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[GNU/FSF Press] Harald Welte and Groklaw announced as winners of the FSF

From: Joshua Gay
Subject: [GNU/FSF Press] Harald Welte and Groklaw announced as winners of the FSF's annual free software awards
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 2008 17:06:41 -0400
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.11

BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- March 19, 2008 -- The Free Software
Foundation (FSF) announced the recipients of its Award for Projects of
Social Benefit and its Award for the Advancement of Free Software.
Groklaw ( received the social benefit award, and
Harald Welte ( received the
advancement award. FSF president Richard Stallman handed out the
awards at the conclusion of the FSF's annual associate members meeting
in Cambridge, MA.

The Award for Projects of Social Benefit is presented annually to a
free software project that intentionally and significantly benefits
society. Since its start in 2003, Groklaw has evolved into an
invaluable source of legal and technical information for software
developers, lawyers, law professors, and historians.

Groklaw's founder and editor Pamela Jones could not make it to the
ceremony in person, but Groklaw contributor Dan Bricklin was present
to accept on her behalf. In a prerecorded audio message, Jones
described Groklaw as "a place where lawyers and geeks could explain
things to each other and work together, so they'd understand each
other's work better". Jones also emphasized the importance of
Groklaw's free software approach to its success, "[W]hen you have an
idea you hope might work, and then to implement it, tweak it, and
morph it, because other people show up and have ideas that are better
than yours...and then have people you care about and admire tell you
that what you are doing matters -- I can't think of a more satisfying

In receiving this award, Groklaw joins previous winners Sahanna (2006)
and Wikipedia (2005).

The Award for the Advancement of Free Software went to Linux kernel
hacker and founder of, Harald Welte. The
awards committee honored both Welte's technical contributions to
projects like the Linux kernel and the OpenMoko mobile platform
project, and his community leadership in safeguarding the freedom of
free software users by successfully enforcing the GNU General Public
License in over one hundred cases since the project
began in 2004.

In a prepared statement read on his behalf by Jacob Applebaum, Welte
described the motivation behind his work. "I believe the copyleft
principle creates a fair equilibrium between taking existing works and
giving back whatever extensions and modifications were made. When I
first heard of certain commercial corporations not playing by the
rules, by taking GPL-licensed code but not releasing the source code
of their derivative works, I was outraged -- big business, who usually
are the first to enforce their own copyright and related rights if
anyone dares to infringe them, suddenly violating copyright

Harald Welte joins a distinguished crowd of previous winners:

  * 2006 Ted Ts'o
  * 2005 Andrew Tridgell
  * 2004 Theo de Raadt
  * 2003 Alan Cox
  * 2002 Lawrence Lessig
  * 2001 Guido van Rossum
  * 2000 Brian Paul
  * 1999 Miguel de Icaza
  * 1998 Larry Wall 

This year's award committee was Peter H. Salus (Chair), Raj Mathur,
Hong Feng, Lawrence Lessig, Andrew Tridgell, Jonas Oberg, Verner
Vinge, Richard Stallman, Suresh Ramasubramanian, Alan Cox, and
Fernanda G. Weiden.

About the FSF

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to
promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and
redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and
use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating
system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free
software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and
political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites,
located at and, are an important source of information
about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

Media Contacts

John Sullivan  
Operations Manager  
Free Software Foundation  
+1 (617) 542 5942 x23  

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