Red Hat expands, funds OS projects

Will the Open Source ethos prove successful outside the technology sphere?

Shrink-wrap Linux specialist and Open Source evangelist Red Hat has announced the founding of a non-profit organisation it says will support and promote a range of scientific and educational projects that comply with the Open Source ideal.

The company moves outside the realm of software development for the first time with the Red Hat Centre for Open Source (RHCOS). With $8m (£4.9m) of funding in a combination of cash and Red Hat common stock donated by three of the company's founding investors, the centre will fund scientific and educational projects that would otherwise have been sponsored by individuals or private industry.

Heavyweight backers include John Seely Brown, chief scientist of Xerox; John Gilmore, free software pioneer and architect of the first Sun workstations; Lawrence Lessig, professor of law at Harvard; and Sim B. Sitkin, associate professor at the Fuqua School of Business.

Colin Tenwick, vice president of European operations for Red Hat explained: "The criteria for selection of projects hasn't been released as yet, but people can approach the centre for funding and support. The worldwide program will initially be focused in the States, but won't stay there, in the same way that the vast majority of Linux source code came to be developed outside of the US."

  • Also today, Red Hat announced it would expand from its Linux-only software focus to begin to support third-party Open Source applications. The company's worldwide services group will immediately offer expanded Service Programs for popular open source software, including Apache Web Server, Sendmail and Postfix. Apache is the number one Web server and runs more than 55 percent of the Internet's Web sites. Sendmail is a messaging solution that powers 80 percent of Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
Bob Young CEO of Red Hat said: "The move to deliver Red Hat's trusted expertise to support virtually all things open source helps accelerate the adoption of powerful open source technology throughout the enterprise."

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