Red Hat (NASDAQ: RHAT), the world's leading provider of open source to the enterprise, today formally announced its founding corporate membership in the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) initiative. The OLPC project aims to create and distribute inexpensive laptop computers to students around the globe for educational purposes, particularly those in developing countries. Red Hat is focused mainly on the software aspects, and plans to drive the development of the operating system for the OLPC machines. The company's design plans also encompass larger issues of open source community participation, training, support, providing updates, certifications, and integrating additional technologies over time.
Initially started as a research project at MIT Media Lab, and formally announced at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland in January 2005, the OLPC initiative has grown to include an elite group of contributors standing shoulder to shoulder to bring modern tools for learning to children around the world.
"At Red Hat, we believe that open source technology can change the world, and is still in its infancy. It's a guiding principle that is embodied in everything we do," said Matthew Szulik, chairman, president and CEO of Red Hat. "Beyond a founding corporate sponsorship, we've put engineering and other strategic resources behind the One Laptop Per Child initiative to add our expertise, global reach and focus to the project. It's another real-world example of our mission to democratize technology, while helping to make knowledge and education more available for children everywhere."
"Red Hat's experience and core strategy of open collaboration made them a natural fit with this project," said Nicholas Negroponte, chairman and Co-founder of MIT's Media Lab. "Open source and Linux will both reach and engage people in the rest of the world."
Red Hat first embraced the OLPC project when Nicholas Negroponte, the chairman and co-founder of MIT's Media Laboratory, expressed an interest in making the laptop based on open source software. Using an open source software platform is critical to the success of the OLPC initiative, to both encourage local participation in the software projects, and to to allow students to customize and expand their machines as their learning needs and skills grow.
According to the MIT Media Lab, the proposed $100 machine will be a "ruggedized" laptop, approximately the size of a textbook, featuring a Linux-based system with a dual-mode display. The laptops will have wireless broadband that allows them to work as a mesh network – each laptop will be able to "talk" to its nearest neighbors, creating an ad hoc, local area network. The laptops will also incorporate innovative power structures – including wind-up – and will be able to do most everything that "fat" clients can do, except store huge amounts of data.
Nicholas Negroponte will discuss the OLPC initiative and Red Hat's role at this year's Red Hat Summit on June 2 in Nashville, Tenn. More information about Red Hat Summit 2006 is available at www.redhat.com/promo/summit/.
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Red Hat, the world's leading open source and Linux provider, is headquartered in Raleigh, NC with satellite offices spanning the globe. Red Hat is leading Linux and open source solutions into the mainstream by making high quality, low cost technology accessible. Red Hat provides operating system software along with middleware, applications and management solutions. Red Hat also offers support, training and consulting services to its customers worldwide and through top-tier partnerships. Red Hat's open source strategy offers customers a long term plan for building infrastructures that are based on and leverage open source technologies with focus on security and ease of management. Learn more: http://www.redhat.com
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