Decide whether an organization qualifies as an FSF.
The following activities will be carried out by one particular FSF initially, and may be extended to individual other major FSFs if need arises:
FSF-NA: Certify as a service to businesses that products comply with the GPL.
FSF-NA: Be the official copyright holder on GNU software and manuals (when the developers do not keep the copyright).
FSF-NA: Hold the primary copies of the copyright assignments themselves.
FSF-Europe: Manage and operate the GNU Business Network.
The following activities are to be carried out by every FSF:
Encourage the development of globally-useful free software packages.
Develop new free software and manuals, and adapt existing free software and manuals, to meet its region's special cultural and linguistic needs.
Following the overall policy set as in A, create and issue official positions for local events and new local laws that may have impact on the Free Software movement or its licenses.
Translate FSF position papers into local languages.
Advocate FSF official positions developed in A to national and local governments.
5a. Study possible local threats to software freedom and possible countermeasures.
Recruit more volunteers for the GNU Project and other free software projects.
Raise funds to spend on free software development and other free software activities.
Sell copies of free (as in freedom) software, free manuals, and other products to raise funds to pay for local staff and local events. FSFs will resell their products to each other at cost for redistribution in other countries by sister groups.
Develop media relations to create awareness of the FSF and Free Software positions and events.
Advise free software developers on licensing matters and technical questions.
Enforce and defend the GPL and its sister licenses internationally for software that it holds copyright on.
Assist, in its region, efforts by other FSFs to enforce and defend the GPL and its sister licenses for the software they hold the copyright on.
When asked to, hold duplicate copies of copyright assignments and other legal papers for other FSFs.
Maintain a speaker's bureau.
Develop free (as in freedom) class materials for training and education in use of GNU and other free software.
Raise awareness of the unethical and antisocial nature of non-free software.
Assist other organizations in upholding the GPL and other activities that benefit the free software cause.
Encourage general cooperation with the GNU Project.
Send information about its main projects to the other FSFs.
19a. Keep its board of directors in contact with the boards of other FSFs, and keep its executives in contact with the executives of other FSFs.
Cooperate generally with all other FSFs.
These things will never be done by any FSF:
Distribute or develop non-free software or non-free software documentation.
Promote or encourage the use of any non-free program or non-free software documentation.
Formally ally itself with an organization or person that develops or distributes non-free software or non-free software documentation.