Berlin 28. April 2010. Georg Greve, founding president of the Free Software Foundation Europe, has received the Cross of Merit on ribbon of the Federal Republic of Germany (Verdienstkreuz am Bande). Georg received this high award from the German President for his work on Free Software and Open Standards.
"FSFE is very proud to have a 'knight' among its team," says FSFE's president Karsten Gerloff. "Georg's tremendous dedication to freedom in technology has been a driving force for Free Software in Europe and around the world. He has put Free Software on the political agenda, and has created the structures to harness the community's energy towards our common goals. His hard work over more than a decade has brought enormous progress for Free Software."
With FSFE, Georg worked hard to create the understanding of Free Software as a cultural technique. He gave Free Software a voice at the United Nations, including the "World Intellectual Property Organization" (WIPO) and the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). With FSFE's Freedom Task Force, he was the architect for a centre of expertise on legal aspects of Free Software, and drove the concept of legal maintainability for Free Software projects. He initiated the community resistance against Microsoft's OOXML format, and worked on some of the first EU-funded projects for Free Software. Under Georg's leadership, FSFE was also a key player in averting the threat of software patents in Europe.
"I'm deeply grateful for the official recognition that Free Software and Open Standards receive with this award", says Georg Greve. "Around 2000, I decided to dedicate myself fully to this cause out of a sense of necessity: I felt that I had glimpsed how software shapes our society. But I also saw that society had not yet understood how much it is shaped by software. It is my hope that this award will help to make people aware of these questions, and bring support for the work of FSFE, which is more important than ever."
Born on 10 March 1973 on the German island of Heligoland, Georg Greve has a classic scientific background as a physicist. He gained his interdisciplinary diploma in the field of nanotechnology at the computer science faculty of the University of Hamburg.
He has been developing software since he was 12 years old. Besides a first publication of a program in a professional journal in 1991, coding partly paid for his studies when he managed the software development to evaluate SQUID-sensor data in the biomagnetometic laboratory in the University hospital of Eppendorf (UKE) in Hamburg, Germany.
In 1993 he came in contact with Free Software and GNU/Linux. In 1998, Georg Greve became the European speaker for the GNU project. At this time, he also started writing the "Brave GNU World," a monthly column on Free Software published in the German Linux-Magazin and other magazines worldwide, as well as online in up to 10 languages.
In early 2001, together with a group of dedicated people he initiated the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), the first Free Software Foundation outside the United States of America and the largest transnational Free Software Foundation so far. Building and coordinating FSFE as a European non-governmental organisation was the focus of his work for most of the past decade.
Having led FSFE for eight years, Georg Greve is now CEO of Kolab Systems, a Free Software business providing services around the Kolab Groupware Solution. He continues to be active amongst FSFE members and European core team. Happily married, he lives with his wife Ava in Küsnacht near Zürich.
(See also Georg Greve's profile on FSFE's website, a detailed interview with him, and his personal statement about having been decorated with the Cross of Merit.)