Over 130 line up for inaugural Open Source Awards

A number of the nominations come from overseas, in particular the US, and are from people using New Zealand solutions, say organisers

Among the 130-plus nominations for the inaugural Open Source Awards are a film project, a Hurricane Katrina disaster-help website and Pharmac’s open source publishing system for the Pharmaceutical Schedule.

Catalyst IT, which is organising the awards, to be held in Wellington in October, says the event is shaping up to be bigger than expected.

“It is the first time we have run it and we had no real idea what to expect,” says Catalyst’s Don Christie. Christie and co-organiser Chris Daish hope the awards will become an annual event.

“That is our goal,” says Christie. “What we want to do is kick something off that will be pretty self-sustaining.”

The nominations are wide-ranging and include, in the creative area, the aforementioned film project, a collaborative effort between a local and a UK company. There are also academic projects involving, for example, data-mining, and a NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) project investigating fluid dynamics.

Also featuring are projects created by individuals or small groups. For example, Matthew Cruickshank created a Microsoft Word-to-HTML converter, says Christie.

Palmerston North city councillor Lynne Pope has been nominated for her involvement with the content-management system Mambo, and for setting up a website, Katrina Evacuee Help Centre, at www.disastersearch.org, to assist victims of the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster.

A number of the nominations come from overseas, in particular the US, and are from people using New Zealand solutions, says Christie.

The awards include seven categories: open source ambassador; open source contributor; open source project, and open source use in government. There is also an open source in business category; open source in education, and open source for community organisations. Finalists will be announced at the end of September.

The awards have been sponsored by industry giants Google and Red Hat, and local organisations Open Systems Specialists, InternetNZ and Hire Things, as well as other local sponsors.

Judges include Pia Waugh, vice president of Linux Australia and president of Software Freedom International; media commentator Russell Brown; Rod Drury, of software as a service start-up Xero; and Colin Jackson, one of the founders of InternetNZ.

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