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Open Source Idle

Open Source Developer Knighted 101

Posted by samzenpus
from the knights-who-say-free dept.
unixfan writes "Georg Greve, developer of Open Document Format and active FOSS developer, has received a knighthood in Germany for his work. From the article: 'Some weeks ago I received news that the embassy in Berne had unsuccessfully been trying to contact me under FSFE's old office address in Zurich. This was a bit odd and unexpected. So you can probably understand my surprise to be told by the embassy upon contacting them that on 18 December 2009 I had been awarded the Cross of Merit on ribbon (Verdienstkreuz am Bande) by the Federal Republic of Germany. As you might expect, my first reaction was one of disbelief. I was, in fact, rather shaken. You could also say shocked. Quick Wikipedia research revealed this to be part of the orders of knighthood, making this a Knight's Cross.'"
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Open Source Developer Knighted

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:06PM (#32066782) Journal

    So you can probably understand my surprise to be told by the embassy upon contacting them that on 18. December 2009 I had been awarded the Cross of Merit on ribbon ...

    Your surprise (and assumption the rest of us are surprised) is a result of cultural conditioning. Open source developers are (in popular culture where I live) unshaven, smelly, poor, obese, socially awkward, annoying, nerdy, pimple ridden, inferior beasts dungeoned in their mother's basements because they are incapable of anything else.

    Despite this being nothing further form the truth, it persists. We often take it in stride and joke about it but that's the conceptualization of a work force so damned important to the entire world it's almost a social injustice. Why, you'd probably have to travel to some "crazy European country" to find otherwise.

    One of my friends became a volunteer firefighter because it was seen as dangerous and attracted females when he flaunted his credentials at bars. It was something he put on his resume to increase his pay. Open source should be along the same lines and I predict that in the distant future it will be when a more tech savvy generation realizes that something like ODF equates to billions of dollars in good will and stimulates their economy in the end.

    Once a more accurate reflection of this or image is implanted in a generation of children, who knows what could happen?

    Congratulations Sir Greve, you no doubt (in my mind) deserve this. Do not be uneasy, you are not alone [slashdot.org].

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Fluffeh (1273756)

      Your surprise (and assumption the rest of us are surprised) is a result of cultural conditioning. Open source developers are (in popular culture where I live) unshaven, smelly, poor, obese, socially awkward, annoying, nerdy, pimple ridden, inferior beasts dungeoned in their mother's basements because they are incapable of anything else.

      While I hate to bag my fellow developers, sadly, the ones who really champion open source do tend to display more of those traits than my other developer friends. Actually, a good mate of mine, who does a bunch of work with .Net and for the most part loves MS has got to be one of the best dressed folks I know. Also, he is fit as a fiddle, goes surfing almost daily and has a lovely wife.

      I hate stereotypes, but really, the one you describe is somehow apt for my exposure to this world :)

      Yes m'lord for pi

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bickerdyke (670000)

      One of my friends became a volunteer firefighter because it was seen as dangerous and attracted females when he flaunted his credentials at bars. It was something he put on his resume to increase his pay. Open source should be along the same lines and I predict that in the distant future it will be when a

      That might change as soon as 6 years of open source development will free you from military service.

    • One of my friends became a volunteer firefighter because it was seen as dangerous and attracted females when he flaunted his credentials at bars. It was something he put on his resume to increase his pay.

      Thank you - you've reminded me to take fireproofing the house even more seriously. I can't think of anything worse than to be saved by "a volunteer firefighter... because it was seen as dangerous and attracted females... to increase his pay."

      Fortunately, a good number of firefighters seem to do it because they like saving lives. The admiration is good but from all sides rather than as merely a sexual kickstart; and "for indirect career advancement" never comes into it.

    • Open source developers, then, have at least three common traits with medieval knights: unshaven, smelly and annoying.

      • by Sulphur (1548251)

        Open source developers, then, have at least three common traits with medieval knights: unshaven, smelly and annoying.

        And if one kills you, your final expression is one of extreme annoyance?

        • I recently read a long discussion of the "smelly" bit on history blog (lots of arguments in the comments section) and it looks like the notorious lack of washing in Europe was a fairly late development, possibly a result to the belief that smell would ward off the black death, and for most of the medieval period people did wash, and, unlike the Romans, used soap.

          • by KiloByte (825081)

            Uhm, what I heard is that the Church considered being physically clean a "pleasure of the body" and thus evil, praising ascets who were smelly instead.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Your surprise (and assumption the rest of us are surprised) is a result of cultural conditioning. Open source developers are (in popular culture where I live) unshaven, smelly, poor, obese, socially awkward, annoying, nerdy, pimple ridden

      It wold help if one of the most prominent organizations associated with Free Software didn't promote its stereotype through its founder and the most prolific public speaker...

    • by billstewart (78916) on Monday May 03, 2010 @12:47AM (#32069294) Journal

      Apparently after you get knighted, it's standard form to make self-deprecating humourous remarks about it. Sir Terry Pratchett was talking about it at the DiscWorld Con last fall in Arizona, and said that one thing he really enjoys about it is that when he's dealing with bureaucrats who used to bully him, now that he's *Sir* Terry, he's able to bully them back, so dealing with bureaucracy has become much less onerous.

    • Developers don't exactly put themselves in danger when they throw themselves between the public and segfaults.

    • by Ltap (1572175)
      The right terminology (at least in English) would be Sir Georg (basically Sir ) or Sir Georg Greeve (Sir ). We had this same discussion when Patrick Stewart was knighted a few months ago.
      • by Ltap (1572175)
        Ah, I unthinkingly used tags for that. I meant (Sir (first name)) and (Sir (full name)).
    • One of my friends became a volunteer firefighter because it was seen as dangerous and attracted females when he flaunted his credentials at bars. It was something he put on his resume to increase his pay. Open source should be along the same lines

      So, open source should be something you put on your resume, or something that "attracted females when he flaunted his credentials at bars"? If the latter, you're dreaming. If you want to pick up the type of women who hang out at most bars*, "manly" credentials will always get your further. That, and lots of money, though in that case the reason you have the money doesn't matter much.

      There are plenty of intellectual occupations that have been around for generations that might have a significant impact o

  • A knighthood? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lars T. (470328) <Lars DOT Traeger AT googlemail DOT com> on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:12PM (#32066814) Journal
    Nope. Really shoddy research there. Or reach-search:

    Orders of merit which still confer privileges of knighthood are sometimes referred to as orders of knighthood. As a consequence of being not an order of chivalry but orders of merit or decorations, some republican honours have thus avoided the traditional structure found in medieval orders of chivalry and created new ones instead, e.g. the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany

    You see, it says "knighthood" right there.

  • Proper. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:13PM (#32066818) Homepage Journal
    this will refer some more respectability to open source. it is very important.

    also i wonder which fool tagged this 'idle'. it is something which will create more clout for os, and also advertise it in the eyes of government level bureaucrats. yet some of you were short sighted enough to think this was an 'idle' affair to be tagged as idle.
  • Who is he? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Sorry, the summary is written very poorly. Who is this chap, and what exactly has he done? I've used FOSS for decades and I've never heard of him until now.

    • Re:Who is he? (Score:5, Informative)

      by icebraining (1313345) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:14PM (#32067290) Homepage

      Especially since they forgot to mention is the founder (and president) of the FSF Europe.

      • I hadn't heard of him either, and considering that I am quite familiar with several of his achievements that probably means he deserves the honour. It's good to see more attention given to the people who quietly do a good job and contribute to society rather than to the self-publicists.
      • Especially since they forgot to mention is the founder (and president) of the FSF Europe.

        President? Hasn't he upgraded to a monarch with this?

    • I've watched television for decades and funnily enough I don't even know half of the people responsible for it. Oh well, I guess that means that they aren't important then!

      http://fsfe.org/ [fsfe.org]

    • by jhoegl (638955)
      Oh.... your.... god....

      That is perhaps the nerdiest thing I have ever seen.
  • British (Score:3, Interesting)

    by caluml (551744) <slashdot AT spam ... OT calum DOT org> on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:21PM (#32066864) Homepage
    You know, I just assumed that it was a British knighthood. I had no idea other countries gave knighthoods. Live and learn.
    C'mon, Dott. :)
    • Well, at least we Germans don't give knighthoods, it just is on the same scale. See mce's comment.
  • by mrsam (12205)
    The ceremony must've went down something like this [youtube.com].
  • by Iamthecheese (1264298) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:22PM (#32066878)
    want to find an open source project to help with?
  • by roman_mir (125474) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:23PM (#32066880) Homepage Journal

    Now, that you are a knight, which Trojan horse will you be riding on?

    Congratulations though!

    • I'm not sure where you learned history, but knights and the Trojan siege were separated by quite a few hundred years...
      • by roman_mir (125474)

        I am not sure where you learned your humor, but you and it are also quite distant it seems.

  • First, my congratulations on your honor. Assuming you're a US citizen, and assuming you're NOT an elected government official nor employed by the government, enjoy said honor! Ehud http://topics.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articlei [cornell.edu] "No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I would just get the consent of Congress and be done with it. How hard can *that* be, anyway. They consent to all kinds of crazy s**t.

    • by mce (509) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @09:52PM (#32068380) Homepage Journal

      For starters, he's a German national and hence the US Constitution is not relevant.

      Next, he was not granted a title of nobility. He was given a medal that in other certain countries would rank equivalent to the knight level in a typical order of chivalry.

      On top of that, being a member of an order of chivalry is not equivalent to being a member of the nobility. I should know, as I'm myself a knight in a Belgian order of chivalry. Just about any Belgian army officer (reserves included) who has been active for long enough is a knight in one or more such orders. That does not make them nobility.

      If you consider unknown Belgian awards to be too obscure to be a reference, look at the famous "Knights Cross of the Iron Cross", so well known that it is often just referred to as "The Knights Cross". This award - in its various gradations - is very well known for being the most desirable award anyone in the WWII German armed forces could receive. But rest assured that winning one did not imply any title of nobility being granted by mr. H. who, in fact, despised the old German nobility. Besides, from a legal point of view nobility was abolished in Germany in 1919.

      • by warGod3 (198094)

        As for US citizens receiving "titles of nobility", granted that persons working for the government cannot receive a "title of nobility", however you need to define "nobility."

        Our armed forces are eligible for medals issued by other countries. Which include Belgium's Order of the Crown, the Netherland's Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau, and the UK's Order of the Bath. Those are just some examples.

        So a "title of nobility" may confer an honor of knighthood, however, it is an honorary title, not th

        • by mce (509)

          Actually, the Belgian Order of the Crown is a nice example of what I meant. I'm a knight in that order myself, but that does not imply a "title of nobility".

          For clarity for those who do not get it yet: The word "knight" has a double meaning. When used on its own, it is indeed a title of nobility and in some countries - such as Belgium - each year a few people are still made knights or higher (mostly with a non-hereditary title) as a sign of recognition for exceptional services. When used in an expression

    • by ErikZ (55491) *

      Assuming that this was relevant, I'd have to say "Or what?"

      Right now the US Congress is overstepping the limits put in the Constitution, because there is no way to enforce them.

      So if tomorrow they start designating "Titles of Nobility", what will you do about it?

  • Our turn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by highacnumber (988934) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @06:37PM (#32066978)
    The US should give Richard Stallman the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • Idle? I digress (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arielCo (995647) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:30PM (#32067432)

    I know we get dozens of stories every week that deserve filing in idle.slashdot.org because of their relative irrelevance as "news for nerds". Now, this is about one FOSS developer who actually receives some official recognition for his efforts. It has an impact (even if minor) on the prestige of FOSS including this Linux-thing and these Open-somethings. In his own words:

    By awarding this Cross of Merit, the Federal Republic of Germany recognises the importance of both Free Software and Open Standards.

    As for what the chap [wikipedia.org] did, he summarized for us the reason given in the mention:

    According to the rationale, the Cross of Merit was awarded for my work for Free Software and Open Standards, starting from my being speaker of the GNU Project, including my very first speech, my work on the Brave GNU World, over driving the creation of Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), to the work done around the Open Document Format (ODF) and the work for Open Standards in general with a variety of hats.

    So, all things considered, attaboy!

    • by arielCo (995647)
      As a helpful AC noted, s/digress/beg to differ/. I'll crawl back under my rock and stay there for the day.
  • Germany loves F/OSS (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kenz0r (900338) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @07:45PM (#32067560) Homepage
    This isn't the first time the German government shows respect to F/OSS:
    Matthias Ettrich, founder of KDE [kde.org] was knighted late 2009.

    Some German cities announced in 2003 that they'd be moving away from Microsoft, towards Linux. (source [infoworld.com])
    Munich is one city that I know of that has actively been moving their infrastructure towards F/OSS. (source [computerworlduk.com])

    (Disclaimer: I'm not German, I'm just going by what I read on the internet.)
    • Since police affairs are not nationwide over here in Germany, some german federal lands also have switched their main working OS to Linux. In Lower Saxony the year of the Linux Desktop has been 2003/2004, at least for police officers.
  • Me too.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by hokusai (1801552) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @10:08PM (#32068470)
    I too once received a knighthood: "Dear Sir.... I am writing you on behalf of the exile king of ........ Our kingdom would like to reward you the golden cross, our highest recommendations, a knighthood. In exchange for this great honor, we would like you to help with releasing the frozen accounts of the king, by allowing a small sum to pass through your account ....."
    • by anarche (1525323)

      I too once received a knighthood:

      "Dear Sir....

      I am writing you on behalf of the exile king of ........ Our kingdom would like to reward you the golden cross, our highest recommendations, a knighthood.

      In exchange for this great honor, we would like you to help with releasing the frozen accounts of the king, by allowing a small sum to pass through your account ....."

      Hey, I've got one of those too!

      We should find some peasants and start a crusade!

  • Wake me up when he has these to go with it: Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds [wikipedia.org]. Awesome book [amazon.com], by the way. 2,700+ sorties during WWII -- the mind boggles. Pity it is out of print and thus ridiculously priced...
  • It seems that, in the U.S., there are one of three things that one will receive for writing FOSS software...
    1. A mid-range paying job,
    2. Jail time for imposing on someone else's patent,
    3. A hearty *virtual* slap on the back from one's peers.

    Notice that I did not mention Knighthood.

    Cheers!
    --Stak

  • Awesome. Everyone knows that Teutonic Knights [wikia.com] are one of the best melee units. Once he upgrades to Elite status he'll be nigh invulnerable. Just be wary of elephants.

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