Prototype Fund offers money for Free Software developers

Paul Boddie paul at
Thu Feb 9 16:42:59 UTC 2017

On Thursday 9. February 2017 16.18.10 Erik Albers wrote:
> Hi FSFE community,
> those of you who do develop Free Software privately or that are still
> thinking about realising a project, could be interested in the Prototype
> Fund:

An interesting initiative, although they might want to have a simpler Web site 
that doesn't make my X server use 90% of the CPU continuously. Fortunately, 
w3m manages to show the content fairly clearly, and I guess it's the logo that 
is doing something fancy with my normal browser.

> it is a project by the Open Knowledge Foundation and the German Ministry
> of Education and Research where developers can apply for up to 30.000
> Euros in half a year so they can concentrate on coding. The only
> restriction it has is to have a living place in Germany (although you
> can move here for this half of a year if I understood correctly). Else,
> it comes with less formalia as possible.

What seems different about this is that the sums of money involved are 
actually reasonable for people to live on, not bounty-level amounts or the 
equivalent of a tip jar, that it isn't another fund that gets consumed by the 
usual consortia of academia and industry (indeed, it "specifically aims at 
freelance open source developers"), and although the "prototype" emphasis 
initially sounds like a mechanism to develop half-finished works that didn't 
exist before and barely exist afterwards, they do seem to welcome existing 
projects as long as the subject of the application is a discrete piece of new 

I'd like to hope that other countries might try something similar. Sadly, the 
current Norwegian government actually reduced (maybe even eliminated 
completely) its encouragement of Free Software adoption, letting the 
proprietary software lobby have its own way as usual, so I don't expect very 
much right here, at least [*].


[*] Apart from the near-ubiquitous, self-congratulatory start-up hype, which 
the cynic might argue is just another way to get office space occupied by 
paying tenants.

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