Open Source Awards Charter
- Purpose Of The Open Source Awards.
- Who Issues The Awards?
- What The Awards Are.
- Who Is Eligible.
Purpose of the Open Source Awards
The purpose of the OSAs is to reward and encourage excellence in
open-source software. To reward and encourage volunteer contributions
to the net and the "hacker culture" in its broadest sense, including
the Internet and Usenet and all places elsewhere that our traditions
of voluntary code- and information-sharing, creativity, and
cooperative individualism reach.
Open-source projects and good works done for the Internet ought to
be rewarded. While the Internet culture of the past has been generally
good at recognizing talent and hard work and rewarding it with
prestige in the community, the close-knit community awareness that
sustained this implicit reward structure needs to be supplemented with
more formal and explicit mechanisms as the community's population
The precedents for the Open Source Awards are the Nobel Prizes in
science, the Fields Medal in mathematics and the Hugo Awards of SF
fandom. The Nobel and Fields prizes offer a model for appropriate
ritual and reward in fields not too distantly related to open source.
The Hugo tradition offers many procedural tips and half-explicit
guidelines useful for organizing an award that rewards excellence,
affirms the community feeling of its constituency, and manages not to
The Open Source Awards will be issued through the Open Source
Initiative, a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation. OSI has recruited a
Collegium composed of eminent members of the open-source and Internet
cultures, who will hand out the awards based on recommendations
received from the Internet at large.
The Collegium shall consist of Electors and Legates. Electors,
who will vote awards, must be people who write code. Legates may be
drawn from among allies of the community and sponsoring organizations;
they will not vote awards, but may speak on the record at meetings,
place award candidates in nomination, and vote on other business.
Legate status may be granted to an individual person or a specified
organization's designated representative.
There will be three different classes of awards:
Merit awards for work on specific open-source or
network-service projects. These will consist of a bronze medal,
a certificate, and an award of $500.
Grand Master awards made to persons with an outstanding
record of contributions to the open-source and Internet cultures.
Ideal candidates will have a record not only of technical excellence
but of community leadership and service. The award will consist of a
gold medal, an award of $10,000 and an entailed invitation to
serve as a Elector on the Awards Committee.
Special awards made at the Committee's discretion. These
will consist of a silver medal and a $1,500 cash award. The special
awards will offer a way to experiment, and will be expected to
occasionally lead to the development of new "regular" categories to go
with the Merit and Grand Master awards.
Award medallions shall have an obverse consisting of an Open Source
logo surrounded by a laurel wreath, and have the reverse engraved with
the recipent's name, the category of award, and the date likewise
surrounded by a laurel wreath. The ribbon will be red, white, and
All awards will include a certificate suitable for framing and a
lapel pin in the form of an OSI logo, suitable for wear at
professional conferences and backyard beer bashes, and be recorded on
the OSI website.
Rewards will typically go to individuals, but may occasionally
at the Collegium's discretion be presented to a project group
as a whole.
To be eligible for a Merit award, the candidate(s) must
be responsible for a program or information resource that is:
- Available under a license conforming to the Open Source
- Deserving of recognition for utility, technical elegance,
and/or sheer hack value.
- All other criteria being equal, programs that tend to promote the
use of open source to a wider audience will be favored.
Grand Master Awards
To be eligible for a Grand Master award, the candidate(s) must have
made an outstanding contribution to the open-source culture in either
of these ways:
- Unique and exceptional technical innovation that opened up
possibilities still resonant within the culture,
- A long-standing record of service to the hacker culture and/or
the net as an organizer, role-model, doer of the utterly necessary
but unexciting, and/or tribal elder.
Ideal candidates will combine both modes of contribution.
Where Merit and Special awards are intended to confer recognition,
the Grand Master awards are intended to confirm a reputation already
well-earned. Every Grand Master awardee should be someone of whom the
knowledgeable will say "Well, of course!"
Special Awards may occasionally be conferred at the Awards
Committee's discretion in cognizance of the charter purposes of the
Open Source Awards, as a way of recognizing praiseworthy projects or
conduct not covered by the existing regular categories and
experimenting with new categories.
Timing of Awards and Annual Meeting
From one to three Merit Awards will be given out at or near the end
of each quarter.
The Collegium will host an annual ceremony, open to the public,
preceded by a business meeting. At that ceremony it will present
Grand Master and Special awards for the previous year.
A quorum of the Electors shall consist of a minimum of five. If
the quorum is even-numbered, the Chair shall break ties.
Eric S. Raymond <[email protected]>