CEO and President of Red Hat, Mr Matthew Szulik shared his views on how open source makes a difference at IDA’s Distinguished Infocomm Speaker Series ...
CEO and President of Red Hat, Mr Matthew Szulik shared his views on how open source makes a difference at IDA’s Distinguished Infocomm Speaker Series
The idea of an open source model is built on the premise that the best ideas win in an open, collaborative environment, said Mr Matthew Szulik, Chairman, CEO and President of leading Linux vendor Red Hat and the latest Distinguished Infocomm Speaker invited by the IDA to address an audience of infocomm industry practitioners on 9 November 2006.
In a global environment where geographical borders are rapidly losing their relevance, the young of today need to shift into a new way of thinking, he went on to say. In a knowledge economy where work and ideas travel the globe instantaneously, the youth of tomorrow will find themselves living and working in a world that is very different from the one we know today. In this emerging world, the open source model has an important role to play.
"The Open Source movement is a vanguard for influencing how people think and collaborate," Mr Szulik said. It is helping to shape public opinion, serving as a voice that articulates the broader interests of digital consumers who, for lack of knowledge, are not protesting as they should against proprietary technology and systems.
"Open source is more than developing a cheap software or music player," he added. "It is about the way we work, think and deal with information. It accelerates access of information to everyone, not just the privileged few." In light of this, Mr Szulik applauded Singapore's iN2015 initiative, the Singapore Government's 10-year Infocomm masterplan.
"Proprietary code promotes vendor lock-in and imposes 'taxes' on consumers of information," said Mr Szulik. "The Open Source model is built on a philosophy that celebrates sharing and giving back more than it takes." As an example he cites the OpenDocument format, now endorsed by over 400 companies and used by programs such as free office suite OpenOffice.org to create documents in an interoperable, non-proprietary format.
|Mr Mathhew Szulik is encouraged by the great strides made by the Open Source movement in Asia.|
According to Mr Szulik, efforts currently underway to create secure "virtual identities" and "reputation capital" should not be subject to vendor interference and introduction of proprietary technology. Similarly, humanitarian efforts such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT's) One-Laptop-Per-Child project would not be possible with conventional thinking and technology. The project uses a Linux operating system to run low-cost hardware. In fact, MIT has gone one step further with its OpenCourseWare initiative in which its course curriculum is made available on the Internet, in the interest of open sharing of knowledge.
"We are interested in changing lives through teaching people how to build and connect ideas in the way that we in the open source movement have learned to do," said Mr Szulik. "Governments today have an opportunity to advance transparency and help today's students become a part of the creative process instead of being just a consumer of 1's and 0's and slowing down innovation."
Mr Szulik was encouraged by the great strides made by the Open Source movement in Asia. With little or no legacy infrastructure to drag forward, countries like India are embracing the concept with open arms and avoiding the costly mistakes of others.
"Don't be 'curators of the past'," said Mr Szulik, quoting Thomas Friedman's book The World is Flat. "The future lies with those who are willing to help people access and share information in an open, honest and transparent way."