17–19 October 2016: Conference & Tutorials
19–20 October 2016: Training
London, UK

Project umbrellas for Europe

Simon Phipps (Public Software CIC), Moritz Bartl (Renewable Freedom Foundation)
11:40–12:20 Tuesday, 18/10/2016
Collaboration and community
Location: Buckingham Room Level: Non-technical
Average rating: *****
(5.00, 1 rating)

Prerequisite knowledge

  • Familiarity with the general landscape of open source projects

What you'll learn

  • Gain the knowledge to allow you to pick between Europe's new fiduciary umbrella hosts for your open source project


Open source projects often choose to become legal entities so they can handle money and share assets between their collaborators more easily (among other benefits). This proves burdensome for developers; creating and sustaining a legal entity is not for everyone.

In the USA there are purpose-made “umbrella” organizations for hosting open source projects, such as Software in the Public Interest, the Software Freedom Conservancy, and the Apache Software Foundation. But until now there have been none in Europe—so Simon Phipps and Moritz Bartl started one. Simon and Moritz explain what they are doing to address the need and how you can benefit.

Topics include:

  • Why projects may need a legal entity
  • The role of a “fiduciary umbrella”
  • The new nonprofit umbrellas that started in Europe in 2016, including Public Software CIC and the Commons Conservancy
  • How your projects can benefit
Photo of Simon Phipps

Simon Phipps

Public Software CIC

Simon Phipps has engaged at a strategic level in the world’s leading technology companies, starting in roles such as field engineer, programmer, systems analyst and more recently taking on executive leadership roles around open source. Simon worked with X-series standards in the ‘80s, on collaborative conferencing software in the ’90s, helped introduce both Java and XML at IBM, and was instrumental in open sourcing the whole software portfolio at Sun Microsystems. He is now managing director of Meshed Insights Ltd and founder of Public Software CIC. As a director of the Document Foundation and of the UK’s Open Rights Group, he takes an active interest in digital rights issues and is a widely read commentator on InfoWorld and his own Webmink blog. Simon holds a BSc in electronic engineering and is a fellow of the British Computer Society and the Open Forum Academy.

Photo of Moritz Bartl

Moritz Bartl

Renewable Freedom Foundation

Moritz Bartl serves as the director of the Renewable Freedom Foundation in Germany and is cofounder of the Center for the Cultivation of Technology. Moritz has been active in the free software and hacker community for over 15 years; he’s a core member of the Tor project, a fellow at the Hermes Center for Transparency, cofounder and board member of the OpenLab Augsburg hackerspace, and a board member of the CypherChaikana project for Central Asian citizen infrastructure projects. As director of a digital human rights foundation, he works in close partnerships with many international NGOs in technology, open source advocacy, and tech policy areas. Moritz studied computer science at TU Dresden, with a focus on privacy and anonymity, software engineering, project management, and machine learning.