Red Hat taps Singapore schools for mindshare

The open source vendor unveils four partner programs to encourage Red Hat competency in Singapore, three of those targeted at tertiary institutions there.

SINGAPORE--Red Hat on Monday announced new collaborative partnerships with tertiary institutes and independent software vendors in the country.

Under its Open Source Collaborative Innovation (OSCI) initiative--what Red Hat refers to as an effort to encourage open source software deployment--the open source vendor launched four programs in Singapore, with three of those focused on institutes of higher learning here.

Expanding the Red Hat Academy, a program for educational institutions to teach students Linux and open source skill sets, Red Hat recruited three new partners: the Asia Pacific College of the Philippines, Singapore Polytechnic and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE).

They will join the current two members, Bangkok University and Temasek Polytechnic, to set up courses and offer the Red Hat Certified Technician (RHCT) certification examination to students and staff members.

Red Hat said it expects to train some 1,000 students under this program by 2009.

Under OSCI, Red Hat also set up a training center at Singapore Polytechnic, distinguished from its Red Hat Academy program in that it is targeted at working professionals who want to equip themselves with Red Hat-specific skills. This training center will partner with the Singapore Workforce Development Agency and Infocomm Development Agency (IDA), said Red Hat.

Red Hat CEO and president, Jim Whitehurst, said at the company's press conference that the company has "over 80 percent share of the Linux market", and that it hopes to increase exposure of its operating system (OS) through training of manpower.

As a services and support vendor, Red Hat's priority is in expanding its market share by broadening the applications and industry involvement with its OS, said Whitehurst.

"Software should be free. Desktop [OSes] should be free," Whitehurst added.

The company has also set up a facility at ITE College's East campus to provide a "conducive" environment for open source groups to come together for discussions, said Red Hat.

The fourth program in its Singapore OSCI initiative involves Red Hat working with six local software vendors to integrate their applications with Red Hat's OS. This comes under the IDA's iLIUP (Local Industry Upgrading Program) which aims to encourage partnerships between local vendors and multinational IT companies.

To date, there are 15 MNCs and some 130 local vendors participating in the program, according to the IDA.

Red Hat declined to disclose the dollar figure invested in these programs.

Whitehurst said he expects similar programs to be launched elsewhere in the region following this announcement.

Under OSCI, Red Hat opened two facilities in Beijing, China earlier this year.