A billion thanks to the open source community from Red Hat

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A billion thanks to the open source community from Red Hat


Sixteen years ago, few imagined that a handful of people at a Linux start-up in North Carolina were laying the groundwork for an open source business with more than a billion dollars in annual revenue. Yet as we stand at that milestone, and as we take the opportunity to reflect, we believe our success speaks volumes about the power of community.

This billion dollar milestone is not only a win for Red Hat—it is a victory for open source advocates everywhere. Our fight has always been about

something greater than just access to software code. The open source movement is rooted in shared values about knowledge; it is founded on ideas that are both ordinary and revolutionary. As members of this community, we elevate transparency over secrecy. We prize freedom rather than control. This is the open source way: sharing ideas and information, contributing to an intellectual commons that leads to greater innovation and benefits us all.

Last December, Red Hat decided that no billion dollar milestone would be complete without honoring the open source community. To that end, we are making a $100,000 donation to the future of open source. Red Hat associates nominated and voted for the following organizations to benefit:

  • Creative Commons. Creative Commons develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that aims to maximize creativity, sharing, and innovation. Creative Commons licenses offer content creators a simple, standardized way to retain ownership while allowing certain uses of their work—a “some rights reserved” approach to copyright—and making creative, educational, and scientific content freely available.

Learn more at www.creativecommons.org

  • Electronic Frontier Foundation. Defenders of free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights, EFF has championed the public interest in critical battles affecting digital rights. EFF fights for freedom primarily in the courts, bringing and defending lawsuits even when that means taking on the government or large corporations. By mobilizing more than 61,000 concerned citizens through their action center, EFF weighs in on legislative proposals. In addition to advising policymakers, EFF educates the press and public.

Learn more at www.eff.org

  • Software Freedom Law Center. Software Freedom Law Center provides pro-bono legal services to developers of free, libre, and open source software. They offer counsel on the big picture, beyond today’s specific problems, helping projects reach their long-term goals safely and efficiently so developers can concentrate on making great software.

Learn more at www.softwarefreedom.org

  • UNICEF Innovation Labs. Working today in Kosovo, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, UNICEF Innovation Labs bring together the public and private sectors, using open source technology to co-create scalable solutions and transformational approaches to progress the health, welfare, and equity of under-served national populations where the Labs reside. Local collaborators use technological innovation to improve information flow between government and vulnerable communities and to address local needs within the context of national priorities. The UNICEF Innovation Labs are part of UNICEF’s Technology-for-Development (T4D) program.

Learn more at www.kosovoinnovations.org/w/

With so many worthy groups making up the open source community, just narrowing down the choices proved difficult. We hope you will join us in supporting a few of the many fantastic organizations working to make our world more open, free, collaborative, and transparent.

Here’s to the future of open source.

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Jim Whitehurst is President and Chief Executive Officer of Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source enterprise IT products and services. With a background in business development, finance, and global operations, Whitehurst has proven expertise in helping companies flourish—even in the most challenging economic and business environments.


¡Congratulations Red Hat!

And thank you very much for everything you have done for open source. Without doubt and without exaggerated praise, the world would be different without you.

Way to go...my daughter Jenny Severance. So proud of you and your company.

Congratulations Red Hat!

Congratulations and thank you for everything you have done for open source!

Congratulations, this is truly a great milestone in your company's history, but looking forward I wish you the best of success!

And, wow, from my small corner of the FLOSS community, these donations look like they're going to extremely good causes, and so thank you for that!

Thank you for this, it is amazing.
The Unicef innovation labs has been working with our free/libre open source software kosovo group in kosovo http://flossk.org on many joint projects and we will continue to support them. The Unicef labs has also a full time paid staff and offices that need money, and they are located all over the world.

I just wanted to say thanks again and look forward to bringing more red hat and fedora speakers speak in Kosovo, we have monthly flosstalks and organize a yearly conference the software freedom kosovo sfk conference.


Congrats on the milestone. After making one billion dollars in revenue, I would expect you to be able to afford $100,000 each for all four organizations. That's around 0.05% of 1 billion dollars.

Revenue isn't profit!

The importance of this is twofold,
1. redhat is a successful company based on FLOSS
2. they are willing to share the profits with important projects

It does not matter how much money they earn or give, the importance here is that they are earning and are giving. Big up to them!



Well done Red Hat, back in 1998 I had a protracted email debate with a friend who was working for Microsoft. In the end we had a bet; he predicted that Linux would never gain acceptance in the corporate world and it would be primarily a hobbyist operating system. Its about time I collected on that bet. :)

It would be great to know if you're able to collect on that wager. :) In retrospect, a good bet indeed.

While this is a great milestone for open source, there is much more work to be done. We need to let the average person know about the powers of open source software and how the open source way is making an impact--changing the world.

What can you do to help spread the word? What can opensource.com do to help tell the story of open source?


Way to go Red Hat!

¿No love for the FSF?

4 Worthy honorees each proof that the open methodology works to the benefit of all, including those seeking financial profit. A billion dollars indicates that industry is getting it, though it will take a bit longer for them to realize that open source applies to much more than just software and IT solutions. Here's to the next billion.

Here's to the next 10!

What can we do to help spread the open source gospel to the average person? The ones who may not know about open source or the one who've heard about it, but may think, oh, that's just some code?

How can we help relate our open source message to the people who use Twitter and Facebook? To those who watch Dreamworks movies and talk on Android phones but have no clue that they use open source under the covers?

How do we get them to realize the power and potential of the open source movement?


The answer is unfortunately longer than we would wish. The awareness we seek comes from mainly two sources. Firstly education, which is pivotal to any change in cultural direction, especially in but not limited to business schools where the seed for share value over customer/community value is currently sown.

The second is the regular and frequent practice of sharing and collaboration. As you point out the proof of the success of the open movement lies in the public's hands, yet despite familiarity with the use of communication devices there is little to no awareness that they are the product of many different open source developments. However it is not the device directly that will lead people to the necessary realization it is their own actions with and beyond the device that will provide the bridge to understanding. The "ah-ha" moment generally comes when one sees and experiences how knowledge, ideas and constructs can grow and improve with free dialogue and positive interaction. By removing the technological veneer to open source and realizing that the principle of sharing enriches everyone we can spread the gospel. And like other gospels, the Open Movement can spread faster when we walk the walk as well as talking the talk.

We should continue to encourage the adoption, use and proliferation of social media participation, taking it to a maturer level where entertainment and consumerism is secondary to enlightenment and progressive action. And to take it to higher levels we must once more rely on education, but this time not depend on those in the academic community alone; we have to engage and integrate with that community so that we too contribute to the education of ourselves and future generations.

I wish there was a shortcut yet I doubt there is one as I believe that this is a cultural change of such magnitude that either persuasive argument or marketing communication will lack the potency to rewire public thinking. Growth through devotion to practice is the surest path to public acceptance and adoption.

Redhat should give to FFII.org, software patents are coming back in Europe via the central patent court.

Note that EFF has an ambiguous position on swpats.

No need to thank me. Just send cash. ;-)

Seriously though, congrats, and thanks for giving me something to gloat about and tell colleagues "Told ya so, back in 1993" with regards to Linux and FOSS in general.

Nice choice of organizations to spread the wealth to, BTW.


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