NGI Zero Core: Moving the internet forward
The internet was never designed with our modern usage in mind. Important decisions that shaped how the internet works today were made in the distant past, and we continue to run into the consequences — cascading effects and limited resilience, scalability issues, lack of strong privacy and security and a blind spot for energy efficiency. These may have seemed less important at the time, but currently they certainly are not, and we need to act.
We want a more resilient, trustworthy and open internet. We want to empower end-users. Given the speed at which the ‘twin transition’ is taking place, we need a greener internet and more sustainable services sooner rather than later. Neither will happen at global scale without protocol evolution, which — as the case of three decades of IPv6 introduction demonstrates — is extremely challenging. NGI0 Core is designed to push beyond the status quo and create a virtuous cycle of innovation through free and open source software, libre hardware and open standards. If we want everyone to use and benefit from the internet to its full potential without holding back, the internet must be built on strong and transparent technologies that allow for permissionless innovation and are equally accessible to all.
We work towards better technologies to restore and maintain European sovereignty and to secure democratic ownership of the digital society. NGI Zero actively works towards digital commons and trustworthy technological building blocks for the next generation of the internet. The goal is to help set the course of the evolution of technology, provide people with concrete new tools and more reliable infrastructure, which provides better overall security and allow them more agency and choice.
We are looking for troubleshooters that help society tackle the ossification of the internet and other hard but very very important challenges, each of which has significant social and economic consequences. We need new ideas and disruptive core technologies, while at the same time evolving technologies that are still future-proof. The project results become available under an open source license, so anyone can read and validate the source code, and anyone can use the code to create technology that fits their own purposes. The right to reuse and right to repair not only allow for unrestricted scrutiny and permissionless innovation, but also help to reduce e-waste. And the use of standards enables interoperability and redundancy in implementation to reduce the risk of compromise and failure.
The effort to fund 8.8 million euro of R&D on technology commons that move the internet forward and are made available as free/libre/open source software and hardware is a project called NGI Zero Core. This is a significant effort by a large group of organisations:
- Association for Progressive Communications – A global network and organisation that strives towards easy and affordable access to a free and open internet to improve the lives of people and create a more just world
- Center for the Cultivation of Technology – A charitable non-profit host organization for international Free Software projects
- Free Software Foundation Europe – Association charity that aims to empower users to control technology.
- HAN University of Applied Sciences, dept. Inclusive Design & Engineering – one of the core competence building centres of accessibility in the Netherlands, with significant in-house expertise on accessibility auditing.
- NixOS Foundation – Foundation supporting development and use of purely functional configuration management tools, in particular NixOS and related projects
- NLnet Foundation – Grantmaking public benefit organisation founded by pioneers of the early European internet
- Petites Singularités – Non profit organisation working with free sofware and focusing on collective practices
- Radically Open Security – Not-for-profit open source security company
- Tolerant Networks – a Trinity College Dublin campus company focused on robust interoperable communications mechanisms for extreme and unpredictable environments, which delivers its standardisation experience.
In addition, we collaborate with:
- Accessibility Foundation – Center of expertise on accessibility of internet and other digital media for all people, including the elderly and people with disabilities
- Commons Caretakers – A not-for-profit service provider for the development of Commons
- Translate House – Develops and implements open source localization solutions
- ifrOSS – Provides not-for-profit legal services and studies in the context of free and open source software