Sixteen years ago, few imagined that a handful of people at a Linux start-up in North Carolina were laying the groundwork for an open source business with more than a billion dollars in annual revenue. Yet as we stand at that milestone, and as we take the opportunity to reflect, we believe our success speaks volumes about the power of community.
This billion dollar milestone is not only a win for Red Hat—it is a victory for open source advocates everywhere. Our fight has always been about something greater than just access to software code. The open source movement is rooted in shared values about knowledge; it is founded on ideas that are both ordinary and revolutionary. As members of this community, we elevate transparency over secrecy. We prize freedom rather than control. This is the open source way: sharing ideas and information, contributing to an intellectual commons that leads to greater innovation and benefits us all.
Last December, Red Hat decided that no billion dollar milestone would be complete without honoring the open source community. To that end, we are making a $100,000 donation to the future of open source. Red Hat associates nominated and voted for the following organisations to benefit:
- Creative Commons. Creative Commons develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that aims to maximise creativity, sharing, and innovation. Creative Commons licences offer content creators a simple, standardised way to retain ownership while allowing certain uses of their work—a “some rights reserved” approach to copyright—and making creative, educational, and scientific content freely available.
- Electronic Frontier Foundation. Defenders of free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights, EFF has championed the public interest in critical battles affecting digital rights. EFF fights for freedom primarily in the courts, bringing and defending lawsuits even when that means taking on the government or large corporations. By mobilizing more than 61,000 concerned citizens through their action center, EFF weighs in on legislative proposals. In addition to advising policymakers, EFF educates the press and public.
- Software Freedom Law Center. Software Freedom Law Center provides pro-bono legal services to developers of free, libre, and open source software. They offer counsel on the big picture, beyond today’s specific problems, helping projects reach their long-term goals safely and efficiently so developers can concentrate on making great software.
- UNICEF Innovation Labs. Working today in Kosovo, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, UNICEF Innovation Labs bring together the public and private sectors, using open source technology to co-create scalable solutions and transformational approaches to progress the health, welfare, and equity of under-served national populations where the Labs reside. Local collaborators use technological innovation to improve information flow between government and vulnerable communities and to address local needs within the context of national priorities. The UNICEF Innovation Labs are part of UNICEF’s Technology-for-Development (T4D) program.
With so many worthy groups making up the open source community, just narrowing down the choices proved difficult. We hope you will join us in supporting a few of the many fantastic organisations working to make our world more open, free, collaborative, and transparent.
Here’s to the future of open source.
This blog post is a Middle East exclusive piece for CNMEOnline.