APC Chris Nicol FOSS Prize
The APC Chris Nicol FOSS Prize recognises initiatives that are making it easy for people to start using free and open source software (FOSS). The prize is awarded to a person or group doing extraordinary work to make FOSS accessible to ordinary computer users. The APC FOSS Prize was established to honor Chris Nicol, a long time FOSS advocate and activist who for many years worked with APC.
Prize in 2014
The APC Chris Nicol FOSS Prize recognises initiatives that are making it easy for people to use free and open source software, leading to a significant uptake of FOSS, or that are advancing social change and development projects using FOSS. The prize will be awarded to a person or group doing extraordinary work to make FOSS highly accessible or applicable.
Some ways of “making FOSS 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 FOSS
- Writing extensively about FOSS encouraging uptake in a particular audience
- Powering a campaign with FOSS
- Conducting research using FOSS.
As a result of these efforts, the award-winning initiative will have significantly increased the number of people using FOSS 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 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 prizeThe 2014 APC Chris Nicol FOSS Prize consists of three prizes that are awarded in parallel:
- Public global APC Chris Nicol FOSS Prize for public recognition of innovataive initiatives. USD 4,000.
- APC Member FOSS Prize ifor an individual or organisation within the APC membership. USD 1,500.
- APC team FOSS prize to to the APC programme or management systems team that has made the greatest strides in adopting FOSS. The prize will be in the form of hardware.
Nominations and review process
Eligible applicants will be able to send their entries in any format such as a 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 31 March 2014 at midnight UTC. Nominations can be submitted via an online form that allows you to save your submission.
A ceremony celebrating the APC Chris Nicol FOSS Prize 2014 winners will be held during the APC Tri-annual member meeting in Barcelona on 5 June at 6 pm local time.
About the prize: Why an APC FOSS prize?
The free and open source software (FOSS) movement has transformed software development and underlies much of the technological assets that are now available to users and developers. FOSS 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 FOSS is not just about lower-cost alternatives. FOSS also represents choice, empowerment and interoperability in a sector characterised by monopoly and limited cultural and linguistic diversity.
FOSS 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 FOSS 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 notable cases has produced important alternatives to proprietary tools (e.g. LibreOffice).Back to top
About Chris Nicol
Chris Nicol, an Australian educator and activist that 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 FOSS 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.Back to top
- Candidates support or promote user-oriented free and open source software.
- Organisations, groups or individuals from any part of the world.
- Candidates can not be government agencies, nor part of the UN.
- Applications must be submitted in English or Spanish. Note there are no language restrictions regarding the language of your project.
- Does the initiative improve the access to, knowledge of and/or usability of free 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 have increased the number of people using FOSS on a day-to-day basis?
The prize is intended to recognise user-driven innovative initiatives to improve FOSS accessibility and promotion, or that focuses 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.Back to top
The juryBack to top
Prize finalistsBack to top
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, Open Office, 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 FOSS in Nepal as opposed to using pirated and unlicensed proprietary software. The NepaLinux Team is committed towards producing a 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 the Nepali society to the migration towards FOSS applications.Back to top