1998 Free Software Award

Larry Wall won the Free Software Foundation Award 1998 for the Advancement of Free Software for his many contributions to the advancement of freely distributed software, most notably Perl, a robust scripting language for sophisticated text manipulation and system management. His other widely-used programs include rn (news reader), patch (development and distribution tool), metaconfig (a program that writes Configure scripts), and the Warp space-war game.

… Perl, a tool that takes the Unix ideas of flexibility and portability further than almost any program before it.

Larry Wall has always promoted keeping his implementations free for all to study, enhance, and build on, without restrictions, and the freedom for all to benefit in whatever ways they can from his products.

In choosing the winner, we looked for a person who has made a great contribution to the progress and development of free software, through activities that accord with the spirit of free software.

Any kind of activity could be eligible—writing software, writing documentation, publishing CDs, even journalism—but whatever the activity, we wanted to recognize long-term central contributions to the development of the world of free software. “Accord with the spirit” means, for example, that software, manuals or collections of them (on tape or CD) must be entirely free. (That's free as in freedom; selling copies of free software for money is legitimate and would not disqualify someone from the award.) Work done commercially was eligible, but we want to give awards to individuals, not companies.

People such as Richard Stallman and Linus Torvalds, who have already received other awards for their contributions, were not eligible for the Free Software Award.

The awards committee considered nominations and decided who would receive the award. The committee's members were Peter Salus (Chairman), Scott Christley, Rich Morin, Adam Richter, Richard Stallman, and Vernor Vinge.

Tudor Hulubei has submitted the following pictures taken at the event: