The 2012 Award for the Advancement of Free Software was presented to Dr Fernando Perez, creator of IPython at a ceremony held during the LibrePlanet 2013 conference.
Established in 1998, this award from the Free Software Foundation (FSF) is given annually to an individual who has made a great contribution to the progress and development of free software, through activities that accord with the spirit of free software. Previous winners include Larry Wall, creator of Perl; Guido van Rossum, creator of Python, and Yukihiro Matsumoto, creator of Ruby.
The winner of this award is selected by a committee made up of previous winners and FSF president Richard Stallman, from nominations made by the Free Software community of projects.
Dr. Perez (on the left in the photo) was present at Libre Planet held March 23-24 at Harvard University, to accept the award from Richard Stallman (on the right) and said:
"IPython is a project that began its life as sort of a hybrid of an interactive python console and a unix shell, but it has grown into a set of components for scientific computing from interactive exploration to parallel computing, publication and education. Today, its scope goes beyond scientific research to anyone who needs interactive computing, not only in the Python language, as our current architecture aims to be language agnostic."
He dedicated the award to the late John D. Hunter, creator of matplotlib, who passed away unexpectedly last year.
One of Dr. Perez's nominators had said:
"...Versatile, efficient and free, IPython is used by thousands of developers, researchers and students around the globe on their personal PCs, clusters and servers. In addition to technical excellence, Fernando's skill as a leader has attracted a large and growing group of contributors to IPython. The community maintains a welcoming atmosphere and forms a key part of the larger scientific Python community, with strong links to projects such as numpy, matplotlib, sympy and scipy."
Richard Stallman also presented the Award for Projects of Social Benefit, an award that focuses on the use of free software in the service of humanity, to Michael Downey and Hamish Fraser representinh president of GNU Solidario for OpenMRS, a free software medical record system for developing countries.
One of the nominationa for OpenMRS read:
"OpenMRS is more than a electronic medical record system platform. It is a community of medical professionals, software engineers, and healthcare workers that dedicate their time and skills to help improve the lives of people in the world’s poorest nations."
Commenting on the award, OpenMRS president and project leader Paul Biondich said:
"Receiving this award is a humbling recognition of the hard work and passion of countless volunteers over the last decade. We’re extremely grateful to the Free Software Foundation for recognizing the important and valuable work of our community, and hope that our efforts might serve as an example of how free software can be a disruptive innovation that improves and saves lives."