The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) receives this year's Theodor Heuss Medal for its extraordinary work for equitable participation in the information society. Since 2001 FSFE has been committed to the freedom to use, investigate, modify and redistribute software in all parts of society and politics. Theodor Heuss Foundation states: "FSFE as a forward thinking organisation contributes to the development and establishment of rules for good global governance."
"Free Software is an indispensable component of a free society in the digital age. It ensures equal access to the information society for everyone, " says Karsten Gerloff, President of FSFE, commenting on the award.
"A small group of people who were ahead of their time founded Free Software Foundation Europe in November 2000. They have worked for that success tirelessly and with great personal commitment," Gerloff emphasises. "Special credit is due to the initiator of FSFE, Georg Greve and co-founder Bernhard Reiter. Georg Greve took on substantial personal risk to get the organisation off the ground, and until 2009 presided over its growth. For many years, Bernhard Reiter built up the German team to become one of the strongest groups for Free Software in Europe."
"We founded the Free Software Foundation Europe to serve as an independent organisation, fighting for the freedom of society in the digital age. Our work is both about freedom from surveillance and monitoring as well as about freedom for personal initiative in all its forms," Georg Greve explains. "From the very beginning, the organisation has taken a long-term view, distributing its work for sustainable change across many shoulders."
"From the start, we designed the organisation to work independently of any specific person," adds Bernhard Reiter. "We wanted FSFE to accompany the changes in society for the coming decades. Today FSFE is supported and protected by many dedicated people."
Matthias Kirschner, Germany Coordinator of FSFE, comments: "The Medal goes to all those who have been contributing to FSFE's success over the years with their considerable initiative and personal commitment. But there is still much more to do in a world where software is everywhere. Our work is reaching more and more people, from the United Nations to our towns and villages. For this, we need broad support. Contributors are always welcome!
The Theodor Heuss Stiftung is above party lines and carries the name of Germany's first president (term in office 1949 - 59). After his death the foundation was founded by Hildegard Hamm-Brücher, his son Ernst Ludwig Heuss, and some friends, to remind of the political achievements of Theodor Heuss as an example for social commitment, moral courage and the dedication to foster democracy. The foundation seeks "to bring attention to something, which has to be done and shaped in our democracy, without being finished" (Carl Friedrich v. Weizsäcker, 1965). The Theodor Heuss prize is given annually to persons of high standing and organisations, which are groundbreaking in this respect.