Gentoo Foundation Charter
About this document
The purpose of this document is to elaborate on the Gentoo Foundation goals,
structure and tasks. It does not describe the goals of the Gentoo project and
does not contain any policies about the Gentoo development process.
Why a Gentoo Foundation?
The Gentoo distribution is maturing rapidly. Since its birth in 1999 the
distribution has evolved to one of the top Linux distributions available today.
The incorporated technologies including Portage, the software management
system, are frequently seen as major software breakthroughs.
In order to sustain the current quality and development swiftness the Gentoo
project needs a framework for intellectual property protection and financial
contributions while limiting the contributors' legal exposure. The Gentoo
Foundation will embody this framework without intervening in the Gentoo
development. This latter aspect should be seen as a clear separation between
coordinating the Gentoo development and protecting Gentoo's assets. Both are
distinct concepts requiring different skills and working methods.
The Gentoo Foundation decouples necessary bureaucracy from development,
providing faster and higher quality results as the developer can now focus his
attention completely at the community and his responsibilities (being software,
documentation, infrastructure or others).
The bureaucracy we mention includes:
financial caretaking: accepting donations, managing financial assets and
investing in required resources or entities that benefit the Gentoo
juridical protection: backing up the licenses Gentoo uses, maintaining the
copyrights on Gentoo's software, documentation and other assets and
protecting Gentoo's intellectual property
Gentoo caretaking: protecting the community by requiring total adherence to
the Gentoo Social
In other words, the Gentoo Foundation will:
protect the use of the Gentoo trademark and logo
protect the developed code, documentation, artwork and other material
through copyright and licenses
sponsor Gentoo-related conferences and technical development resources
oversee development so it adheres to the social contract
Principles of the Gentoo Foundation
The Gentoo Foundation keeps four pillars in mind:
- Gentoo provides choices
- Gentoo is open
- Gentoo lives for the community, by the community
- Gentoo is independent
Gentoo provides choices
Gentoo is a metadistribution, providing choices to its users. This important
idea forms the basis of Gentoo's development: not a single feature will be
dismissed in favor of a different one when both can be maintained. Skills
learned today will still be relevant in the future.
Gentoo is open
Every aspect of Gentoo is and remains open. Gentoo does not benefit from hiding
any of its development processes (whether it is source code or documentation,
decisions or discussions, coordination or management).
Gentoo lives for the community, by the community
Gentoo strives to please its users. The Gentoo community is Gentoo's goal of
life. Without community there is no Gentoo. To help Gentoo's development, the
community provides a continuous stream of feedback and contributes to the
various aspects of the Gentoo distribution. This cooperative model will remain
valid for Gentoo's entire lifespan.
Gentoo is independent
Gentoo will never be reigned by a company nor be dictated by an organisation.
Tasks of the Gentoo Foundation
Intellectual Property Protection
The Gentoo Foundation is the legal owner of the Gentoo trademark and logo. To
protect Gentoo it will oversee the use of the Gentoo name and logo and take
appropriate action when the Gentoo Foundation feels that the name or logo is
Support the Gentoo Development
The Gentoo Foundation has revenues gathered from donations, sold Gentoo items
and other sources. This financial income will be used to support the Gentoo
development in any way possible, as decided by the trustees.
The primary use of the funds are to support Gentoo's infrastructure as it is the
backbone of the project.
Oversee adherence to the Social Contract
To keep the spirit of Openness and Freedom alive within Gentoo, the Gentoo
Foundation continues to keep an active eye on the Gentoo development to make
sure it adheres to the Gentoo Social Contract.
The Board of Trustees
Current Board Members
(alphabetical order by last name)
- David Abbott, dabbott
- Roy Bamford, NeddySeagoon
- Petteri Räty, Betelgeuse
- Matthew Summers, quantumsummers
- Sven Vermeulen, SwifT
The mathematical election method the Gentoo Foundation uses is called the Condorcet Voting.
Each member of the Gentoo Foundation at the moment the roll for the election closes may vote.
Each member is able to rank all candidates in the preferred order of election.
Multiple entries for the same position are allowed. Currently, all who have ever voted
in any Foundation election are members of the Foundation unless they have officially
resigned. If you are not a member (or do not know if you are a member), you may
petition the Trustees for admittance. Please see
Article IV for a complete explanation of membership in the Foundation.
The Condorcet Voting then takes two candidates and counts how many times
candidate A was ranked higher than candidate B and vice versa. Then, based on
this numbers, it looks for the candidate that is not beaten by any other
candidate and ranks him on top. It then removes this candidate from the list and
starts the process again to find the subsequent "winners".
When no candidate in a set of candidates is unbeaten, the least decisive defeat
is dropped, again and again, until either one candidate remains (who is then
marked as a "winner") or a true tie exists. In case of the Gentoo Foundation,
only when a true tie exists for the final (5th) position the President of the
board has the final saying (otherwise both candidates are welcomed as
As a group, the Trustees each have an equal vote to decide upon issues outlined
in the tasks above. A majority vote (3 of 5) is required for all decisions. The
trustees must uphold the principles of the Gentoo Foundation, its bylaws, and
help to maintain a good reputation for the Foundation.
In common with the organisation of other corporations the Gentoo Foundation Inc
has directors (the trustees) and officers that work at the direction of the
trustees. Meanwhile, the trustees also fulful most of the roles of officers,
current appointments being:-
- President - Roy Bamford, NeddySeagoon
- Vice President - Matthew Summers, quantumsummers
- Treasurer - Matthew Summers, quantumsummers
- Secretary - David Abbott, dabbott
The following are links to other pages of information regarding the Gentoo
Foundation and it's tasks:
As a service to the Gentoo community and to advance the use of Gentoo in the
corporate sector the Gentoo Trustees Maintain a referral page for your
convenience. The companies and individual consultants are not officially
endorsed by the Gentoo Foundation.
You may contact the Board of Trustees by e-mailing trustees at gentoo.org
The contents of this document, unless otherwise expressly stated, are licensed under the CC-BY-SA-2.5 license. The Gentoo Name and Logo Usage Guidelines apply.