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Red Hat Software Businesses Linux Business

Interview with Red Hat's New CEO 129

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the impossible-growth-charts-impress-investors dept.
mjasay writes "Red Hat just got a new CEO, Jim Whitehurst, but based on a recent CNET interview with him, he's cut from the same cloth as Matthew Szulik, Red Hat's former CEO. He won't buy an iPod because it won't play Ogg Vorbis files. He refused other CEO roles because he 'must have a mission.' He suggests that taking proprietary shortcuts is a fundamentally wrong way to build a software business. And he believes Red Hat should be doing $5 billion, not $500 million. It's a question of operational excellence and on focusing on its core businesses, according to Whitehurst."
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Interview with Red Hat's New CEO

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  • by MrKaos (858439) on Friday January 04, 2008 @06:37PM (#21916250) Journal
    iriver?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by 427_ci_505 (1009677)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Facetious (710885)
        I bought my wife an iAudio mp3 player from Cowon for the very reason that it plays ogg files. It works beautifully.
    • by sqldr (838964)
      and xclef. i have one of both. i had an iriver, and I lost it. the xclef x500 was cheaper, so I bought it. Then I found my iriver. £20 if anyone wants it :-D
    • by kbahey (102895) on Friday January 04, 2008 @07:55PM (#21917008) Homepage
      Actually devices that you can put the alternative Rockbox firmware [rockbox.org] on them do support OGG. This includes Sansa, Archos, iRiver, Cowon and others.
      • by MrKaos (858439)
        Thanks for that, it's bothered me for a long time that all the music has to be mp3. I want to use ogg too because I want to do all I can to migrate away from solutions with patent restrictions. Iriver said they play ogg, but my H10 didn't.

        I'll be checking out rockbox, thanks again!!!!

        • by empaler (130732)
          Ha! You're the lucky one [slashdot.org]!
          • by MrKaos (858439)
            For sure! I was bummed out by it, I have another iriver (ifp-795) which plays oggs but difficult to connect to under linux (*sigh*) and the H10 has a fiddly database that has to be updated by using easyh10 [sourceforge.net] - ok for me - but not my girlfriend. I tried the iriver x20 and it worked straight away under linux (i.e connecting to and transferring files to) but I haven't tried ogg on it yet.

      • by glwtta (532858) on Friday January 04, 2008 @10:38PM (#21918550) Homepage
        This includes Sansa, Archos, iRiver, Cowon and others.

        All Cowon players support Ogg out of the box (as well as just about every single other audio and video format). They actually have a really nice line-up all around; some of the best sound quality you will find in portables, too.

        Now if only they hadn't crippled the A3 with that "you've-got-to-be-joking" battery life...
    • by sqldr (838964)
      incidentally, the iriver H10 didn't support ogg. After claiming a microsoft "plays for sure!" license, they had to drop ogg support to get it. Then a microsoft lawyer versed in the antitrust judgement realised that this was contrarary to the ruling. The judgement wasn't entirely in vain. Later iriver models support ogg, due to the antitrust ruling. There is hope, and some thing did come good out of that ruling :-) I'm more scared of apple these days.
      • by Znork (31774)
        Wow, that would be MS outdoing themselves. Do you have any source for the license issue?

        I'd figured it was only iRiver misjudging the market, talking to MS, and getting repeatedly screwed with a jackhammer as PFS was dumped.

        One would wonder why the some in the industry keep repeating that mistake. Any deal with Microsoft has only one winner.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Actually, I modified my iPod Video with Rockbox to make it play OGGs.
    • Check out the iRiver S10. Plays oog files like a charm. Only hitch is it doesn't recognize .m3u or .pls playlists. :(
    • by Orp (6583)
      Trekstor Vibez. It also plays FLAC and of course MP3, and WAV and WMA.

      http://www.trekstor.de/en/products/detail_mp3.php?pid=66 [trekstor.de]

      I spent a couple solid days researching the options, because I also refused to get a player that did not do non-proprietary lossless and lossy audio, and found this to be a decent solution. I thought about doing the RockBox route but wanted something I didn't have to hack right away to get to work. I've had one for a year and have had no problems. Only downside is disk space is lower
      • by MrKaos (858439)
        It looks like a really nice player, does it mount like a flash drive under linux? If it does, are you free from having to mess around with a database on the player. What I'm getting at here is are you able to just copy the song files onto the player/unplug/listen.

        • by Orp (6583)

          It looks like a really nice player, does it mount like a flash drive under linux? If it does, are you free from having to mess around with a database on the player. What I'm getting at here is are you able to just copy the song files onto the player/unplug/listen.

          Yes, it does. You connect it via USB and it automounts as /mnt/music under Fedora (assuming you have automount running) and you can just copy/drag files to/from the top-level folder. You can put folders in folders to organize things. It reads flac/idv3/etc tags and rebuilds its own internal database after you move stuff and unmount it. Piece of cake.

    • by porjo (964384)
      Samsung U3 plays ogg files, however it doesn't seem to support tags in ogg files.
    • by richlv (778496)
      irivers were nice at some point - they offered very small form factor cd player with radio built-in, firmware upgrades and ogg support. for several years now i've been disappointed now - most the devices are mtp only, they don't answer to queries about products, website is flash only...

      so i'm for a while looking for a viable device, ideally with a community around an open firmware, officially supported by the vendor. who knows, maybe openmoko/neo will be the new best portable music player :)
  • Yes... (Score:1, Funny)

    by PaisteUser (810863)
    But does he run Linux?
  • I like the guy. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by alexborges (313924) on Friday January 04, 2008 @06:43PM (#21916338)
    I think this guy is a hands-on bussiness guy that "gets" open source. Im not sure I want to believe he is a "believer", but he plays it well enough to think that he "gets" what we, the community, want.

    He says that redhat should be making about 8 times more money than it does now. I agree with him. The spectacular growth linux as a plataform has enjoyed is spread out between many other distros, and thus the next step is convincing some in other linux platform that the redhat value proposition is a better way to go. If I was him, for example, id introduce a discount and some free consulting if you're migrating from competing platforms.

    Remember, subscription is a long term bussiness. You dont get your wealth of money until time passes and youre able to amortize the initial costs of getting your distro to the customer and deploying a sales network, so, as a bussiness model, I think redhat and suse can ONLY grow in revenue (I love this FOSS thingie, it will make many of us a decent living doing what we love).

    Now, i really know certain stuff that goes on inside redhat (im not directly related to them, but lets say they've been my clients at some point in time). This is a very cost-effective operation, totally commited to increasing revenue in every little single aspect of it. The last CEO was very effective in conveying a corporate philosophy that saves and saves and saves money and resources, and i think it has resulted in supperb products and services, from my POV, the best in the industry; and not in huge salaries for executives and the kind of corporate shit that kills good companies.

    I wish the best to redhat with this new guy they have, I think he should be focusing in providing a better and better positioning for the redhat brand in the IT support and services industry; and to leverage the potential of the Red Hat Exchange idea. If they hit it with that one, they'll grow fourfold in less than two years, mark my words.
    • There's a reason why the popular distros are Debian based. Apt just plain works better than rpm. It handles dependency management far better, and if a repository is down, installers like apt-get based on apt note that the repo is down and keep right on going. I went from FC6 to Debian Etch a year ago, and installation has worked so much better since then that my main regret about Debian is that I didn't do it right to begin with and start my Linux experience with it.

      SuSE YaST works better than yum for so
      • by richlv (778496)
        actually, you don't want to change the rpm, you want to have better tools around it - which is exactly the direction that is taking place.
        suse broke things some time ago heavily, then somewhat fixed it with their new zypper libs.
        redhat is improving things with yum.
        and then there are other package managers that do quite a good job - for example, smart.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Znork (31774)
        "popular distros are Debian based"

        That's a rather debatable statement.

        "Apt just plain works better than rpm"

        To make a car analogy, that's like saying buses work much better than people.

        rpm (the file format) is comparable with .deb, rpm (the command) is comparable with dpkg, apt would be comparable with yum or up2date or something. rpm is a package format and its tool, apt is a highlevel package management system (which, iirc, can also handle rpms...).

        "A year or so ago, RH promised to fix rpm to make it as u
      • "There's a reason why the popular distros are Debian based."

        Like Red Hat, Fedora or SUSE you mean, don't you?

        "Apt just plain works better than rpm"

        Here you show your craptacular ignorance regarding what are you talking about. Therefore everything else you say is moot and completely disposable.

        Just for your leisure:
        Apt and rpm are *NOT* comparable. Dpkg and rpm are.

        Now, since neither rpm nor dpkg are there to deal with package dependency download/resolution can you please tell us what the hell are you talk
  • I just wanted to know whether he'd switch Redhat to apt and .deb in the near future, and whether he sees a significant role for KDE in Redhat's core business plans. In my opinion, Redhat should switch to apt and KDE.
    • Are apt repos easier to maintain than yum repos?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by quintesse (654840)
        No, actually it's the other way around, that's why all 3rd party RedHat/Fedora repositories have already switched to the yum format years ago.
    • by Pros_n_Cons (535669) on Friday January 04, 2008 @07:54PM (#21916980)
      I just wanted to know whether he'd switch Redhat to apt and .deb in the near future

      Why would he do that? RPM has many more features, more of an industry standard, etc and yum has just as many features as apt including some apt doesn't have. There is a yum is faster and uses cache just like apt and even has plugins like fast mirror. A yum update takes me 3 seconds across several different repositories. like adobe, livna, updates and kernel mods so the speed is not a problem either like 90% of other distro users still believe.
      I really hope that people get with the new decade and see RPM's are just fine since 10 years ago when you tried installing gimp.suse.rpm on a redhat box.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ash Vince (602485)

      I just wanted to know whether he'd switch Redhat to apt and .deb in the near future, and whether he sees a significant role for KDE in Redhat's core business plans. In my opinion, Redhat should switch to apt and KDE.

      He probably will not do anything of the kind. CEO stands for Chief Executive Officer, not Choosing Engineering Officer. The sort of decisions you mention are technological decisions (yes, even the KDE one). He makes decisions like "aim our products at a more accessible market" then gets other people to come up with various ideas as to how to achieve that aim. CEO's are there to give a company direction not choose which technology to use to solve a particular problem.

      Not that this guy would be unable to, bu

      • by bogaboga (793279)
        Do you know that a fish starts rotting at the head? Or do you know that if Redhat adopted KDE, the CEO (the Chief Executive Officer) would be the first person to get the "heat" from inquisitive minds? Have you been under a rock or something?
      • by McDutchie (151611) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @01:44AM (#21919750) Homepage

        In response to your comment about KDE there is a very good reason that RedHat use Gnome by default (IMHO): It is more like windows.

        The problem with KDE is that the people who design the interface refuse to acknowledge that Windows is what everyone is used to and you need to make the transition away from that as easy as possible. Gnome has certain key features (like cut and paste) that are as close to the windows functionality as possible.

        You have it exactly backwards. GNOME's user interface has become more and more like Mac OS X in several important ways, like the file chooser dialog, spatial file manager, program menu at the top of the screen, etc. etc. while KDE emulates Windows in just about every way (except it adds a bunch of features Windows doesn't have).

        And where on earth did you get the mistaken idea that KDE does not support Windows-style cut and paste? It always has.

        No, the real reason GNOME is dominant in business-oriented distributions is GTK's more liberal licensing: LGPL instead of Qt's GPL/commercial dual licensing. That means you can make a GTK/GNOME-based commercial, closed-source product without having to buy a license from the GUI toolkit's maker. With Qt and hence with KDE, that is not possible.

        • No, the real reason GNOME is dominant in business-oriented distributions is GTK's more liberal licensing: LGPL instead of Qt's GPL/commercial dual licensing. That means you can make a GTK/GNOME-based commercial, closed-source product without having to buy a license from the GUI toolkit's maker. With Qt and hence with KDE, that is not possible.

          That is correct. However it isn't just commercial licenses that have a problem, it is any non-approved FOSS license. Trolltech accept quite a lot of them, but not all (witness recent GPL3 issues with Samba). Whereas GNOME sees the desktop as a foundation, just like the Linux kernel - you can run whatever you want on it. Only if you change the foundation do you need to comply with its license.

          The other important reason is that GNOME has a regular, consistent release schedule - every 6 months. KDE, on the

    • by Ilgaz (86384) *
      Redhat's core business means Enterprise, large scale installations, racing with AIX/Z OS on Mainframes.

      I don't think they are actually caring to race with Ubuntu or any easy desktop Linux. RPM is very widely used for Business kinds of things. I am not saying apt or deb are desktop things of course. I am saying Redhat cares about what their core business wants. It seems they want RPM for some reason.

      PS: I was moderator until I replied to one comment, I had no clue which genius marked you as "offtopic". It se
    • by 1lus10n (586635)
      and I wouldnt touch Red Hat with a stick if the CEO was making technical decisions like this.
  • Great News! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by filbranden (1168407) on Friday January 04, 2008 @06:49PM (#21916442)

    Great News! I hope this guy does as much as he speaks!

    Red Hat is a great company, has very good products, but still has to enhance its support. Also, with Ubuntu getting market share on desktops, and SuSE trying to grab some piece of the servers pie (although I don't think they will after the Microsoft deal), Red Hat needs someone like him to lead it so that it keeps its leadership.

    I wish well to Mr. Whitehurst and sincerelly hope he can make Red Hat grow as much as he plans to!

    • by ImaLamer (260199)
      SuSE trying to grab some piece of the servers pie (although I don't think they will after the Microsoft deal)

      That's crazy talk. Novell, remember they own Suse, was the major networking infrastructure player before Microsoft got into the mix. To say that they don't want to return to their former glory is to ignore that they've bought a Linux company for dominance of both aspects of the overall corporate business software market ([directory and rights management] servers and desktops). Novell has made huge st
  • by mwilliamson (672411) on Friday January 04, 2008 @06:50PM (#21916450) Homepage Journal
    Hey Jim, you can play ogg vorbis on an Ipod, so fear not. You just need to replace its built-in O/S with Linux first. Rockbox [rockbox.org] makes this possible, and easy to do. http://www.linuxjournal.com/node/1005957 [linuxjournal.com]
    • by Neil Hodges (960909) on Friday January 04, 2008 @06:55PM (#21916522)
      Umm, RockBox isn't Linux. It does share some code with iPL, but it isn't a Linux derivative itself, though it does give the iPod the ability to play more formats than Apple does. Unfortunately, RockBox doesn't run on the 6G iPod Classic, 2G or later Nano, nor the iPod Touch. I got the 5G Video after the 6G was released, and on clearance from the somewhat-local Apple Store.
      • by allcar (1111567) on Friday January 04, 2008 @09:10PM (#21917780)
        But his point is still sound. He won't buy an iPod, because Apple are not supporting Ogg Vorbis. Just because you can replace the firmware does not change this. Apple still get the money from you.
        • Apple has gone out of their way to make sure you can no longer replace the OS on the newer models. If they'd support ogg, they'd have a great product. As it is, there is a whole market segment that finds the iPod completely useless.

          I switched from MP3 to ogg in 2003, and I'm not about to reburn hundreds of CDs just because Apple can't be bothered to include ogg support. They should have been supporting ogg years ago.

          Jim Whitehurst is on the right side of this issue, and Apple would do well to pay att

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by bot24 (771104)
      Rockbox does play Ogg Vorbis(and Speex) but is not Linux. There is iPod Linux if you really want Linux on your iPod.
    • Wallet vote (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DrYak (748999) on Friday January 04, 2008 @10:15PM (#21918382) Homepage
      His refusal to buy iPod has also to do with that stuff called "vote-with-your-wallet" that /.ers are often talking about.

      Yes, by buy an iPod and replacing the firmware with Rockbox he *could* get OGG/Vorbis to play on his iPod.
      *BUT*, by doing so, he would be giving money and thus encouraging a company that refuses to support OGG/Vorbis out of the box and that is known to actively discorage homebrew hacking of their hardware (see iPhone).

      He would be better giving his money to a company that does openly support OGG/Vorbis (Samsung or the countless no-name asian USB stick/media players) or at least a company that publicly encourage 3rd party developers and 3rd party media codecs. ...On the other hand, at least the iPod isn't some PlaysForSure crap...
      • by novakyu (636495)
        Hey, Cowon isn't a "no-name asian" company. In fact, their players are one of the best out there (a number of CNet and other user reviews will confirm this). I personally owned iAudio U3 [cowonamerica.com] a while ago, and in the time that I had it, I had absolutely no complaint whatsoever. Great audio quality, good access as general USB mass storage device with folder structure (none of that MSC crap), and, of course, Ogg support. I almost took that support for granted, until I lost that small player and had to buy a cheap-o
    • I got an iPod nano 2nd generation when I bought my macbook, and I would really like to put rockbox on it because I have a lot of songs in vorbis format. Unfortunately Apple started encrypting their firmware in so that people can't easily replace them. I believe the same thing is true with most of the new iPods, not just the nanos, so be sure to check the rockbox site to make sure it's compatible before buying an iPod if you're counting on the vorbis compatibility.

      • by Ilgaz (86384) *

        I got an iPod nano 2nd generation when I bought my macbook, and I would really like to put rockbox on it because I have a lot of songs in vorbis format. Unfortunately Apple started encrypting their firmware in so that people can't easily replace them. I believe the same thing is true with most of the new iPods, not just the nanos, so be sure to check the rockbox site to make sure it's compatible before buying an iPod if you're counting on the vorbis compatibility.

        If you like Ogg, why don't you sell iPod 2nd generation on eBay by reason of "It doesn't play my favorite format", buy a player which can play natively instead of still using iPod and hacking its firmware?

        I keep asking same question to iPhone people too. If you are in need of 3rd party software, why did you buy iPhone at first place? Symbian, WinCE, Linux based smart phones can run 3rd party software down to antivirus/antispam deep level running stuff.

        If they don't enable ogg while everything is open and f

        • If you like Ogg, why don't you sell iPod 2nd generation on eBay by reason of "It doesn't play my favorite format", buy a player which can play natively instead of still using iPod and hacking its firmware?...If they don't enable ogg while everything is open and free to implement, they are sending a message. It is up to you and others to respond to that message by not buying it.

          The overall reason people buy iPods and hack the firmware is because they like the iPod hardware (and size, looks etc), and wish it would do something else. What's wrong with that? We're all geeks here, and we're all attracted to the idea of making something good better. Either way, the reason *I* got an iPod was because I got it for free with my macbook with their "buy a mac, get a nano" promotion they had for college students last summer.

          Since I can't replace my nano's firmware and get it to do wha

    • by ceeam (39911)
      Their page says:

      Apple: 1st through 5.5th generation iPod, iPod Mini and 1st generation iPod Nano
      (not the Shuffle, 2nd/3rd gen Nano, Classic or Touch)

      So - only really old iPods are supported, right?
  • by NerveGas (168686) on Friday January 04, 2008 @06:51PM (#21916480)

        Isn't their core business providing SRPMS to CentOS?
  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Friday January 04, 2008 @07:01PM (#21916612) Journal
    The software on Linux is good, but not as good as the stuff you pay for. What he should do is cozy up to Adobe and get them to port the Creative Suite over to Linux, and then sell Adobe CS(4 or 5 or whatever) on a dedicated box running RedHat Linux.

    They'd all make a fortune.

    And it would give Linux the software it so desperately needs to survive.

    RS

    • by alexborges (313924) on Friday January 04, 2008 @08:32PM (#21917398)
      Gosh, what is it with people that think linux needs this or that to "survive". Linux is by far the most ported OS of all time, it works everywere in embeded devices, probably in your wifi router, probably in your home isdn/cable/ADSL router.

      It powers google, a good chunk of yahoo and im pretty sure some good part of the online infrastructure at microsoft, ibm, hp and many other non-it related companies.

      Linux is NEVER going to die, with or without adobe on board. Adobe is not porting due to they feeling its not worth it. But FOSS may very well give them a run for their money. Weve done it before, we will do it again and, when the time comes that Adobe sees a market for linux, they may very well end up being the underdog in our ecosystem due to them not starting to compete earlyer with equivalent foss solutions.

      Now. Is Linux going to Conquer The World? I dunno. I hope it does.
      • by aliquis (678370)
        Amiga doesn't die either, thought it doesn't help much ...

        Exactly what have "we" (or "you") done? Made a UNIX environment thru GNU and Linux? Well, at the rate that has happened I guess Gimp may be comparable to Photoshop in 10-15 years, or 15-20 years for a whole new suite. Thought then the Adobe suit contains much more than Photoshop.

        I hope it doesn't, anything conquering the world will be bad, I want alternatives and new ideas. Personally I'd rather see a completely new "multimedia OS" than an old UNIX c
    • by burnin1965 (535071) on Friday January 04, 2008 @10:13PM (#21918370) Homepage

      What he should do is cozy up to Adobe and get them to port the Creative Suite over to Linux, and then sell Adobe CS(4 or 5 or whatever) on a dedicated box running RedHat Linux
      I can understand not taking the time to read the article before posting, but did you even bother to read the summary your responding to?

      "He suggests that taking proprietary shortcuts is a fundamentally wrong way to build a software business."

      Its not likely that people are going to switch to linux because one popular proprietary application runs on linux, OSX, and Windows. They'll likely take the easiest route and stick with the status quo and purchase the Adobe software to run on their existing Windows/OSX box. Which means the effort required to get Adobe to port their apps to linux is pointless. If anything its a benefit to Adobe to port their apps if they want to sell them to people like me who are currently outside of their market possibilities because I refuse to run Windows or OSX, I use linux for my desktop.

      I take his stance to be that if the open source apps on linux are not good enough then the correct solution is to put effort into the linux alternative apps, not take a short cut and try to get a proprietary vendor to port their closed source proprietary apps.

      And given that the effort to do it the right way will be more difficult than giving in to short cuts, the pay offs would be bigger as well. If Red Hat can undercut the cost of a Windows/OSX system and Adobe apps for a development workstation by utilizing 100% non-proprietary open source applications then they will have a compelling reason for people to switch and consider Red Hat subscription services to support their platform choice.

      Undercutting the massive profit margins on proprietary software is far more compelling than giving in to the same.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TechForensics (944258)

        I can understand not taking the time to read the article before posting, but did you even bother to read the summary your responding to?

        You must be new here.

      • by zig007 (1097227)

        Its not likely that people are going to switch to linux because one popular proprietary application runs on linux, OSX, and Windows.

        I think you're completely wrong. I'd say it's THE application that would tip the scales for a whole bunch of desktop users who then would have no reason not to run Linux anymore. No, GIMP is not an option since learning that is much more expensive than keep using windows, also it is not the de facto standard(which Photoshop and Illustrator are).

      • by aliquis (678370)
        BS, a lot of people would be way more willing to run Linux if they could run their regular apps or games.
    • by Ilgaz (86384) *
      Adobe's core business/design users doesn't run Linux so they don't spend millions to convert their products to Linux OS. It has nothing to do with Linux being dead or something. The professionals paying that money to those suites and enterprise solutions either runs Windows or OS X.

      A good example would be Adobe Premiere Pro. On OS X land, an AVI based video editor is a joke. Everything is Quicktime based. They have never cared to move Premiere Pro line to PowerPC OS X since they really knew everyone either
  • by NoMaster (142776) on Friday January 04, 2008 @07:23PM (#21916652) Homepage Journal
    "I believe what you believe ... blah blah blah ... trust me, I'm good, not evil ... blah blah blah ... again, I believe what you believe ... we're great, but we should be 10x better ... blah blah blah ... you need to work harder, focus more, and buy our stuff .. blah blah blah".

    If this is "News For Nerds" to you, then you've been living under a rock for the last 30+ years...

    • Blah, blah, blah? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Gazzonyx (982402)
      He doesn't have to say "I believe what you believe... blah, blah, blah"; this man walks the walk.
      from Can an airline exec run Red Hat? You'd be surprised [zdnet.com]

      Whitehurst has a geek streak. On last night's earnings conference call Szulik noted:

      As we went through the recruiting process, we did interview a number of people that I am sure are familiar to this audience listening from the technology industry and what we encountered, of course, was in many cases a lack of understanding of open source software development, a lack of understanding of our model. And as importantly for me, the open mindedness that would come to both the creation of new economic models and contemporary thinking as it relates to software development.

      In my first meeting with Jim Whitehurst, we discussed the four Linux distributions that he was running on his home personal network. He was running Fedora Core 6 and Fedora Core 7 at home. He was running Slackware at home and he was an experienced software developer up until the time that he was at BCG (Boston Consulting Group). So we are getting a technically savvy executive who happens to have strong operational, financial, and strategic skills and it was in my view that in comparison to his peers that were finalists for the job, that he stood head and shoulders above, in light of all of the qualities that we were looking for in my successor.

      Don't make assumptions about the suits the same way they make assumptions about us (the geeks).

  • by joeflies (529536) on Friday January 04, 2008 @07:27PM (#21916700)
    "Red Hat should be doing $5 billion, not $500 million." - OK, sounds like he wants to grow the top line, which is an expansion of revenue. So how's he going to do it?

    "It's a question of operational excellence and on focusing on its core businesses" - whoops, looks like his corporate speak backing statement is talking about cutting costs, not top line growth. You can make a company more profitable with these tasks, but it doesn't outline how you're going to make more money.

    • by RotateLeftByte (797477) on Friday January 04, 2008 @07:51PM (#21916940)
      There is no way in hell that you can get from $500M to $5B just by cutting costs unless of course, your cost base is totally messed up and by all accounts that is not true at RH.

      RH will have to grow and improve its support as well as enlarging their product portfolio. Generic Linux Service growth will IMHO not get them much beyond the $1B mark.

      I can only hope that the new CEO can fix the issues with JBOSS and that the lessons learned here can be taken forward so that future purchases don't suffer the same problems.

      The thing about(IMHO) RH is that they really don't do the self promotion thing very well especially when compared to others in the Linux business.

      • by VENONA (902751)
        Well, he did mention making sure that the support organization was firing on all cylinders. He claims the OS/middleware market is $100 billion. So Red Hat has a half percent of it, and he thinks it should be more. I agree with him.

        You're responding to some very selective quoting. The man also said, "We need to figure out what our "fair share" of each market should be and aggressively go after it. We need to make sure we nail the markets we're already in. I'm not saying we won't go broader, but we really nee
      • by VENONA (902751)
        Please change what I said previously about you 'responding to selective quoting', to 'responding to bogus quoting'. I've just posted regarding that at http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=406430&cid=21921586 [slashdot.org]

        We've been trolled.
        • IBM have AFAIK, the largest share by a long way of the Middleware market segment. Middleware, is not just about JBOS/WAS/etc application servers. I work in this area and it goes far beyond what RH, Oracle etc have to offer.
          IBM invest a huge amount of $$$ into this area. Just look at the Websphere Brand. If RH can succeed where the likes of BEA etc have largely failed then there is scope for them to increase revenues significantly.
          JBOSS is to me, the first building block they need in order to develop their o
    • by empaler (130732)
      Growing nine times more revenue can never come from cutting costs. Cutting costs just leaves a bigger slice of the $500 million to divide.
    • by DoeJane (1118621)
      So how's he going to do it?

      Bring back the off-the-shelf distro. Red Hat 9 was one of the first distros mere mortal's could install. No jerking around with downloads and ISO images. No trick questions. No trying to partition a hard drive. It just worked. Fedora was a step backward and Novell filled the vacuum. Any idea how much they make on boxed DVD's? Microsoft very well knows. Red Hat should also bundle a distro with a couple empty hard disk docks for those that don't want to quit Windows cold-turkey...
    • He picked three things (at Delta: safe, clean, on-time), put a feedback loop on them, and talks about them this way:

      Each of these things costs money because it requires people to make it happen. Were these decisions therefore wrong by Wall Street standards? No, because the customer is happy and therefore the customer spends more money with Delta.

      That doesn't sound like happy-happy where's-my-axe blather to me.

    • "Red Hat should be doing $5 billion, not $500 million."


      Not really in relation to your comment but, WOW. A CEO who thinks their company should be making more, that's newsworthy. He must have beat out a couple of the others applying for the job who thought 500M was okay.

      I do agree with your comment though, how is he going to do it? Saying and doing are two completely different things. Talk is cheap.
    • by VENONA (902751)
      WTF is this doing +5 Insightful? Poster needs to be more accurate with quotes. Whitehurst didn't say either of these things. The first quote, while not actually a quote, could at least be considered a paraphrase. The relevant para is:

      "When I look at the quality of our existing technology, and the incredible brand that we have and the markets we play in, we should be a $5 billion company or more. If you just look at operating systems and middleware--that's nearly a $100 billion business. We're a $500 million
    • by mvdwege (243851)

      You're reading it wrong, I think. Operational excellence is a finance euphemism for 'pumping money into Operations'. Operations is usually seen by bean-counters as a cost sink, not an investment. That is why people end up with script-monkeys for tech support. Operational excellence in this case means investing in Red Hat's Operations side (support and consultancy) to create more customer satisfaction, and thus grow the market.

      It's a slow strategy, but a very satisfying one to execute well, because you will

  • by Vellmont (569020) on Friday January 04, 2008 @09:02PM (#21917718)
    I looked into buying the RH supported version of JBoss recently. The LOWEST priced supported version is $2000 per year! I'm not exactly sure what market RH is going for here, maybe the Fortune 500 and large institutions, but it sure as hell isn't me.

    I'll stick with the unsupported free version, thanks. I just can't see getting $2000/year value for just some extra support I'll likely never use anyway.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I looked into buying the RH supported version of JBoss recently. The LOWEST priced supported version is $2000 per year! I'm not exactly sure what market RH is going for here, maybe the Fortune 500 and large institutions, but it sure as hell isn't me.

      I'll stick with the unsupported free version, thanks. I just can't see getting $2000/year value for just some extra support I'll likely never use anyway.


      And that pretty much sums up the dilemna of open source.

      $2000 per year for some kind of basic
      support for an a
      • by Vellmont (569020)

        $2000 per year for some kind of basic support for an application server is *cheap*.

        Maybe it is for a fortune 500 company, or maybe it is compared to the expensive non-free app-servers, but for a small business, it's not "cheap". It's "affordable", but it IMO it doesn't make the value proposition.

        Jboss already has a free version, and the issues I have with it are pretty minimal. I just don't see getting $2000 of value out of a support option. I was expecting the support options to be in the neighborhood o
    • Paid support for server products (such as JBoss) is generally meant for organisations, not individuals. Are you saying that your organisation cannot afford to pay $2000 for a year of support? How much do you pay your system administrator, then?
  • core business (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Friday January 04, 2008 @09:15PM (#21917824) Homepage Journal
    And wanting to increase sales to 5b means no more fedora, or most anything else they cant charge for.
    • Re:core business (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Klaruz (734) on Friday January 04, 2008 @10:29PM (#21918472)
      Which is downright idiotic. When it was free, Redhat was EVERYWHERE. Almost the instant they stopped putting isos out, that changed. Sure, you have fedora, but its such a moving target you can't really use it on sort of stable system. I hope that by focusing on their core business, which is distributing and supporting open source software, they'll see the light and start to ship a free enterprise level distro again. Yes, I use CentOS, but that doesn't really contribute to the Redhat name, or provide a path for them to provide support in exchange for money when its needed.
      • by VENONA (902751)
        The first couple of Fedoras I found a bit rocky. 3-7 have worked quite well for me, as a day after day business machine. But this is just swapping anecdotes. I suppose it comes down to the environment. I know of several situations where I wouldn't deploy it.

        There have been several posts now that want a free enterprise OS again, or the return of a boxed desktop OS. Red Hat is in good financial shape because they made the tough choices--like getting rid of the boxed software that was losing money. I don't see
    • by oliderid (710055)
      I seriously doubt they could make 5 billions out of software sales.
      But I do believe that a brand such as red hat has e big potential in services for large companies (think IBM)

  • "And he believes Red Hat should be doing $5 billion, not $500 million."

    Any company would be glad to be doing $500 million when the core R&D for their product was done for free by AT&T and the core implementation was done for free by unpaid idealists. How much money would they be making if they had to pay for all that work?

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