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Red Hat Software Businesses Linux Business

Interview with Red Hat's New CEO 129

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

  • 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.
  • 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.


  • by MostAwesomeDude ( 980382 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @08:13PM (#21917198) Homepage
    Actually, I modified my iPod Video with Rockbox to make it play OGGs.
  • by hdparm ( 575302 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @08:31PM (#21917392) Homepage
    I guess it was a case of bad wording. However, Whitehurst said himself that JBoss can do much, much better. $500M is largely based on core product (RHEL subscriptions), while $5B might be achievable through sales of stuff that goes on top of the OS.

    I am also sure that they could do really well in a desktop market, if only they wanted to. That would bring a whole hip of complexity to the way Red Hat does business (and development) but I'm now certain that underlying technology is finally in a good shape to start something like this.
  • 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.
  • by Znork ( 31774 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @08:29AM (#21921576)
    "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 useful as apt."

    Eh, IIRC, they promised to fix rpm. Which had some flaws (of mostly estoteric nature, which usually werent the actual problem users ran into).

    The main issue has been getting redhat and fedora tracked into yum, yum improved and the gui tools polished. Personally I think they're on the right track and getting much closer; yum is getting pleasant to use (and dependency handling is getting exemplary if you install and activate yum-priorities and set your repo priorities (I'd really suggest they install and use it by default, it would prevent users shooting themselves in the foot unless they force the issue and increase the prio of a third party repo))

    There are still speed issues (altho they've vastly improved recently), but as far as I can tell they're mostly due to erring on the side of caution ensuring that repo updates wont have broken the local picture of the current situation. I can appreciate that.

UNIX is many things to many people, but it's never been everything to anybody.