Official Rules

The GNOME Foundation, Inc. (“GNOME”) organizes and sponsors the Community Engagement Challenge (the “Challenge”), a contest to promote engagement of beginning coders in the free and open-source software (“FOSS”) community. The purpose of the Challenge is to encourage individuals or teams to submit stimulating ideas that will connect the next generation of coders to the FOSS community and keep them involved for years to come. 

Participation in the Challenge constitutes the entrant’s agreement and acceptance of these Official Rules. By submitting an entry, you, the entrant, have reviewed, accepted, and agreed to all of the Official Rules.



Entries may be submitted by individuals or teams. The Challenge is open to residents of any country except the following: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, or the Crimea region of the Ukraine (excluded due to U.S. country-based sanctions.) Similarly, Blocked Persons on the Specially Designated Nationals List are excluded from the Challenge due to U.S. restrictions. Residents of Brazil and Italy are excluded due to local laws restricting contests. Entrants from other jurisdictions may not be eligible to receive the full prizes set out in these Challenge Rules. Entry is void where prohibited by law. 

Employees of the GNOME Foundation and Endless, their affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, and suppliers, and immediate family members (spouse, parents, siblings, and children) and/or those living in the same household of Employees are not eligible to participate in the Challenge.

General Submission Guidelines

This Challenge seeks entries that will introduce beginning coders to the FOSS community, help improve their coding skillset and support their FOSS community engagement for years to come (“Program Goals”). Entries should therefore target beginning coders, ideally of high school and college age (16-25).

Apart from what is set out in these Challenge Rules, there are no restrictions on the form submissions must take: submissions may be software projects, educational materials, videos, games, or anything else that promotes engagement of beginning coders with the FOSS community. 

Challenge Period – Start and End Dates

The Challenge is divided into three phases—Idea, Proof of Concept, and Sample Product—with prizes awarded at each stage. Entries for the three phases are due as follows:

  • Phase One (Idea) – April 8, 2020 –  July 1, 2020
  • Phase Two (Proof of Concept) – August 1, 2020 – November 2, 2020
  • Phase Three (Sample Product) – December 5 – 2020 – March 1, 2021

Entries for Phases 2 and 3 will only be accepted from entrants who submitted winning entries for all preceding phases. Entries will be accepted online at between now and 11:59 P.M. US/Eastern time on the due date for the applicable phase. GNOME may, in its sole discretion, extend these deadlines. Entries submitted after the due date for a phase, including any extensions, will be disqualified.

Submission Rules

The Challenge must be entered by submitting digital files using the online form provided at by the designated deadline Each entry must meet the Program Goals.  These are the requirements for each Challenge phase:

Phase One: Idea

  • Completed written proposal (in English) which includes concept and individual or team background 
  • Graphics/images/supplemental material is encouraged but not required

Phase Two: Proof of Concept

  • Basic prototype to demonstrate feasibility/achievability which would give the judges a better understanding of what the final product would look like. 
    • Some examples might include, for a game or application, a submission that shows a players experience from start to finish.  Or, a video might have a start and end complete but stills in the middle.  

Phase Three: Final

  • Deliverable end product which demonstrates Program Goals

Each entry must meet all Submission Requirements (see below) to be eligible to win a prize. Incomplete entries or entries which are not in alignment with the Contest Rules will be disqualified. Each entrant or team may submit multiple entries to the Challenge, but each idea must be submitted in a separate proposal. Any attempt of circumvention of the rules will result in immediate disqualification from the Challenge.

Entrants must accurately complete all required fields on the submission form (including, if applicable, any instructions on how to properly upload supporting materials) or the entry will be characterized as incomplete and will not qualify.

Submission Requirements

All submissions must be:

  • submitted in English, including the initial written proposal and entrant information in English 
  • licensed under a free and open source software or content license approved by the Free Software Foundation or Open Source Initiative
  • capable of being used (i.e. run, viewed, edited, etc.) using the GNOME desktop environment

As the Challenge promotes free software participation, strong preference will be given to projects that are produced and designed to be edited and used with free and open source software. For example, a graphic design project created in Inkscape would be preferred to one created in Illustrator, and a game that uses free software libraries would be preferred to one designed for Steam. 

Judging Criteria

Submissions will take into consideration and scored according to the following criteria (the “Judging Criteria”).

Primary considerations:

  • Does this entry further the coding skills of the beginner coder? 
  • Does this entry introduce the user to the FOSS community?
  • Does this entry encourage FOSS community participation for years to come?

Secondary considerations: 

  • How well does this entry engage with communities and groups under-represented (e.g, women, non-binary, gender queer, or gender non-conforming) in the FOSS Community?
  • Does the entry sound fun and engaging?  
  • Is the entry unique? E.g, how creative/innovative is the entry?  

Winner Selection and Notification

Winners will be selected according to the Judging Criteria under the supervision of GNOME. Winners will be informed about the prize at the email address providing with their submission, on or about the following dates:

  • Phase One: July 24-28, 2020
  • Phase Two: December 1, 2020
  • Phase Three: March 1, 2021

GNOME is not responsible if a winner fails to receive the notice about the prize due to any security settings or provision of incorrect contact information. If a winner fails to respond within the required time period, the prize may be forfeited and an alternate winner may be selected based on the Judging Criteria. 

If a winner is considered a minor in their place of residence, GNOME reserves the right to place the prize in the name of the winner’s parent or legal guardian who will be requested to sign a Declaration of Claim on the winner’s behalf. 

If a winner is disqualified for any reason, GNOME is not obliged to provide an alternate prize or extend the contest period in any way, and all privileges as winner will be terminated immediately. Entrants who provide false, fraudulent or deceptive entries or who engage in false, fraudulent or deceptive acts in connection with the Challenge will be disqualified.


Winners of the Challenge phases will receive the following prizes, as determined by GNOME:

  • Phase One (Idea) –20 winners
    • $1000 prize per selected entry 
    • Server space to store entry
    • Invitation to present idea at an upcoming event (events TBD)
    • Invitation to participate in Phase 2 
  • Phase Two (Proof of Concept) –4 winners
    • $5,000 prize per selected entry 
    • Invitation to present idea at an upcoming event (events TBD)
    • Invitation to participate in Phase 3
  • Phase Three (Sample Product) 
    • 1st place – $15,000
    • 2nd place – $10,000
    • Invitation to present at upcoming conferences for 1st and 2nd place team
    • A stipend (amount TBD in GNOME’s sole discretion) to attend award ceremony at GUADEC for one team member of 1st and 2nd place team

All entrants will have access to an online forum to communicate with other entrants and participation is strongly encouraged. Phase 3 entrants will have access to industry mentors. Please note GNOME’s Code of Conduct must be followed at all times and any violation could result in disqualification. 

GNOME reserves the right to add additional prizes or categories should it be deemed appropriate. 

Cash Prizes will be awarded as checks or bank transfers from a U.S. bank. Prizes cannot be redeemed for cash or substituted for another prize, and are non-transferable. If the winning entrant for any prize is a team, the prize will be awarded to the team to be divided between members as they choose. Prize-related expenses including all federal, state, and local taxes represent the sole financial responsibility of the winner. The prize is given with no written, express, or implied warranty. Any prize not claimed within 30 days may, in GNOME’s sole discretion, be forfeited by the winner and remain the property of GNOME. 

How to Claim the Prize

To claim their prizes, winners are required to provide (1) a valid government-issued photo identification depicting proof of age and (2) a valid taxpayer identification number or social security number. The taxpayer identification number will be used for tax-reporting purposes only. GNOME reserves the right to deny the prize if the winner fails to provide satisfactory identification.

Original Content; Ownership

By participating in the Challenge, each entrant represents and warrants that: (1) they are the exclusive owner of the copyright and all other proprietary rights in any and all materials and content submitted by the entrant to enter the Challenge; (2) they have the right to grant to any third party the right to use, reproduce, distribute, perform and display all entry materials. All entries must have appropriate clearances, permissions and releases prior to uploading, or may be eliminated from the Challenge. Any unauthorized samples or performances of another artist’s material could be subject to fines, royalty fees, and/or legal action, for which the Entrant agrees to indemnify, defend and hold GNOME harmless. 

Rights Granted by Challenge Entrants

By entering this Challenge and submitting their entries, each entrant understands and agrees that GNOME and/or anyone acting on the behalf of GNOME has the right, where and for the period permitted by law, to use the content and personal information for any promotional purposes without limitation and without any further compensation, notice, review, or consent. Notwithstanding the foregoing license, entrants shall retain ownership of all copyright and other rights in their entries.

Disclaimer of Responsibility

GNOME is not responsible for problems with Challenge entries, including, but not limited to, entries which are lost, late, misdirected, damaged, incomplete, illegible, or cannot be completed due to electronic or technical difficulties.

Terms & General Conditions

  1. The Challenge is subject to all applicable laws, rules, and regulations. If GNOME determines that a prize earned by an entrant may not be provided consistent with applicable laws, it may, in its sole discretion, modify the prize consistent with those laws or choose an alternative winner.
  2. GNOME reserves the right at its sole discretion to disqualify any individual who violates these Challenge Terms or the GNOME Code of Conduct, tampers with the entry process and/or acts in any way that would, in any way, discredit or harm the reputation of any GNOME, and/or to cancel, modify or suspend this Challenge should fraud or misconduct or other causes beyond the control of GNOME corrupt the administration, integrity, security or proper operation of the Challenge. 
  3. Without limitation of the foregoing, GNOME reserves the right to terminate, modify or suspend this Challenge due to any of the following reasons: act of God; unavoidable accident; epidemic; fire; blackout; act of public enemy; war, riot or civil commotion; enactment, rule, order or act of government or governmental instrumentality or tribunal; strike, lockout or other labor dispute; inclement weather; failure of technical facilities; failure of essential production, or technical personnel to appear or be available; or other cause beyond its control. 
  4. GNOME is not responsible for lost, late, illegible, incomplete, damaged, mutilated, misdirected, misdelivered, or delayed entries, or for technical or human errors or failures of any kind in connection with the Submission, transmission, processing or judging of entries, including without limitation any malfunctions or failures of computer hardware, computer software, networks or telephone equipment or any technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website or any combination thereof. 
  5. Any attempt by an individual to deliberately damage any website or undermine the legitimate operation of the Challenge is a violation of criminal and civil laws and should such an attempt be made, GNOME reserves the right to seek damages from any such individual to the fullest extent of the law. 
  6. GNOME is not responsible for any typographical or other error in the printing of the offer, administration of the Challenge, or in the announcement of the prize. 
  7. These Challenge Terms set forth the entire agreement and understanding between GNOME and each entrant concerning the subject matter hereof and merges and supersedes all prior discussions, agreements and understandings of any kind between them. 
  8. Notwithstanding anything contained herein to the contrary, GNOME reserves the right, in its sole discretion, at any future time to terminate, modify or suspend the Challenge for any reason.
  9. All notices shall be in writing and shall be delivered to entrants in accordance with instructions contained on the application form. 
  10. Entrant shall be deemed an independent contractor and nothing contained herein shall constitute this arrangement to be employment, a joint venture, or a partnership. 
  11. GNOME’s failure to enforce any Challenge Terms shall not constitute a waiver of any provision contained herein. 
  12. The titles of Sections of these Terms are for convenience only and shall not be given any legal effect. 


By participating in the Challenge, you consent to the use of personal information about you, if you are a winner, by GNOME, and third parties acting on their behalf. Such personal information includes, but is not limited to, your name, likeness, photograph, voice, opinions, comments and hometown and country of residence. It may be used in any existing or newly created media, worldwide without further payment or consideration or right of review, unless prohibited by law. Authorized use includes advertising and promotional purposes. The duration of your consent is for a period of three years following the conclusion of the Challenge. 

Limitation of Liability

By entering the Challenge, each entrant agrees to release and hold harmless GNOME and its subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising and promotion agencies, partners, representatives, agents, successors, assigns, employees, officers, and directors from any liability, illness, injury, death, loss, litigation, claim, or damage that may occur, directly or indirectly, whether caused by negligence or not, from:

  1. entrant’s participation in the Challenge and/or his/her/their acceptance, possession, use, or misuse of any prize or any portion thereof;
  2. technical failures of any kind, including but not limited to the malfunction of any computer, cable, network, hardware, software, or other mechanical equipment;
  3. the unavailability or inaccessibility of any transmissions, telephone, or Internet service; 
  4. unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Challenge; and
  5. electronic or human error in the administration of the Challenge or the processing of entries.

Entry Condition and Release

By entering the Challenge, you agree to the following:

  1. The relationship between you and GNOME, is not a confidential, fiduciary, or other special relationship.
  2. You will be bound by and comply with these Official Rules and the decisions of GNOME which are binding and final in all matters relating to the Challenge.
  3. You release, indemnify, defend and hold harmless GNOME and its respective parent, subsidiary, and affiliated companies, and any other organizations responsible for sponsoring, fulfilling, administering, advertising or promoting the Challenge, and all of their respective past and present officers, directors, employees, agents and representatives (hereafter the “Released Parties”) from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liabilities (including reasonable attorneys’ fees), including but not limited to negligence and damages of any kind to persons and property, defamation, slander, libel, violation of right of publicity, infringement of trademark, copyright or other intellectual property rights, property damage, or death or personal injury arising out of or relating to a entrant’s entry, creation of Submission or entry of a Submission, participation in the Challenge, acceptance or use or misuse of the Prize (including any travel or activity related thereto) and/or the broadcast, transmission, performance, exploitation or use of the Submission as authorized or licensed by these Official Rules.
  4. Without limiting the foregoing, the Released Parties shall have no liability in connection with:
    1. any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by electronic or printing error, or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Challenge;
    2. technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines, internet connectivity or electronic transmission errors, or network hardware or software or failure of the Challenge Website;
    3. unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Challenge;
    4. technical or human error which may occur in the administration of the Challenge or the processing of Submissions; or
    5. any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from the entrant’s participation in the Challenge or receipt or use or misuse of any Prize.

The Released Parties are not responsible for incomplete, late, misdirected, damaged, lost, illegible, or incomprehensible Submissions or for address or email address changes of the entrants. Proof of sending or submitting will not be deemed to be proof of receipt by GNOME.

If for any reason any entrant’s Submission is determined to have not been received or been erroneously deleted, lost, or otherwise destroyed or corrupted, the entrant’s sole remedy is to request the opportunity to resubmit its Submission. Such request must be made promptly after the entrant knows or should have known there was a problem, and will be determined at the sole discretion of GNOME.

Disputes and Arbitration

THIS CONTEST IS GOVERNED BY THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, WITHOUT RESPECT TO CONFLICT OF LAW DOCTRINES. As a condition of participating in this Challenge, the entrant agrees that any and all disputes that cannot be resolved between the parties, and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Challenge, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, exclusively before a court of competent jurisdiction located in California.

General Conditions


  1. GNOME reserve the right, in their sole discretion, to cancel, suspend and/or modify the Challenge, or any part of it, in the event of a technical failure, fraud, or any other factor or event that was not anticipated or is not within their control.
  2. GNOME reserve the right in their sole discretion to disqualify any individual or entrant it finds to be actually or presenting the appearance of tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Challenge or to be acting in violation of these Official Rules or in a manner that is inappropriate, unsportsmanlike, not in the best interests of this Challenge, or a violation of any applicable law or regulation.
  3. Any attempt by any person to undermine the proper conduct of the Challenge may be a violation of criminal and civil law. Should Poster or Administrator suspect that such an attempt has been made or is threatened, they reserve the right to take appropriate action including but not limited to requiring an entrant to cooperate with an investigation and referral to criminal and civil law enforcement authorities.
  4. If there is any discrepancy or inconsistency between the terms and conditions of the Official Rules and disclosures or other statements contained in any Challenge materials, including but not limited to the Submission form, Challenge Website, advertising (including but not limited to television, print, radio or online ads), the terms and conditions of the Official Rules shall prevail.
  5. The terms and conditions of the Official Rules are subject to change at any time, including the rights or obligations of the entrant or GNOME. The Administrator will post the terms and conditions of the amended Official Rules on the Challenge Website. To the fullest extent permitted by law, any amendment will become effective at the time specified in the posting of the amended Official Rules or, if no time is specified, the time of posting.
  6. If at any time prior to the deadline, an entrant or prospective entrant believes that any Official Rule is or may be unclear or ambiguous, they must submit a written request for clarification.
  7. GNOME’s failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision. Should any provision of these Official Rules be or become illegal or unenforceable in any jurisdiction whose laws or regulations may apply to an entrant, such illegality or unenforceability shall leave the remainder of these Official Rules, including the Rule affected, to the fullest extent permitted by law, unaffected and valid. The illegal or unenforceable provision shall be replaced by a valid and enforceable provision that comes closest and best reflects GNOME’s intention in a legal and enforceable manner with respect to the invalid or unenforceable provision.
  8. Excluding Submissions, all intellectual property related to this Challenge, including but not limited to copyrighted material, trademarks, trade-names, logos, designs, promotional materials, web pages, source codes, drawings, illustrations, slogans and representations are owned or used under license by GNOME. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized copying or use of any copyrighted material or intellectual property without the express written consent of its owners is strictly prohibited. Any use in a Submission of GNOME intellectual property shall be solely to the extent provided for in these Official Rules.

Privacy Policy

Information submitted with an entry is subject to the Privacy Policy stated on the GNOME’s website at

Promotion on Social Media

GNOME may promote the Challenge on social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, Snapchat, and Tik Tok (each a “Social Media Platform”). The entrant understands and agrees that any such promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, any Social Media Platform. GNOME and each entrant hereby releases each Social Media Platform and all its officers, directors, agents, employees, successors and assigns, from any and all liabilities, claims, demands, actions or causes of action arising from GNOME’s promotion of the Challenge on its platform.

Participation in the Challenge constitutes entrant’s full and unconditional agreement to these Official Rules. By entering, entrant agrees that all decisions related to the Challenge that are made pursuant to these Official Rules are final and binding, and that all such decisions are at the sole discretion of GNOME.


The sponsor of the Challenge is GNOME Foundation, #117, 21c Orinda Way, Orinda, CA 94563, USA. The GNOME Foundation is a non-profit organization that furthers the goals of the GNOME Project, helping it to create a free software computing platform for the general public that is designed to be elegant, efficient, and easy to use. For more information about the GNOME project and the GNOME Foundation, please visit