Monday, 22 March 2021 07:40

Mali GPU free driver project leader gets top FSF award

Alyssa Rosenzweig: "I'm excited to continue fighting for progressive reforms via free software contributions, and am humbled to be a part of this outstanding community." Alyssa Rosenzweig: "I'm excited to continue fighting for progressive reforms via free software contributions, and am humbled to be a part of this outstanding community." Courtesy FSF

Alyssa Rosenzweig, leader of the Panfrost project that aims to reverse engineer and create a free driver for the Mali series of graphics processing units, has received the Free Software Foundation's 2021 Award for Outstanding New Free Software Contributor.

The award was presented at the 2021 LibrePlanet conference, an annual event staged by the FSF. Held on Saturday, it featured 63 speakers whose talks were streamed using free software.

FSF founder Richard Stallman, who presented the award in virtual ceremony, said: "For decades I've told people that the most important free program to write is something that we can't do with free software. [..]

"This year's award for a New Outstanding Free Software Contributor goes to somebody who went straight for the most important possible project: reverse-engineering the specs of the Mali GPU."

Rosenzweig said, "I believe free software is key to environmental sustainability and protecting civil liberties in a digital world.

"On one hand, proprietary drivers can accelerate electronic waste; providing upstream support for graphics hardware enables today's devices to be maintained tomorrow.

"On the other hand, free drivers permit security audits at the lowest levels and protect user privacy in the grassroots fight against mass surveillance. I'm excited to continue fighting for progressive reforms via free software contributions, and am humbled to be a part of this outstanding community."

The free customer relationship management project, CiviCRM, was awarded the Award for Project of Social Benefit. Presenting the award to CiviCRM project manager Josh Gowans, FSF executive director John Sullivan said: "[CiviCRM] has had a huge impact on our world, because it provides infrastructure that allows over 11,000 organisations to pursue their respective missions, across all areas of life."

Gowans commented: "It’s truly an honour to receive the Award for Projects of Social Benefit. It not only recognises the hard work and dedication of the CiviCRM community, but also the impact that CiviCRM is having by providing free software to thousands of organisations around the world working to solve significant challenges.

"We’re grateful for the vital work of the Free Software Foundation, and we’re honoured to receive this award."

Well-known free software advocate Bradley Kuhn, who works for the Software Freedom Consultancy, received the Award for the Advancement of Free Software.

Sullivan presented the award to Kuhn, and said: ""The GNU General Public Licence cannot achieve its goal of protecting our freedom or getting us to a world where all the software we use is free if it's not enforced in a principled way with an eye toward that goal.

"Somebody has to do that work, and [Kuhn] has done more of this work over the course of his career than anyone else I know.

"To some companies, that work puts him in the crosshairs. Here at LibrePlanet, that work puts him in the awards circle."

Kuhn responded: "Software freedom activism was almost a foregone conclusion for me as a career. I loved programming, computers, and computer science, but I also really wanted to be a rabble rouser for a living. So software freedom advocacy and activism was natural.

"But I care deeply about so many causes, and so many important causes in our world today. [..] As the world becomes more digital, software freedom becomes a key centre cause of all the many important causes we need to take on. And we have to be open and co-ordinated with these other causes."

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Sam Varghese

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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