The FSFE is occasionally asked to help in situations where free software projects, events or activities, need a place to call "home", especially when it comes to managing their finances. Getting a bank account as a volunteer group can be cumbersome, involves some administrative overhead, and often funds end up needing to be funneled through the personal accounts of one of the activists involved.
We don't have the structure setup to offer help in these situations. Our own topical and geographic teams are an integral part of the FSFE and when they want to host an event, launch a project or carry out an activity, we naturally help them. Starting a new activity within the FSFE is fairly easy, but we can't offer support to groups which aren't part of the FSFE.
Instead, we try to help them in other ways, such as referring them to someone who can. That's why over the past year or two, the FSFE has been engaged in discussions around, and supporting endeavors to start umbrella organisations for free projects in Europe, of which we now know at least four closely aligned with our work1.
- Center for the Cultivation of Technology https://techcultivation.org/
- The Commons Conservancy https://commonsconservancy.org/
- Public Software CIC https://publicsoftware.eu/
- The Society for Free Culture and Software http://ffkp.se
Of course, there are other organisations offering similar services in the US and elsewhere, but these are the ones we know of in Europe. There are certainly more, and often, you will find organisations, local and national, which are willing to offer their infrastructure in support of free software activities, but which are in themselves not committed to free software.
All of the above are, which we feel makes them more suitable for free software activities to engage with, as they understand the area we work in better.
Do you know of any others? I would love to add more organisations to this list.
For full disclosure, I'm a director of the Society for Free Culture and Software in my spare time. I've also been asked to participate as a corporate director on FSFE's behalf in Public Software CIC, though this has not yet happened. FSFE president, Matthias Kirschner, is also a part of the advisory board for the Center for the Cultivation of Technology. ↩