SFS Award 2016

Winner Patrick Ohnewein

This year SFS award goes to someone who has dedicated many, many years of their life to the adoption of Free Software in South Tyrol. While not only dedicating many years of their life, the winner has done this with a fierce passion and relentless dedication, that is rarely seen, and with a passion that can only be admired.
A long time ago he worked as a Java Programmer. Until it went Free Software, and that is when he stopped using it. He had an interesting project idea called Tini, which is init spelled backward and was supposed to replace the Unix System V init system. Unfortunately, it never worked which is why today we are stuck with the system…
He also had a nickname back in the day, and was affectionately known as “Pazzo”. The CoCos project was the first along a long road of many projects that were to follow.
Projects involved with the University of Bolzano to much larger EU projects have been positively influenced by his drive, to spread Free Software. Karsten Gerloff of the Free Software Foundation Europe, had the following to say about him:”His contribution to Free Software and the FSFE has been very important. He recognized earlier than most others the power of Free Software to help people, companies and entire regions to grow and thrive.
Not only does he fully understand the idea and ideals of Free Software, he also knows better than most how to translate them into successful projects. Not many people can bring community and business together the way he does, and I’m proud to serve alongside him in FSFE’S General Assembly.”
Christian Peer from Peer Internet solutions had the following to say:“He is a very important part of South Tyrolean branding when it comes to Free Software. His competences in technology combined with a vision is an extremely rare combination that gets applied with professionalism on all levels. At the same time, he has the ability to explain facts in an easy to understand manner, inspire people and create cooperation. In over 15 years he has used all his energy and devotion in many different roles in the Free Software community.”
And lastly, the current President of the Free Software Foundation Europe, Matthias Kirschner had this to say:“He is one of the key personalities of the Free Software movement. He has a deep understanding of the economics of Free Software and is a person you want to have around you, so you can learn from him. What’s most important for me, he is a doer! He is tirelessly working to find pragmatic ways to empower users to control technology. He is hacking our society and economy to boost software freedom, and the Free Software Foundation Europe is proud to have him with us.”
The winner this year is someone I also consider a mentor and good friend. Almost ten years ago he introduced me to the Free Software Community in South Tyrol, where I have made a lot of friends and have never looked back.
As all of you know, this award is presented by the LUGBZ. As a general rule, the award cannot go to someone who is on the board of directors.
This year’s winner should have been presented with the award years ago, but it was very difficult getting him to resign from the board of directors, until this year!
So without any more delays, this very, very overdue award, goes to…,

Patrick Ohnewein!