Red Hat Partners with Rochester Institute of Technology; Students Develop Open Source Video Chat to Enhance Communication for Deaf Children
Professors' Open Source Summer Experience (POSSE) Continues Its Reach
to Higher Education Professors and Students
RALEIGH, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world's leading provider of open source
solutions, has partnered with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) to
introduce open source to collegiate-level students, arming the next
generation of workers with skills necessary to compete in a challenging
global work and social environment. Through the Red Hat-sponsored
Professors' Open Source Summer Experience (POSSE) workshops, RIT has
enhanced its open source efforts, and some of its students are using
their open source expertise to make a positive impact for deaf and hard
of hearing children.
Three RIT students, who are also POSSE alumni, have developed a proof of
concept for Open Video Chat for the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) XO
laptop. OLPC's mission is to empower the world's poorest children
through education, and the organization provides children with rugged,
low-cost, connected XO laptops. The RIT student team, comprised of
Justin Lewis, Fran Rogers and Taylor Rose, created an XO-based open
source prototype video chat package able to produce the quality of video
required for smooth signed communication previously unavailable on the
XO. OLPC recently updated to a maintained version of Fedora, a Red
Hat-sponsored and community-supported open source distribution, that
contains updates to critical applications used in developing Open Video
Chat including Telepathy, Farsight and Gstreamer. RIT plans to continue
to develop Open Video Chat in classes scheduled for fall 2011.
"POSSE has been a large driving force behind RIT's continued
introduction of open source to its faculty and their coursework and
curriculum," said Stephen Jacobs, associate professor, Interactive Games
and Media at RIT and organizer of POSSE at RIT. "We established FOSS@RIT
as a way for students, staff and faculty from all of our colleges to
engage around open source projects and events on campus. POSSE has been
a natural extension of FOSS@RIT, and open source is making a lasting and
great impact on RIT's students across the disciplines."
The Open Video Chat project emerged from a partnership between RIT's National
Technical Institute for the Deaf's Center on Access Technology
(NTID) and FOSS@RIT. NTID provided seed funds for an initial version
during the spring of 2010 and the students were awarded Undergraduate
Research Fellowships to continue development over the summer of 2010.
Their summer work kicked off with attendance at RIT's POSSE to further
their open source expertise and skills. The Open Video Chat team was
awarded Digital Rochester's first G.R.E.A.T! student achievement award
in February 2011 for leadership and skill in applying or advancing
innovative technology for the betterment of themselves, their
educational institution, and the greater Rochester Community.
"Red Hat congratulates Justin Lewis, Fran Rogers, Taylor Rose and the
entire open source community at RIT on their work to harness the power
of open source in the classroom and apply it to the world around them to
effect positive change," said Jim Whitehurst, president and CEO, Red
Hat. "The Open Video Chat project has the potential to open doors for
many deaf and hard of hearing children to better communicate. RIT's
collaboration with POSSE and its students' interest in open source
serves as an inspiration, and we look forward to working with RIT to
encourage innovation in the future within FOSS communities."
"I admire the values of the open source community," said Justin Lewis.
"I love the mentality that anyone can join in; using their personal
strengths to help the community and at the same time they can receive
assistance when they need it. When you put your work out in the open
community, you know it might be useful to someone else or find its way
into another project."
"My inspiration comes from my own experiences with technology as a kid
-- the excitement of tinkering with computers and gadgets and figuring
out how they work, and programming computers to do imaginative things,"
said Fran Rogers. "I'd like to keep this tinkering spirit alive for
future generations -- one of the primary reasons I'm an enthusiastic
supporter of the FOSS community, which aims to preserve the freedom to
tinker with software and keep the spirit of innovation alive."
"My motivation comes from helping others," said Taylor Rose. "I like to
work on projects that provide tools for others to help themselves. The
Open Video Chat project was a start at opening a communication outlet
developed for deaf and hard of hearing students in developing countries.
Five years from now, I hope to have made an impact on someone else's
life. I think the greatest contribution I can make in this world is to
provide tools for the next generation."
RIT will host its second POSSE June 20-24, 2011. It is open to all local
and regional professors from other colleges and universities. Last
year's POSSE at RIT included professors from three different colleges
and universities and the goal is to extend the 2011 POSSE to reach even
more academic institutions. If you're interested in attending POSSE at
RIT this summer or in hosting a POSSE workshop, please visit http://teachingopensource.org/POSSE.
For more information on RIT's work in FOSS, visit http://foss.rit.edu/2010
For more information about Red Hat, visit www.redhat.com.
For more news, more often, visit www.press.redhat.com.
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