Torvalds Honored by Gaggle of Lawyers

Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux and hero to many Open Source users, might not be the first person one might think would be honored by an organization of lawyers, but that's exactly what's happening. The International Technology Law Association will award Torvalds its ITechLaw Achievement Award at their upcoming 40th anniversary celebration.

The International Technology Law Association (ITechLaw, for short) is an organization that represents lawyers in the technology sector. They provide a forum for discussing issues and organize conferences on emerging information technology and intellectual property law. They will be holding their annual World Technology Law Conference and Annual Meeting in San Francisco this May.

The ITechLaw Achievement Award is given to the individual who has made a significant achievement in technology and this year Linus Torvalds is that individual. Sandra A. Jeskie, president of ITechLaw, said, "As IT attorneys, we have a huge respect for what Linus Torvalds has achieved at a technical level. But, we also see the related benefits that open source development continues to bring and the way Linux has changed the way we contract for software and influenced licensing trends in general."

Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, will be accepting the award for Torvalds.

See the full press release for more details.


Susan Linton is a Linux writer and the owner of


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I was at the conference and

Rebecca's picture

I was at the conference and it was such an exciting time to see Torvalds win an award after his achievements. He has changed the way that contracts are done with software and licensing trends. He is a gem in the world of business litigation and application development.

Yes, its true.

Cindy's picture

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Anonymous's picture

Well done & congrats to Linus

Why attorneys recognized Torvalds, you all fail

Anonymous's picture

Actually, most of you are shooting from the hip and have no clue why lawyers would recognize him. Nearly 10 years ago, I was in Mexico City, and was asked for help from a lawyer in California who has become well known for pushing Linux for use by lawyers. He was supposed to get a document for a judge, and his machine locked up because of some control issue by Microsoft, the one that shuts down your machine if they think something is wrong with your license. He gives speeches to attorneys that whoever controls your machine owns all your documents, and that is is malpractice to have Microsoft programs on your legal machines. A lot of attorneys have heeded his call and no longer use MS OS.

Re: Why attorneys recognized Torvalds, you all fail

B Switzer's picture

Thank-you for that interesting perspective. I' not convinced that you're right, but you might be (I'm not qualified to say) -- you certainly raised an interesting point, and filled a gap in my knowledge.


derrickr's picture

I read this article last night and initially drafted a similar response to some of those below, irked that it seemed a little ironic that an organisation of lawyers would recognise the technology achievement as opposed to the legal achievement of the GPL. Afterall, the FSF and the GPL have been fundamental to the open source model, just as GNU has been to GNU/Linux.

However, WE (the educated FLOSSerati), all know that RMS deserves huge recognition for all of his achievements, but it seems to me that this is an award by legal people for technical achievements, not legal achievements, as per their statement:

“will honor the recipient of the inaugural ITechLaw Achievement Award, which is being given to the individual who has made a significant and demonstrable achievement in technology”

I'm sure there's been no malice or injustice meant and they're probably thinking 'what the hey', we're simply honouring an “individual who has made a significant and demonstrable achievement in technology”.

I believe they think they're doing something good for our community, and to be quite honest they are.

Our community needs all the positive good publicity it can get. Yes, we need to educate people more re FLOSS, but lets get it out there and spend our time more constructively supporting one another, in the spirit of FLOSS, and show the world why we care so much about it.

Anyway, I'm guessing that they'd rather not have to deal with the GPL at all ;)

But hats off to Linus. He does indeed deserve credit by the bucket full for his technical achievements, and I'm sure the award is both well intended and gratefully received.

Gaggle of Lawyers

Anonymous's picture

I get nervous when I hear lawyers are around, mostly because their whole ethos is about making money out of human frailty under the justification of the "law".
This is in complete opposition to the "shared lunch" approach of the Open source community.
While Torvalds is rightly due praise from us all, I am not sure about his being recognized by lawyers.

Er, what

Martin Owens's picture

This award belongs to Richard Stallman or Eben Moglen. Tovalds is your man for technology awards, community awards and even mass organisation awards. But advancing law and licensing? No. He's been a barrier to advances in licensing.


This award goes to!

OSS's picture

Richard Stallman is the man. Tells you what they know lawyers and maybe how they want to be portrayed using a symbol such as Torvald.

Is this a lawyer joke?

Col. Panek's picture

At least they didn't give it to Tux.

Torvalds? It should be RMS getting that award!

Edmundo Carmona's picture

Torvalds didn't start the shift that has ended up in the major force that FLOSS is nowadays. If there's a person who had to be awarded for his vision on licensing that brought us to FLOSS it's RMS. Perhaps Torvalds deserves the awar after all... but probably RMS deserves it even more if you ask me.

Does this have something to do with Tivo?

B Switzer's picture

Linus Torvalds not only failed to object to Tivo's end-run around the GPL, but said that Tivo, and "tivo-ization" was a GOOD thing.

After that, who'd try to make a court case out of it? GPLv3 was the inevitable "patch" to this potential legal flaw, but it's not the preferable solution.

Lawyers are happy due to

Devzero's picture

Lawyers are happy due to benefits of GPL's indeterministic
terms for what's correct/in-correct usage of GPL source
code in IP products. Unless someone clears up the confusion, and
who is this someone (Torvalds). GPL in a way lead to
evolution of Non Profit Organizations in suing Organization
and keeping Lawyers and Courts busy (Good Economic stimulation).


So great to hear our Heroes are been Recognized

Ubuntero's picture

I think Sir Linus has made much more than a significant achievement in technology, he has made one of the most important achievements in technology, and not only to technology but to economy, IT security, freedom , to name a few.
I think a Nobel Prize would be just the right way to award this amazing individual.

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