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Red Hat Funds Open Source Lab in New Gates Center

In an ironic turn, Carnegie Mellon University will be housing a new open source computer lab funded by Red Hat in a new computer center funded by a $20 million lead gift from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Although Microsoft itself has sponsored open source activities, the two companies have long been considered competitors for operating system mindshare.

The university's School of Computer Science has received a grant from Red Hat to create a state-of-the-art, open source computer laboratory. The laboratory, which will be officially dedicated later this year, will be available to members of the campus community to promote the development and use of free and open source software.

The computer lab will have 60 workstations installed with Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It will be open 24 hours, seven days a week and housed in the School for Computer Science's newly constructed Gates Center for Computer Science.

"We couldn't be happier about our partnership with Red Hat and we are thankful for their generous contribution that will make the computer lab a reality," said Greg Kesden, director of undergraduate laboratories for the School of Computer Science. "We are dedicated to giving students full exposure to the complete spectrum of modern computer science development practices and we wanted to ensure that open source methodologies had a central presence in both our curriculum and in our new facility."

Previously, the School had a small Linux Lab with 15 machines. The demand on the lab had outstripped its capacity. Representatives from the Fedora Project, a Red Hat-sponsored and community-supported open source collaboration project, met with Center faculty and staff and identified the demand for a gathering space dedicated to open source software.

"The School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon is one of the foremost computer science institutions in the world, and Red Hat is proud to partner with them in the creation of an open source computer lab," said Michael Cunningham, executive vice president at Red Hat. "The need for an open source software lab came from an overwhelming demand from students and faculty and Red Hat's involvement is a natural extension of our company's historical involvement in the education arena."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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