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Red Hat announces Rs 10-lakh scholarships
Priya Ganapati in Mumbai | March 30, 2004 16:13 IST
In a move to promote open source software development in a big way, Red Hat India, one of the biggest companies in the open source segment, has announced a scholarship programme for engineering students from across the country.
Called the Red Hat Scholarships -- The Open Source Challenge, the initiative invites students from across the country to submit a project developed completely using open source technology to win scholarships worth Rs 10 lakh (Rs 1 million).
The competition will be conducted by Red Hat jointly with the Kanwal Rekhi School of Information Technology at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay.
A panel comprising of Dr D B Phatak, founder, Kanwal School of Information Technology at IIT-Bombay, Professor S Sadagopan, Director of the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore, Rajesh Jain, Director of Netcore Solutions among others will preside over the process of conducting the competition.
The first prize would be Rs 2 lakh (Rs 200,000) in cash, the second prize is Rs 1.5 lakh (Rs 150,000) and the third is Rs 1 lakh (Rs 100,000). Five consolation prizes of Rs 50,000 will also be given. There will also be special category prizes like one for the best participating team from a rural college.
The open source movement has emerged as an alternative to proprietary software products and worldwide has a number of software developers contributing to the creation of software is distributed freely to be modified and used.
In countries like India, open source has been touted as the answer to expensive proprietary software which can put computing beyond the reach of the rural or lesser privileged sections of the society. Last year, President A P J Abdul Kalam also endorsed Open Source software by holding it up as an example of technology that can benefit India's one billion population.
According to estimates, India has about 10 per cent of the total number of software developers worldwide. Though many of them use open source software, the contribution from the Indian developer community towards the open source software movement has been negligible.
To change this, Red Hat plans to involve students from across the country in an open source software challenge.
This year, Red Hat hopes to see 1500 students participate in the competition. The deadline for registration will be May 15.
Red Hat has not only contributed towards the cash for the prizes but it will also offer participating students support throughout the competition and will suggest relevant ideas for the projects.
"The idea is to promote open source in India and we think that involving students is the best way to go ahead," says Javed Tapia, Director, Red Hat India.
The actual management of the competition would, however, be done by the Kanwal Rekhi School of Information Technology. Registration and submission of proposals will be done online through a website that will be created by the Kanwal Rekhi School. The Web site for the competition will be linked through the Red Hat site (http://www.in.redhat.com) and the Kanwal Rekhi School Web site.
Red Hat hopes to get the word of the competition out to engineering colleges across India by mailing them about it, having a media campaign and through the Kanwal Rekhi School.
A set of mentors comprising of interested software industry professionals, engineering college teachers and IIT professors will also be created to help the students in their project.
All interaction between the students and their mentors will be done online through a site specifically created by the Kanwal Rekhi School.
"We are not looking at individual personal interaction from the mentors. That will not make this model scalable. But the interaction which will happen online is transparent and visible to all," says Dr D B Phatak, founder of the Kanwal Rekhi School of IT.
Details and guidelines about the project proposals and registration will soon be put on Red Hat India's Web site.
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