Red Hat becomes an open source community organizer

The site has been pre-loaded with comments from CEO Jim Whitehurst and other Red Hat employees.

Red Hat has opened a discussion community at

The site has been pre-loaded with comments from CEO Jim Whitehurst and other Red Hat employees.

The most important is probably Venkatesh Hariharan (right), who goes by the screen name Venky and is listed as head of open source affairs at Red Hat. I see him as key because Venky is a journalist, thus I assume the editor here.

He has already done grand work bringing a South Asian perspective to the open source community through his own blog. He is co-founder of IndLinux, the team that localized both GNOME and KDE for the Indian Linux community and has been a Knight science journalism fellow at MIT.

His first contribution to the new site since the launch is a story entitled "Is IP another bubble about to burst." In it, he argues yes, that it's like the term "horseless carriage," hampering innovation when its intent was to encourage it. This a follow-on to an argument against software patents.

Are there more at home like you, Venky? I know there are, and I want to hear their perspectives.

One weakness of American-built community sites, including this one, is a lack of cross-fertilization among software cultures. I write this knowing that ZDNet has sites in England, in Singapore, and elsewhere. But I don't really know those people, we don't have a shared perspective, and I regret that.

As of 3 PM Eastern, the only non-employee on the new site's home page is Chris Grams, a former Red Hat employee who now hangs his shingle at New Kind, where he writes a blog called Dark Matter Matters.

Unfortunately you can't review a site like this in the way you would a movie or a show. It's a process. The look-and-feel may be attractive, the first few stories interesting, but what matters is how much feedback such an enterprise generates, how much traffic it wins, and how much mindshare it can gather among people already in the field.

Staying power matters. How will handle trolls, and online disagreements? What will it bring of value to the discussion? Time will tell. Nothing else can.

But since we have a talkback thread, how much buzz do you think Red Hat's new site will generate?


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