Ken Starks put another well deserved feather in his cap on Saturday when he accepted an award for Reglue from the Free Software Foundation (FSF) at the LibrePlanet conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Reglue was announced as this year’s winner of the Project of Social Benefit Award by FSF executive director John Sullivan, who also announced that Sébastien Jodogne had won this year’s award for Advancement of Free Software. The event took place on the MIT campus.
For those of you who are new to the FOSS community, Ken Starks founded the nonprofit Reglue, then known as the HeliOS Project, in 2005 to put refurbished computers in the hands of school aged children whose families couldn’t otherwise afford them. In the ten years since its inception, Reglue has placed over 1,100 computers with children living in the Austin, Texas area, and has been both a model and inspiration for other organizations with similar goals across the country.
Starks told the FSF: “A child’s exposure to technology should never be predicated on the ability to afford it. Few things will eclipse the achievements wrought as a direct result of placing technology into the hands of tomorrow.”
In addition to receiving the award for Reglue, Starks was also a speaker at this year’s LibrePlanet, no small feat considering that he had his larynx removed in January of this year, which left him totally mute. He “spoke” by means of text-to-speech software.
Starks is also a columnist for FOSS Force; his column appears every Tuesday morning.
Sébastien Jodogne was given his award for his work on the project Orthanc, which is working to bring free software to medical imaging and eliminating vendor lock in.
Said Jodogne: “Technology and humanism are often opposed. This is especially true in the healthcare sector, where many people fear that technological progress will dehumanize the treatments and will reduce the patients to statistical objects. I am convinced that the continuous rising of free software is a huge opportunity for the patients to regain control of their personal health, as well as for the hospitals to provide more competitive, personalized treatments by improving the interoperability between medical devices.”
LibrePlanet is an annual conference for free software enthusiasts.