European SFS Award 2023

Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and Linux User Group Bozen-Bolzano-Bulsan assign the “European SFS Award”

Winner Frank Karlitschek
European SFS Award 2023, Frank Karlitschek

The award is given to a person who contributed to the introduction of the culture of Free Software.

The European SFS Award 2023 was delivered to Frank Karlitschek.

Laudatio SFS Award 2023
Matthias Kirschner (Free Software Foundation Europe – FSFE) and Raphael Barbieri (LUG BZ – Linux User Group Bozen-Bolzano-Bulsan) 

Raphael: It’s an honor for me (on behalf of the Board of Linux User Group Bozen-Bolzano-Bulsan) to present the first European SFS Award, continuing a  twenty year old tradition, since the first SFS Award was assigned in 2004 to Hugo Leiter, for introducing  Libre Office in all municipalities of South Tyrol. Traditionally the AWARD has always been given to  someone who greatly contributed to the culture of Free Software in South Tyrol, and this tradition will continue, but as SFSCON this year we extended the narrative  to the essential European level. LUGBZ, promoting digital sustainability in South Tyrol,  joined forces with an important European association active in the sphere of Free Software, namely the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE). Let me introduce the president: Matthias Kirschner.

Matthias: Thank you Raphael! As the FSFE we have now participated many years at the SFSCON, and saw how the LUGBZ was awarding great Free Software contributors from Italy – so we were happy when we have been approached to join forces and award European Free Software contributors together with the LUGBZ.

Raphael: As in previous years, we received many nominations for potential winners. It was not easy for us to choose a winner, since many of the suggested candidates made enormous contribution to Free Software.

Matthias: The deciding factor for us this year was to choose a European who lives the values of software freedom, a person who has dedicated decades of work to software freedom and brought it to the next level, a true visionary and pioneer of software freedom.

Raphael: In 2001, over two decades ago, he started, later, as well as to improve Free Software, and supported many initiatives in our field, including serving as Vice President of KDE e.V. In 2010 at Akademy he laid the foundations for a platform that enabled millions of people to store their data securely and self-determined on servers. He promoted Open Standards, and inspired people to join the movement for software freedom.
With the development of a remote collaboration tool for teams, which is developed under the freedom protecting GNU AGPL license, he followed his ideals and his strong believe that users should have the rights to use, understand, share, and improve their software – and created a comprehensive, user-friendly and secure collaboration platform.

Matthias: His tireless commitment to software freedom has resulted in a Free Software product which some of the biggest technology companies around the world fear as a competitor.
Even in situations in which he could have personally or with his company benefited financially, he decided to follow his principles and ensure that there is a fair level playing field for others in our community as well.

Raphael: He is not only a gifted technologist, but also a champion of the idea of digital freedom as a universal right. With his work he lives the ideals of transparency, privacy, and individual control over digital information, but he also laid the foundation for a diverse and engaged community.

Matthias: His dedication, his vision, and his strong principles enriched and inspired many in our community. We are deeply grateful for his contributions and look forward to a future — he helps shape.

For these reasons, we hereby award Frank Karlitschek, the founder of Nextcloud, the European SFS Award 2023.