Red Hat is the first company based on Open Source model, which has reached a $1 billion in revenue. This is a big achievement for the Open Source movement. It provides enterprise class operating system platforms, middleware, applications, management products, and support, training, and consulting services. It takes the Open Source products and makes them available to enterprises.
For example it has Red Hat Linux, its flagship product. It also acquired JBoss – open-source enterprise middleware vendor. Red Hat’s story of the initial days is interesting:
In 1993 Bob Young incorporated the ACC Corporation, a catalog business that sold Linux and Unix software accessories. In 1994 Marc Ewing created his own Linux distribution, which he named Red Hat Linux (Ewing had worn a red Cornell University lacrosse hat, given to him by his grandfather, while attending Carnegie Mellon University). Ewing released the software in October, and it became known as the Halloween release. Young bought Ewing’s business in 1995, and the two merged to become Red Hat Software, with Young serving as chief executive officer (CEO).
Red Hat went public on August 11, 1999, achieving the eighth-biggest first-day gain in the history of Wall Street. Matthew Szulik succeeded Bob Young as CEO in December of that year.
On November 15, 1999, Red Hat acquired Cygnus Solutions. Cygnus provided commercial support for free software and housed maintainers of GNU software products such as the GNU Debugger and GNU Binutils. One of the founders of Cygnus, Michael Tiemann, became the chief technical officer of Red Hat and by 2008 the vice president of open source affairs. Later Red Hat acquired WireSpeed, C2Net and Hell’s Kitchen Systems.
In February 2000, InfoWorld awarded Red Hat its fourth consecutive “Operating System Product of the Year” award for Red Hat Linux 6.1. Red Hat acquired Planning Technologies, Inc in 2001 and in 2004 AOL’s iPlanet directory and certificate-server software.
It has been a pioneer in making Open Source business model a successful business venture to invest in.