By APCNews MEXICO CITY, Mexico, 25 August 2006
A new prize, the APC Chris Nicol FOSS Prize, will be launched on Friday in Mexico City. The biennial $4,000 USD prize will be awarded to a person or group doing extraordinary work to make it easy for ordinary computer users to start using free and open source software (FOSS).
There IS a cost to free and open source software
Nowadays, more and more free software applications are being developed and many of them are achieving standards of usability that not only meet the standards of proprietary software, but in some cases exceed them.
But FOSS is not a magical ‘no cost’ alternative to costly software. A lot of effort is still needed if everyday users in community and civil society organisations are to start using FOSS en masse. There is a real need for good software manuals, technical support, training and open critique and assessment of FOSS, as well as for ongoing software development.
"For most ordinary people, free and open source software is still difficult to use, because they just don’t have information about the software available or how to use it or they don’t have access to decent, ongoing technical support or training," said prize coordinator, Karel Novotny. "And that is why APC has launched this new prize, to recognise the initiatives that are filling these significant gaps."
FOSS values: Sharing, openness, collaboration, helping each other
Chris Nicol, a member of the APC community from the late 1990s until his untimely death on 29 August 2005, believed that computers and the internet should be used for making the world a better place.
Chris spent his last years encouraging and assisting people to make the transition to using FOSS. He felt the software was more secure than commerical products
the frequent target of malicious computer viruses, a crucial factor for the human rights groups he often worked with, plus it is affordable. However he wanted community activists and campaigners to adopt free and open source software because of the values that drive much FOSS development – sharing, openness, collaboration, helping each other.
"What you get from working with other people [on FOSS development] is extremely rewarding," he said in February 2002. "You get a way of collaborating with others, you get a human warmth that doesn’t exist in other areas, a sharing of skills and a lot of help from others."
A new prize: The APC Chris Nicol FOSS Prize to award initiatives that help people use FOSS
In his honour and memory APC is launching the APC Chris Nicol FOSS Prize. The biennial $4.000 USD prize will commemorate his life and work. The 2007 prize will be launched in Mexico City on August 25 2006.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
APC Strategic Use and Capacity Building Programme/APC Chris Nicol FOSS prize coordinator
Kourimska 18, Prague, Czech Republic
Tel: +420 6052-43246
APC Chris Nicol FOSS Prize websites in English and Spanish:
The Association for Progressive Communications is an international network of civil society organisations dedicated to empowering and supporting groups and individuals through the strategic use of information and communication technologies, especially internet-technologies founded in 1990.