ACM Software System Award
United States – 2015

For the development and leadership of GCC (the GNU Compiler Collection), which has enabled extensive software and hardware innovation, and has been a lynchpin of the free software movement.

GCC is a cornerstone of the free (libre) software community. It enabled important software like the GNU/Linux operating system and the Mozilla browser, and has supported hundreds of other software systems that collectively form the foundation of the modern Internet. The GNU system and applications, usually with Linux as the kernel, provide a complete operating system, that is completely free software; this would not have been possible without a robust free compiler at its core. GCC has also spurred a wide range of software and hardware innovation. Its remarkable retargetability has made it possible to develop software for novel hardware at very low cost, enabling a large number of specialty hardware enterprises. Its community-based development model and extensive community led to an enormous amount of compiler research, the best of which has been absorbed back into GCC itself. The design of GCC proved robust and extensible enough to survive, and even thrive, through three decades of innovation in compiler technology and processor design. More broadly, GCC and its associated development tools have driven the creation of a complete ecosystem of free software, attracting tens of thousands of developers, many of whom have become important software leaders in their own right.

Press Release

ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award
United States – 1990

For pioneering work in the development of the extensible editor EMACS (Editing Macros).


ACM Recognizes Major Technical Contributions

ACM announced the recipients of four prestigious technical awards. These innovators were selected by their peers for making significant contributions that enable the computing field to solve real-world challenges. The awards reflect achievements in cryptography, network coding systems, computer-human interaction, and software systems. The 2015 recipients will be formally honored at the ACM Awards Banquet on June 11 in San Francisco. 
Richard Stallman, recipient of the ACM Software System Award for the development and leadership of GCC (GNU Compiler Collection), which has enabled extensive software and hardware innovation, and has been a lynchpin of the free software movement. A compiler is a computer program that takes the source code of another program and translates it into machine code that a computer can run directly. GCC compiles code in various programming languages, including Ada, C, C++, Cobol, Java, and FORTRAN. It produces machine code for many kinds of computers, and can run on Unix and GNU/Linux systems as well as others.
GCC was developed for the GNU operating system, which includes thousands of programs from various projects, including applications, libraries, tools such as GCC, and even games. Most importantly, the GNU system is entirely free (libre) software, which means users are free to run all these programs, to study and change their source code, and to redistribute copies with or without changes. GNU is usually used with the kernel, Linux. Stallman has previously been recognized with ACM’s Grace Murray Hopper Award.