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Gentoo Foundation
Description The Gentoo Foundation, Inc. provides the legal and financial base for the Gentoo project.
Project email
IRC channel #gentoo-trustees (webchat)
  • Robin Johnson (robbat2)
    Board Member, Officer:President, Officer:Treasurer, Officer:Assistant Infra Liaison, SPI Liaison

Last elected: 2023-07-30
(and inherited member(s))
Parent Project Gentoo
Project listing

Gentoo Foundation Charter

This document describes the goals, structure, and tasks of the Gentoo Foundation.

The Gentoo Foundation is incorporated as a domestic non-for-profit corporation in the state of New Mexico. It has no special IRS designation and files paperwork as a normal corporation.


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 development.
  • 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 Contract.

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:

  1. Gentoo provides choices.
  2. Gentoo is open.
  3. Gentoo lives for the community, by the community.
  4. 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 wrongfully used.

Support the development of Gentoo

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 Social Contract.

The Board of Trustees

Current Board Members

Please keep in sync with the Infobox at the top of this page.

Please see the Bylaws for the requirements of Trustees & Officers.

In addition to the Bylaws, the Foundation requires at least one of the President or Secretary roles to be US citizens or US residents to act as signatories for government and bank documents.

Board Minutes

The following Board Minutes are exports of board meetings held on IRC:

In 2019 we stopped having regular meetings (aside from the annual meeting) as there was not significant business every month. Most business is conducted on bugzilla (in bugs filed to the board) and via the gentoo-nfp email list.

Election process

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 the Bylaws 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 "winners").

Trustee responsibilities

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.



The following are links to other pages of information regarding the Gentoo Foundation and its tasks: