Harish Pillay


I have been benefited from and contributed to the free software (and later open source software) community since about 1986 when I was in graduate school at Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA.  Most of what I did in the 80s was all done as part of being on ARPAnet and participating in Usenet newsgroups around technology. My earliest experience with free software was when I was working on my Masters thesis that was to build a TCP/IP stack into the OS/2 operating system. I was and am very grateful for the help I received then around the code that I needed to write/adapt to make the whole stack work. If it were not for the fact that the code was available (Stanford TCP/IP and KA9Q), I don't think I would have succeeded in graduating in the time I did.

I returned to Singapore in 1991 and got into the newly available "Linux" and in 1993 founded of the Linux Users' Group (Singapore). This group helped increase the awareness of Free Software in Singapore and South East Asia. I was the organizer of the first Singapore Linux Conference in 1999 (which were repeated in 2000, 2001 and in 2003). LUGS has since spun off many other FOSS groups in Singapore and today there are numerous groups focussing one specific technologies ranging from Linux, PHP, NodeJS, Python, Ruby, DevOps, DevSecOps, OpenStack and so on. It is very heartening to know that some of the work done over 25 years ago, have helped with the growth and use of Free and Open Source software and technology across all industries not only in Singapore but around the Asia Pacific region.

I have, since 2003, been employed by Red Hat doing many roles. I am currently the main person in Asia Pacific that engages across open source communities, CxO conversations and awareness building with the InnerSource models, and being in thought leadership and consultancy roles with governments to foster, among other things, procurement policies that don't discriminate against open source solutions. While the understanding of what FOSS means to enterprises, national resilience and business strategies is growing in Asia Pacific, it still needs an on-the-ground push for the forseeable future.

Last year, a project that I was leading within Red Hat called Prospector, was transferred to the Linux Foundation to be part of CHAOSS.community project. CHAOSS - Community Health Analytics of Open Source Software - is all about determining in a proactive and deterministic manner the state of any open source project. This is a critical aspect of any open source project for these projects do eventually get to transition into open source products that are then incorporated by vendors into products that they ship to customers. There has to be a clear and obvious sense of what is going on with the project(s) that the product(s) evolve from because the reliance and reliability of critical information infrastructures that we are all dependent on is built on OSS.

There are other aspects of the open source movement that needs to be looked at apart from the licensing issues. There are algorithms that have a very powerful influence in what would be the basis of technology that we will all be using/consuming globally. These algorithms and their respective implementations need to have scrutiny and understanding to ensure that unnoticed biases do not creep in. OSI does not today have a focus on that, and one of the areas I would like to drive discussions would be to help define and establish a though and tech framework around algorithms.

Affiliations with other organizations:

a) Member of the Board of Trustees of the Internet Society (three year term)

b) Fellow of the Singapore Computer Society

c) Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Singapore

d) Member of Engineering Accreditation Board, Institution of Engineers, Singapore

e) Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

f) Inducted into Council of Outstanding Early Career Engineers, College of Engineering, Oregon State University

What I Plan To Do:

If I get elected into the board of OSI, I want to bring the message and awareness of OSI to entities in Asia Pacific. This region is where lots of new technology development is happening and it is not always evident that the idea of open source licensing and all the benefits there in. OSI values and messaging needs to be articulated and engaged far more actively in this region.

I would welcome questions and suggestions: I am reachable on Twitter @harishpillay, or by email at h.pillay@ieee.org

Created by Harish Pillay on 2018.03.02 at 11:28:37 PST

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