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NGI Zero Review

Supporting quality and maturity of digital commons

NGI Zero Review is a three year support programme offering various targeted services to free and open source projects within the Next Generation Internet initiative. Goal is to improve the quality and inclusiveness of these projects, and make them more sustainable where possible by supporting the most promising ideas to live up to high standards (sometimes called 'walk the talk') in terms of security, privacy, accessibility, open source licensing compliance, standardisation, etc.

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The next generation internet initiative envisions the information age will be an era that brings out the best in all of us. We want to enable human potential, mobility and creativity at the largest possible scale – while dealing responsibly with our natural resources. In order to preserve and expand the European way of life, the programme helps shape a value-centric, human and inclusive Internet for all.

Our support services


  • Accessibility best practices and tooling for self-tests
  • WCAG audit of project results

Inclusive design makes it possible for everyone to use technology. Many more people than you might assume suffer from small but blocking issues in using technology. These hamper their careers, education and — and often unnecessarily so. Small adjustments can make a world of difference, but how do you know which adjustments are needed so that color-blind people can use your app, people with a tremor can fill out a form or people with limited cognitive abilities can figure out what to do.


Accessibility support is delivered by 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.

Diversity and inclusion management

  • Help build a more diverse developer community
  • Receive wider input, more representative of the global and heterogeneous internet
  • Gender Evaluation Methodoloy (GEM)

The internet is for everyone, not just for the lucky few. What do you know about global needs and constraints, and about best practises for open source projects to improve diversity? How to structure a project to avoid negative interactions within your community such as rudeness, name-calling and stereotyping? How to embed the perspective of the global South, where people do not all have the latest smartphone or 5G connectivity. We can help connect the projects to non-obvious communities, so you can directly interact with them.


Diversity and inclusion support is delivered by 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.

Community building and mentoring

  • Best practices community building
  • Strategic advice on developing project sustainability

The mentor organisations can help projects consider the phase after their grant runs out: setting up crowd funding, applying for additional grants, starting a company or building an ecosystem of partners that are interested in sustaining the project. The mentoring organisation have experience with each of these scenario's, and can assist with practical tips and contacts.

New projects are filled with energy and ambition, but sometimes you need some outside wisdom and experience. We offer support from two different mentor organisations, each with a strong reputation in building FOSS communities and versed in their structure, ethics, and values. Mentors offer a listening ear when you need it, and help make connections to other relevant efforts inside and outside of NGI. They offer practical lessons learned from rich experience with many other projects, and can help to solve communication problems and startup challenges. They help understand and cultivate the NGI Vision inside the projects, and act as bees cross-polinating new developments and best practices. Everything needed to make sure the project can target what it set out to accomplish.


Mentoring is delivered by Center for the Cultivation of Technology — a charitable non-profit host organization for international Free Software projects — and
  • Best practices copyrights and license compliance
  • Assist with tooling and creation of SPDX headers
  • Legal strategy on emerging copyright issue

A lot of software starts off with existing source code, as there is plenty of that available on the internet — and it is not always clear whether there is a proper open source license attached. For developers under time pressure, eager to get results and functionality out the door sooner rather than later — and not everyone is aware of legal considerations when doing so. Copyright compliance management isn't glamorous work, but can save a lot of trouble later on. Using best current practices like Reuse.Software one can avoid the pitfalls of compliance.


Copyright compliance and license due diligence support is delivered by Free Software Foundation Europe — a European association that aims to empower users to control technology — and ifrOSS — an expert foundation that provides not-for-profit legal services and studies in the context of free and open source software.

Internationalisation, translation and localisation

  • Best practices on localisation and internationalisation (i18n)
  • Support with setting up translation infrastructure

Software may seem universal, but can actually be quite specific to linguistic and cultural influences. While many in the tech scene assume that everybody understands fluent English, lack of support for other languages can be a significant barrier to broad adoption. Even within Europe, in some countries 80% of the population has problems with understanding technical English. Moreover, for many users, their mother tongue represents more than the technicalities of language. Not only that, but the cultural dimensions of technology are different across cultures (in varying degrees of subtlety), and these differences are actually very meaningful to people. Europe is a continent of linguistic and cultural diversity, a continent of regions and of variety. So how can you design your technology in such a way that users from anywhere in the world feel at home and productive with it?


Internationalisation and localisation support is delivered by Translate House — an organisation with a rich history of developing and implementing open source localization solutions.


  • Best practices on packaging and reproducible builds
  • Reproducible packaging with Nix

It is important for a project that is meant to scale to gather traction as early as possible. There should be a convenient and easy to obtain development and testing environment, to ensure people that are interested have a low barrier of entry. We support the team to set up their technical infrastructure with Nix. Nix is a powerful vendor-agnostic package solution for Linux, Mac OS X and other Unix systems that makes package management reliable and reproducible. It provides atomic upgrades and rollbacks, side-by-side installation of multiple versions of a package, multi-user package management and easy setup of build environments. By using the unique capabilities of Nix, and associated projects like NixOps and NixOS, complex dependencies (such as services) can be managed. This way the project is able to have a cross-distro development and delivery system that is easy to integrate with continuous integration, and allows anyone to easily check in to the development process of the projects. It also creates full transparency: the entire setup is declarative and allows for reproducible builds, so every source origin and every patch is completely verifiable.


Packaging support is delivered by NixOS Foundation — the foundation supporting development and use of purely functional configuration management tools, in particular NixOS and related projects.

Security audit

  • Best practices on security
  • Security audit

Every project needs to earn the trust of users over time, and long term trust depends on the trustworthiness of your output. Young and ambitious projects tend to overestimate their level of sophistication and understanding in terms of security. This can bring users into potentially dangerous situations.

Living up to high security standards is important, and so we offer a professional security audit. The results are sent confidentially to the team, and can be made public through a standard coordinated disclosure procedure.


Security support is delivered by Radically Open Security — the worlds first not-for-profit open source security company.


  • Best practices on standardisation
  • Custom advice on standardisation strategy

Open standards are an essential component of the openness of the internet. Dealing with standards setting organisations as a relative outsider can be a good lesson in humility though. Standards bodies often have meritocratic characteristics, and processes with very specific timing, meaning that newcomers can be at a disadvantage. There are historical precedents and unwritten rules to be taken into account. The actual decision making turns out to be more complex and time-consuming than it seemed at first instance. And sometimes there is a clash of interests (the privacy or security feature you want may ruin someone's nefarious but working business model), which can be very frustrating. Long battles have been fought over insignificant issues as well as over fundamental chasms, and it is unfortunately not a given that the debate is always won by the right party or in a fair way.

Not every project may need to interface with a standards setting organisation, but for those that do we provide guidance and mentoring throughout the process, and can help introduce projects to relevant stakeholders to collaborate and build alliances. This does not deliver guarantees on successfully reaching a standard, but it can significantly increase their chances.


Standards support is delivered by Tolerant Networks - a Trinity College Dublin campus company focused on robust interoperable communications mechanisms for extreme and unpredictable environments, which delivers its standardisation experience.


  • Assessment of testing situation
  • Advice and help on setting up and improving testing
  • Usability testing

If software is not tested, users are likely to be dissappointed by the software and adoption will be low. The developer of the code will have a limited perspective on the usability of the code. A fresh outside perspective can highlight new issues with the code.

Projects can apply for help with testing. The testing setup of your project will be reviewed and advice can be given on how to improve or extend it.


Testing support is delivered by Julian Harty. Julian has decades long experience in testing software. He's written books and a PhD thesis on this topic.

These services are available upon request and with limited supplies (first come, first serve!) — we recommend you don't wait too long with requesting support.

Request support now


You can apply for support from NGI Zero Review with your free and open source project if the project has received a grant from the Next Generation Internet initiative, and contributes to the vision of the Next Generation Internet.

NGI Zero Review is targeted only at free and open source technologies created within the scope of the Next Generation Internet.

NGI Zero Review will run from August 1st 2022 to July 31stst 2025. Check out the frequently asked questions. The budget for the programme is kindly provided by the European Commission DG CNECT.

Next Generation Internet

NGI works 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 provide people with concrete new tools and more reliable infrastructure, which grant them privacy and data portability, provide better overall security and allow them more agency and choice.

A human centric Next Generation Internet shall reflect the openness, diversity and the inclusion that are at the core of European values - Roberto Viola

The overall mission of the Next Generation Internet initiative is to re-imagine and re-engineer the internet for the third millennium and beyond to shape a value-centric, human and inclusive society for all. The internet can and should bring out the best in all of us. Doing so is essential to preserve and expand the European way of life. The Next Generation Internet initiative aims to mobilise the best ideas to improve how we find and connect people, devices, services and ideas.

The internet can and should bring out the best in all of us.


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NGI0 Review is made possible with financial support from the European Commission's Next Generation Internet programme, under the aegis of DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101070519

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