Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the Commonhaus Foundation?

The Commonhaus Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the long-term sustainability of open source projects. By offering a neutral home for succession planning, a minimal governance model, and fiscal sponsorship, it aims to ensure these projects remain accessible and continue to thrive for future generations of developers and businesses.

What led to the creation of the Commonhaus Foundation?

The Commonhaus Foundation was inspired by recognizing specific unmet needs within the open source community, especially for self-governing and code-centric open source projects. While many foundations offer comprehensive support, their processes do not align with all projects, particularly those that are more mature. Not every foundation is the right fit for every project. Similarly, fiscal hosts provide crucial financial infrastructure but generally do not focus on shared governance or the curation of shared or common interest.

Over time, projects, especially smaller ones, encounter challenges such as developer burnout, waning interest, or significant obstacles, often due to the absence of a clear succession plan or a supportive community framework for transition.

The foundation operates with a deliberate focus on being developer-led and grassroots-oriented to cater specifically to the needs of developers and their projects. It values the contributions from employers and companies utilizing open source software, but strives for independence and self-reliance. The Commonhaus Foundation aims to do more than just provide fiscal hosting; it is committed to direct support for projects, addressing both their immediate and future needs with a strong emphasis on proactive succession planning and ensuring a sustainable path forward.

The Commonhaus Foundation is a new option for projects to consider when looking for a foundation to call home, helping to strengthen the open source ecosystem as a whole by ensuring more projects are sustainable in the long term.

Find out more about us:

or contact us directly at For information on joining our community and links to our social media, please see our community page at

Why do you need succession planning?

Succession planning is crucial for ensuring that open source projects thrive well into the future. It helps maintain a project's momentum and ensures its continued development and relevance within the technology ecosystem by preparing for the eventual transition of project leadership and key roles. This is especially important for projects that have become foundational components of other software and systems.

Stakeholders, including users, contributors, and sponsors, are more likely to invest their time, resources, and trust in a project that demonstrates a commitment to future stability through succession planning. It signals that the project is managed responsibly and is likely to remain viable and supported in the long term. It also engenders the entire open source software community as trusted partners in enterprise software development.

How does the Commonhaus Foundation differ from other open source foundations?

The Commonhaus Foundation sets itself apart by providing open source projects with a unique combination of autonomy and tailored support, adapted to their specific stages of development and needs. By simplifying access to funding and offering a stable, long-term home for their assets, the Foundation enables projects to govern themselves and leverage collective resources for greater visibility and impact.

Unlike the structured environments and specific licensing and infrastructure requirements characteristic of foundations like the Apache and Eclipse Foundations, Commonhaus allows projects to maintain their established brand, community identity, infrastructure, and governance practices. It also supports a broader array of OSI-approved licenses.

Why not the Apache Software Foundation?

The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) is renowned for its support of a diverse range of open source projects, offering a structured environment with specific infrastructure requirements, including mailing lists, and a governance model centered around the Apache Software License (Apache-2.0). While the ASF provides a robust framework for project development, projects with established infrastructures and governance models might seek to retain their existing systems.

The Commonhaus Foundation respects the autonomy of projects, allowing them to maintain their current infrastructure and processes upon joining. We offer flexibility in licensing, supporting a broader array of OSI-approved licenses beyond the Apache-2.0.

Why not the Eclipse Foundation?

The Eclipse Foundation (EF) has been around almost as long as the ASF, and is also home to many open source projects. In addition to open source projects, the EF oversees specification projects, particularly in relation to Jakarta EE. A key requirement for projects joining the EF is naming a project with the prefix Eclipse, to reinforce brand recognition.

At Commonhaus Foundation, we prioritize the project's brand and its community, offering a collaborative environment without mandating changes to project names or strict alignment with foundation branding. While supportive of projects that implement or are based on standards, the Commonhaus Foundation does not direct its focus towards the oversight of standards or specifications development, leaving projects free to navigate these aspects as they see fit.

Why not the Linux Foundation?

The Linux Foundation (LF) is a respected home for thousands of open source projects, whether as part of its broader umbrella for unfunded projects or within its various sub-foundations (each with its own set of benefits and governance structures). LF Projects have the opportunity to operate with a significant degree of independence, especially as unfunded initiatives, though they may receive fewer direct benefits compared to those in sub-foundations.

Like the Linux Foundation, the Commonhaus Foundation aims to be a welcoming home for open source projects, offering an alternative for those seeking a community with shared interests and a more tailored support structure. We provide a space for projects that value a smaller, more focused community engagement, highlighting our belief in fitting the foundation's support to the project's needs.

Does the Commonhaus Foundation complement Tidelift's efforts, and what distinguishes it from Tidelift?

The Commonhaus Foundation and Tidelift share a common goal of supporting the sustainability and health of open source projects. However, their approaches and services differ, providing complementary benefits to the open source community. Tidelift addresses the financial and risk management needs of open source projects from a commercial perspective, while the Commonhaus Foundation, which is a non-profit, focuses on the broader organizational and succession needs, ensuring projects have the support to thrive independently.

Tidelift focuses on financially supporting open source maintainers and projects through subscriptions paid by companies that rely on open source software. It provides assurances around security, licensing, and maintenance of open source dependencies, aligning the interests of open source creators and commercial users. In contrast, the Commonhaus Foundation emphasizes providing a neutral home for open source projects, prioritizing succession planning, fiscal sponsorship, and minimal governance without imposing specific operational models. It caters to projects seeking a flexible framework that respects their autonomy and governance structures while ensuring their long-term viability.

Facilitating collaborative progress

Both the Apache and Eclipse Foundations offer vital structural supports where competing interests need to be navigated with care.

At Commonhaus, we see our role as facilitators of a different sort of consensus-building—one that encourages projects to agree on how to collaborate and move forward together, without requiring an externally-imposed structure.

What types of open source projects does Commonhaus aim to support?

The foundation is open to a wide range of open source projects. At launch, we are proud to include the Hibernate, Jackson, OpenRewrite, JBang, JReleaser, and Morphia projects, many of which are essential projects in the Java ecosystem today. Our doors are open to projects from all languages and technologies that share our vision for a collaborative and sustainable open source future.

How can open source projects become a part of the Commonhaus Foundation?

Project maintainers interested in making the Commonhaus Foundation their project's long-term home are welcome to get in touch. We're finalizing our application and acceptance process but are open to discussing how donating your project can benefit its future. Please feel free to start a discussion on GitHub or reach us directly at

What benefits do member projects receive from joining the Commonhaus Foundation?

Joining the Commonhaus Foundation offers member projects a neutral home, simplified financial management, and the capability to receive donations without seeking individual nonprofit status. Importantly, we emphasize long-term stewardship and sustainability through collaboration with maintainers to ensure projects remain active and adapt over time; building a network of practitioners to share responsibilities and prevent isolation; and establishing strategies as we facilitate leadership transitions over time.

Can individuals join and support the Commonhaus Foundation?

Absolutely. Individuals who share our passion for open source are encouraged to join the Commonhaus Foundation. Becoming a member of the Commonhaus requires sponsorship (GitHub) and participation. Become an active participant in our community: contribute to our member projects, volunteer your time and experience. Buy the foundation a fancy cup of coffee once a year to help us keep the engine going. See our bylaws for more information about membership, and the Community page of our website for more information on how to jump in.

How can companies and organizations support the Commonhaus Foundation?

We welcome support from companies and organizations at the Commonhaus Foundation. While joining our Advisory Board doesn't grant direct influence over the foundation’s strategic direction, it allows for valuable collaboration that helps shape our initiatives.

If your organization is interested in supporting the Commonhaus Foundation or exploring a role within our Advisory Board, please get in touch at We’re thankful for the support and perspective that companies bring to our open source community, and we look forward to discussing how we can work together.