Seravo staff member Otto Kekäläinen was given the Nordic Free Software Award 2012 at FSCONS held in Göteborg on the 9th to 11th of November. The award was shared by two people. The other recipient was Ole Tange, who is the director of IT-Politisk Forening, a non-governmental organisation that has succeeded in bringing Free Software to the public sector in Denmark. A long-time Free Software developer, his most recent project has been the GNU Parallel. Ole played an important role in the fight against software patents, creating campaign ideas such as the original “Patented Webshop”.
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).
This was the first time the award was given to a Finn. Otto Kekäläinen received the award based on his accomplishments coordinating the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) local team in Finland, which has campaigned for goals such as the adoption of LibreOffice in Finland. The award is also in recognition of the VALO-CD project, which Otto started in 2008, and which has already received the Finnish Linux Users Group’s Linux deed of the year award in 2010.
“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.”
Otto presented some of the free and open source software advocacy work done in Finland during his two talks at FSCONS: one about the Helsinki, Tampere and Turku city council initiatives about increased LibreOffice use and the other about illegal software procurement in Finland that prevents free competition and artificially prolongs the use of closed source software.