The volume of people in this part of the country speaking a language other than English has helped the company no end in consolidating its presence in Brisbane.
Paul Gampe, vice-president of the Engineering Services and Operations group at Red Hat, (pic below left) elaborated on these facts and others during the Business in Open Source mini-conference, part of the 12th Australian national Linux conference in Brisbane, this morning.
In his talk, titled "What is Red Hat doing in Brisbane?" Gampe traced the evolution of the company, from its early days when it was just a sales and marketing outlet for the region to one where practically all major functions are being done out of this city.
With 3000 employees in 66 offices in 30 countries, it would seem somewhat incongruous that Brisbane, not the best known city internationally, would be playing such a major role.
But the availability of people who can deal with the complexity of Asia on its own terms, in large part, has helped Brisbane become a major centre for development.
Gampe said Brisbane co-ordinated the activities of the offices in India, China and South Korea.
The strengths of these countries - the programming talent in China, the abundance of people who were used to dealing with language issues in India and the embedded device skills in South Korea - had been marshalled to help in consolidation.
Brisbane had an economic advantage in that it provided a good return on salaries paid in Australian dollars; Melbourne and Sydney were much dearer.
Australia's nominal interest rates, the stable dollar, the pool of both English- and European-language speakers, the increasing number of Asian language speakers and the government acceptance of multiculturalism were others pluses that Gampe cited.
The facts that Gampe advanced showed that there is a strong market for open source in the Asian region.
For example, China is looking to GNU/Linux to overcome the use of unauthorised software while India has become an affiliate of the Free Software Foundation and is using free software to build a project for providing unique IDs to every member of its burgeoning population to curb fraud.
Thus, Gampe said, there would be plenty of openings for people who were competent in implementing open source solutions.
He added that the growth of open source was tied to the way it fed into the community; there were lots of people who were doing things at Red Hat who were also leaders in their own communities.
As the use of IPv6 grew, it was certain that Asia would be the largest area of use for at least the next 10 years.
It was easy to find engineers to implement IPv6, and therefore not that expensive, unlike in the US where most of those competent in this field had already been snapped up by the defence department, Gampe said.