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GNU is Not Unix

FSF Award for the Advancement of Free Software 196

bkuhn writes "The FSF has posted a a call for nominations for the 2002 FSF Award for the Advancement of Free Software. Get your nominations in to <award-nominations@gnu.org> by 15 October 2002."
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FSF Award for the Advancement of Free Software

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  • Gates (Score:5, Funny)

    by undeg chwech ( 589211 ) on Friday September 06, 2002 @12:01PM (#4207291) Homepage
    I nominate Bill Gates. He should get the award for advancing free software [slashdot.org]
    • Re:Gates (Score:3, Insightful)

      by packeteer ( 566398 )
      haha

      I dont know if this is a troll but i sure hope not. I think this is true that Bill Gates is the reason for a lot opf the growth of free software. Microsoft's crappy quality is about 80% of the reason for my switch to Linux. Once i started learning about free software i stuck with it more but really its MS that pushed me over the "hump" of switching away from windows.
    • more proof [bsa.org]
    • I nominate Bill Gates. He should get the award for advancing free software

      You seem not to be the only one that wants Bill Gates too recieve it...

      from the list of 1999 Free Software Award Nominees [gnu.org]: ...Fractint Team, FreeBSD Team, Bill Gates, John Gilmore, Andi Gutmans....

      I have one thing too say:

      ROTFLOL !
    • I nominate Bill Gates. He should get the award for advancing free software

      I second the nomination, but I think that it should be for MS License 6.0.
  • by anotherone ( 132088 ) on Friday September 06, 2002 @12:02PM (#4207301)
    I've downloaded more free software from kazaa than I ever have from any other source.

    • Clap..... Clap.....
      Clap..... Clap..... Clap.....Clap..Clap..
      Clap Clap Clap Clap WOO-HOO! Clap Clap Clap YEAH!Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap FREEBIRD!!! Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap..... Clap.. Clap.. Clap.....
      Clap.....

      Well done indeed!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...whoever created the Junkbuster Proxy. Keeping Slashdot ad-free for me since 1998. Sorry guys, but that big ad at the top...I don't see it.

    Make your money elsewhere. hahahahahahahaha!
  • I've got it (Score:2, Funny)

    by Longinus ( 601448 )
    "Any kind of activity could be eligible -- writing software, writing documentation, publishing CDs, even journalism"

    That's it! Let's all nominate Katz just for kicks.
  • the primary motivator at Apple responsible for using *BSD in OSX. (admittedly this may not count...)

    I believe OSX on i386 will cause a major movement toward more open source software development.
    • Tought, unless I remember this all wrong. Apples "Open Source" licence doesn't count as free software. Since it is a "sure, make changes. But mail to us and we take creds" licence. I might be wrong.
    • I believe OSX on i386 will cause a major movement toward more open source software development.

      And that should be why they dismiss your submission: their goal is to move people to freedom [gnu.org], hence the name of the "Free Software" movement, not to move people to dismiss software freedom or back licenses which deny computer users software freedom. It makes no sense to give a Free Software advancement award those who make non-free software [gnu.org].

  • For inspiring open source development by giving people things to imitate and something to hate.
    • More specifically, the 'Activation' system in XP will probably have a massive imapact over the next year or so.

      Everytime somebody's computer becomes unusable due to a hardware change or two, open source OSs become more attractive.
      • Hardly. It takes, I believe, 7 hardware changes for the need to re-activate. Of course if so, a quick 5 minute call to MS will solve this problem (the majority of the time is actually not spent on hold, but rather them reading a 50-character key over the phone to you.)
  • Blender! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The_Dougster ( 308194 ) on Friday September 06, 2002 @12:12PM (#4207371) Homepage
    The Blender Foundation [blender3d.com] has done an unprecedented thing by raising so much cash to bring Blender into the Free Software Fold. I'm not aware of any program in the free software base which is so sophisticated as a 3d modeler. I think they are pioneers and should be lauded for their efforts!

    • speaking of which - they are something like $700 short of their goal right now - so, donate people, donate!
    • Dont you think you should wait until its actually open sourced before nominating anyone for an award?

      Dont get me wrong, I'm sure they have every intention of releasing the source...but cmon..Maybe consider nominating them next year!

  • [linuxjournal.com]

    A quick quote from linuxjournal

    "LJ What has been your exposure to, or experience with, free software?

    Villanueva I've kept up with the Free Software movement in Peru for several years. Both the philosophy that drives it and the fact that, for technical and economic reasons, this software allows the implementation of solutions for a range of organizations.

    LJ There are a number of other countries considering proposals similar to 1609, from Asia to Europe to Latin America. Are you familiar with these? If so, are there parts of your proposed bill that make it unique?

    Villanueva Bill number 1609 has now been improved and is currently in the committee stage with number 2485, which is also signed by Congressman Jacques Rodrich. Congressman Daniel Estrada has presented a similar bill that is based on the same free software spirit. Among other countries, the closest are Brazil and Argentina; for Europe, we know about the law passed by the German parliament, as well as the proposal in France and the study presented to the English parliament. In Asia, above all there are the actions of the Chinese Government. All these bills are essentially similar, but in ours, like the Argentinian one, we claim exclusivity in all state bodies. Obviously putting this exclusivity into practice will need a whole process, which will take some time, because there are state bodies that are working well with proprietary software and would only choose free software for their future requirements, assuming it's available on the market. That applies quite generally to any institution. I'm only mentioning it because I'm convinced of how critical migration is, the importance of careful planning, and the availability of the necessary resources to cover the time and the risks that you take.
    "
    • I have to wonder if this is something that we want. He may not want to be cast as someone trying to support Free Software. Really he's trying to do what he think is best for his country, which he believes involves using Open Source software. Giving him such an award may make it look like he's using his position to try and improve the state of Free Software.

      His support and the advancement that it has caused is great, but its more of a spin-off benefit caused by him doing what's right for his country.
      • Really he's trying to do what he think is best for his country, which he believes involves using Open Source software.

        No, he believes doing what's best for his country involves using Free Software, not "Open Source". He takes the Microsoft rep to task for referring to what he's doing as "Open Source". The bill he backs specifically mentions "Free Software". He is aware the two are not the same thing [gnu.org] and he chooses to back the Free Software movement. This has been discussed before [slashdot.org].

    • It might not be a good idea right now to use things Argentine as any sort of a role model, especially if it has anything do with money.
  • Mono (Score:2, Troll)

    by AirLace ( 86148 )
    The Mono project [go-mono.com] has made great strides towards producing a free (GPL and BSD licensed) implementation of the .NET framework that's poised to replace the proprietary Sun/IBM Java installations, which represent one of the final major pieces of non-free software routinely distributed with GNU/Linux.


    As Gtk# [sf.net] continues to mature, it looks like the Mono project will soon be able to provide a powerful cross-platform Java-like envoronment complete with a modern object-oriented language, C#, that has proved so popular in business and enthusiast circles alike, without any of the vendor tie-in associated with Java.

    • The Mono project [go-mono.com] has made great strides towards producing a free (GPL and BSD licensed) implementation of the .NET framework that's poised to replace the proprietary Sun/IBM Java installations, which represent one of the final major pieces of non-free software routinely distributed with GNU/Linux.

      Funny, no one at my enterpise misses .net functionality. Indeed, not one of a dozen companies I know who are using free software, FreeBSD, and GNU/Linux have any, even remote, desire for .net, or a free "chase the ever moving Microsoft target, oops, stepped on a patent mine!" alternative implimentation of a standard dictated by a convicted monopolist.

      As Gtk# [sf.net] continues to mature, it looks like the Mono project will soon be able to provide a powerful cross-platform Java-like envoronment complete with a modern object-oriented language, C#, that has proved so popular in business and enthusiast circles alike, without any of the vendor tie-in associated with Java.

      gtk# and mono may be worthwhile projects (much as samba is), but regardless, I can't believe even a slashdot moderator could be so stupid as to mod up such obvious and blatent marketdroid speak. Baseless (and to all appearances inaccurate) claims of C#'s popularity "in business" and "enthusiast circles alike" are only exceeded by the incredibly silly "without any of the vendor tie-in associated with java" comment. As if though .net's "standard" as dictated by Microsoft isn't about as 'vendor tied in' as it gets.

      I'm no fan of java (in fact, I loathe it for a number of reasons, not least of which is its byzantine, brain-dead time and date class), but compared to .net it is a godsend. .Net in comparison is a trojan of epic proportions, and Mono is likely just another of its victims.
      • I know who are using free software, FreeBSD, and GNU/Linux have any, even remote, desire for .net, or a free "chase the ever moving Microsoft target


        I'm a firm believer that anyone who took the bytecode compile-once-run-anywhere concept, took a look at Java and then pumped millions of dollars into improving on it would have come up with something akin to .NET. I only run Free Software (Debian GNU/Linux, main) so the fact that it comes from Microsoft is just a detail to me. Take away the added bonus of compatibility with Microsoft's .NET implementation and you still have a next-generation bytecode platform. It makes a very fair attempt at supporting multiple languages (wheras any attempt to do so with the Java bytecode is a cludge). At the end of the day, C# and .NET far exceed everything I could ever wish for from a Free Software VM platform. Remember that Linux and open source in general have taken many ideas from non-free software from the behemoths of their days, by imitating the best ideas from commercial software (think GNU/UNIX).


        C#'s popularity "in business" and "enthusiast circles alike"


        This may have come accross as 'marketdroidish' but the point I'm trying to make is that there are over 100 Mono developers with CVS access, and many more who contribute code through the mailing lists. Mono has been an enabling factor for many MSCE types to start dabbling with Mono and thus Linux. The internal structure of the Mono project is an excellent example of how enthusiasts and companies with commercial interests can work together to hack some really cool code.


        At the end of the day, Mono hackers hack Mono because they love the technology. .NET really grows on you -- please don't try to tear it apart without at least giving Mono a go. You may be pleasantly surprised.

        • At the end of the day, Mono hackers hack Mono because they love the technology. .NET really grows on you -- please don't try to tear it apart without at least giving Mono a go. You may be pleasantly surprised.

          Mono and gtk# have neither my ire nor my adoration. What annoyed me was the very real "marketdroid" sound of your post. Apologies if my reaction was scathing, but I have a low tolerance for such things even when they come out in support of something I like (e.g. GNU/Linux). When it comes out in support of something I'm skeptical of to begin with my tolerance is even lower.

          I think the .net approach to things in general is not a very good idea, from both a security and a privacy perspective. Add to that the very real liklihood of Microsoft using it to entrap people using it onto their platform, the liklihood of their leveraging patents, copyright (and undocumented "features"), and making ad-hoc modifactions to the standard itself (something they as the owner of the standard can do at will), and I think Mono stands a good chance of discovering Microsoft's "open standard" to be little more than a Tar Baby.

          That having been said, no one would be happier than I to eat crow and be proven wrong, so while I am profoundly skeptical of Mono (and certainly don't think it warrents consideration for the FSF award, at least not yet), I wish the project both luck and success.
    • "...C#, that has proved so popular in business and enthusiast circles alike ..."

      Really? I just attended a technical conference in which the .NET was introduced. The reaction from the group of software engineers was truly frightening. I thought for a while that we were going to have an old style lynching. I don't believe that .NET has proven very popular at all. Further, I believe that most programmers feel that Microsoft is trying to ram it down our throats.
  • Considering RMS received the Linus Torvalds award it seems only fitting that Linus get the FSF Award. ;)
  • Hey, this guy [slashdot.org] has my vote! At the very minimun, it helped this nice guy [xiph.org] get a boost ;)
  • Greg Lehey is an important person to many BSDers, and thus I have nominated him. He's a core team member, wrote a damned fine book, and also columns on daemonnews. Go Grog!
  • I mean, c'mon, the beat up Barney for Pete's sake!
  • Valgrind (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Otter ( 3800 ) on Friday September 06, 2002 @12:26PM (#4207497) Journal
    This seems to be more a lifetime award than a "Year's Best" but since discussing what the year's biggest contribution should be is a lot more productive and less flame-y:

    I'm going to nominate Valgrind [kde.org]. It's going to greatly improve the performance of Linux software across the board, and puts professional grade profiling in the hands of every MP3 playlist coder on Freshmeat.

    What else? Nothing much happened this year. I'd suggest the Mono developers who seem to have accomplished a lot, but won't because I haven't tried it myself and because it's not especially relevant yet (if ever). Mozilla got a lot better, but they did so much bragging up front I'm not inclined to puff them up again now that they've finally accomplished something.


    • Shouldn't awards be given based on what a developer/project/concept/whatever HAS done, and not what they're GOING to do, as you've suggested Valgrind will?
      • Sorry, I was unclear -- Valgrind 1.0.2 is out now and it works. I was using the future tense because it's recently appeared and developers are only now starting to widely use it. Its effects are mostly in the future.

        Regarding vaporware, which I think is what you're talking about, I entirely agree...

    • Like many other posts in this thread, you've nominated a free software project, and not a person. People get the awards, not software.

      Larry Wall got the award one year, (but perl didn't). Guido van Rossum got the award one year (but Python didn't). I think you get the picture.

      That said, while Valgrind is a neat tool, I don't think that it has made the same contribution that say, perl or python has made to the free software community. Valgrind allows people to debug very specific problems in very specific languages. But it does nothing for users, nothing for programmers in non C/C++ languages. I think the free software award should probably go to something that's a bit larger than this type of tool.

      • Geez, you're nitpicking me over this?

        I said in the first sentence that my post has nothing to do with the reality of the award, but simply asks a different question ("Who made the year's biggest contribution?") that is of more interest to me than the official one ("Which celebrity are we going to prostrate before this year?").

      • nothing for programmers in non C/C++ languages.

        It works fine for GNU Ada, and there's no reason it can't work for any other compiled language (its assembly support covers what at least what GCC, G++, and GNU Ada output, but he's been quick about adding this type of support.)
    • You should nominate Julian Seward, not valgrind itself. This award is geared for people, not projects.

      But I agree, Valgrind is an impressive piece of work, and it deserves to be recognized. It finally gives a free software alternative to Purify, something that was sorely lacking in the tool chests of free software developers.
  • Obvious Choice (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PaddyM ( 45763 )
    The Peruvian Congressman:
    David Villanueva Nuñez
  • I mean, I do give out free software all the time. I believe in advancing any software any one wants. Well, I give it away for free, maybe it wasn't free to begin with but that is besides the point. This is about advancing free software. Anyone got a cd?
  • Gene Kan (Score:2, Insightful)

    How about a posthumous nomination for Gene Kan for his work on Gnutella?
  • He has commit access to three bsd's and is a tireless advocate/worker on ipv6 for them.

    He posts regularly to users@ipv6.org and other
    forums.

    In terms of advancing free software outside of the US (where ipv6 adoption is still emerging), this is pretty important. You aren't going to run free software if it can't network properly.

    He has also worked on Magic Point and other free software projects.

    www.itojun.org
  • Everyone wants Ogg Vorbis on their portable digital media player!

    http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/09/04/182521 9&mode=thread&tid=141 [slashdot.org]
  • by corrosiv ( 116029 ) on Friday September 06, 2002 @12:33PM (#4207567) Homepage

    The GNU Award for the Advancement of GNU Software?

    Define "free" however you like, but I hate hearing "free" when it means GNU. If they want to be so pickey about defining all their terms, they should stop leaning on the ambiguity that the term "free" gives them. The neophyte immediately understands free to be free beer. GNU is exploiting that, since 6 pages of legalese in the GPL doesn't add up to free beer OR free speech.

    • The neophyte immediately understands free to be free beer. GNU is exploiting that, since 6 pages of legalese in the GPL doesn't add up to free beer OR free speech.

      But it is free like beer. You can take it, and you can use it yourself, and it doesn't cost you a penny. Actually, it's better than beer, because you can redistribute GPL'ed code as long as you follow the modest licensing provisions. Most people prefer it if you don't give them your recycled beer.

      As far as 'legalese' goes, the GPL certainly isn't a painful read, and it's pretty unambiguous in its meaning. I honestly cannot think of any other licensing terms -- or any sort of contract in general -- that is as clearly stated.

      Lastly, you're welcome to ignore the GPL if you want to. You fall back on the regular protections afforded by copyright law, which most people are familiar with. (They may not pay attention, but they understand the concept.) You can have this software, you can use it for free, but you can't then make copies and give them away. Replace 'software' with 'book' in the preceding sentence to see what I mean.

      • Beer isn't free, last time I checked.

        Telling someone "it's free like beer" makes no sense.
        • Beer isn't free, last time I checked.

          Telling someone "it's free like beer" makes no sense.

          You're right. I guess "free as in speech, free as in air" just isn't catchy enough as a slogan.

          I suppose, though, the issue is, do people understand what is meant? If someone told me, "Dude! Free beer!" then I'd go grab a bottle. I'd drink it. The end. I wouldn't try to duplicate it--I couldn't. 'Free' software is "free as in beer". It's even better, because if you follow the licence conditions, you get free softbeer for you and all your friends. (Okay, the buzz isn't quite the same.)

          You could say "free as in books" to clarify. You can use the book, you can give the book to another person, but you can't photocopy the book and give away copies with the copyright notice in the front ripped out. You can't hijack chapters from the original work and put them in your own book without attribution. It's an idea people understand.

    • since 6 pages of legalese in the GPL doesn't add up to free beer OR free speech.

      The bill of rights is about a page long, the constitution is several pages long.

      Sometimes you need to define some terms of freedom to ensure its survival.
      • Actually the legalese might not be legal, either.

        I've never seen a license with so much political mumbo-jumbo as the GPL. If it ever get's tested, the judge is just going to laugh at it.

        Perhaps it's time to do a clean-room rewrite of the GPL, that makes a license that might be more apt to be held up by an actual real-life court.
        • I've never seen a license with so much political mumbo-jumbo as the GPL. If it ever get's tested, the judge is just going to laugh at it. [...] Perhaps it's time to do a clean-room rewrite of the GPL, that makes a license that might be more apt to be held up by an actual real-life court.

          Are you a lawyer? Is that a legal opinion? Because the lawyers and law professors who created the GPL and who have read through the GPL believe it solid. NeXT had the option to challenge the license on GCC, with serious commercial interest (their ObjC frontend). Their lawyers obviously told them that they couldn't win the fight, and this was a time when the FSF couldn't have called on the several companies - possibly even IBM - to help defend the GPL.
    • "GNU software" refers to software expressly under the GNU banner. Most free software is not GNU software. And indeed you'll note that the past recipients of the award are known mostly for their non-GNU software. So your suggestion is clearly off the mark.

      People--including the FSF--have tried for a long time to come up with a better (English) term than "free software". The only one that has caught on is "open source", which has entirely different connotations. "Free software" is imperfect, but it's what we got.

      • They could use "libre software" (or "software libre"), or "GNU/free". (Those two happen to be the ones that I think are most reasonable; but I've seen lots of suggestions.)


        The OP is perfectly correct, though, in saying that the "free software" movement attempts to capitalize on the fact that the phrase means "software without monetary cost", not "software that is licensed in a way which protects the FSF's idea of your freedoms." I don't think that they have made any real attempts to come up with a better term.


        Yet another reason why I choose to identify myself with the "open source" camp instead.

        • the "free software" movement attempts to capitalize on the fact that the phrase means "software without monetary cost"

          Given how strenuously they emphasize that it's "free as in freedom", I don't think you can justify this accusation.

          As for the examples you gave, "libre" is not English, and "GNU/free" is not a word. Both pretty significant disadvantages.

    • Sigh.

      I know lots of people don't like the way the FSF does things, the way they define words, the way they say things, and so on. But here's what it comes down to:

      When a group has written half of the useful tools on any GNU/Linux system, they can talk all the shit that you want, and they can do whatever they well please.

      On the other hand, if you're just a slashdot pundit that gets their kicks from overanalyzing and picking apart the works of others, you don't necessarily get a fair say in what is right and what is wrong.

      The award is for the advancement of free software. GNU has an entire page devoted to licenses and what qualifies as free software. People who know a bit about GNU will realize that this encompasses X11, BSD, and many other non-GNU GPL licensed software.

      • I'm not a nitpicking pundit. I'm a user of free software that GNU doesn't consider to be "free". The licenses page on gnu.org does not mention X11 or BSD, and Stallman (as GNU spokesman) has vocally stated that these are not "free" software.

        GNU refuses to respect other points of view on this subject (and to think that one of their supposed goals is collaborative learning). I am grateful for the work that has gone into "free" software - I just oppose the use of the term "free".

        Reading the award page (http://www.gnu.org/award/2002/2002.html) I found a very interesting quote:

        We want to give this award to a person who has made a great contribution to the progress and development of Free Software (free as in freedom as defined in the Free Software Definition)

        So you see, this IS a GNU award, because it is not given to proponents of free software, but to proponents of GNU software.

    • The neophyte apparently has never heard of the word liberty, I guess.
  • by joto ( 134244 ) on Friday September 06, 2002 @12:37PM (#4207597)
    The man has been involved in pretty much anything in gcc (as in gnu compiler collection, not just gnu c compiler), gdb, and other parts of the toolchain. He has also written Kawa, and been involved in lot's of other free software projects.

    I'm not sure if he was the one who started cygnus support, but if he is, that is also something that should help him get the prize (where would free software be without cygnus today?).

  • I nominate... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Maniakes ( 216039 )
    ...This guy [slashdot.org]
  • by i_am_nitrogen ( 524475 ) on Friday September 06, 2002 @12:41PM (#4207623) Homepage Journal
    Don't forget about Lindows's "Clicky Award..." Think what you will of Lindows, or LindowsOS, or the name "Clicky," but 50 grand donaed to Open Source software projects is 50 grand. Yeah, $50000US. Go forth and nominate [lindows.com]!

    Oh, and where it says "we will add you to our mailing database," you can immediately unsubscribe from the Lindows web page.

    • We were never on the topic of "OSS/FS awards". The award is being given "for the Advancement of Free Software" [gnu.org]. There is no mention of the other movement and for good reason. The event is being organized by the FSF and the GNU project which have no affiliation with the Open Source movement. Please take the time to read the press release and learn the difference [gnu.org] between the two movements so you won't be confused and confuse others.

      • I am aware of the differences, and while my personal software beliefs don't agree 100% with either movement, I'd say I'm probably more aligned to the Free Software movement. My intention was not to confuse people, but rather to indicate that there are similarities between the two, and that the Lindows awards are for both Free Software and Open Source. So, I suppose that my topic is actually an extension of the original topic from FS only into OSS/FS, but I don't think that invalidates my point.

  • Nominate Doc Searls, he has done more to advance open source computing through his writing than most..

    his weblog is here:

    http://doc.weblogs.com

  • Debian Project (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Florian ( 2471 ) <cantsin@zedat.fu-berlin.de> on Friday September 06, 2002 @01:05PM (#4207798) Homepage
    I couldn't think of a project that has done more for the advancement of free software (in practical terms) than Debian. The years of continuous good work seem to pay off now. While RedHat is popular among corporate customers, Mandrake (and, in Europe: SuSE) among newbie users and people who boot into GNU/Linux only occasionally, it seems as if Debian is becoming the de facto standard distribution of non-corporate advanced users (who typically pick Debian as their second distribution and then stick with it). As a genuinely free distribution, Debian is also much appreciated in education; my university, for example, hosts its own Debian FTP mirror.

    While Debian's Free Software-only politics was controversial some years ago - anyone remember the ugly term "Debian Nazi"? -, it no longer seems so due to DMCA, patenting, and perversions of copyright. Debian has done invaluable work for the Free Software community by thoroughly reviewing the licensing of the software it ships, freeing users from the hassle to become legal experts. Debian users enjoy both the technical excellence and the legal safety of running Debian "main".

    It would be good if the FSF Award were given to Debian to finance work on the new Debian installer. This is the last showstopper piece which prevents massive newbie user adoption of this distribution.

    • > the new Debian installer

      they have another one besides the text based and the graphical one they got from Progeny?

      http://hackers.progeny.com/pgi/
    • Though I am a debian user and agree with you wholeheartedly, which person do we give the award to for Debian? Ian Murdock, the one who started the project? The current DPL? I believe the nominations have to be for people.
    • by alleria ( 144919 )
      Frankly, I don't see Debian as being only for 'advanced' users now. My qualifications for saying this? I'm a newly-minted Debian (linux overall) user who tried Mandrake 8 and RedHat 7.3 a few weeks ago, and gave up in utter disgust at how horribly broken their 'graphical config' tools are. (RedHat is admittedly much better than Mandrake in this regard, which sent my X server into impossible video modes in an infinite loop after I changed a few unrelated settings).

      Wanting to try out *NIX in general, I then gave the BSDs a try. FreeBSD's hardware detect was so horrible it wouldn't even boot, and NetBSD seemed to not like the way DHCP was configured, or somesuch. OpenBSD installed well and securely, but X configuration was something out of a horror novel.

      I'll admit that I'm slightly different from the average windows user, having paid my dues in the good (bad?) old days of DOS 5.0/WindowsFW 3.11, but the text-only boot-floppies install system aside (getting replaced anyways for sarge's release, as I understand it), Debian is just dead-simple to use. Sure, install asks questions that require thought, and I'd like to see more "if you don't know wtf we are saying, answer no" prompts, but in general, it is well thought-out.

      I need not sing praises for apt (its benefits are well-known now), except to say that it is truly bulletproof, accounting not only for dependencies, conflicts, etc., but actually dealing with broken-off downloads on a dialup by resuming them -- a godsemnd when trying to update big debian-security packages over a modem.

      Lastly: no, it's generally not the newest and shineyest, but everything is just _so_ well tested. While the bug list(s) may *look* impressively long, Woody at least is just as stable in the user-space as Win2k + properly configured apps.

      Both Linux and Win2k have fairly stable kernels that don't crash a whole lot now, but in my past (brief) dalliances with SuSE 6.4, at that time, and with that distro, the apps were just bugggy and crashy. Debian's outstanding package maintainers take care of that by making the userspace programs as much of a technical tour-de-force as the kernel-space stuff, thus creating a truly superior experience for a novice user like me.

      By creating a truly well-integrated, maintained, and bug-free distro, IMHO Debian contributes significantly to free/open software's cause.
    • ...what about Gentoo? Why is the distribution that happens to be favored by non-corporate advanced users any more deserving of recognition than distributions which serve other sets of users?

      This is not that I don't like Debian (although I don't have the patience to use it as a desktop OS), but it is dangerous to nominate one project where many other equivolent projects exist, and where there is an ongoing debate as to which is best.

      • Not knocking Gentoo, but Debian has been doing a comprehensive volunteer distribution for an extremely long time, and demonstrated its ongoing viability through leadership changes and occasional political turbulence.

        Gentoo, though by all reports I've heard it's excellent, is a much newer project.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Thats business software alliance.
    For work above and beyond the call of duty. For being such immense pains in the ass that customer come running over to the open source side.
    Once again thank you BSA for all of your hard work and keep that litigation going.
    Anytime you find yourself without work just give me a call and I will be more than happy to turn in my former employers who were running Microsoft software illegally.
  • For a bunch of people all advocating freedome your being very materialistic.

    So I nominate RMS for the GPL and the ideas behind free software.
    For all the GNU tools.

    and for being able to stir up an argument like no-one else.

    some people might think he's a big anal, but so was Einestine, he didn't 'believe' in qauntum physics.
  • I nominate... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RadioheadKid ( 461411 ) on Friday September 06, 2002 @02:22PM (#4208481)
    Chris "Monty" Montgomery [technologyreview.com] the mastermind behind Ogg Vorbis [xiph.org] and cdparanoia [xiph.org].

  • CowboyNeal (Score:2, Funny)

    by Jungle guy ( 567570 )
    CowboyNeal has my vote! Where can I vote for this poll?
  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Friday September 06, 2002 @02:46PM (#4208697)
    How about Paul Vixie, for maintaining the comp.sources archives for forever, so that they didn't get lost in the mists of time?

    How about Fred Fish, who pretty much single-handedly invented the compilation distribution disk?

    How about CSRG for BSD UNIX?

    How about Kernighan and Ritchie, for the C language?

    How about DECUS, for the DECUS tapes?

    How about Ward Christensen and Randy Suess, for inventing the modem, and giving the idea away?

    How about Ward Christensen again, for inventing the Xmodem protocol, and giving the software away?

    -- Terry
  • Then why is it that Microsoft has the most bugs of any mainstream OS, and also takes the longest to fix them? AFAIK, there are no open vulnerabilities in any major software package (e.g. Apache, OpenSSH).
    • > Then why is it that Microsoft has the most bugs of any mainstream OS

      Not trying to be a Microsoft-lover or anything, but perhaps this is because Microsoft products are in use most? And the fact that for many markets, their products are the ONLY mainstream OS?

      While I abhor Windows, I'd have to say that things like WindowsXP are a increadibly complicate piece of coding. Of course, Microsoft has the money to hire the programmers to do it.

      -- watches as he gets moderated down
  • It may seem odd nominating these guys but their pronouncements and actions running Microsoft have probably done more to worry people enough to start running Open Source software. It isn't like other closed source companies are doing the same thing, but should they get to a dominant position, they too have the same powers to abuse their customers.

    Seriously though, my vote would go to the Peruvian guy for writing such an eloquent argument!!

  • Daniel Horn of Vega Strike [sourceforge.net] would be my nomination. Mr. Horn is the main man behind Vega Strike; which is a space combat and trade game that is beautiful, fun to play, and is completely cross platform. He spends hours of every day tracking down bugs, giving excellent direct support to anyone who has problems with the game (and usually getting the problems fixed!), and adding features for the next release.

    Thanks to him, not only is Vega Strike becoming one of the top open source games, but it is also the most modern game in its genre (think Elite and Privateer). Daniel Horn would be an excellent choice for this award.
  • John Carmack (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fault0 ( 514452 ) on Friday September 06, 2002 @04:39PM (#4209493) Homepage Journal
    I've already nominated someone, but anyone want to nominate John Carmack?

    He's released much of id's older under the GPL, most recently Quake2.

    I think he gives a good balance between making money in the commercial sector and releasing code for people to learn and develop from. When a game engine is no longer profitable, he releases it. I think this should serve as a model to other companies to release the code for their old software/abandonware, especially in games.
  • In providing a common (perceived) enemy Gates and Microsoft have given free software a goal, something to strive for. We're fighting the Evil Empire, looking to develop better products. In a word: competition. If there was no Microsoft, what would drive most of this development? Rather, if there was not an unhinged company making inferior closed-source software, I doubt there would have been such a flow of free software because it would not have been necessary.

    Given that, one could argue that Gates caused all our problems so screw 'em, but I would rather concentrate on the beautiful cooperation and spirit demonstrated by GNU/Linux/BSD/ developers around the world.

    Just remember: Gates made you do it

    ~Chazzf

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