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GNU is Not Unix

Candidates for 1999 GNU Free Software Award 147

Malcolm Spence wrote in to tell us that has posted a list of nominees for their 1999 Free Software award. Includes lots of names you would expect and a few that maybe you wouldn't.
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Candidates for 1999 GNU Free Software Award

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  • Ok, how has he helped the Open source movement, other than by uniting them in a common cause against MS?
  • How and Why??
  • A worthy candidate, methinks.
  • by Christopher B. Brown ( 1267 ) <> on Monday November 08, 1999 @07:14AM (#1552504) Homepage
    The "grab bag" of candidates is interesting enough; I'm a bit surprised that they misspelled Jim Blandy.

    Should I take it that the argument behind naming Bill Gates as a candidate is something like:

    By producing software of such questionable reputation, and rapacious licensing terms, Bill Gates has done more to encourage people to consider free software than any other purveyor of proprietary software.

    I don't expect him to win, but this outcome does offer incredibly entertaining opportunities for the awards dinner.

    I'm sure they'd be eating cream pies at that dinner...

  • Why was he nominated? Did I miss something? What does he have to do with free software?

  • Funny, all the names that are important to me are on the award committee! Go FSF!
  • I for one would like to see DJ Delorie win the award. Anyone who brings development tools like gcc to Windows is cool in my book. Now that I think about it, DJGPP was the first piece of GNU software that I ever used. Ah...t'was so long ago...
  • The award committee members are Bruce Perens, Eric Raymond, Peter Salus, Richard Stallman, and Larry Wall.

    Huh? These guys are going to come to an agreement about free software?


  • I really like see Kirk McKusick, Bill Joy, Jordan K. Hubbard, Theo DeRaadt, and Mike Karels on the list. These are all people who have done far more for free software than anyone gives credit for. I'd really like to see anyone of them win.
  • A) They're a group of individuals, rather than an individual; something I think is proper for open source/free software awards.

    B) Debian is cool. So what if it doesn't have the latest kernel? It's arguably the most stable and well-designed of the Linux distributions; certainly the most "BSD-ish".

    "Take what you can use and let the rest go by." (Ken Kesey)

    "Hand in hand, we copy foreigners' merits and compensate our shortcomings." (Fong Sai Yuk) There are flashier contributions from individuals and groups, but personally when I think Linux I think "Debian", on both technical and philosophical grounds.

  • It's inevitable when lists like this are announced that people will take up bandwidth saying 'thank you' to people they've never met.
    Far be it from me to spit in the face of such tradition.

    Free software has made my life as a sysadmin immeasurably easier, thanks to the lovely people who were nominated (or who won previously). If it were possible, I'd invite you all around to my place for a mug of coffee and to play with my Mindstorms. But it's not, so I'll just say that it's thanks to you all that I've got time most days to post to slashdot.
  • I was actually suprised to see his name there, but now that I think about it, it's such a good idea.

    Although most of us here at /. are using Linux, xBSD, or some other form of Unix, the Microsoft world is still the fundamental majority. Delorie's port of GCC to MSDOS, and all the derivatives thereof, played a monunmental role in the development of free software ports in the DOS world. Without his contributions, none of this would have been possible.

    On that note: Wasn't the original Quake for DOS written using DJ's gcc?


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • I like the idea of jwz winning this year -- it's good for a movement like this one to get the occassional reality check, and I think he provided that with his analysis of the problems with the Mozilla project (yeah, I know, you're using Mozilla right now and Mozilla rocks or it will rock in six months. Whatever.)

    Moving beyond blind advocacy is essential for any movement like OSS. Of all the people on the list (except Bill G, who I suspect is on the list as a joke), jwz seems to me the best example of this.

    Tim O'Reilly is my second choice. Thanks to him, OSS has a real voice out there in the publishing community. There's nothing to impress your boss like a large number of Linux books next to all the "Be an MCSE in 30 days!" crap at Barnes and Noble. Besides, hard copies make me smile.


  • Ok, how has he helped the Open source movement, other than by uniting them in a common cause against MS?
    Maybe it's a joke? But if it's not, I'd really love to see him win for precicely the reason you mentioned.
    "Ladies and Gentlemen, the this year the award goes to a villain so evil, so crapulent that he's brought us all together. His shitty software is a clarion call to aesthetic programmers everywhere, and we'd like to take this opportunity to embrace Bill and extend the hand of friendship to a man without whom we would all be a bunch of anarchists ranting about the CIA on streetcorners.
    "Ladies and Gentlemen... Bill Gates"

    But would he accept the award in person or just send Ballmer along?
  • I recognize a lot of these names, but not nearly all of them. I'd love to see a list of what they've done that merits their nominations. It would be nice reading. In particular, I'd like to read Bill Gates' entry. Now look, some wise guy's going to point to Freshmeat...
  • By producing software of such questionable reputation, and rapacious licensing terms, Bill Gates has done more to encourage people to consider free software than any other purveyor of
    proprietary software.

    You're absolutely correct. He has provided an enormous base of dissatisfied customers, thus contributing to the phenomenal growth of open source. I wonder how many Linux converts this year are former Windows victims?.. Perhaps Slashdot should host a poll: what made you take up Linux in the first place?

    (My answer: Solaris. OK, maybe I'm not a good example. Perhaps I should shut up now.)
  • For his outstanding efforts in persuading people that expensive, closed-source software isn't worth the iron oxide it's written on.

    Runners up were:

    • J.R.R. Tolkein - for re-introducing Open Source to the arts.
    • Dolly the Sheep - for re-introducing Mint Source to the sciences.
    • Prince Charles - for innovatively describing closed-source architecture as so much bolognase... at an architect's dinner speech.
    • CmdrTaco - for making it possible for people to write silly notes on computing, on one of the best news services for computing there is. (p.s. Can you make a fresh slash tarball, please? If you would need to clean stuff up, I'd be happy to take a rough tarball and do that for you.)
  • I'd vote for Miguel de Icaza. I saw him present the works of Gnome again this year at the ALS. From what has happened in one year, it looks like he has the amazing ability to convert caffeine to freely distributable code. I heard that Mexico is now using Linux in public schools, perhaps in great part in his ability to rally developers with his inspiration.
  • Assuming he wins, what kind of prize would he get?

    A bag of scorpions?

    A bear trap, ready to go?

    A super glue coated bowling ball?

    A package with a concealed taser, aimed at his testicles?


  • They should give the award to Microsoft... posthumously. :-)

  • I too am puzzled about Bill Gates on the list, but I am also very glad to see Mandrake/Raster on the list (not to mention Becker, Vixie, etc)..

    I'm pulling for the Enlightenment boys on this one.. Better window managers make managing evil networks so much easier. I know there are candidates that *may* be more deserving of the award, but they have chosen to fight for the power of good, which just doesn't sit too well with me.

  • I nominated Lennart Augustsson, because of the USB code. USB is a large, useful, piece of work, allowing free software to maintain device-driver parity with a lot of the commercial world.
  • Actually, Kirk McKusick, Bill Joy, Jordan Hubbard, Theo DeRaadt and Mike Karels are all on the list, at least when I last checked. (Maybe GNU added them?)

    Personally, though, I'd like to vote for W. Richard Stevens, in memory of his great books.

  • : A package with a concealed taser, aimed at his testicles?

    I vote for this one!


  • I've not been paying attention to the previous years' awards. Do we vote? Do they vote? Is a name pulled out of a hat?

    (Personally, I'd vote for either W. Richard Stevens (RIP), or Jeffrey Law.)

  • Never mind, I'm a dumbass without caffeine. That quote isn't from Fong Sai Yuk, it's from Once Upon A Time in China and America.

    "Heheh. Sorry 'bout that."

  • Yes. Here's a few reason's:
    1. Bill Gates wrote Altair Basic. Although he did not want it to, it was given out free with the source code anyway.

    2. He helped create Internet Explorer which had so many exploits, that with a few extra characters you could read some source code on the server.

    3. He ported the original "Hello World" program to basic. The source code is freely availible.
      (Not sure about that one though)

    4. They probably mean the Bill Gates from that Best Buy commercial a while back.

    5. Even RMS has a sense of humour.

    Say this three time real fast:
    Linux may mimic Minix, but Minix does not mimic Linux.
  • If they could format the names in some readable way instead of just in one big blob-o-text.

    Also, a more detailed description of what the perosn has done would help.

    But they do it all for free, so who am I to complain?
  • Apart from BG - which I assume was a joke :)

    Fred Fish - who single handedly (OK, so there were other contributors, but he was the fighting force) brought the GNU tools to both the Amiga and now BeOS.

    Rasmus Lerdorf and the PHP Project, but only Doug McEachern and not the mod_perl Project (i.e. all those cool module authors and other significant contributors). I thought that was a little strange.

    Great to see some relative unknowns (but significant talent) in there like James Clark.
  • They are, it was supposed to say "I like seeing," or damn it's sweet that they are on the list.
  • In my mind, Debian embodies the future of free (as in non-commercial) OS's. Debian is secure, stable, and has high-quality. And it achieved this not by commercial organizations, but by volunteers who did it because they wanted to, not because it brings food to their table.

    This, to me, encapsulates what free software is all about -- volunteers producing high-quality products, potentially higher-quality than any commercial offering, and gives it away for free. The ultimate expression of the free software philosophy.

    So surely Debian -- the community as opposed to an individual -- deserves this award.

  • In reality, ER's opinion is the only one that counts since he will be showing up at the meeting strapped with an AK-47 and a small arms cache. He has already displayed that he is one pickle short of a barrel by his many antics, including his appearance on the MS campus as Obi Wan Kenobi (or however the hell you spell it).

    Bruce Perens will be too busy trying to promote his new website [].

    Salus will probably be too busy working on the free buffet.

    Stallman, of course will be too busy doing hits of LSD.

    Larry Wall will be boring everyone out of their mind with his drug-induced ramblings about onions and whatnot.
  • A certain ugly and drunk dwarf comes to mind. :-)
  • by bmc ( 80269 )
    I didn't see any of the names from the GPG team there, which I think is a shame. GPG is really, really important - free access to strong encryption might define privacy for the next decade, or longer.

    When and how did nominations take place?

  • by Mr Z ( 6791 )

    Ah, ok... I had read your original post as "I['d] really like [to] see", rather than "I really like see[ing]". Oops. :-)

  • OMG, I feel so clueless. I never knew DJ Delorie made anything other than a solitaire/freecell clone for Linux/Xwindows called Ace of Penguins []! For my girlfriend, this has been one of the "killer apps" for Linux.

    When I first installed Linux on my home PC, my girlfriend was so mad because she couldn't play Solitaire and Freecell anymore (I didn't know about WINE at the time). So we made a deal - if I could find a way for her to play those games, then she wouldn't fuss about me keeping Linux on the PC. DJ Delorie's "Ace of Penguins" came through for me, and the rest is history.

    So I guess both the techies (DJGPP) and the home users (like my gf and myself) have DJ Delorie to thank for some great pieces of free software. He is definitely a worthy selection.
  • What made me take up Linux in the first place? I can tell you Windows was definitely a turn on the wrong street. My first computer was one of the first Sinclair Z80 computers (the ones that had to be soldered) and started with assembly. Due to schoolwork, the XT and AT computers from IBM (with the help of a research grant...) I got sucked into the vacuum of Windows 286. It took me until the spring of 1997 to give Linux a try. It felt good. Now if my employer can ditch the crap that's called NT...

    What Mr. Gates has taken away, Linux has given back.
  • I mean, I recognize the big names on there, but most of the people I just don't recognize at all.

    If no one knows of a better idea, I've started the process of making a bare-bones list at - I suspect that someone else will have a better reference, but it's a start. (at the moment the list doesn't even contain all the descriptions of the people I know about)

  • "I all ever wanted to know I learned from a man page."

    Well.... not really. Sometimes to learn a topic you need a quality book in front of you. No one puts out more quality books, on topics that matter to the open source populace, as O'Reilly has. I've never read an O'Reilly book that I didn't like.... I can't say the same for the other "Using Foo in 14 days for Dummies" publishers.

  • Although he did come up with some great findings, and I do respect the man, I'm sure even a severely retarded lemur could have came up with the same findings. It's not as if it would be tough one to figure out. He just happened to be the one appointed the task. I don't think happening to be the one given the gavel qualifies him as someone worthy of the award. It should be given to someone who did years of work to advance the cause, not just someone in the right place at the right time.
  • Although certainly Bill Gates isn't exactly an example of ethical behaviour that we should all try to follow, I'm surprised to see so many people who are advocating physical violence against him.

    Yes, greedy and monopolistic practises are reprehensible behaviour, but physical violence is far far worse. Why are you all stooping to a level even lower than his?

    - Drew

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Many respected names on the list. The one stand-out is Miguel de Icaza. Yes he is famous for the prodigious amounts of software which he personally generates--no one on the list comes close in this category. But beyond his Herculean coding achievements with such major projects as Gnome and Midnight Commander, Miguel is a master manger. He has a personality that can smoothly coordinate and motivate others without generating controversy or rancor. And his ability to influence public policy is probably unparalleled. Largely through his efforts, the Mexican educational system will have over a million Linux based computers running by the end of next year. A marvelous accomplishment, and a fitting way to usher in the new millennium. My vote goes for Miguel! ~
  • I agree with you. In the early 90's, before Internet became mainstream, Fred Fish's disk collection for the Amiga was the primary source of free software for a lot of people - many who are now activelly working with and supporting free software.

    Many of the other people on the list would not be there if not for Fred Fish.

  • Sorry, I forgot to include a smiley in my original comment... But as long as you're taking this line of discussion seriously, how about David Boies? Apparently, the man can convince even a retarded lemur. :-)

    (Got it this time!)
  • So what if it doesn't have the latest kernel?
    Sure it does, just gotta live on the unstable side (which is really _very_ stable overall, just not recommended for the newbies).
  • As the conversation reaches critical mass surrounding Bill Gates, and how he has united hackers everywhere to write ``software that doesn't suck'', I'd like to take this time to point out to you the man whom I nominated.

    Tim Berners-Lee

    Why him, you may ask? Well, while he did not invent the Internet (neither did Al Gore, for that matter), he did invent the World Wide Web, which popularized the Internet (which has existed for a long time in some form or another).

    Now you might be asking: who the hell cares? Easy. You know all those free software projects, where do you read about them? In the newspaper? On television? On.. the Web, maybe? The World Wide Web is the primary agitant that prompted the utter explosion of growth of the Internet. The network and the Web are what free software developers use to coordinate their efforts all across the world. Would we be able to achieve this sort of teamwork without it? Hell no.

    Not only that, the Web itself is free speech. Tim is also the director of the W3C, which standardizes HTML, the Web, and lots of other neat nifty things like CSS, etc. etc. If this doesn't represent a strong and continued contribution to the world of free software in the most fundamental, earth-shattering, awe-inspiring way possible I don't know what the hell is.

    In short, if they pick anyone else, they better give me a good damn reason why. Otherwise I'm going to wonder about these people. Seriously.

  • Sound effect: loud raspberry.

    I'm working on putting up the TIGER/Line 1998 U.S. map database today. It's the complete electronic U.S. street map, available for your use in free software. I've previously had the 1997 version online. I'm also doing some other nice things for free software lately, so what are you doing, huh, huh, come on, spit it out :-)

  • Hey Bruce, I hope you realize I was joking! I personally think you're the best and I have you in my pool kicking ER's butt.

    As far as I what I'm doing for free software, I'm, uh, not doing much. I did buy some books from FSF though! Does that count?
  • I've never liked Windows, from day one. I grew up on the ancient Apple II, then during the "IBM days" switched to DOS 3. In my mind, DOS at least did what it was supposed to do, and did it well. (Mostly because it was easily sidestepped :-)

    Then out came Win3.1. I despised it, and basically stayed away from it. Then came Win95. I hated it to the uttermost. I loved DOS then, because at least it let me do what I wanted to do. Win95 imposed all kinds of silly restrictions on me in the name of "protection" yet does not let me do what I wanted to do. I stuck with DOS as long as I could, then realized that it was the end of the road.

    Then someone introduced me to Linux. Being ignorant that anything existed outside MS then, I was reluctant to leave DOS (though I couldn't care crap about winbloxe) to use the then-difficult-to-install Linux. Besides, I knew from using Solaris at school that Linux will have memory protection and stuff, which meant I couldn't play with hardware I/O as I've done in DOS.

    But then I realized that protection was good, when it was done right. Wincrap for sure didn't do it right -- the "protection" it gives is extremely flakey, and it doesn't give anything in return. Linux gave real protection -- and gave immense power at the same time. From that time on, it was bye-bye windows all the way. I still had win95 on another partition then, but after my HD crashed, my new HD is completely Linux. Not once have I regretted this decision. No more will MS crapware pollute my system! :-)

    -- Happy Linuxer

  • Yes, greedy and monopolistic practises are reprehensible behaviour, but physical violence is far far worse. Why are you all stooping to a level even lower than his?

    Oops, I forgot a few.

    How about a lit bundle of dynamite, in one of Melinda's dresses, with a brown wig and bright red lipstick (the Roadrunner almost always falls for this one).

    Or make him stand on a big, black X on marked on the floor, while overhead a grand piano hangs precariously from a single rope.

    Or maybe tell him that his present is behind a door, but there's really a cannon there, with a lit fuse!

    Or we'll give him some Godiva chocolate with steel BBs in it, and then bring in the crane with giant electro magnet!

    Sheesh, some people.

  • I was pleasantly surprised to notice that Dr. Douglas Schmidt has been nominated. For those unfamiliar with Dr. Schmidt, he's a software engineering professor at the university of Washington. He's the head of the ACE project, which is an open-source cross-platform C++ toolkit for network applications.

    His group has also developped TAO, which is an open-source real-time CORBA orb that was built using ACE. It's really cool stuff. Check it out here. []
  • Who are these people, what do they do, interests, homepages? If you have some extra disk space (lots!) unpack the source of your favorite distribution(s) and grep for the names. Viewing source is viewing art and can inspire. Search engines such as google [] are also good at bringing up the home pages of those in question.
  • OK, sorry, I guess I need to develop a bit more of a sense of humor.

    I actually managed to have a civil email exchange with ESR this week, so I doubt that serving on the nomination committee will be a problem.



  • There's a comment on the nominees' page indicating that past recipients of this [which makes sense] or any other award are ineligible.

    So,... do you want to invalidate a candidate? Give him an award and send him $20.00. poof! he's ineligible.

    Ineligibility on having received this particular award, I can understand. Ineligibility because you've received OTHER awards is dumb.

  • > Viewing source is viewing art and can inspire.
    > Search engines such as google are also good at
    > bringing up the home pages of those in question.

    And indeed, I have been using search engines to fill out my list at ist.html []. It just seems it would be nice to have that information collected somewhere so that not everyone had to hunt these names down.

  • I thought the award was for your contributions in 1999. If so, what has Tim done in 1999? I understand what you are saying, but I think people in the know are well aware of Tim's contributions. Maybe he should be up for a lifetime achievement thingie however.
  • The answer should be obvious:

    The hottest PC that can be found, installed with nothing but GPL'd software.
  • It would help if you would send your spellchecks to instead of posting on Slashdot. ;)

    Either way, fixed that and one other typo. And you're right; the reason given for the nomination of Bill Gates was something akin to what you wrote.

  • The man is right. To wit, from the 1998 winner page []:

    we wanted to recognize long-term central contributions to the development of the world of free software.

  • Bill Gates does too support Open Source. In Excel, Edit -> Links brings up a dialog box with an Open Source button. I keep pressing it, but I haven't found the source to either Excel or Windows yet. Must be another Windows bug. :^(
  • What happens next is at some point in the near future, the award committee sits down and considers all the nominees and selects a winner based in part by the comments that was received together with the nominations. After that we'll probably see an award ceremony before long.
  • You should be able to find people working on GNU software on the GNU Who's Who List [].
  • 'nuff said
  • Ok, so they want an award! Great!

    Now why didn't they do it this more seriously?

    I mean are they on drugs or something?

    All linux developers are worthy of being nominated! Hell, Linux developers are those who have helped most the GNU spirit, after Linux companies (they did it with the suits).

    The only serious way to do this is to include all known developers, market people of the GNU world, be it Bob Young, Alan Cox, Linux Torvalds, Eric Raymond, Caldera Folks, Debian, *Bsd* etc.....

    Only then should be a general vote on who gets the most vote based on a one year activity.

    Other than that, you are only making a joke of yourselves and GNU in general!

    Man, Bill Gates?

    Who in Hell or Heaven actually typed his name on that website?!!! This guy/girl should stop taking drugs while working!

  • (first I just can't help but think.. mochaone responds to one of my comments and isn't flaming me? wow)

    You could be right about the 1999 thing, but I don't know. I doubt it, but to be fair, I haven't looked into it. However, I might point out that Tim still is the director of the W3C as we speak (here in 1999), and as such contributes to free software and open standards (which help free software) in a very real-time sense. It's not as if he just built the Web and wandered off somewhere to live in a cave. He's probably one of the most vital assets to our community, and certainly one of the least talked about (relatively speaking in accordance with what he's done).

    This is not to belittle the efforts of others, but we should probably throw some credit on over to the man who made all of this possible in a way that rivals what other key movers and shakers in the free software community have done (such as RMS).

    The Web is the platform we use to voice our ideas, share information, and coordinate our efforts. Truly a Good Thing.

  • The excitement surrounding this year's announcement is huge. Although many of the candidates are worthy I think Alan Cox really stands out. The guy is a one man wrecking crew when it comes to kernel hacking.

  • I am not trolling here ... Just look at the recent trend - almost every distribution comes with KDE as default desktop. This should count for something.
    KDE changed the desktop on Unix/Linux.

    Troll is extremely cool company. They offered Qt for free long before Linux was "cool" in the media and were very supportive of KDE projects.

  • Are you paying attention [], Bruce? I sure hope so! ;)

    Of course, I just have to wonder if anyone besides me nominated the guy..

  • (first I just can't help but think.. mochaone responds to one of my comments and isn't flaming me? wow)

    hahahah! I guess I do deserve that one. If you check, you'll see that I even admitted you were right. I must be slipping in my old age.
  • > Now only if he would update the guidelines for a GNOME compliant window manager to be "panel friendly"

    Try Sawmill at x.html - it works beautifully with GNOME and the panel.
  • I'm really glad to see the Rasterman and Mandrake on there, as well as that GNOME guy. I mean, lets face it: the thing that makes free software a viable bussines solution is the fact that there are many users, and when trying to convert users to use *BSD or Linux, lets face it, all they do is compare GUIs. They don't really care about memory managment or mulit-tasking or free compilers. all they care about is something that looks perty and that they can play Quake on, and i think that Enlightenment and GNOME to a very good job of makeing the free Unix variants atarctive to winblows 69 users, even for no other reason, because it increases the number of raw users.

  • by jdube ( 101986 )
    My vote would be for Miguel de Icaza. Bill Gates is definitly tempting though.
    Maybe Willie G will win because everyone votes for him as a joke. I think I'd laugh my tushie off if that ever happened :P

    If you think you know what the hell is really going on you're probably full of shit.
  • On that note: Wasn't the original Quake for DOS written using DJ's gcc?
    Yes [].
  • This is the ghost of Ralph Clark.

    When I saw Bill Gates' name on that list I laughed so much I inadvertently swallowed my tongue and choked to death.

    Er...I got better...

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • Personally, while I don't think they should win because they're a relative newcomer to the movement (and people like Becker/Fred Fish/DJ have been working for the cause for much longer), I'm very happy to see SGI being nominated. Of all the companies that have joined the Linux bandwagon, they seem the be the largest one that "gets it". While I may not always agree with what they do or plan to do, I'm glad to see them nominated because they should get some recognition for wat they're doing.

    Happy owner of a $650 Indigo2, soon to be running Linux,
  • I'd actually like to see Darryl Strauss win. My personal opinion is that Darryl is the sole reason we are getting commercial 3D game development on Linux in the first place. Gimme a break here, we wouldn't have Linux Q3A without him (at least not this soon).

    Without his 3Dfx drivers, 3D support in Linux at the time the decision to do versions for Linux would consist of a Permedia driver and a buggy G200/G400 driver. Darryl created a stable set of drivers for hardware 3D support, even if it had to be under an NDA. He has, however, released the source to any parts of his drivers that 3Dfx's legal department will let him.
  • Without prejudicing the issue:

    Tim B-L should get some sort of honor. I'd want to look a little harder at how much of what he's done for Open Systems rather than free software. A lot of people confuse the two.



  • Let me start this off buy saying that I've finally come _back_ to the linux community after an extended vaction. [I used linux extensively from 96-97 and then stopped until recently, long story....]

    Ok, let's think about this, what tech story spread the word about open source more than any other? Hmm.... Well, there were huge gains in market share before the trail, but the only people to read those where techies (and we already knew!).

    By some ironic twist of fate, IMOSHO, the anti-trust trial not only spread the word about Linux but took it and shoved it under the nose of Mr & Ms. Joe Average. Linux coverage has now become a staple of the internet and bussiness section. Partially because those who are better programmers than I put in a lotta hours, but partially because M$ tried to use it to "prove" there was competition.

    Thanks Bill! Have a GNU!
  • I asked to recuse myself regarding any decision about Debian, as the award would be presented to the project leaders and I'm a past project leader as well as one of the award judges.


  • B) Debian is cool. So what if it doesn't have the latest kernel? It's arguably the most stable and
    well-designed of the Linux distributions; certainly the most "BSD-ish".

    "Take what you can use and let the rest go by." (Ken Kesey)

    "Hand in hand, we copy foreigners' merits and compensate our shortcomings." (Fong Sai Yuk) There
    are flashier contributions from individuals and groups, but personally when I think Linux I think
    "Debian", on both technical and philosophical grounds.
    Um, Debian is NOT the most BSD-ish.

    Debian is much more SysV'ish.

    Slackware, OTOH....
  • And indeed they've taken your suggestion. Donald Becker [] is on the list.

  • according to the web page: "but whatever the activity, we want to recognize long-term central contributions to the development of the world of free software."

    Stevens would still be enriching our knowledge of network programming if he were with us.

  • Without a free compiler like djgcc Linus might have started off on an other foot. DJ is nothing less that the John the Baptist to Linus "Godhood". If there is anyone who has been overlooked so far in the FreeSoftware World it is DJ.

    Charles Puffer

  • What made me start using Linux? Well, lessee here. I got my start on a C128, awesome little machine, it had a really neat operating environment (although the microsoft copyright on bootup was annoying). Anyways, it was a real programming OS, which I liked greatly.

    The first time I used DOS, I thought to myself "This is really a braindead operating system", so for a few years I went back to the commodore.

    Eventually I was forced to switch to the PC. But the more I started using it and the more it "matured", the harder it became to program the darn thing. DOS was the braindead child of satan (if you've ever had to suffer through near/far pointers, you'll know what I mean), and win 3.1 was no better.

    Win95 was no better, in fact, it no longer came with QBasic. MSVC was an abomination, and I was for a few years forced to use it.

    Eventually I found something better. It was called DJGPP, and it let me write 32-bit DOS programs using UNIX-standards. I even had bash, the fileutils, basically the whole GNU system installed. (Oh, and I vote "DJ Delorie" for that award!)

    I used that for a fair amount of time, and it was so transparent moving to Linux (all I really needed was a text editor that I was good with, and I ended up learning VIM and now swear by it.), that it was a foregone conclusion as soon as I saw it.

    I don't know, I think a lot of the success of Linux is based on its pure technical merits. I would have been willing to pay $200 for a copy of any reasonable facimile of UNIX early on... Linux was a dream come true for a lot of us programmers.

  • Sure, he's written columns about free software, and even started a magazine [] but Rob and Hemos probably have many more readers here.

    and the 1999 FSF ass kissing award goes to... JMC

  • why'd they nominate bill joy(of sun?)

    what has sun or he done done for Open Source Software recently?
  • Bill Gates from the Best Buy commercial - I second that nomination.
  • Unless I missed that, I believe one of the top nominees should be the countless and nameless contributors (MS might call them beta-testers) which not seldom put that extra whipped cream on top of the cake.
    Thank you all for your continuous and generous efforts!

    Maybe we'll face a 'grave of the unknown [not only]GNU contributor' someday...

  • It's all good. :)
  • I don't claim to speak for the whole project, but on behalf of _this_ debian developer, thanks to everyone who nominated us.
    Andrew G. Feinberg
  • It would be a cold day in hell if TOR won. RMS has let fly against the company on more than one occasion.
  • I laughed for ten minutes at this one and the bowling ball one!!!!!!!
  • Mike Heins is a behind-the-scenes man in the Open Source revolution. His creation, Minivend, is a powerful e-commerce package that's released under the GPL. He's shown many business the power of free software. He allows the improvements his clients hire him to make to Minivend to be incorporated into the free distribution. The clients benefit from the their tailored enhancements and the community benifits from an ever improving product. Mike Heins is living the Open Source business model and quietly spreading the Open Source ideal.
  • Alfredo rulez :)
  • I can understand why all those other names are there. I support Olivetti Research Lab(ORL) [], now AT for giving us VNC, the wonderful little piece of software. But some names simply should not be

    James Clark: Give me a break, folks. What does this guy have to do with free software? Opening up Netscape source code was little more than a corporate maneuver to outsmart MS, IMHO, but look at where Netscape market share is now. Netscape still deserves a special award for being the only piece of software that's able to crash my Linux boxen, though. Show me a popular, usable open source project that was derived from Mozilla code and I will show you vaporware.

    John Ousterhout: I guess Berkeley and Sun paid real low salaries, no? There are people who created languages that are far more popular than yours, Sir, but do they have a company? No. Not that it is a bad thing to make profit off your own creation...Either Ousterhout does not belong to the this list, or Larry Wall was really dumb not to go out on his own and start a company to make a fortune out of Perl. He would have showed up on the free software celebrities list anyway.
  • I was going to say something but decided against it. So let me just say there are persons more worthy.

    Linux? That's GNU/Linux [] to you mister!
  • It's great to see Alfredo Kojima get some recognition. He gets so little hype compared to some other UI folks, but IMHO he's responsible for one of the most usable and best-designed free software projects out there.

    (WindowMaker [] for those who don't know what I'm referring to...)

  • I didn't see any of the names from the GPG team there, which I think is a shame. GPG is really, really important - free access to strong encryption might define privacy for the next decade, or longer.

    I see that the nominee page lists a guy named WERNER KOCH. I wonder if they meant WALTER Koch, who did work on GPG.

    And I agree. Access to strong crypto is the ONLY way to guarantee privacy. If you've ever read THE PUZZLE PALACE you'd understand why. :-)

    I saw Phil Zimmermann speak in Syracuse a few years back (I also got him to sign my PGP users guide), and he made a good point, INFRASTRUCTURES rarely go away. And now that the telecommunications industry has engineered back doors into their digital switches, our privacy is gone. Having them remove those back doors at this point is just as unlikely as us switching from 60Hz AC to 50Hz AC. It just ain't gonna happen.

  • Uhmm...Well, he definitely is not the first James Clark to come to mind in the context of software. My hat's off to James Clark of XML fame, sorry for the mix-up if there is really one. My sentiments about James Clark of Netscape stand, though.
  • I'm not sure if what he wrote technically qualifies as free software, because I don't know about the license that was on the original PGP, but think about it...PGP deserves something, even if it's past the time when he should have gotten an award.

    A good program that you could get the source code to - the first psycho-strong crypto program that I remember that ran on the PC. It might not have been the first, but it was certainly one of the best and it brought "Encryption for the masses" which I remember seeing as a tagline in practically all the README's that came with PGP. fondly I remember my pre-win 3.1 DOS days where I would sit about as a total newbie trying to figure out how the hell to use the 10,000 command line switches in PGP.

    Anybody have specific info on the license of the original PGP source?

An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.