Wednesday, 18 March 2020 09:04

Brazilian software student wins top free software award

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Clarissa Lima Borges says she was "deeply excited about winning this award – this is something I would never have imagined". Clarissa Lima Borges says she was "deeply excited about winning this award – this is something I would never have imagined". Courtesy FSF

A Brazilian software engineering student has won the Free Software Foundation's Award for Outstanding New Free Software Contribution, a first-time prize offered by the FSF at its annual awards presentation which was held online on 14 March as part of the annual LibrePlanet conference.

Clarissa Lima Borges won the award for her internship work with the organisation Outreachy; she worked on usability testing for various applications that form part of the GNOME Desktop, one of the two main desktop environments used by free and open source software users.

She said she was proud to have helped make free software more usable for more people who needed "more than ever to be in control of the software [they] use, and [their] data".

Borges said that both Outreachy, which provides internships to work in open source and free software, and GNOME had helped her no end. "Every time I thought I had something good to offer the community, I was rewarded with much more than I expected from people being so kind to me in return," Borges added.

The Award for Projects of Social Benefit went to Let's Encrypt, a non-profit certificate authority that aims to make encrypted Web traffic the default.

meyeringSite reliability engineer Phil Porada, who received the award on behalf of Let's Encrypt, said: "I am extremely honoured to accept this award on behalf of the Internet Security Research Group and Let's Encrypt. It’s a testament to the teamwork, compassion towards others, patience, and community that helps drive our mission of creating a more secure and privacy-respecting Web."

"As a maker I enjoy taking things apart and putting them back together; be it mechanical, wood, or software. Free software allows us to look deep into the internals of a system and figure out why and how it works. Only through openness, transparency, and accountability do we learn, ask questions, and progress forward."

The Award for Advancement of Free Software was given to Jim Meyering, a programmer, maintainer and writer (right).

"I dove head-first into the nascent *utils and autotools three decades ago," Meyering said.

"Little did I know how far free software would come or how it would end up shaping my ideas on software development. From what 'elegant,' 'robust,' and 'well-tested' could mean, to how hard (yet essential) it would be to say 'Thank you!' to those first few contributors who submitted fixes for bugs I'd introduced.

"Free software has given me so much, I cannot imagine where I would be without it. Thank you, RMS, co-maintainers and our oh-so-numerous contributors." RMS is a reference to Richard Matthew Stallman, the founder of the Free Software Foundation.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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