Tuesday 22 July 2008 by Bradley M. Kuhn
About two hours ago, Harald Welte received the 2008 Open Source Award entitled the Defender of Rights. (Open Source awards are renamed for each individual who receives them.) This award comes on the heels of the FSF Award for the Advancement of Free Software in March. I am glad that GPL enforcement work is now receiving the recognition it deserves.
When I started doing GPL enforcement work in 1999, and even when, two years later, it became a major center of my work (as it remains today), the violations space was a very lonely place to work. During that early period, I and my team at FSF were the only people actively enforcing the GPL on behalf of the Software Freedom Movement. When Harald started gpl-violations.org in 2004, it was a relief to finally see someone else taking GPL violations as seriously as I and my colleagues at the FSF had been for so many years.
Of course, it was no surprise when Harald received the FSF award earlier this year. This Open Source Award now shows a broader recognition. In fact, I hope that this award is a harbinger to indicate that the larger FLOSS world has realized the tremendous value in consistent and serious GPL enforcement that some of us have done for so long. The copyleft is meaningless if it is not defended against those who ignore it, and I am glad that more of the FLOSS world has begun to see that.
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