Issue #8 June 2005

Visionaries honored with Red Hat Summit Awards

Matthew Szulik (center) with award winners (left to right) Dr. Deepak Phatak, J. Rambhaskar of Morgan Stanley, Stephen Smalley, and Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana. Photo by Jonathan Opp.

Red Hat presented its first-annual Summit Award winners in New Orleans on the morning of Friday, June 3. In choosing these award winners, Red Hat looked for individuals or companies whose contributions to the world have been truly visionary. We felt that it was fitting to present these awards at the Summit since visionaries are those who climb to the summit, and then tell others what they've seen.

Red Hat presented four Summit awards. One was presented to a great leader who sees open source as the path to bringing remarkable prosperity to a nation with remarkable potential. One was presented to a great innovator who believes that the security of the world's computers can and should be dramatically better and has worked tirelessly to bring that vision to fruition.

One was presented to a great company who understands the importance of choice and has built a compelling architecture to take advantage of those choices in the marketplace. And, one was presented to a great activist who saw a powerful need in a time of powerful tragedy.

Dr. Deepak Phatak

Dr. Deepak B. Phatak is the Dean of the Kanwal Rekhi School of Information Technology (KReSIT) for the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay. KReSIT's mission is to foster a partnership between Indian researchers, industry, and user organizations to create leaders and trend setters for the next generation of the IT industry. Dr. Phatak believes that in the near future, India will become a net giver to the open source community.

In 2002-2003, Dr. Phatak set up the Affordable Solutions Lab at KReSIT. The lab is engaged in R&D towards development of innovative technologies, applications frameworks, applications, and appliances designed to lower total cost of ownership (TCO) for all users of technology in India. The lab proposes to rely extensively on open source software to build these solutions and to use these solutions in turn to give back even more. Each year, more than 30,000 student developers in Indian universities work on final year projects. Dr. Phatak is building a web portal to allow these students to coordinate their efforts and potentially to make this work available to the worldwide open source community.

Stephen Smalley

In early 2001, the National Security Agency announced the Security-Enhanced Linux project to the world. The impact of their decision to contribute SELinux to the open source community was huge, and Stephen was a driving force behind that fateful decision. From his early involvement with the development of the Flask security architecture, through the initial release of SELinux as an open source project, all the way to the recent inclusion of SELinux in Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® 4, Stephen has emerged as the de facto leader of the growing community of SELinux users and developers. He has been a near-constant presence on the various SELinux mailing lists, imparting his wisdom to novice and experienced users alike. The success of SELinux can not be credited to a single individual, but no individual has done more to advance the security of Linux than Stephen Smalley has.

Morgan Stanley

In 2001, Morgan Stanley's institutional securities division began work on a groundbreaking new architecture. Their vision was described by Jeffrey Birnbaum of Morgan Stanley in one powerful sentence: "We want to be able to run any application on any box at any time." Their architecture moves the company's data, applications, and operating systems from individual machines to network servers throughout the world. This architecture has allowed Morgan Stanley to move increasingly to commodity hardware, dramatically increasing the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of their computing infrastructure. The revolutionary computing architecture envisioned by Morgan Stanley was one of the inspirations for the Fedora Stateless Linux project.

Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana

Founder of the Lanka Software Foundation and formerly of IBM, Sanjiva Weerawarana was recently appointed to the board of the Open Source Initiative. A native of Sri Lanka, Sanjiva was instrumental in helping the Sri Lanka relief effort in the aftermath of last December's deadly tsunami. In his meetings with the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies charged with the immense responsibility of managing the disaster's aftermath, it became immediately clear to Sanjiva that the effort of 1300 NGOs to support hundreds of thousands of displaced people posed a "tremendous information management problem." In a matter of days, Sanjiva led the creation and deployment of Sahana, the world's first open source crisis management system. The remarkable story of Sahana's development is told in Sanjiva's blog.