Austin, TX - March 12, 1998 - The ceremony for the Seventh Annual Pioneer Awards will take place this evening at the eighth annual Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference, which is taking place on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday this week in Austin, Texas. Three individuals have been named recipients of this year's award; they are Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman, and Barbara Simons.
Torvalds was named a recipient of one of this year's Pioneer Awards for his development of the Linux kernel, which became the kernel for the Linux operating system, a public-domain Unix workalike. Stallman is receiving an award for founding the GNU Project in 1984, and for his work in developing that project, the goal of which has been to create a complete "free" version of Unix. It is Torvalds's kernel plus Stallman's GNU project that has given rise to Linux, a multiple-platform Unix-like operating system that is the one of the only serious public-domain alternatives to commercial operating systems such as Unix and Windows NT. A detailed account of Torvalds's and Stallman's respective roles in developing to the Linux operating system can be found in the August 1997 issue of Wired magazine.
Barbara Simons is receiving a Pioneer Award for her leadership in technology-policy issues. Simons founded and chairs Association for Computing Machinery's U.S. Technology Policy Committee (USACM), which deals with these issues. She was ACM secretary from 1990 to 1992, prior to which she chaired the ACM Committee on Scientific Freedom and Human Rights. She has served as Project Advisor to the Project on Funding Policy in Computer Science, which she founded; she co-founded the U.C. Berkeley Computer Science Department Reentry Program for Women and Minorities. She also has testified before both the U.S. and the California legislatures and at government-sponsored hearings on cryptography, medical privacy, authentication for access to on-line records, and intellectual property on the Internet.
The Pioneer Awards were started in 1991 in order to recognize individuals who have made significant and influential contributions to the development of computer-based communications or to the empowerment of individuals in using computers.
In March of 1992, the first EFF Pioneer Awards were given in Washington, D.C. The winners were: Douglas C. Engelbart, Robert Kahn, Jim Warren, Tom Jennings, and Andrzej Smereczynski. The 1993 Pioneer Award recipients were Paul Baran, Vinton Cerf, Ward Christensen, Dave Hughes and the USENET software developers, represented by the software's originators Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis. The 1994 Pioneer Award winners were Ivan Sutherland, Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman, Murray Turoff and Starr Roxanne Hiltz, Lee Felsenstein, Bill Atkinson, and the WELL. The 1995 Pioneer Award winners were Philip Zimmermann, Anita Borg, and Willis Ware. The 1996 winners were Shabbir Safdar, Matt Blaze, Peter Neumann, and Robert Metcalfe. The 1997 winners were Marc Rotenberg, Johan "Julf" Helsingius, and (special honorees) Hedy Lamarr and George Antheil.
The judges for the seventh annual EFF Pioneer Awards were: Hal Abelson, Professor of Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Karen Coyle, librarian at the University of California and president of the Berkeley chapter of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility; Bruce Koball, technical consultant and one of the organizers of the Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference; Simona Nass, founder of the Society for Electronic Access and board member of the Voters Telecommunications Watch; Peter Neumann, principal scientist at SRI International, and Mike Godwin, staff counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who coordinated the judging process.
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The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 to ensure the protection of civil liberties, such as privacy and freedom of expression, as new communications technologies emerge. Through its work with policymakers, industry organizations, communications media and the public, EFF is committed to protecting and defining civil rights and responsibilities within the realm of computing and telecommunications.