Finnish Free Software activist Otto Kekäläinen and Danish hacker Ole Tange are the recipients of the 2012 Nordic Free Software Award. With the Nordic Free Software award, given out for the 6th time this year, the Swedish Association for Free Software and Free Culture (FFKP, Föreningen Fri Kultur och Programvara) honours people and projects who have made important contributions to software freedom.
This year, the awards committee decided to honour two people who have worked long and hard to promote Free Software in Finland and Denmark.
Otto Kekäläinen is a Free Software campaigner based in Tampere, Finland. As the coordinator of FSFE's Finnish country team, he leads the organisations campaigning and advocacy work in Finland. He is educating Finland's public bodies on correct practices in software procurement, and has spearheaded the Free Software community's criticism of Helsinki's city government for hesitating to adopt Free Software. As the project lead for the VALO-CD project, which publishes a collection of Free Software for Windows, he has introduced many users of this platform to programs that they can use, study, share and improve.
"Ole is director of IT-Politisk Forening, a non-governmental organisation that has succeeded in bringing Free Software to Denmark's public sector in Denmark. A long-time Free Software developer, he is most recently working on the GNU Parallel project. Ole played an important role in the fights against software patents, creating campaign ideas such as the original "Patented Webshop".
"Otto embodies a rare and precious combination of talents: Deep knowledge of technology, a passion for Free Software, and a knack for campaigning" says Karsten Gerloff, President of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE). "Energetic, patient and extremely persistent, he is really taking software freedom forward in Finland." .
"Ole's enthusiasm and commitment has been an inspiration to everyone. We are proud and eternally grateful to be able to award him this prestigious price for advancing Free Software in the Nordic countries," says Jonas Öberg, Executive Director of the Swedish Association for Free Software and Free Culture.
Previous recipients of the award include software patent campaigner Erik Josefsson (2011), Icelandic software developer Bjarni Runar Einarsson (2010), Swedish hackers Simon Josefsson and Daniel Stenberg (2009), Swedish IT strategist Mats Östling (2008) and the SkoleLinux project (2007).