Free Software Foundation Honors Conservancy's Policy Fellow; Bradley M. Kuhn wins FSF's Award for the Advancement of Free Software for His Copyleft Advocacy & Enforcement

Software Freedom Conservancy info at
Mon Mar 22 12:09:02 UTC 2021


                  Bradley M. Kuhn wins FSF's Award for the
    Advancement of Free Software for His Copyleft Advocacy & Enforcement

Bradley M. Kuhn, Policy Fellow and Hacker-in-Residence at Software Freedom
Conservancy, on Saturday night received the Free Software Foundation's
annual award for the Advancement of Free Software. This unique FSF award is
currently the only award given for individual achievements in software
freedom activism. Bradley received this award in his very first year of

In his acceptance speech, Bradley gave advice to software freedom activists,
noting that all should follow a few simple principles: take care in the
words they choose in their communications, be prepared to "speak truth to
power" (both to powerful proprietary software companies and to other Free
Software leaders), stubbornly refuse to use or develop proprietary software,
and find ways to bolster and coordinate with other important social justice
causes, such as those that seek to ameliorate systemic bias and combat
climate change.

John Sullivan, Executive Director of the FSF, presented Bradley with this
prestigious award. After the ceremony, John noted: “Bradley earned FSF's
Award for the Advancement of Free Software for many contributions, but most
importantly, his tireless and absolutely necessary work on copyleft
education and principled, community-oriented GPL enforcement. Bradley has
done more for GPL compliance than anyone. He continues that work with
Conservancy and the 2017 winner of this award, Karen Sandler. These awards
show both FSF's appreciation for what they've already done and our support
as they continue standing up for our software freedoms.”

Bradley expressed gratitude for the hundreds of individuals who have helped
him in his lifelong activism for software freedom — thanking in particular
Larry Wall — creator of Perl and inaugural winner of this same award. In the
Perl community that Larry founded, Bradley learned the value of FOSS
collaboration and software sharing. After the award ceremony, Conservancy
hosted a virtual reception open to the public via Big Blue Button (a FOSS
alternative to Zoom and other proprietary video chat platforms). A mix of
longtime software freedom luminaries as well as newcomers joined to
congratulate Bradley, and express the positive impact he has had on the
movement and their lives personally. “My paramount goal is always to make a
real difference for the better, and it is heartwarming to know that so many
of you appreciate my work”, Bradley responded in the final toast of the
evening while choking back tears.

Bradley also acknowledged that his work in collaboration with Conservancy's
Executive Director, Karen Sandler, has allowed them “to achieve
accomplishments in Free Software that neither of [them] could achieve
working alone”. While thrilled to receive this individual honor, Bradley
views his collaboration with Karen and Conservancy's staff as an excellent
example of how software freedom activism is bigger than any single
individual's achievements or views. Bradley added: “we succeed with the best
results for the future of software freedom when we work together, set aside
personal ambition, and reject cult of personality.”

Bradley joins many winners of FSF's awards associated with Conservancy. In
addition to Karen, Deb Nicholson (who volunteered on our Project Evaluation
Committee from 2014-2020 and was employed our Director of Community
Operations from early 2018 until late 2020) won this award in
2019. Outreachy (a diversity initiative for FOSS projects and a Conservancy
member project) received FSF's Award for Project of Social Benefit in
2014. Finally, Outreachy graduate Clarissa Lima Borges, received the first
Outstanding New Free Software Contributor Award last year.

Also honored with other FSF awards on Saturday were: Alyssa Rosenzweig, a
developer who leads the important Panfrost project (receiving the
Outstanding New Free Software Contributor Award), and the CiviCRM project
(receiving the Award for Project of Social Benefit). Conservancy also
congratulates Alyssa and CiviCRM on their well-deserved awards.

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