Awards Highlight Impact of Open Source Software

It's hard to beat stellar earnings as proof of a technology's business value, and Red Hat with its Q4 report last week. Adding further fuel to the celebratory open source fires over the past few days, however, have been several batches of awards recognizing the global impact of various free software projects and contributors.

Internet Freedom for Egyptians

Last Tuesday, for example, the Free Software Foundation announced the winners of its two awards for 2010. The first of those--dubbed the Award for Projects of Social Benefit--is given each year to a project "that intentionally and significantly benefits society through collaboration to accomplish an important social task," in the FSF's own words.

This year, that award went to the Tor Project, a free software project that has enabled roughly 36 million people around the world to maintain their freedom and anonymity on the Internet. The Tor Project has proved pivotal in dissident movements in both Iran and Egypt, the FSF says.

Previous winners of the Award for Projects of Social Benefit have been the Internet Archive, Creative Commons, Groklaw and Wikipedia.

The Award for the Advancement of Free Software is the other award the FSF gives out each year, and it goes to an individual who has made a great contribution to the progress and development of free software. This year, the award went to Rob Savoye, founder and CTO of Open Media Now and a longtime hacker who has worked on GNU and other free software for more than 20 years.

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