Calls: Send in your ideas. Deadline April 1, 2024

NGI Fediversity

Creating the hosting stack of the future

More about: Guide for Applicants | Who is behind this? | Eligibility | FAQ

The first call of NGI Fediversity will open up early 2024.  Check out the tentative call text below, as well as the guide for applicants and the frequently asked questions.


Users need to be able to separate their content and data from internet-based sofware and services. This ability re-establishes the boundaries between content owner and service provider, allowing alternative and complementary services to be mixed and matched. Service portability and data decoupling go hand in hand to help achieve openness to new entrants by unlocking clustered service verticals that have achieved dominant market positions.NGI study report: Next Generation Internet 2025 (2018)

Our software supply chains are a silent miracle, the result of millions of hours spent every year packaging, compiling and distributing software. From this vast firehose of bits come the apps and services we depend on every day. Subsequently, billions of hours are spent by users on dealing with everything from simple updates to complex system administration. This vast effort is necessary to keep oneself abreast of the never-ending supply of potential vulnerabilities that arrives with just a slight delay. Users that fail to responsively track new releases of every deployed service and each of its dependencies, are bound to land themselves or others in trouble sooner rather than later.

Deploying internet based services is much tougher than we can afford. No matter how user friendly or well-written software is, enabling the community at large to maintain internet services by themselves at scale has proven to be consistently challenging. Achieving high availability scenario's is even more of a dark art. No wonder, people just give in and surrender their data.

Fediversity is a comprehensive effort to bring easy-to-use, hosted cloud services with service portability and personal freedom at their core to everyone. It wants to provide everyone with high-quality, secure IT systems for everyday use. Without tracking, without exploitation, in a way that runs everywhere and scales effortlessly. Fediversity is based on NixOS, a disruptive Linux distribution with a unique approach to package and configuration management. Built on top of the Nix package manager, NixOS is completely declarative, makes upgrading systems reliable, and has many other advantages. Because it is reproducible, it is ideally suited for complex deployment scenario's where consistent behaviour, stability and configurability matter.

One such "complex" deployment scenario is running state-of-the-art services for the Fediverse, like PeerTube, Mastodon, Owncast or Lemmy — especially if you want to for instance add services like live chat or transcoding. But even running more traditional services like modern e-mail servers with possible whistles and bells can be daunting. The same holds for deploying a VPN, private cloud storage, wiki, etc. Fediversity will enable all of these use cases, and more — finally bringing these to the market in a way that is as conveient as using a hosted service.

Fediversity is a pilot funded by the European Commission, building on many projects funding through the Next Generation Internet initiative. The results of the project should greatly simplify the creation and delivery of robust and secure services, on the web and beyond.

Users should be able to use services that have the best match with their needs, ethics and rights at any point.

Fediversity will deliver an ambitious development effort, but this is a vast domain with many more challenges than what any preconceived effort could tackle by itself. This is why we invite your contribution to help us reshape the state of play, and together create an open, trustworthy and reliable internet for all.

This is your opportunity to make a real difference. You tell us how your project can help Fediversity go harder, better, faster, stronger. In order to enable you to make such contributions, we will award 450 000 euro in small to medium-size R&D grants towards solutions that bring the next generation of mobile solutions closer. We are seeking project proposals between 5.000 and 50.000 euro's — which should get you on your way. Noteworthy fact: many projects which are to be deployed inside Fediversity were themselves bootstrapped on precisely such a grant from NGI, and now it is your turn.

Reliability, confidentiality, integrity, security, and resource efficiency should be the 'new normal' of the internet, something ordinary users should not have to worry about — users should be in control. So let's make it happen. The programme will run between now and November 2026, but budgets are limited — make sure you grab your opportunity.

The project results should 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 consortium behind NGI Fediversity is wholly committed to make this opportunity come to life: there is a limited window of opportunity. Through the open calls, we assist you and other independent researchers and developers to join in and create powerful new technologies and put these in the hands of future generations as building blocks for a fair and democratic society. Help us build a sustainable and open economy that benefits all, and submit your idea today. Not sure whether your idea fits? Don't be afraid to send something completely out-of-the-box if you think you can contribute to the topic (and it fits with the eligibility criteria): it really is an open call.

The project will validate and demonstrate the new capabilities resulting from the project by providing a number of examples of different types of web services, such as classic LAMP applications, NodeJS and Java application containers.This will help create a virtuous cycle of innovation through free and open source software, libre hardware and open standards.

The first call of NGI Fediversity will be launched early 2024.  Check out the guide for applicants and the frequently asked questions.

Submit a proposal

Next Generation Internet

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. How we share and retrieve information is an essential part of that equation. The internet can and should bring out the best in all of us. It should enable human potential, mobility and creativity at the largest possible scale — while dealing responsibly with our natural resources. 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.

Acknowledgements

Logo European Commission

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101136078.