Heard of the Sovereign Tech Fund? I hadn’t, but the GNOME project has bagged itself a whopping €1 million investment from them.

GNOME plans to use the cash to “modernize the platform, improve tooling and accessibility, and support features that are in the public interest”, adding that the following projects and initiatives will benefit directly during 2024:

  • Improve the current state of accessibility
  • Design and prototype a new accessibility stack
  • Encrypt user home directories individually
  • Modernize secrets storage
  • Increase the range and quality of hardware support
  • Invest in Quality Assurance and Developer Experience
  • Expand and broaden freedesktop APIs
  • Consolidate and improve platform component

Whether you’ve been using Linux for a fresh minute or a veritable eon you’ll know GNOME is a core pillar in the FOSS movement.

GNOME is the default desktop environment in the most popular Linux distributions, its apps are used by millions of people worldwide, and GNOME-backed technologies underpin experiences across a dizzying array of devices, platforms, and industries.

With the Sovereign Tech Fund’s aim of supporting the “…development, improvement and maintenance of open digital infrastructure”, its synergies with the GNOME project are clear.

Sovereign Tech Fund

Sovereign tech fund mission statement
Image: sovereign tech fund

The Sovereign Tech Fund is a German government-funded initiative run by Adriana Groh and Fiona Krakenbürg, who have ‘many years of experience in promoting open-source technologies’ at national and international levels.

On its website, the Fund notes: “…the open source ecosystem, while incredibly successful, is also increasingly fragile. Many more people are using the software than contributing to it. It is time to invest in digital commons, volunteer communities and [open source] to build the digital world we want to see.”

Previous recipients of investment from the fund include curl, Fortran, WireGuard, OpenSSH, the Yocto Project, and a collaboration with OpenJS Foundation to ‘improve Javascript Ecosystem Infrastructure and Security‘.

So while I might not have heard of it, I’m glad I have. The Sovereign Tech Fund supports open-source infrastructure in the most critical way: with money.

Funding Our Futures

This is a major win for the GNOME project, for open-source, and for all of us who use and rely on the technologies it oversees.

With this investment, GNOME will be able to further focus on the things it does well, develop new features, and make it easier for people to contribute to the project.

Great stuff!