Awards As Far As The Eye Can See

There are awards, and then there are awards. The Oscars may hold audiences captive for a night, but the Nobel Prize is an award forever. The Open Source community has its share of awards as well, and award season would appear to be upon us, as two of the largest have opened nominations.

The O'Reilly Open Source Conference — convening for the first time in its new home in the Bay Area — will be home not just to one of the über-awards, but to both O'Reilly's own Google-O'Reilly Open Source Awards and the Community Choice Awards.

The former, now in its fifth year, recognizes the contributions of individuals to the Open Source community, offering awards that have included: Best FUD Fighter to Pamela "PJ" Jones of Groklaw fame, Best Communicator to Linux Journal's own Doc Searls, and Best Outstanding Lifetime Contributions to Paul Vixie of more things than can be mentioned, among many others. This year's nominations opened April 22, and will continue through May 22 — the award ceremony is scheduled for July 21, the second day of OSCON.

A committee, including everyone from O'Reilly Media founder Tim O'Reilly to previous winners Pamela Jones and Paul Vixie, chooses five winners from the nominations, with absolutely no idea on anyone's part what the winning categories will be. Anyone may nominate an individual for an award, and should do so by emailing the person's name, along with what project(s) they are involved in, a suggested name for the award, and an explanation of why the person should be chosen to by the May 22, 2009 deadline. Google and O'Reilly Media employees, as one might expect, are not eligible.

Two days after the Google-O'Reilly awards, SourceForge will take the spotlight with the Fourth Annual Community Choice Awards. Unlike the former, the SourceForge awards recognize not individuals but the best Open Source projects, in twelve established categories:

  • Best Project
  • Best Project for the Enterprise
  • Best Project for Gamers
  • Best Tool or Utility for SysAdmins
  • Best Visual Design
  • Best Tool or Utility for Developers
  • Best Commercial Open Source Project
  • Best Project for Academia
  • Best Project for Multimedia
  • Best Project for Government
  • Most Likely to Change the Way You Do Everything
  • Best New Project

Nominations for the SourceForge awards opened yesterday and will continue through May 29, with finalists being announced June 22, voting to close on July 20, and the awards ceremony taking place on the fourth night of OSCON, July 23. The rules for SourceForge nominations are a bit more explicit than for the Google-O'Reilly awards, disallowing multiple nominations or votes by the same individual and warning those who might be tempted to cheat that they will be prosecuted "to the full extent of the law" — California law, that is, pursuant to the General Conditions a couple of clauses away. Again unlike Google-O'Reilly's process, individuals may submit nominations for the SourceForge awards through the awards' website, and even have the ability to track the latest nominations there.

And, of course, that's not to forget Linux Journal's own venture into the awards arena, the annual Linux Journal Readers Choice Awards. The winners of the venerable competition appear in the June 2009 issue of Linux Journal, but readers can get the scoop on everything from Favorite Text Editor to the grand prize, Favorite Primary Linux Distribution of Choice, right here on

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