[personal profile] mjg59
I was awarded the Free Software Foundation Award for the Advancement of Free Software this weekend[1]. I'd been given some forewarning, and I spent a bunch of that time thinking about how free software had influenced my life. It turns out that it's a lot.

I spent most of the 90s growing up in an environment that was rather more interested in cattle than in computers, and had very little internet access during that time. My entire knowledge of the wider free software community came from a couple of CDs that contained a copy of the jargon file, the source code to the entire GNU project and an early copy of the m68k Linux kernel.

But that was enough. Before I'd even got to university, I knew what free software was. I'd had the opportunity to teach myself how an operating system actually worked. I'd seen the benefits of being able to modify software and share those modifications with others. I met other people with the same interests. I ended up with a job writing free software and collaborating with others on integrating it with upstream code. And, from there, I became more and more involved with a wider range of free software communities, finding an increasing number of opportunities to help make changes that benefited both me and others.

Without free software I'd have started years later. I'd have lost the opportunity to collaborate with people spread over the entire world. My first job would have looked very different, as would my entire career since then. Without free software, almost everything I've achieved in my adult life would have been impossible.

To me, free software means I've lived a significantly better life than would otherwise have been the case. But more than that, it means doing what I can to make sure that other people have the same opportunities. I am here because of the work of others. The most rewarding part of my continued involvement is the knowledge that I am part of a countless number of people working to make sure that others can tell the same story in future.

[1] I'd link to the actual press release, but it contains possibly the worst photograph of me in the entire history of the universe

Date: 2014-03-24 06:14 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Congratulations. And it's a fine photo!

Date: 2014-03-24 06:26 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Congrats!! Keep up the great work.

keep up the good work

Date: 2014-03-24 08:18 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
A fine example of work on free software! Thanks for your continuing work on free software.

congratulations

Date: 2014-03-24 09:13 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Great work! inspiring to me atleast.

Date: 2014-03-24 09:49 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
You sure deserve it Matthew, congratulations.

Lol... you do look a bit like Sheldon Cooper's emaciated and effeminate younger brother. What's the story with the shoes and shrunken trousers? I'd plead with the article writer to at least crop most of your legs out, that would make a huge difference, the rest of the photo is really not that bad. No matter how bad the photo, you're an order of magnitude more photogenic than me.

Date: 2014-03-24 10:08 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Crongratulations and thanks for your efforts!

Congratulations!

Date: 2014-03-24 11:30 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Congratulations! You deserve every bit of the award!
Thanks a million for all the wonderful work you have done

Date: 2014-03-24 11:42 am (UTC)
emperor: (Default)
From: [personal profile] emperor
Congratulations :)

Congrats

Date: 2014-03-24 02:18 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
This is a well deserved award. My interest in free software development (rather than just being a user) stems from GUADEC 2000, when I walked into the hack room in Trinity and you guided me through the code for the accessibility tool you were developing. I see from this comment list that I'm not the only person who you have personally inspired. So, thank you, and congratulations.

Re: Congrats

Date: 2014-03-24 07:15 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I'm not sure it beats being able to deal with fruit fly gonads or coining FPAV and the concept of dying in a great big chemical fire (and spawning a whole pseudo-Matthew script) but it's well deserved for a significantly smart person

Congratulations

Date: 2014-03-27 02:21 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Congratulations! You truly deserves it. Thank you very much for your open source contribution and your insightful yet humourous articles.

Date: 2014-03-27 04:14 pm (UTC)
whump: (rawk)
From: [personal profile] whump
Congratulations!

Date: 2014-03-27 10:57 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Congratulations! You really deserve it :-).

Your story is truly inspirational. I'm myself about to go to university in about 1.5 years and dreaming of having a job where I can develop free software and make it better && greater :-D.

Sincerely,
a fan.

Date: 2014-03-29 10:30 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
congratulations. well deserved.

Congratulations!

Date: 2014-03-31 09:32 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Congrats for your OSS work and the well deserved award!

Date: 2014-04-05 01:09 am (UTC)
badgerbag: (Default)
From: [personal profile] badgerbag
Congrats!!!

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Matthew Garrett

About Matthew

Power management, mobile and firmware developer on Linux. Security developer at Nebula. Member of the Linux Foundation Technical Advisory Board. Ex-biologist. @mjg59 on Twitter. Content here should not be interpreted as the opinion of my employer.

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