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Red Hat Software Businesses Open Source Linux

Red Hat CEO Publishes Open Source Management Memoir 49

ectoman writes: Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst has just published The Open Organization, a book that chronicles his tenure as leader of the world's largest open source company. The book aims to show other business leaders how open source principles like transparency, authenticity, access, and openness can enhance their organizations. It's also filled with information about daily life inside Red Hat. Whitehurst joined Red Hat in 2008 after leaving Delta Airlines, and he says his time working in open source has changed him. "I thought I knew what it took to manage people and get work done," he writes in The Open Organization. "But the techniques I had learned, the traditional beliefs I held for management and how people are taught to run companies and lead organizations, were to be challenged when I entered the world of Red Hat and open source." All proceeds from the book benefit the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and is hosting free book club materials.
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Red Hat CEO Publishes Open Source Management Memoir

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  • by sunderland56 ( 621843 ) on Wednesday May 27, 2015 @12:40PM (#49783617)
    Please read this book. It shows that you can lead an open source company and *not* be universally hated.
    • by juanfgs ( 922455 )

      yeah? I thought the latest trend was hating on Red Hat. Now we hate Ubuntu again?

      Oh boy! Being a Slashdot user is never boring.

    • Canonical is one of the best "netizens". Compare with Amazon, Google, Apple, et cetera.

      They get criticized because Red Hat is better. But Red Hat is pretty much the only corporation that's a better netizen than Canonical, IMO.

      • I'm not really convinced that you can completely undermine the Linux community and produce a product that lets people point at it and say to the uninformed: See that? That's Linux (i.e. Ubuntu). See, Linux is a clusterfuck mess just like Windows! and still be considered a good "netizen"
  • patting himself on the back.

    Seems like he took over just before Red Hat started to suck.

    For the last few years, Red Hat has been making a lot of peculiar decisions to replace standard Linux components, with inferior Red Hat components. Now we have systemd, and an all out war against POSIX, and all things standard UNIX/Linux in favor of Red Hat's propriety solutions.

    I am surprised that so few people see the writing on the wall.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 27, 2015 @12:59PM (#49783861)


      Funny thing about computers. They change.

      My first Redhat install was on a 486 and the linux world at the time was throwing an absolute shit-fit over the cataclysmic changes in kernel 2.0. Redhat was the devil for embracing it and it was going to be the end of Linux, Redhat, and everything opensource.

      That was in 96, and here we have people spewing the same bullshit. It's been almost 20 years. Linux has eclipsed /every/ commercial Unix and Redhat is one of the most important OS vendors in the world. Period.

      You're wrong.

      Linux is moving on.

      Please, for once in your life:

      Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I can't really respect him. I was working at Red Hat. In fact, I was hired the same day he signed on. I met him and thought he was a decent enough guy.

      When I got hired it was a dream come true. "I'm getting paid to be on the front line of the Linux revolution? This is amazing."

      3 years later, after I sacrificed a lot to the company(40 weeks of travel a year away from friends and family), he approved shutting down my entire department and outsourced us all to an offshore company. We were a profitable division

    • by Zero__Kelvin ( 151819 ) on Wednesday May 27, 2015 @08:17PM (#49787203) Homepage

      "Red Hat has been making a lot of peculiar decisions to replace standard Linux components, with inferior Red Hat components. Now we have systemd, ..."

      Dear mentally challenged individual. It has apparently not come to your attention, but systemd is used by almost every major Linux distribution on the planet. Isn't it strange that all these companies made that same peculiar decision. Clearly they didn't consult you or they would have known that systemd is a Red Hat product!

      "all out war against POSIX"

      Tell us more about this war going on in your head!

      "f Red Hat's propriety solutions."

      Yes, Red Hats proprietary Open Source solutions! Congratulations, you just announced to the world that you have been reading Slashdot for more than a decade (See his SlashID Number for those following along) and still don't know the frigging difference between proprietary and FOSS. Bravo. I don't think I could come up with something that phenomenally stupid to say if I spent weeks at it!

  • Let's see, he came from running Delta Airlines to run RH. Then, back in December, at a RH dog-and-pony here at work, we watched a 20 min video as part of the many-hour presentation. I was amazed at how he could fill the entire 20 minutes with *nothing* but management buzzwords, and say pretty much nothing else at all.


    • I was amazed at how he could fill the entire 20 minutes with *nothing* but management buzzwords, and say pretty much nothing else at all.

      Honestly, I'm surprised you're surprised. Because with a 4-digit id I'm sure you've heard way too many CEOs speak.

      I remember dreading the quarterly bullshit call with the CEO where he'd do exactly what you described.

      It wasn't uncommon to pass out buzzword bingo sheets to the developers before the call ... because it usually took realize the extent to which the rest of the

  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Wednesday May 27, 2015 @01:10PM (#49783953)

    One of the things that bothers me about books like this is how they become primary reference material for MBAs and managers. I've lost count of how many times managers have referenced "Good to Great" or Jack Welch's book to implement very questionable policies. Some guy waxing poetic on what a wonderful job he's done is a lot different from a rigorous study.

    One real world example about anecdotal evidence shaping global HR policy is the Google "open floor plan" office trend. Our company is moving from semi-private cubes and offices to a hideous Google-style design. This is for a professional services company where most people require quiet, and are taking phone calls and working on individual/small group projects, not for a software startup. We and countless other companies are doing this simply because Google does it, and has published many articles on how wonderful it is. Evidence is coming out against this (increased sick time, loss of concentration, people hating their co-workers more, etc.) but damnit, if it works for Google it must be right.

    • most people require quiet

      Use headphones. Personally I prefer open-space to the cubicle farm. Cubicles are the bastard child of open space and offices with the worst qualities of both.

      • by hondo77 ( 324058 )

        Cubicles are the bastard child of open space and offices with the worst qualities of both.

        Which would make cubicles preferable to open space because open space has no good qualities. Cubicles would then get at least some of the good qualities of offices.

        • Open space has lots of good qualities. It facilities communication between workers. The open spaces are usually more well lit with natural light. Plus they are easier to rearrange as the company grows.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Use headphones.

        Replacing noise with noise is not quiet.

      • "most people require quiet"

        "Use headphones. "

        Yes, and similarly if you require darkness turn on a light! (please tell me English is your sixth language)

    • by whh3 ( 450031 )

      In re: open floor plans, I think that they are awful. Besides the fact that I personally do not thrive in that type of environment, it taught me bad habits. I try to be very considerate of other people's workspace and recognize the fact that they should not be arbitrarily disturbed. If others are like me, I know that a disruption at the wrong moment can cost mental context and lost time. However, from the open office plan I "learned" that I could distract any one at any time for absolutely the smallest reas

  • I haven't come across anything that seems like bad advice, yet. The two biggest points seem to be:

    - good ideas come from anywhere, and you should build your organization in a way that allows those ideas to surface
    - Similarly, "leaders" and "leadership" should be emergent phenomena, and not handed down from on high by some predefined organization structure.

  • Red Hat for years has been good for open source. Jim has done a great job with his role there, as well. Since he took over, they surpassed the $1B mark and have been successful along the way as a company. Red Hat gives back to the community so they are a true open source company and their interests are definitely pro open source. This is very much unlike other companies that say they are for open source, but their actions say otherwise. Interesting that he is publishing this book and it might be worth

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