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[GNU/FSF Press] Press release: Sahana wins the 2006 free software award

From: Peter Brown
Subject: [GNU/FSF Press] Press release: Sahana wins the 2006 free software award for projects of social benefit
Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2007 16:19:03 -0400

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA AND CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - March 26, 2007 - Sahana, an
entirely volunteer effort to create technology for managing large-scale
relief efforts, is the recipient of the 2006 Free Software Foundation
Award for Projects of Social Benefit. Sahana was created, in the wake of
the tsunami that devastated Southeast Asia in 2004, to compensate for
the devastating consequences of a government attempt to manually manage
the process of locating victims, distributing aid and coordinating

The Free Software Award for Projects of Social Benefit is presented to a
free software project that intentionally and significantly benefits
society through collaboration to accomplish an important social task.

Speaking at the award ceremony, the Sahana project leader Chamindra de
Silva said, "We are deeply honored to receive this award and were so
excited we traveled half way around the world from Sri Lanka to attend
the ceremony today. The Sahana project is all about a cohesive disaster
response between multiple agencies and bringing them together to help
victims.  None of this would have been possible without the work of the
wider free software community, and we would not have been able to bring
benefit to the victims and the people who help the victims without that.
It is a credit to the whole community."

Richard Stallman, President and Founder of the Free Software Foundation,
in presenting the award said, "We were inspired to create this award
when we heard of the tremendous good the Sahana project was able to
achieve through the use of free software."

The founding team, made up of Sri Lankan technology workers, worked
around the clock for three days to produce the first release of the
software that was quickly adopted by their country's government. The
software resolves common coordination problems that arise during a
disaster and thus facilitates the search for missing people, aid and
volunteer management, and victim tracking across refugee camps.

Sahana is built completely on donated funds and volunteer effort
coordinated by Lanka Software Foundation. It has been officially
deployed by the governments of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the Philippines, and
Indonesia. It was also part of the Strong Angel III, a test of US civil
and military disaster response.

The members of the founding team that traveled from Colombo to Cambridge
to accept the award were, Chamindra de Silva, project lead, as well as 
lead developers Pradeeper Dharmendra, Ravindra de Silva and Mifan 

Every year, three finalists are nominated for the award by the free 
software community. This year's other two finalists were Project 
Gutenberg and the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC).

Previous winners of the free software award:

      * 2005 Wikipedia 

For more information about Sahana, please visit
Parties interested in contributing to Sahana should send an email to

Images taken at the award ceremony will be available at

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting
computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute
computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as
in freedom) software—particularly the GNU operating system and its
GNU/Linux variants—and free documentation for free software. The FSF
also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of
freedom in the use of software. Their web site, located at,
is an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to
support their work can be made at They are
headquartered in Boston, MA, USA.

Press Contact: For more information about this announcement please
contact Peter Brown at +1-617-542-5942 or address@hidden

reply via email to

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