Sourceware, one of the longest standing Free Software hosting platforms, joins SFC

Important Free Software infrastructure project finds non-profit home

May 15, 2023

As a home for Free Software projects since 1998, Sourceware is a keystone in Free Software infrastructure. For almost 25 years Sourceware has been the long-time home of various core toolchain project communities. Projects like Cygwin, a UNIX API for Win32 systems, the GNU Toolchain, including GCC, the GNU Compiler Colection, two C libraries, glibc and newlib, binary tools, binutils and elfutils, debuggers and profilers, GDB, systemtap and valgrind. Sourceware also hosts standard groups like gnu-gabi and the DWARF Debugging Standard. See the full list project hosted and services provided on the Sourceware projects page.

Becoming an SFC member project will improve future operations carried out by dedicated volunteers to and furthering the mission of Free Software hosting. This will accelerate the Sourceware technical roadmap to improve and modernize the infrastructure.

As the fiscal host of Sourceware, Software Freedom Conservancy will provide a home for fundraising, legal assistance and governance that will benefit all projects under Sourceware's care. We share one mission: developing, distributing and advocating for Software Freedom. And to offer a worry-free, friendly home for Free Software communities. We see a bright future working together. With Conservancy as fiscal sponsor, Sourceware will also be able to fundraise and have the community of volunteers work together with paid contractors and enter into contracts for managed infrastructure where appropriate.

SFC looks to Sourceware's years of experience in providing outstanding infrastructure as an inspiration for improving the Free Software ecosystem both for other SFC projects, and also in furthering SFC's mission around campaigns to promote Software Freedom Infrastructure. For decades, Sourceware has shown that hosting Free Software projects with Free Software infrastructure is not only possible, but helps create and fosters the growth of relationships and networks within the Free Software communities. SFC is thrilled to join the powerful history of demonstrable experience to grow hosting options that are 100% free software, in the future to bring in new ideas, communities, and projects!

Projects hosted by Sourceware are part of the core toolchain for GNU/Linux distros, embedded systems, the cloud and, through Cygwin, Windows. Back in 1984 Ken Thompson's Reflections on Trusting Trust already described how making the source code for these tools available is essential to create what today we call secure software supply chains. Sourceware provides robust infrastructure and services for projects to adopt secure collaboration and release policies. We forsee future cooperation with other Conservancy member projects, such as the Reproducible Builds project which provides an independently-verifiable path to supply chain security. Additionally, Sourceware will leverage Conservancy advisory role in how community projects are impacted by and can comply with regulations like NIST, CISA, USA Cyber Security Directives and the EU Cyber Resilience act.

Each SFC member project is led by a Project Leadership Committee (PLC). Each individual member of the PLC participates in their own capacity, but nevertheless the majority of the PLC never includes a majority of people affiliated with the same organization. Sourceware's PLC includes various volunteers, past and present, from the Sourceware community. The founding PLC is: Frank Ch. Eigler, Christopher Faylor, Ian Kelling, Ian Lance Taylor, Tom Tromey, Jon Turney, Mark J. Wielaard and Elena Zannoni.

Recent discussions have inspired the Sourceware volunteers to think carefully about the future and succession of the leadership for this important hosting project. By joining SFC, Sourceware gains access to strategic advice and governance expertise to recruit new volunteers and raise funds to support work on Sourceware infrastructure. As part of this governance improvement, Sourceware also announces today regular irc office hours for guest project admins to advise and discuss any needs and issues in hosting. The Sourceware mission page lists various other ways to contact and participate in the community.

Sourceware will continue its long standing mission of providing free software infrastructure to the projects it supports, and this will not change moving forward. The affiliation with SFC will be transparent to the projects hosted on Sourceware. Project admins will keep being in charge of how they utilize the services Sourceware provides.

To support the Software Freedom Conservancy, please become a Sustainer.

You can also donate directly to Sourceware (mention Sourceware in the comment or memo line).

See the donation page for other ways to donate.

Sourceware may be volunteer managed, but wouldn't be possible without the hardware, network resources and services provided by Red Hat and OSUOSL. Additionally build/CI testing machines are provided by various individuals and the Brno University, Marist College, IBM, the Works on Arm initiative and the Gentoo Foundation.

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