The Free Software Foundation (FSF) announced plans to launch a public code hosting and collaboration platform (“forge“) this year. 

Members of the FSF tech team are currently reviewing ethical web-based software that will help teams work on their projects, with features like merge requests, bug tracking, and other common tools.

“Infrastructure is very important for free software, and it’s unfortunate that so much free software development currently relies on sites that don’t publish their source code, and require or encourage the use of proprietary software,” FSF wrote in a blog post. “Our GNU ethical repository criteria aim to set a high standard for free software code hosting, and we hope to meet that with our new forge.”

As of now, the team said it has been researching a list of candidate programs and analyzing them in terms of ethical and practical criteria. FSF aims to initially reach a B rating on the GNU ethical repository criteria, and then to work towards reaching an A rating after launch.

“We also hope that in the future we’ll be able to see decentralized, federated collaboration platforms that meet most needs,” FSF wrote. “We will continue to be interested in that direction, but we think the need for this freedom-respecting forge is time-sensitive, so we’re going to do it with the free software we have available right now.”

When it comes to features in the new forge, the ability to allow issues and other data to be imported and exported is important, according to FSF. It is also important for the project to operate with high transparency, and said it will publish the source code that runs on the server and document how the system is run. 

FSF said it is tracking its ongoing analysis on the LibrePlanet wiki, and will continue updating the page with information pertaining to research about free software for its upcoming forge.