Being a sucker for music myself, I recognize the value of a musical instrument for musicians. Thus, we as the Sahana team ended up presenting Richard Stallman of FSF fame with 2 flutes from Sri Lanka: The traditional wooden flute, and the snake charming flute, to well, charm Snakes ;)
Knowing RMS to be a musician himself, who prefers playing the Recorder flute (so do I, hooray!), the gifts were an instant hit. I’ve embedded a video below of a rare moment where RMS plays his new gift, the snake charming flute. Unfortunately, the only snakes around were, well, us :)
RMS demonstrated his skills at Dinner in Chinatown the next day, where he played the recorder flute in the restaurant. However, he did have stiff competition that day as a small girl at the next table had a recorder flute as well, and the restaurant was filled with flying notes. Luckily we managed to escape with minimum bruises.
I hate late blog posts. But hey, someone’s got to do them. So, the day before the FSF awards ceremony, we met up with the GeoMancers (hope I got the naming right) of Boston, M.A. We met Adam Holt, Allan Doyle and Boy Genius, Chris Scmidt, amongst others. Chris works for Metacarta, and as a lead behind Openlayers, is an important figurehead for Sahana :). As a frequent reader of his blog, I got the chance to meet the boy behind the ramblings.
The meeting went well, after we managed to track down all loitering mancers. We spent the day musing on the importance of maps, the effect of Openlayers, the need for an on the move Googlemaps solution to replace our own paper maps of Boston, and the importance of having lunch on time, with frequent jokes from the folk from the Institute of Infinitely Small Things.
Sahana meets GeoMancers of Boston
Finally, the cat is out of the bag. Sahana, the FOSS Disaster management system, received the biggest recognition that the Free Software Foundation provides to projects: The FSF award for social benefit . This, amazingly is the only other award given by the FSF, the other being the award for Advancement of Free Software, whose recipient was Ted Ts’o this year.
The awards ceremony was held at the annual FSF general meeting at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Boston, U.S.A on the 24th of March 2007. 4 members of the Sahana team, namely Pradeeper Dharmendra, Chamindra de Silva, Ravindra de Silva and yours truly: Mifan Careem, attended the AGM/Ceremony to receive the award.
This is undoubtedly the biggest award the Sahana project has received in recent years. According to Richard Stallman, founder of the FSF, the FSF award for Social benefit is given to projects that make best use of Free Software, and provides benefits to society as a whole. The fact that this award was inspired by the Sahana project 2 years ago, adds more value to it. Whilst presenting the award, Richard Stallman said “We were inspired to create this award when we heard of the tremendous good the Sahana project was able to achieve through the use of free software. With this award we give recognition to their efforts”.Thus, Sahana received the FSF award for social benefit for 2006. The 2005 FSF award was given to Wikipedia, which speaks volumes itself. Every year, three finalists are nominated for the award by the free software community. This year’s other two finalists were Project Gutenberg and the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC).
This award belongs to the Sahana community as a whole, not just the development team. Thank you all for the support, the criticism and the motivation.
Now its time for the party hats, and possibly a party as well? :)