Computer giant Dell and Linux developer and open source champion Red Hat will co-host the first Open Source Security Summit at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 29.

The summit will provide an open forum to discuss and explore how open source technologies, methodologies, tools, and support processes meet the challenges of securing networks and computer systems.

Keynote speakers, panelists and attendees will explore the assertion that the open source development model -- based on code access, community resources and peer-to-peer design review -- results in a more secure software product.

Other topics to be discussed include security innovation and homeland defense; mandates of the open source community in relation to software; integrity, design quality and responsiveness; impact of collaboration and standardization on vulnerability; and accountability and responsiveness.

"Building a stable yet accessible infrastructure to protect critical enterprise data and systems is a daunting challenge for most organizations," said Paul Cormier, executive vice president of engineering at Red Hat. "Solutions which are architected using open source technologies are meeting the challenges of securing systems and delivering to customers the highest level of security. Many of these open source technologies are in production today."

The summit program will feature speakers including Marcus Sachs, the White House Office of Cyberspace Security; Bill Caelli, Queensland School of Software Engineering and Data Communications; Rob Walker, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA); Steve Christey, MITRE Corp.; and Shawn Hernan, CERT Coordination Center.

"Conventional perceptions of security are predicated on the assumption that hidden is secure," said Stacey Quandt of the Giga Group. "Newspaper headlines on security vulnerabilities in many of the markets established by proprietary operating environments underscore the fact that hackers can and do find and exploit back doors and code vulnerabilities. Today some of the most secure operating systems are based on the open source model. The question begs how can you be sure that your environment is secure if you are running a proprietary operating system that cannot be examined or verified for secure coding?"

Information about the summit can be obtained at www.redhat.com/summit/security.