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Last chance to nominate for 2017 Free Software Awards

by Georgia Young Contributions Published on Oct 26, 2017 12:14 PM
For twenty years, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the GNU Project have presented the Free Software Awards as a way of honoring people and projects who have advanced the movement or created free software programs that serve crucial societal needs.

Nominations for the 20th annual Free Software Awards opened at LibrePlanet 2017, right after the most recent Free Software Awards were presented -- and your opportunity to submit nominations ends on November 5th, 2017, at 23:59 UTC. For details, see instructions below.

If you admire a free software contributor or project and want the world to see how great they are, nominate them today. Your nominations will be reviewed by our awards committee and the winners will be announced at LibrePlanet 2018.

Award for the Advancement of Free Software

The Award for the Advancement of Free Software is presented annually by FSF president Richard Stallman to an individual who has made a great contribution to the progress and development of free software, through activities that accord with the spirit of free software.

Last year, Alexandre Oliva was recognized with the Award for the Advancement of Free Software for his passionate free software advocacy and his role as maintainer of GNU Linux-libre, the fully free version of the kernel Linux. Other previous honorees include Lawrence Lessig, Yukihiro Matsumoto, and Werner Koch.

Award for Projects of Social Benefit

The Award for Projects of Social Benefit is presented to a project or team responsible for applying free software, or the ideas of the free software movement, in a project that intentionally and significantly benefits society in other aspects of life.

We look to recognize projects or teams that encourage people to cooperate in freedom to accomplish tasks of great social benefit, and those that apply free software ideas and lessons outside the free software community. A long-term commitment to one's project (or the potential for a long-term commitment) is crucial to this end.

This award stresses the use of free software in the service of humanity. We have deliberately chosen this broad criterion so that many different areas of activity can be considered. However, one area that is not included is that of free software itself. Projects with a primary goal of promoting or advancing free software are not eligible for this award (we honor individuals working on those projects with our annual Award for the Advancement of Free Software).

We will consider any project or team that uses free software or its philosophy to address a goal important to society. To qualify, a project must use free software, produce free documentation, or use the idea of free software as defined in the Free Software Definition. Projects that promote or depend on the use of nonfree software are not eligible for this award. Commercial projects are not excluded, but commercial success is not our scale for judging projects.

Last year, SecureDrop, an anonymous whistleblowing platform used by major news organizations and maintained by Freedom of the Press Foundation, received the award. Past recipients include Wikipedia, Groklaw, and the GNOME Foundation's Outreach Program for Women (now known as Outreachy).


In the case of both awards, previous winners are not eligible for nomination, but renomination of other previous nominees is encouraged. Only individuals are eligible for nomination for the Advancement of Free Software Award (not projects), and only projects can be nominated for the Social Benefit Award (not individuals). For a list of previous winners, please visit Current FSF staff and board members, as well as award committee members, are not eligible.

Winners will be decided by a committee, which includes several previous winners.


After reviewing the eligibility rules above, please click on the links below to submit your nominations. All nominations need to be submitted before Sunday, November 5th, 2017 at 23:59 UTC.

Attend the Free Software Awards at LibrePlanet 2018

Want to be in the room when the winners are announced? Registration is already open for the LibrePlanet conference, March 24-25, 2018, in Cambridge. You can meet the award winners and take part in a program devoted to the world of free software. Remember: Free Software Foundation members attend LibrePlanet gratis!

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