Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux, has been named joint winner of the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize.
He shares the honour with Dr Shinya Yamanaka, a stem cell scientist.
Technology Academy Finland said Mr Torvalds's achievements had "had a great impact on shared software development, networking and the openness of the web".
It is the first time the bi-annual award has been split. Each man receives 600,000 euros ($752,000; £483,000).
Mr Torvalds developed the first version of a Linux operating system while studying at the University of Helsinki, Finland in 1991.
When he posted details of the project on Usenet he described the project as "just a hobby, [it] won't be big and professional".
The Linux kernel - the code that lets software and hardware work together - has since been through many revisions. It now powers a range of Linux-based systems behind many of the world's computer servers, digital video recorders, stock exchange equipment and Google's Android smartphone platform.