Red HatŪ Center Fact Sheet

What is Red HatŪ Center?

Bob Young and Marc Ewing, the founders of Red Hat, Inc., endowed Red Hat Center in January 2000 to promote and advance the principles underlying the open source movement - the free and robust exchange of information, and the development of technology that is publicly accessible and comprehensible.

The term "open source" is usually associated with software. Red Hat Center uses the term "transparency" to extend the application of this approach to communities such as law, medicine, business, government, and scientific research. The implications for transparency outside technology are substantial, and the benefits to society will be far-reaching.

To achieve its mission, Red Hat Center has chosen to focus on five primary initiatives. These initiatives provide the direction for the daily operations of Red Hat Center, as well as serving as a foundation for all Center grantmaking decisions. The broad scope of these initiatives is intended to introduce an approach that will seed new advances and foster innovation for everyone's benefit by extending the concept of transparency to technology and beyond.

Red Hat Center will provide funding to promote these basic initiatives:

  1. Increase public awareness of the value of transparent technology and its relationship to the traditional ideals of a free society.
  2. Encourage public policy that promotes and safeguards the concepts of free exchange, collaboration, and transparent technology.
  3. Promote academic and educational programs that apply and expand the values of free exchange and transparent technology.
  4. Strengthen research efforts to broaden the application of open source principles in the fields of science, technology, social science, public policy, law, and the humanities. Create an infrastructure that fosters communication and shared innovations among participants from varied disciplines.

Why Transparency?

Transparency is especially important when it comes to the creation of infrastructures that society will depend on. Without transparent development, consumers pay higher prices for basic technology because each private company must "reinvent the wheel," rather than make incremental improvements on the broader group effort. When the technology is publicly accessible, private control over the pace of progress is eliminated, and the technology is free to advance using the best minds available worldwide.

With transparent technology, society benefits because:

Here's how Bob Young, Chairman of Red Hat Center, explained it in a recent interview:

Can you explain what you mean by transparency?

"The open source model is part of a three tiered concept. Open source is a term used within the context of software and software development. When we take the open source idea and apply it to the larger world of technology, we have what we call "transparent technology." Transparent technology is technology that is freely accessible and comprehensible to the public. But let's extrapolate even further. When this idea is taken to its broadest level, we have "transparency." Transparency is the big umbrella, if you will, that encompasses everything else. Transparency goes beyond both software and technology. In writing the mission for the Red Hat Center, we decided that we really needed to create a few new terms in order to communicate the open source values on a bigger, broader level. We kept coming back to the idea of transparency."

For an explanation of terms, go to the Glossary [ ].

For a history of open source and free software, go to the Timeline [ ].

Copyright 2000 Red HatŪ Center. All rights reserved.

Red HatŪ is a trademark of Red HatŪ, Inc. Used with permission.

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