[Draft] FOSS Hack 3.0 Rules and general guidelines


Tickets available at fossunited.org/fosshack

Format of FOSSHack 3.0

  • The Hackathon is both online and offline
  • Main venue of the hackathon is RV University, Bangalore, where in person talks will be held, participants and judges will be present.
  • Participants who choose to join virtually are welcome, and the hackathons is curated in a way to engage online participation as well.
  • A project submission will be floated for the interested participants to submit their candidature, as well as the projects they would be working on. You can create something from scratch, or work on an existing porject, contributing with meaningful work.
  • FOSSHack wil onboard mentors for the hackathon. They will help you steer the project forward, give insights, and help where you’re stuck. Mentorship entails general overviews, ideas and their suggestions towards the application, scale and usability of your project. Technical and code-related help is not under the purview.

Offline Track

  • Participants will arrive at the venue, go through the inaugration, and start working.
  • Meals will be arranged for the participants.
  • Please note that accommodation will not be made available by the organisers.
  • In person mentorship sessions, recreation, communication, and networking.

Online Track

  • Complete virtual experience.
  • Online mentorship sessions with scheduled time slots, and an open voice/video channel participants can drop into for networking.


  • The Hackathon is open to any Indian national who has a valid bank account

What you can work on:

  • A new FOSS app, tool, or library.
  • An alternative to any existing popular app or service.
  • Extending and improve an existing project or library.
  • Design projects: Redesign of an existing FOSS application.
  • Open hardware.

Updates on Projects

Project submissions will be floated, where particpants can list what they will work on, before the hackathon starts. If you are working on an existing project and making contributions to it, or working on your own project, before the hackathon starts, list them here. Keep sending updates so the hackathon team knows what you’re upto.


Participants can take part individually or in teams. However, if you wish to form teams with a fellow FOSS Enthusiast, join our public Telegram Channel, where you can network with people and join in to form a team. FOSS United or FOSSHack do not take responsibility to match individuals and help form teams, it is solely your own endeavour, and any disagreements, expectations, and contributions must be privately managed.


  • License: Must have a valid Free and Open Source license.
  • Communication: A well written README and video demo are important. These will determine the first round of elimination. Before your code is reviewed, the quality of your README will be. Please be concise in explaining what your project does, how to install it, test it, and use it. Similarly, write concise and meaningful commit messages that show the progression of the project.
  • Completeness: Applications must be complete and working.
  • Design and aesthetics: If you are making a user interface, try and ensure that they are clean, modern, and usable.
  • Timeframe: The project must be reasonably built within the given timeframe. The judgement of the jury will be final in this.
  • Credits: If you are using existing code, make sure you credit it. Plagiarism, which is all too common unfortunately, is strictly not appreciated.
  • Demo Video: Participants must submit a video demo before the clock ends (uploaded on YouTube or any other platform that is accessible to the Jury). Restricted to 3 mins. No gyan, only demo.
  • An app or project that extensively uses proprietary service or API.
  • Yet another Keras model on available datasets.
  • A simple CRUD application.


  • The total prize money will be divided among the best projects.
  • The number of projects to be awarded and amount to be given will be decided by the jury based on the depth and quality of the projects.
  • Money will be transferred to the winners individually via bank transfers within India. The recipients will need to furnish a copy of their PAN for TDS and tax documentation.

FAQs for the Hackathon


  • What is FOSS Hack?
    FOSS Hack 2023 is a hybrid hackathon organized by the FOSS United Foundation to promote the creation and use of FOSS in India. We invite developers—professionals and students—from all over India to compete for a cash prize of ₹10L by building Free and Open Source software and have fun doing it.

  • Why Participate?

    1. Win upto â‚ą10 Lakhs in Cash.
    2. Get Funds for your FOSS Projects
    3. Certificate to boost your profile
    4. Build your reputation as a hacker
    5. Get recognised by recruiters
    6. Share your code while having fun.
  • Can I contrubute to my own project?

    Yes, absolutely you can contribute to your own project.

  • How do I participate?

    You click this link [here] to register, and enter your project details in the call for projects submission for the hackathon.

  • Licenses 101

    Ideally, all your projects and their components must be covered under the Open Source License. It must not use any proprietary components to function as a standalone software.

  • Is it mandatory to submit my project beforehand?

    Yes! Only the projects submitted before the deadline will be considered. The repositories should be public and the commits will be tracked since the date of registration.

  • What commits will be considered for judgement?

    Every project is different and the approach to develop it is subjective. The commits will be tracked since registration, to give us a better idea about your development process, and the commits made during the hackathon period will be considered. The argument for tracking the comments since submission of project is to understand how the project evolved, and have some context while judging.

  • Am I expected to share updates on my project as a participant leading up to the hackathon?

    It is highly encouraged to keep sharing updates on the progress leading up to the hackathon. It signals commitment and consistency, which may help you in the hackathon as well. Share updates even if you are contributing to an existing project. It keeps the hacker spirit alive. This documentation of your efforts also allows us to resolve any conflicts if they may arise.

  • What if two people are contributing to the same existing project?

    As long as the contributions and features being built aqre not conflicting, totally finer. However, if the two participants have a conflict over the contributions, their nature, or intended use, then it results in a problem.

    This is one of the reasons why sharing your progress and documenting it is a good idea. It works as an incredibly effective proof which leads to resoultion. FOSS United and FOSS Hack Team do not bear any responsibility for a conflict. Due to limited bandwidth of our team, we will simply disqualify both hackers. It is in everyone’s shared interest to be transparent, share, document, and accept valid proof.

  • How does mentorship work?

    We have mentors onbaord our forum and telegram channel where they can help you out with feasibility, usability, nuance to the project and anything under the sun. The mentorship discussion is completely organic and not catalysed by FOSS Hack. It is upto the hackers to take initiative, follow up and gain insights. Also, be nice while interating on the public forum.

  • What am I supposed to bring?

    Participants should bring their own laptops or other devices, as well as any software or tools that they need for their project. They should also bring any materials or equipment that they need for prototyping or testing.

  • Can we form teams?

    Absolutely! Hackers can form teams to participate in the hackathon, and contribute as a team. A team will be treated as an individual entity for participation purposes, however, accomodation, and food will be provided on a per person basis (xD). We won’t make you sleep in one person’s spot.

  • Can teams be distributed?

    If having a distributed team works for you, wonderful. We do not put forth any conditions on this, as long as team members are declared and registered.

What if I can’t travel to Bangalore to take part in the Hackathon?

Good News for you! We have made this hackathon hybrid. Which means one can also take part in this hackathon remotely. You can sit and hack from your home, or from a remote farm completely off grid running on solar and StarLink.

You will be subject to the same judges, mentorship opportunities, rules and timings. Take extra caution to prepare meticulous documentation and updates, so we are able to follow through.

What is FOSS Hack Local?

It is the local extension of FOSS Hack 3.0 being run with Partner FOSS Communities, in an effort to provide hackers to have a place to go and hack, and be a part of FOSS Hack transending geographic boundaries. It is run in parallel to FOSS Hack 3.0, same dates, same rules, but different places for hackers who don’t want to travel to Bangalore.

  • Am I at a disadvantage if I participate remotely, through FOSS Hack Local extenstions instead of the main venue in Bangalore?

    Absolutely not. We have worked extremely hard to create an equal access mechanism for everyone. Every hacker virtually or in-person has the same amount of exposure to all the judges, mentors, and the community. The sole reason for local extensions is to remove the impact of geo-barriers.

  • Will I be under the same FOSS Hack 3.0 jdugement or each Local Chapter has spearate prize pools, judges, etc.

    No. Each FOSS Hack Local chapter is merely an extension of FOSS Hack 3.0. Every hacker is still a part of FOSS Hack 3.0 and everyone is conected to the same pool of mentors.


FOSS Hack is hybrid, you can also tune in virtually, under the same rules, judgement panel, and access to mentorship. FOSS Hack Local is just an extension to the main hackathon with our local partner communities. You can also land at one of the Local Venues and hack away. We will still use virtual means to connect you to the main event.


FOSS Hack or FOSS United are not liable for any conflict in terms of projects, ideas, teams, or implementation. FOSS United will solely evaluate on the basis of you commits, documentation, and the updates you post us while hacking away before the hackathon.

Those very updates act as determinants towards the final result. If two entries come with same commits, or similarities, and a conflict arises, we will take into account the updates history of the teams, and determine which is legit. The final decision of judges and the FOSS United team will be final and binding.

Please ensure you take all necessary precautions and avoid conflict altogether.


These rules are constantly updated based on questions. We will email you the final set of rules before the hackathon starts!

For discussions and queries join our Telegram Channel.

Original Credit to this post by Rushabh Mehta

More comments under this post have good insights and suggestions. They will be added to this post in the next 48 hours.


Please give your inputs and suggestions. I will keep on adding them in the original Draft, and documenting edits. This is an initial document, and needs to grow as we expand the scope of FOSS Hack, and accommodate new ideas, and clearer guidelines.

Some topic to think on:

  • Mentorship sessions for Online Participants.

  • Networking Sessions for Online Participants.

  • How do we ensure no use of unfair tactics:

    Example: A participant lists a project, but does not share progress that they have made on the updates thread. Instead, keeps hacking away. Then, during the period when the hackathon is live, copy pastes all that code, and makes commits. Version Control will think the commits were made that time, and publicly we’ll see the same. The problem arises when the jury is led to believe the entirety of that work was done during the hackathon, and not before.

Disclaimer: I am not sure if any measure was in place to deal with this, so I’d appreciate if someone can initiate me to the right post on this, and if there isn’t, then we must work towards this.


FOSS Hack Local

FOSS Hack Local provides a platform to all the participants to reach out to mentors via their public telegram group. Mentors and mentees can connect, and take the conversation forward via text or VC channels, which is entirely upto them. This is a hands-off connect facilitated by FOSS hack via their public group.

Discussed during the FOSS Hack 3.0 | Weekly Catch-Up Call on 3rd Dec.

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Note: In order to impart clarity regarding the accommodation arrangements, please add a new bullet point in the FAQs Section.

  • What are the accommodation arrangements ?

    The participants coming to offline venues are required to plan and arrange their own accommodation. We will publish a list containing the nearest hotels to the venue on the Official Channels and the Conference Portal.