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USENIX, the Advanced Computing Systems Association, celebrating its 30th anniversary, honored GNOME co-founder Miguel de Icaza and KDE creator Mattias Ettrich with its Software Tools User Group (STUG) award for their accomplishments in developing user friendly graphical user interfaces for the open source desktop.

The STUG award, which recognizes significant contributions to the open source reusable code-base, selected de Icaza and Ettrich for their achievements in creating a set of libraries, tools, and applications which are portable and run across several different operating system platforms and hardware architectures. The award was announced at the 2005 USENIX Annual Technical Conference.

"With the development of user friendly GUIs, both de Icaza and Ettrich are credited with overcoming a significant obstacle in the proliferation of open source," said Ellie Young, Executive Director, USENIX. "Their efforts have significantly contributed to the growing popularity of the open source desktop among the general public."

The KDE project, launched in October of 1996, followed by GNOME in August of 1997 were initiated to develop desktops that were easy to use, mapped to traditional UNIX philosophies, and gave access to all of the underlying features that the UNIX Command-Line UserInterface (CLI) contained.

While the KDE and GNOME desktops competed with each other, they also served to strengthen each other, resulting in a range of applications that have allowed different implementations of the UNIX operating system into the non-technical marketplace. By embracing the concepts of free and open source software, the desktop projects allowed for freely distributed code that allowed any distribution or software developer to utilize these graphical features.

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