OSConf logo       About



Contact Us
Confirmed Speakers


Sponsorship Information

Media Coverage

Planning Committee


Title: "In a free market based democracy, the consumer and the citizen are the same person."

Speaker: Bob Young

The topic of the address is an autobiographical journey through issues such as open source, free software, open content, public domain, public good, entrepreneurship, business, free markets, democracy, customer service, and profits.

Bob will attempt to explain how the 18th Century philosophers, from Adam Smith to Ricardo and Mill he was introduced to at the University of Toronto, can be used to identify business opportunities that lead to highly profitable business ventures and huge social good at the same time. How his toiling in the backwaters of the technology industry for 17 years contributed significantly to his ability to recognize the business opportunity that Open Source, then called Free Software, represented to his and Marc Ewing's starving Red Hat start-up. If time permits he may also attempt the rhetoric contortions of justifying his latest projects, the Ticats and Lulu, as simply logical extensions in a career dedicated to proving (if only by accident) that Adam Smith was right.

Biographical Sketch
Robert F. (Bob) Young is a prominent native of Hamilton, Ontario, and a successful technology entrepreneur. A true open source visionary, Bob's success in developing Red Hat into a household name have won him prestigious honours, including having been named one of Business Week Magazine's "Top Entrepreneurs" in 1999. Bob graduated from the University of Toronto in 1976 prior to beginning his career in the computer finance arena.

Before founding Red Hat in 1993, Bob spent 20 years at the helm of two computer-leasing companies he founded. That experience as a high tech entrepreneur combined with his innate marketing savvy to give rise to Red Hat's success. His book, Under the Radar, chronicles how Red Hat's open source strategy successfully won wide industry acceptance in a market previously dominated by proprietary binary-only systems.

In 1999 Bob founded The Center for the Public Domain, a non-profit foundation that supports the growth of a healthy and robust public domain of knowledge and the arts. In March 2002, Bob Young launched Lulu.com, a web site that allows businesses, educators, artists, musicians, and others to publish and sell their own books, images, multimedia and music. Lulu challenges conventional publishing models by allowing content creators and owners to bring work directly to market without surrendering control of their intellectual property. The enterprise is driven by Bob's strong commitment to information access as a foundation for knowledge advancement, whether in education, computer code, or other realms.

Recently, Bob became the official owner of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League. When his ownership of the team was announced in October, he pledged to "make the Hamilton Tiger-Cats the most entertaining team in the CFL!"