Red Hat Software has established a non profit organisation to sponsor and support scientific and educational projects to advance the open source movement and benefit society in general.
Marc Ewing, Bob Young and Frank Batten, the three founding investors of the Linux distributor, have donated more than $8 million to offer grants for relevant projects at the Red Hat Center for Open Source (RHCOS).
Red Hat said the Board was reviewing other sponsorship recommendations based on guidelines for grant applications, but declined to reveal other sponsors. However, a spokesman said that Ewing, who will be the director of the Center, plans to spend a significant amount of his time working on RHCOS affairs.
He continued: "It is possible that some projects that RHCOS could fund will involve the development of additional open source software. And since by its definition, open source, any such work would be provided for free to the world at large."
But he added that RHCOS did not intend to simply focus on software projects and was likely to fund academic research into health, science, law and other areas. "Again, the results of this research would be made freely available to all," the spokesman said.
The aim behind RHCOS, he explained, was to support and encourage open source ideals across society as a whole to try and deliver the benefits to other areas of endeavour.
Bob Young, Red Hat?s chief executive and cofounder, said: "We have formed RHCOS because we believe that the philosophy and practice of open development can benefit many other parts of society. The time is right to introduce an approach that will seed new advances and foster innovation for everyone's benefit."
Board members of RHCOS include Sim Sitkin, an associate professor at Duke University, Lawrence Lessig, a professor at the Harvard Law School, John Gilmore, designer of the first Sun Microsystems? computer and cofounder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and John Seely Brown, chief scientist of Xerox and director of the company's research center.
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