How Red Hat became the world's first billion dollar open source company - An interview with CEO Jim WhitehurstSubmitted by Rianne Schestowitz on Thursday 14th of April 2016 05:04:32 PM Filed under
In my first month at Red Hat, we made several significant decisions, some I was not involved in. I recognized then that an organization allowed to see things in the market and respond quickly, without an order coming down the chain of command, has the ability to be extremely competitive. What's more, because people feel empowered to act, they're more engaged.
We don't experience change management problems the way other organizations do. While being open means including more people and weighing their feedback, all of which can take time, once we've made a decision at Red Hat, things happen quickly. I would say we spend more time in the decision-making process so that once decisions are made, execution is fast.
My first open source project was GIMP. In second grade, I made a cover for a small book I wrote. My dad taught me how to deal with layers so that I ended up looking like I was hugging a fictional character (Fancy Nancy!). As far as the first open source project for other kids, I would suggest OpenShot [video editor]. It was my brother's first open source program, too. It's so simple to use, but complex enough so that kids can get a head start into a more advanced field—video editing.
Hiroshi Lockheimer loves seeing his work in the hands of strangers.
That simple fact is what he credits with his decision to take a job at Google a decade ago -- and maybe, just maybe, give himself the chance to have his software show up on phones around the world.
It was a dream that seemed both distant and wild at the time.
"We were a tiny, tiny part of Google," Lockheimer remembers, thinking back to his early days with the company -- when Android was still a closely guarded top-secret project. "We were kind of an outpost of an outpost of an outpost type of thing."
This seems obvious, but the ability to learn independently is very important to successful student participation in HFOSS projects. Students have to be able to learn in a variety of manners from a range of different sources, and they need to take ownership of their learning in order to flourish in an open source community.
Communication, teamwork and the ability to problem solve are also critical skills. While understanding technologies such as version control is emphasized by most open source communities, students who don't understand how to navigate a professional environment by communicating clearly or who can't work on a team won't even get to the point of using those technologies. These process skills can sometimes be more difficult to teach than teaching a student Java.
This development caught Torvald, Linux's founder, by surprise -- 15 years ago. "I never see the entire chain running Linux. Twenty five years ago I started Linux wanting a workstation. From that to a server wasn't a surprise. There was no single point where I was surprised, but 15 years ago I started seeing these odd, embedded systems. The first one that really caught my eye was a gas pump running Linux."
Today, Torvalds continued, "Many changes have been invisible. Even I don't see all the uses of Linux."
GNU social was created as a companion to my earlier project, GNU FM, which we created to build the social music platform, Libre.fm. After only a few short months, Libre.fm had over 20,000 users and I realized I didn't want to be another social media silo like MySpace or Facebook, so I came up with this vague idea called GNU social. A few prototypes were built, and eventually we started making GNU social as a series of plugins for Evan Prodromou's StatusNet project, with some help from Ian Denhardt, Craig Andrews and Steven DuBois. Later, StatusNet, GNU social and Free&Social (a fork of StatusNet) would merge into a single project called GNU social. If that sounds confusing and convoluted, it is.
Linus Torvalds created the original core of the Linux operating system in 1991 as a computer science student at the University of Helsinki in Finland. Linux rapidly grew into a full-featured operating system that can now be found running smartphones, servers, and all kinds of gadgets. In this e-mail interview, Torvalds reflects on the last quarter century and what the next 25 years might bring.
Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, said developers are now targeting the company’s Ubuntu platform for “game changing” areas such as Network Function Virtualisation and Internet of Things.
Last month, the company significantly boosted its convergence strategy, unveiling the first Ubuntu-powered tablet, from European vendor BQ, following earlier launches in the smartphone space.