Robot Framework Foundation unfolded

There have been questions about how the foundation works, what are the benefits of joining and what we do. So fetch a cup of coffee, beer, or whatever is your cup of tea (pun intended). Here it is.

Motivation: reason for existence

Robot Framework Foundation is a non-profit consortium that fosters the growth of Robot Framework. It was founded by companies with a common interest to ensure the development of framework now and in the future.

That’s it more or less in a nutshell. We are a democratic, common good, and non-profit organization by nature. We want to help people to automate their daily dull routines and help them to focus on the things that need a human touch. We are spending all our money, either directly to the tool or the ecosystem development or indirectly to supporting functions. All that in more detail later.

The union of the foundation and the development

The foundation’s role is purely as a funding entity towards the development of the Robot Framework and the ecosystem. The reason for this is that money should not rule the direction of the development and it removes unnecessary politics inside the foundation. When a member joins the foundation, they trust that their support will be used for the common good. There is a never ending motion and discussion around the direction of the tool development inside the community. The members of the foundation are more than welcome to participate in the dialogue. There are many wonderful ways to contribute to the tool development. Discussions mentioned earlier and yes, Pull Requests are the most powerful way. Naturally members of the foundation are ruling the direction of the foundation itself.

How we roll

The Robot Framework Foundation is an association based in Finland, and thus the Finnish Association Law is binding us. We have rules which are commonly agreed upon inside the foundation. Any juridically notified entity that accepts our rules [1], can be our member. The most common example of a juridically notified entity is a company. The members of the foundation have the highest power and they can use their voice in the association meetings. The most powerful example of using the voice is choosing the board, which happens annually.

The Board

The current practise of choosing the board starts with a consultative voting. Candidates need to announce their willingness to join the board. When we have collected all candidates we will have a consultative voting among the foundation members. Board members are proposed in the annual meeting based on the voting result. These mandatory roles are also proposed: Chairman of the Board, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. The annual meeting is held at the beginning of the year. If it is decided in the annual meeting that the proposal is good, then the board will be active during that year.
There are 7 board members.

Workgroups

With the current operation, all practicalities cannot be handled only by board members. In the board meeting workgroups are formed to handle different topics. Making our annual Robot Framework Conference (RoboCon ) happen, is a good example of a workgroup.

How we collect our money

When we are talking about Open Source, free is a strong association and it is true, it is free to use and we want to share our work to the rest of humankind to improve our quality of life. Sharing is caring.
Maybe one misunderstanding is that people are doing this for free. As some people have Open Source as a hobby, other people who do it more like a professional matter and those people need to feed their families. At the moment, nobody is working for the foundation full-time. This is for us more like a second or a third job. This is something that we want to change in the future, we want to have people fully dedicated just to serve you.
Supporting Open source tools is voluntary. Of course donated work from people and companies are more than welcome and are an essential part of how Opens Source works. Anyway, a more straightforward way is money. The most common way of collecting our funding for our operation are the yearly fees, which is paid by our members. RoboCon has become a good source of funding. We also have smaller money sources, like our shop. So, if you want to make us faster, stronger and better, you know what to do. It is also an investment for yourself and for a better world.

How we spend our money

Like said before, we are a non-profit and common good organization. We are spending all our money for making Robot Framework and the community better. Most of our money goes to the development of the tool itself and the ecosystem. We also have administrative costs for running the operation. Examples are: Finance, boarding new companies, board meetings, legal, it-support, email accounts, servers, meetup.com fees, etc. Still our philosophy is to keep this necessary “evil” as small as possible, without compromising our operation.

As a member, what’s in it for me?

We want to keep everything open and let our work benefit humankind. If you are using it already to make your life easier, why not help to make it better with us? Free people for more complex matters and evolve us as a species. This is something we do with a pure heart and without selfishness. We want to keep the tool free for all, so no license costs. If you want to be a part of something bigger and help us to flourish, join our forces. The nature of common good organization is, that there should not be benefits that can be monetized exclusively. Remember, as a side product you are helping yourself among the rest of the great community. Because of our democratic nature, joining gives you a voice in the foundation and decision power where we are heading. Well, there are also some other perks.

Media visibility

Your logo will be visible on our web pages, in RoboCon-materials and presentations of the foundation.

Free and discounted tickets for RoboCon

Yep. Free tickets depend on your membership tier.

Internal Workshops

A more relaxed and free environment to share your experience of Robot Framework with other members. This is still brewing up.

Final Words

Thank you for reading. If you are not yet a member, please join our great movement. See you all in RoboCon.

Ismo Aro
Chairman of the Board of Robot Framework Foundation

[1]
By applying for membership, the applicant agrees to and accepts the below terms and conditions of the association:

1. Purpose of the association

The purpose of the association is to support the maintenance and the use of Robot Framework i.e. test automation framework.

2. Members and accession to the association

An applicant which approves the purpose and the rules of the association may be approved as a service provider member of the association.

An applicant which prefers to support the purpose and the rules of the association may be approved as a product company member of the association.

The board of the association shall approve the applications for service provider members and for support members.

3. Members’ resignation and discharge from the association

A member has the right to resign from the association by a written notice to the board or to the chairman of the board of the association or by notifying the resignation to be recorded in the association meeting minutes.

The board of the association has the right to discharge a member if the member has not paid its member fee that is due or if the member has in any other way neglected its obligations to which it has committed itself as a member. Furthermore, a member may be discharged if it has by its conduct in the association or elsewhere notably harmed the association or if it does not anymore fulfil the obligations arising from mandatory legislation or the associations rules regarding the terms of

the membership.

4. Subscription fee and membership fee

The annual general meeting of the association decides the amount of the subscription fee and the

yearly membership fee.

5. Meetings of the association

In the event that the board of the association or the meeting of the association so decides, a member may participate the meetings of the association also by post or via a telecommunications link or via another technical instrument during or before the meeting.

The annual general meeting of the association shall be held between January and May at a day that the board decides. An extraordinary general meeting shall be held when the meeting of the association so decides or when the board of the association considers it to be necessary or if at least one tenth (1/10) of the association’s members with voting rights demands it by a written notice from the board of the association. The meeting shall be held during thirty (30) days from the day when the demand was presented to the board.

Every ordinal member shall have one vote in the meetings of the association. The decision shall be made by the majority of the votes, if not otherwise stated in the association rules. If the votes are even, the decision shall be made by the chairman of the meeting. If the votes are even and the vote is about an election, the decision shall be made by drawing lots.

6. Convene of the association

The board of the association shall convene the association at least seven (7) days before the meeting with a letter send to the members of the association, in a newspaper published in the home town of the association or by email.

Additional terms in regard to use of the names and logos of member companies:

Robot Framework shall have the right to identify the member company as a Robot Framework Foundation member and display the name and logo of the company on its website, as well as in Robot Framework marketing materials, merchandise, social media and in connection to any events organised by the foundation. The member company shall however have the right to deny such reference use, provided that this is done explicitly and in writing.

8 Likes

Thanks, Ismo, for the post. This is a great explainer for the Foundation and the work that we as the board and member representatives do!

It’s also good to highlight that while the Foundation doesn’t steer where Robot Framework is going, it funds the work of accepting pull requests. With this model, we can make sure that (good) ideas that are worth implementing will have the chance to be incorporated into the core Robot Framework.

1 Like

:robot: Robot Framework :registered: :robot:

is now officially registered as European Trade Mark.

We received today our:
EUROPEAN UNION INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE
CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION

:tada:

René Rohner
Member of the Board of Robot Framework Foundation

Ps: It is still and will be forever Open Source!

4 Likes

What does it mean?

That no one else in Europe is allowed to use “Robot Framework” as a name for a Software or use it on Certificates without our permission.

Everyone of course may use the name “Robot Framework” if talking about Robot Framework but not for something else.

The main goal was to ensure that not any shady party offers Robot Framework exams or certificates without the approval of the Foundation.

I see. So what are the rules now: How do you get permission? Does it mean all those courses with “certificate” (for basically attending a tutorial) on linkedin are now illegal?

Are there courses that give Robot Framework Certificates? :flushed:

Don’t know. There are courses, but I never used one. They probably only give out course-completion letters.

currently we do not have an official certificate, but it is on the agenda.
We do not want some one to give out “Robot Framework Certified Tester” or such things.
For Selenium there are three or four different companies that give out certificates.

Because we have now the trademark we could tell a company to not give out Robot Framework Certificates because this is a registered Trademark.

We want to prevent that some shady companies make money with unapproved exams.

1 Like

Good to know, can we expect any official Robot Framework certification from RF foundation in future?

Maybe my question was not a relevant, just wanted to know If somebody wants to host a training on Robot Framework to the people who are interested in & wants to implements their acceptance tests in RF as it is pen source.

Hosting such kind of activities in meetups are illegal?

Hi,

Yes we are still planning a Robot Framework Certificate together with a official Exam!
Due to other priorities this is still in our Backlog.

We will not allow that someone else than the Foundation give out any Certificates that are in the name of Robot Framework.

But we definitely welcome that anyone who likes to train people can do this.

For now there are NO plans to limit the Training companies.

And also if these Training companies wants to give out a “Certificate of Participation”, that is fine for us.
We do not want, that someone gives out “Robot Framework Certified …” thing.
Certificates that proof that you know how to work with RF.

Does this clarify the situation a bit?

Thanks for the clarifications.