Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the release of the Open Source Index, a study in conjunction with the Georgia Institute of Technology comparing and contrasting open source activity and environment across 75 countries. 

The global growth of open source continues to increase across the private sector, government and individuals.  As an industry leader, Red Hat presents this study to the community as a framework and tool for furthering the interest and understanding of open source adoption.

The study measures open source using two separate indices:  one for activity and another for environment. The activity index measures the amount of open source currently present in a country and includes concrete factors such as existing open source and open standards policies and the number of open source software users or producers.  The environment index includes factors at a country level that may further, or coexist with, open source activity such as a high number of Internet users.  An interactive map highlighting country rankings is available here .

“Red Hat hopes the Open Source Index will serve as a resource for those within the open source community along with others who are curious about open source to start building relationships and further foster worldwide open source growth,” stated Tom Rabon, vice president, Corporate Affairs for Red Hat. “The message of the benefits and value open source delivers is resonating across the globe and there are several geographies that present a great opportunity for open source adoption.” 

Researchers from Georgia Tech developed the framework for measuring open source usage after reviewing an extensive collection of academic literature, professional and general media and holding in-depth interviews with open source experts and practitioners.  Each of the 75 countries identified in the study received a summary score for activity and environment.  Both activity and environment were measured on three dimensions:  government, industry and community/education.  Then, each dimension within activity and environment was measured along several quantitative indicators.

“As the study indicates, open source is thriving across the globe,” stated Dr. Paul M.A. Baker, Director of Research for the Center for Advanced Communications Policy (CACP) at Georgia Tech.  “In keeping with the open source model, we see this study as a starting point and look to others to continue to build on the information contained in the study to make it more comprehensive and reflective of the expansion of the open source software model.”

“In completing this study, open source has piqued the interest of Georgia Tech and our students and we’ve established a course on open source policy which is being taught for the second time during the spring 2009 semester,” stated Dr. Douglas S. Noonan, associate professor at the School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech.  “Through this class we plan to continue the discussion on why open source succeeds in some countries but struggles to take hold in other regions.”

The complete Open Source Index is available for download here .

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