Open Source Awards Accepting Nominations

Is open source software a part of your daily computing life? Now is your chance to sound off about it. Sourceforge.net, an online community that hosts open source projects, is accepting nominations for its annual Community Choice awards.

Make no mistake; these awards are more than the usual self-congratulatory love-fest. Buried among such predictable categories as "Best Project for the Enterprise" and "Most Likely to Be the Next $1B Acquisition" are some interesting categories that are designed to highlight some of the unique issues and challenges faced by open source developers.

Take, for example, "Most Likely to Be Ambiguously Accused of Patent Violation." This one calls attention to the perennial problem of so-called submarine patents, where software developers run afoul of patents that were awarded to speculators years earlier. Another category, "Most Likely to Get Users Sued," points out that not even customers are safe from intellectual property disputes.

Patent and copyright reform remains one of the top issues for open source developers, who generally do not patent their own software and who lack the protection afforded by the teams of lawyers employed by large software companies.

Not everything about SourceForge's Community Choice Awards is so downbeat, however. It's also a great opportunity to call attention to the open source software that helps you get your work done on a day-to-day basis. Last year's winners included the 7-Zip compression utility; Audacity, a free sound recording and editing utility; the eMule peer-to-peer file sharing client; and Firebird, a free relational database management system.

Click on over and nominate your favorite projects for this year's awards. You have to be a registered SourceForge user to participate, and the winners will be announced during the week of OSCON in July.

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