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23 March 2011, 10:57

FSF announces 2010 Free Software Awards winners

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FSF Logo The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has announced the winners of the 2010 Free Software Awards. Each year, the awards recognise an individual and one project for their contributions to the progress and development of free software.

Long-time free software hacker Rob Savoye won this year's Award for the Advancement of Free Software. He is the lead developer of Gnash, a GNU Flash player, and has contributed to dozens of projects, including GCC, GDB, DejaGnu, Newlib, Libgloss, Cygwin, eCos and Expect, as well as the Debian and Red Hat Linux distributions. Savoye is also the founder and CTO of Open Media Now, a non-profit organisation dedicated to producing a freely licensed media infrastructure.

Previous winners of the individual award, "Award for the Advancement of Free Software", have included Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) co-founder John Gilmore, Linux kernel developer Ted Ts'o, Samba creator Andrew Tridgell, OpenBSD leader Theo de Raadt, Perl creator Larry Wall, Harald Welte of gpl-violations,org and Miguel de Icaza.

The Award for Projects of Social Benefit was presented to the Tor Project. Tor, an acronym of The Onion Routing project, is free software designed to provide internet anonymity to users while browsing online. It does this by bouncing the communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers from all around the world, preventing visited sites from learning a user's physical location.

According to the FSF, the anonymisation solution has enabled roughly 36 million users around the world "to experience freedom of access and expression on the Internet while keeping them in control of their privacy and anonymity". Distributed as free software, Tor is licensed under a BSD license – the bundle also includes the GPL-licensed Vidalia and Polipo.

Last year, the award for projects, Award for Projects of Social Benefit, was presented to the Internet Archive, a non-profit organisation that is working to build a library of digital versions of items of cultural and historical interest.

The award winners were selected by a committee chaired by Suresh Ramasubramanian, Head of Anti-spam at IBM LotusLive iNotes division. The winners were honoured at a ceremony held during LibreOffice 2011, a one-day conference which took place on 19 March in Boston, at Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC).

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