Five Years of NGI Zero

Written November 3 2023

NGI Zero[1] represents the potential of the Next Generation Internet. The reason is that NGI Zero recognizes that this potential comes from the Commons. The potential comes from the community.

In 2019 our project Librecast[2] was chosen as one of the first set of projects to be funded by the NGI Zero Search and Discovery Fund.

Over the past 5 years, NGI Zero has chosen to invest in the Fediverse. Not so much because of the technology but because of the ideas of how technology is created and used to help our communities grow.

That vision has proven wise. Social Networks that everyone uses are owned by a small group of people. It's not democratic, nor is it transparent. Code that is written for these social networks and the tools that we use, do not benefit the commons. We have no say in how those networks and tools are developed, other than the support pipelines those private networks choose to make available.

Democracies and communities are now discovering the limitations of these large social networks which are at the mercy of the markets and powerful individuals.

NGI Zero however is accountable to the EU[3]. It is accountable to the larger FOSS community. Which fosters a responsibility in every project that benefits from a grant from NGI Zero. The code that we create does benefit our communities and beyond. We are accountable to our communities. As a bonus, NGI Zero also fosters collaboration between our projects as well. We can cooperate and collaborate, we are not in competition. We can go further together.

In the community environment that NGI Zero fosters, Librecast has been able to collaborate with other members of the NGI Zero community. We've been inspired to collaborate independently and grow our communities. With NGI Zero Review, Librecast has been able to hook into initiatives like the Summer of Nix. We've met people who work packaging Reproducible Builds for Debian, which gets our code out to more people.

Hundreds of projects are becoming available to the commons and improving as the EU invests more. Thanks to this investment by NGI Zero, the EU's investment goes further. It ripples out.

More people are joining the Fediverse, which offers them a refurbished view of what we thought the Internet was. Every investment that NGI Zero makes, brings back that dream of a democratic open space for humanity to work together on.

Many of our projects would not have met, but we did meet because of various seminars, calls for participation, and communication on the Fediverse. NGI Zero facilitated those contacts. NGI Zero made that collaboration possible. The more money the EU puts into our projects, the more value in the long term it will get with sustainable projects.

NGI Zero also has the freedom to take a shot at funding new ideas and new ways of creating the Next Generation Internet, that is Human Rights Focused.

NGI Zero is more than a funding coalition. It's a varied and diverse community of people who care about the Internet and our Human Rights. That's how you build a truly Next Generation Internet.

But even if you are a project and you haven't been funded yet. The moment you start, you're part of this community. You're welcome. If you haven't applied yet to an NGI Zero Fund, go and apply now! Watch the seminars and chat with the folks on them.

From all of us at Librecast, we'd like to say thank you, NGI Zero, for choosing us to be a part of this amazing community. Being chosen gave us a springboard to learn about awesome projects and become part of the ecosystem. We're proud to be a part of this community.

Here's to 5 more years!