APC Chris Nicol FLOSS Prize

Chris Nicol. Photo: APCChris Nicol. Photo: APC

The APC Chris Nicol FLOSS Prize recognises initiatives that are making it easy for people to start using free/libre and open source software (FLOSS). The prize is awarded to a person or group doing extraordinary work to make FLOSS accessible to ordinary computer users. The APC FLOSS Prize was established to honour Chris Nicol, a long time FLOSS advocate and activist who for many years worked with APC.

Note: The deadline for nominations has been extended to Thursday, 8 May 2014!

Nominations closed!

Prize in 2014

The APC Chris Nicol FLOSS Prize recognises initiatives that are making it easy for people to use free/libre and open source software, leading to a significant uptake of FLOSS, or that are advancing social change and development projects using FLOSS. The prize will be awarded to a person or group doing extraordinary work to make FLOSS highly accessible or applicable.

Some ways of “making FLOSS accessible or applicable” include, but are not limited to:

  • Making existing, difficult-to-use software more user friendly
  • Producing a manual or instructions that makes it easy to start using a piece of software
  • Organised training for particular groups of people who otherwise would not be using FLOSS
  • Writing extensively about FLOSS encouraging uptake in a particular audience
  • Powering a campaign with FLOSS
  • Conducting research using FLOSS.

As a result of these efforts, the award-winning initiative will have significantly increased the number of people using FLOSS in their everyday interaction with ICTs.

The prize is open to any person or group anywhere in the world who supports or promotes user-oriented free/libre and open source software. The nomination form must be completed in either English or Spanish; however, there are no language restrictions regarding the language of the project. The form allows for submissions in virtually any multimedia format. Small-scale activities are encouraged to apply.

Please read more about eligibility in the section below: Prize criteria.

The prize

The 2014 APC Chris Nicol FLOSS Prize consists of two prizes that are awarded in parallel:
  1. Public global APC Chris Nicol FLOSS Prize for public recognition of innovative initiatives. USD 4,000.
  2. APC Member FLOSS Prize for an individual or organisation within the APC membership. USD 1,500.

In addition to these two prizes, the APC programme or management systems team that has made the greatest strides in adopting FLOSS will be awarded a prize in the form of hardware.

Nominations and review process

Eligible applicants will be able to send their entries in any format, such as a narrative description, story, video or images. The application and review process will be identical for both global and member awards. The project with the highest evaluation will be awarded the global prize. Except in the case where the winning project belongs to an APC member, the member prize will be awarded to the project with the highest evaluation belonging to an APC member.

The deadline for prize nominations for this year is 8 May 2014 at midnight UTC. Nominations can be submitted via an online form that allows you to send your submission.

Ceremony

A ceremony celebrating the APC Chris Nicol FLOSS Prize 2014 winners will be held during the APC Tri-annual Member Meeting in Barcelona on 5 June at 6:00 pm local time.

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About the prize: Why an APC FLOSS prize?

The free/libre and open source software (FLOSS) movement has transformed software development and underlies much of the technological assets that are now available to users and developers. FLOSS applications are available not only for server administrators and ISPs but also for everyday users, many of whom cannot afford to pay for expensive proprietary software products.

But FLOSS is not just about lower-cost alternatives. FLOSS also represents choice, empowerment and interoperability in a sector characterised by monopoly and limited cultural and linguistic diversity.

FLOSS developers value peer innovation and production, knowledge sharing, trust and solidarity. They have produced a model of collaboration that has been admired and adopted in other industries. The collaborative, user-driven model of FLOSS development is also sustainable and has given rise to new and viable business models– software projects are motivated by an interest in working together to create innovative solutions– and in many notable cases has produced important alternatives to proprietary tools (e.g. LibreOffice).

Finally, in the era of government-sponsored and corporate-assisted mass scale eavesdropping, FLOSS applications and the community model of their development, provision and support are becoming the only alternatives for users to be in control of their knowledge and secrets.

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About Chris Nicol

Chris Nicol, an Australian educator and activist who made Barcelona his home in the early 1980s, was a member of the APC community from the mid-1990s until his untimely death on 29 August 2005. Chris believed that computers and the internet should be used for making the world a better place and that FLOSS was a way in which the communications for social change movement could integrate sustainable and alternative choices in its use and development of tools and technology.

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Prize criteria

Eligibility criteria

  • Candidates support or promote user-oriented free/libre and open source software.
  • Organisations, groups or individuals from any part of the world are eligible.
  • Candidates can not be government agencies, nor part of the UN or other large intergovernmental bodies.
  • Applications must be submitted in English or Spanish, but note there are no language restrictions regarding the language of your project.

Evaluation criteria

  • Does the initiative improve access to, knowledge of and/or usability of free/libre and open source software?
  • Is the initiative user-oriented, e.g. development is driven by community needs rather than commercial potential?
  • Is the initiative documented so that others can learn from and replicate the model?
  • Does the initiative have demonstrable impact and has it increased the number of people using FLOSS on a day-to-day basis?

Additional specification

The prize is intended to recognise user-driven innovative initiatives to improve FLOSS accessibility and promotion, or that focus on user groups who were previously not able to use ICTs because they are not "profitable" for conventional technology providers. Therefore, prizes will not be awarded to large, commercially supported projects or already-popular GNU/Linux operating system distributions.

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The jury

- Ragib Hasan
- Nnenna Nwakanma
- Wojtek Bogusz
- Pilar Saenz

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Prize finalists

To be announced on 5 June 2014.

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Prize winners in 2007

Free Geek, Portland, USA

Free Geek is a not-for-profit community organization that recycles used technology to provide computers, education, internet access and job skills training to those in need in exchange for community service. Free Geek does most of this work with volunteers. Generally, the volunteers disassemble the donated equipment and test the components, which are either recycled as electronic scrap or reused as refurbished systems. These refurbished computers are then loaded with open source software, such as GNU/Linux, OpenOffice, and other free software. Free Geek has two symbiotic volunteer programs. The "Adoption Program" wherein any individual may contribute 24 hours of volunteering at Free Geek in exchange for a free computer. Any individual who wishes to learn how to build computers can join the "Build Program". Free Geek instructors teach the Build volunteer the process of identifying hardware and assembling systems and, in exchange, the volunteer builds five computers for Free Geek and takes the sixth one home.

NepaLinux (Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya), Patan, Nepal

NepaLinux is a localised Debian and Morphix based GNU/Linux distribution in Nepali. So far two different versions of NepaLinux 1.0 and 1.1 have been released, respectively in December 2005 and October 2006. NepaLinux 1.1 is a revised and a relatively bug-free version of NepaLinux 1.0. The main contribution of the project is allowing non-English speakers to use Linux and to develop on it. The second contribution of the project is creating a general awareness of using FLOSS in Nepal as opposed to using pirated and unlicensed proprietary software. The NepaLinux Team is committed to producing more user-friendly, more stable and less technical software that would meet the actual demand of the Nepali people. This way, the team hopes to provide real alternative software solutions to proprietary software, thus gradually leading Nepali society to the migration towards FLOSS applications.

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Questions about this call? Write to flossprize@apc.org.

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