Red Hat and Dell to host open source summit

Red Hat Inc. of Raleigh, North Carolina, a leading provider of Linux operating systems, announced an Open Source Security Summit to be held October 29 at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. The summit will be co-hosted by Dell Computer Corp. and will explore how open-source software, such as Linux, can be used to better secure computers and computer networks.

Among the issues addressed at the summit will be the hotly debated question of whether software developed using the open source model produces more secure code.

Open source is a development model in which software code is openly shared within a loose community of developers. Advocates for open source development feel it produces superior results to the more traditional development model in which software products are developed by companies and individuals and in which source code is a jealously guarded trade secret.

Featured at the summit will be a number of computer security experts, including representatives from the White House Office of Cyberspace Security, the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) Coordination Center, and the Mitre Corp.

Discussions will touch on issues including homeland defense and initiatives for collaboration and standardization within the loosely organized open source community, according to a statement released by Red Hat.

The open source summit happens against a backdrop of heightened concern about the security of commonly used operating systems such as Linux and especially Microsoft Windows. High profile viruses and worms such as Code Red and NIMDA which targeted the Microsoft platform, and the more recent Slapper which targeted the Apache Web server on Linux, have caused many organizations and individuals to re-evaluate the security of the software used on their computers and networks and call for more secure software products.

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