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History of the Open Source Awards

In the spring of 2003, John Graham-Cumming (author of the POPFile email filtering package) proposed the idea of an open-source awards program to David Berlind of CNET. Decision-makers at CNET became enthusiastic about the proposal; one of them, Abbey Flores, took the lead in trying to put together a program plan.

Abbey and John, having judged that CNET needed to cooperate closely with open-source insiders in order to design and run an effective program, put out a call for assistance to several community leaders. One of these was Eric S. Raymond, president of the Open Source Initiative.

Eric dusted off an awards-program proposal he had written in 1994 and suggested that it might appropriately be run as a joint project of OSI and CNET. CNET liked the proposal. After getting approval from OSI's Board of Directors, Eric designed a complete program and negotiated an agreement with CNET on behalf of OSI under which OSI, as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, would manage the Awards. The agreement was signed by both parties in May of 2003. We also entered into cooperation with O'Reilly and Associates, who offered the Open Source Conference as a venue for the annual Awards ceremony.

Subsequently Eric recruited the founding electors of the Collegium: Jeremy Allison, Larry Augustin, Jim Gettys, Keith Packard, and Guido van Rossum. Legate status was conferred on Tim O'Reilly of O'Reilly and Associates and to David Berlind of CNET.

The launch announcement for the Open Source Awards was issued on 10 July 2003 at the 2003 Open Source Convention, with initial sponsorship from ActiveState, U.S. Venture Partners. Sponsorship commitments swiftly followed from Hewlett-Packard and other industry leaders.

The goal for the Open Source Awards was and is that they develop a level of prestige, authority, and benefits for their recipients analogous to that of the Hugos, the Fields Medal, or (ultimately, once the tradition has become established and mature) even a Nobel Prize.

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