30 years of Red Hat

Red Hat turns 30

Linux has been with us for a long time and free software for much longer, so it is not surprising that there are projects that have a couple of decades behind them. However, Red Hat's 30 years are a testament to the power of open source.

Before being acquired by IBM, Red Hat it was the first independent free software-based company to achieve record capitalization and profits. Novell no longer exists, Oracle didn't start with free software, and Canonical was founded by a millionaire, so we can say that it is the only one that was made from awith

30 years of Red Hat

30 years ago, two years after Linus Torvalds published the first version of the Linux kernel and Richard Stallman the second under the GPL, a small businessman met at a technology conference a young man who had created his own Linux distribution and distributed it on cd's by mail from his home in North Carolina.

It all started when Bob Young, who was selling computer parts by mail order from his home in Connecticut, he bought multiple copies of the distribution and added them to his catalog. They sold like hot cakes.

The name arose because Marc Ewing, the creator of the distribution, always wore a red cap that belonged to his grandfather. Every time someone needed help in their university's computer lab they would send them to talk to "the one in the red cap." The cap was not the fedora hat of the current logo but one of Lacrosse, a sport of native origin very popular in certain regions of the United States.

However, the first logo was neither but a top hat over the words Red Hat. Frankly, I could tell it's a top hat from the description. To me it's an arrow pointing down. Later they changed it to the black silhouette of a man walking with a briefcase. The only note of color is a red hat. Created by a company engineer modifying a clip art.

In 1996 the first logo was registered and the red fedora hat made its appearance on the head of the "Shadow Man". This superhero, looking like a spy or private detective, tries to reflect the philosophy of the company. Let's remember that it was the nineties in which Microsoft began its reign and the model of proprietary software licenses was the rule. The shadow man came to challenge the foundations of the industry with products based on community collaboration and the free distribution of information.

In 1999 Red Hat achieved its first financial success with a public stock offering. in which it achieved a capitalization of five billion dollars a day after its debut.

In 2001 the business model changed. Instead of selling the software in a box, loe began to distribute it on a subscription basis and aimed exclusively at the corporate market. The distribution changed its name to Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

In 2012, Red Hat became the first company based on open source technologies to exceed one billion dollars in revenue. Four years later, he passed the barrier of two billion dollars in revenue. In 2018 the hat became the undisputed protagonist of the logo.

In which many of us feared its end, IBM consummated the acquisition of the largest software company in history by buying Red Hat for thirty-four billion dollars. Fortunately, the company continued to maintain its independence beyond some controversial decisions such as forcing CentOS to become a test bench or using its power in various communities behind open source projects to impose its technologies over the developments of its competitors.

Someone said that things are as they are and not as they should be. Today the Linux world is dominated by corporations and Red Hat had a lot to do with it. It may be part of a large company, but it's still a bottom-up company that, while I at least don't like the way it does it, devotes its considerable resources to supporting various open source projects.

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