Photos: Red Hat boss seeks The Truth

Photos: Red Hat boss seeks The Truth

Summary: The open source specialist's user summit opened with a call for greater transparency in the technology industry, and in society as a whole


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  • Red Hat manager of quality engineering Jay Turner followed Szulik onstage to discuss a new testing project the company is preparing to launch, which it claims will give customers the ability to create more robust implementations of the open source specialist's software in their companies.

    The project does not have a name as yet but Turner revealed that the testing project will build on existing tools such as the company's dogtail graphical test utility. "Today I am here to announce that we are submitting a new testing project to the Fedora board to establish standards around open source testing and give us all the confidence we need," he said.

    Turner said the project's overall aim was for the community to find ways to improve testing in a collaborative way. "The final point is that we want to develop process together. We know we are good at this, but know a lot of you are good too."

  • A key theme of this year's summit is Red Hat's participation in the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project. The leader of the project, Nicholas Negroponte, is due to speak at the show on Friday, but Red Hat's engineering manager for OLPC, Chris Blizzard, was on hand to discuss his company's part in the scheme.

    Blizzard said OLPC is not being driven by the desire to spread the open source message around the world, but by higher ideals. "It is about learning, it's not to do with putting open source in people's hands. These laptops contain ad hoc wireless networks — all those kids can share and collaborate with each other."

    Red Hat has faced some tough techical challenges shrinking its desktop software onto the laptop's 500MB of flash memory, but claims to have reduced the footprint from around 1.5GB down to around 120-130MB by creating a "remix" of its distribution. "How we take what we have today and add it onto this laptop is one of the biggest issues," said Blizzard.

    Technical issues aside, Red Hat says the key to the project's success is to imagine the benefit it could bring to one child, and hope that that can be replicated to millions of others. "We talk abut social impact — 300 million kids could be impacted — but we have to think about one kid and keep one focus. If we can replicate that 100 million times then we have suddenly had a massive social impact," said Blizzard.

  • Described by his boss Matthew Szulik as a "rock god" of the open source community, Red Hat principal software engineer Havoc Pennington unveiled a project known as Mugshot.

    The software, made up principally of a Web site enabled with collaboration tools, is designed, according to Pennington, to bring open source to people who may not have encountered it before via a "live social experience around entertainment".

    Mugshot will allow users to collaborate online and discuss and exchange information around topics such as music and television. "Mugshot is not just a site but about connecting desktops of users. What has this got to do with Red Hat? The reason I got into open source is because it's about collaboration and freedom," said Pennington.

    Mugshot will initially only be available via a limited user trial, on a first-come, first-served basis. You can find out more about the project here.

Topics: Apps, Software Development

Andrew Donoghue

About Andrew Donoghue

"If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people - including me - would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism."

Hunter S. Thompson

Andrew Donoghue is a freelance technology and business journalist with over ten years on leading titles such as Computing, SC Magazine, BusinessGreen and

Specialising in sustainable IT and technology in the developing world, he has reported and volunteered on African aid projects, as well as working with charitable organisations such as the UN Foundation and Computer Aid.

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