1999 Free Software Awards

New York, New York — December 15, 1999 — The Free Software Foundation (FSF) bestowed its second Free Software Foundation Award for the Advancement of Free Software on Miguel de Icaza. The award, a one-of-a-kind handmade quilt, was given to the 27-year-old Mexico native for de Icaza's excellent work on the GNOME project. The ceremony was held in conjunction with “The Bazaar”, an EarthWeb event currently taking place at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.

de Icaza headed a team of more than 300 programmers worldwide, most of them volunteers, in the development of GNOME. GNOME is a user-friendly graphical users interface (GUI) and programming platform for GNU/Linux. GNOME 1.0 was first released in March, 1999 and has since had a step-up release.

“Miguel's efforts have done a great deal to bring the free software model into the mainstream,” Peter Salus, chairman of the Free Software Foundation Awards Committee said. “The GNOME project enables a new generation of computer users to access the power of GNU/Linux.”

The two other finalists for the award were: Donald Knuth for his TeX and METAFONT systems which developed a new paradigm for typesetting and for his technique of “literate programming” and John Gilmore for his work with Cygnus Solutions, the first company dedicated to supporting free software, as well as for his continued championship of the Free Software movement.

“We began the Free Software Foundation Award as a way to honor those who have tirelessly given their time and their immense talent to further the free software movement,” Richard Stallman, founder and president of the Free Software Foundation said. “We felt that Miguel's continued work on the GNOME project deserved the honor.”

de Icaza continues the effort to make GNOME a competitive user's interface, developing programs like Bonobo, a compound document model system that enables all programs using the GNOME format to work together seamlessly. He and partner Nat Friedman have founded Helix Code, a company dedicated to taking GNOME to the next level by providing viable, commercial-grade software based on the free software model.