Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Red Hat Software Businesses

Red Hat IPO Surprise 299

An anonymous told us that they recieved a little surprise in their inbox from Red Hat today: The NC boys have reserved a chunk of shares to be purchased on E*Trade by contributors to the open source comunity before the masses get their chance to super inflate them. Very cool on RHs part (even tho I didn't seem to make the cut *sniffle* :)
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Red Hat IPO Surprise

Comments Filter:
  • Some people got offers to purchase stock at the IPO price. Many stocks go up at IPO. You have the chance here to sell the stock as soon as it starts trading, potentially for a higher price. You also have the chance to lose your shirt if the stock tanks. It is, however, a nicer deal than going through the market to buy, because it may be that only people who get in before the IPO have the chance to purchase the stock at the offering price.

    This is not different from the sort of offer many corporations give their board of directors, except the directors have a chance to purchase larger amounts.

    This is not costing Red Hat much to do - they are selling you the stock at the same price they'd be selling it to the institutions who generally get in to IPOs. However, they are taking a public-relations risk, and that takes guts.

    The only problem here is that you need money to get in the game. Some of the people who were chosen won't be able to play because of that.

    Red Hat employees and a few special people are most likely being given "options", which means they can purchase the stock at a fixed price (which can range from pennies per share to the initial offering price) for a number of years. I've been there with Pixar. Options are a much better deal because you don't have to buy until you know you'll make a profit, but it costs RH much more to offer options because the artificially low price of the options dilutes the market value of their stock.


    Bruce Perens

  • My objection is not to the message -- I think it's a great idea! The objection is to the delivery. This is just the sort of thing that spammers need to legitimize their actions, and shouldn't be used. I am glad to see them offering the community these options; I am just not glad to see them doing so in this way.
    • Overly juvenile.
    Not possible.
    • By your definition, the junk I get offering me cheap RS/6000 hardware is perfectly justified because I've made a couple of posts to comp.unix.aix.
    I think you'd have to be pretty stupid (even more stupid than you) to think that everyone who posts to comp.unix.aix is even remotely interested in actually buying RS/6000's. Most people can't afford them, even discounted.

    Now, I know what you're going to say (after "duh") you are going to say that you need to indicate your interest in email in some public way before you should get it. Well, at least 75% of the email I get is unsolicited in this way. It is sent directly to me by people who think that I want to get it or should get it for some reason. Sometimes they're wrong, but I don't make a big fuss over it. Take a valium, people.

    • I don't care how carefully they've chosen the addresses ..., the people mailed were not asked if they wanted to be mailed beforehand.
    This raises an interesting question. How could they have asked? By sending email? Wouldn't that have been SPAM? I guess that could have telephoned everybody. Now that would be so much less annoying. The truth is, these people attached their email addresses to Open Source projects so that people could contact them with respect to their work. This mailing was in regards to their work, although not directly.
    • Due to the way university education is funded...I'll be one of the people paying for [Spam].
    Y'know, telecommunications tarriffing in Europe is, put simply, TOTALLY FUCKED. It's really a subject for totally different thread, but stop whining. You have a lousy cost structure for data communication. We have an overabundance of uncontrolled firearms. Count your fuckin' blessings.
  • I am a Debian developer. I posted the RedHat mail. That action had nothing to do with the way Debian as a whole feels or believes. I am an individual and I posted the mail on my own, and not on the behalf of Debian.

    I do think many of us do feel violated by a company that we thought held the same values as us. But they do this and make themselves no better than cyber-promo (you gotta remember these dorks). Spam is spam, no matter how you look at it. We did not ask for it. Many of us got hit on our @debian.org addresses, not our own home addy. I PERSONALLY think RedHat is demonstrating it's MS'ishness. Again, these comments are MINE, not Debian. I'm just to lazy to make my own l/p.

    Erick Kinnee
  • Please, don't take the post out of context. I have been told numbers of both $1000 or $2000 for opening an E-trade account. For point 2, I know you don't have to take them up on it. Regarding point 3, true, but a .fi address is a good tip-off. The point is, that it is a spam.

    Regarding point 4, I have said before that I am glad they are making this offer. I simply object to the delivery (spam), and thus by extension, the possible ways the list for spamming may have been made.

    Regarding point 5, it was an honest question, I have no idea what the correct answer is.

    Regarding point 6, certainly it is nice to be given the chance. It is a nice offer. I object to the delivery.

  • Jesus GUYS BUY THE STOCK. Inside word is that Redhat should triple in value on opening day.I would love to buy some Redhat stock but I am not a developer but the lonely CEO of a open source e-commerce company. If you got "a spam" take advantage of it. It's not often that you get the chance to safely triple your money.
    • you might lay off the lame gay comments.
    Don't edit my comments to suit you're... or whatever you said, twit. I never said anything about being gay.
    • And I assume ... I guess you think ... [blah blah blah]
    And I assume you don't have a lot of friends?
    • And I ask you too, can I redirect all spam I get to YOUR mailbox?
    Well, Mr. "I do everything I can to prevent SPAM", you'll have to find it first.
  • You're letting rationality replace intelligence.

    Spam is not high crime.

    Redhat is trying to let these developers have a piece of what RedHat itself will make from the IPO. How else are they reasonably going to get the word out on fairly short notice? By targeting lists directly, they are much more likely to get the word to people who are busy coding, not web surfing.

    I can't believe people are going off sideways about this; it's just A PIECE of email, and probably the only unsolicited email Redhat will ever send. In really unusual circumstances, some rules don't apply. Telling people you're giving them a piece of your multi-million IPO is one of them.

    The good in this case so far outweighs the minor annoyance that any frothing about it merely makes you look stupid.

    Don't let rationality replace simple sense. Use your brain, don't let it use you.

    -- Ron
  • I have to ask: Are you including (in your 1 success in 10 attempts) IPOs available generally or just those you were invited into? I've had very good luck getting into the latter.

    Do I have big $$? I dunno, define big. I certainly don't think so, and I certainly don't expect that I'm a preferred E*Trade customer...

    • He's just commenting on the unfairness of a system that rewards johnny-come-latelies...
    That's sorta reasonable, except this isn't "the system." This is a welcome deviation from the system.

    The system rewards the drinking buddies of the founders. Y'know, the guy who makes it the IPO as "Director of Nothing in Particular" and disappears after the first round when the auditors figure out he's just an oxygen thief.

    A lot of companies end up with this guy -- the "Pete Best" of the corporate world. Maybe he joined the company in the beginning before people knew how useless he'd be. Maybe he invested a few thousand back when everybody was maxed-out on their credit cards. Whatever the case, he ends up a millionaire for no particular reason.

    This is different. It's a a flawed attempt to reward people who deserve it but wouldn't necessarily get squat. I can't believe all the bitching it's caused.

    Yes, once again, the net has failed to meet even my low expectations of human discourse.

  • Now we have proof! They're trying to get Debian devotees to invest in RedHat, making it against their interest to continue developing for Debian, their competition! Does it get more Microsoftian than that???

    BTW... I'm ***JUST KIDDING*** Red Hat is a great company.
  • The problem with them emailling addresses such as @debian.org is that there is over 300 developers and we are all spread around the world. A lot of those emails went to people that couldn't even use the offer.

    That's the problem with bulk emails or spam; you often miss your target market and get a whole lot of other people, like me.

    I appreaciate the intention, I'm just not sure it was the right way to do it.
  • Don't forget the other restriction imposed in this, it's available only to residents of some backwards country nobody cares about.

    Not that I was interested in shares in Microsoft Linux anyway...
  • Did anyone get one who did not submit a bug
    report to red hat?
  • I think you'd have to be pretty stupid (even more stupid than you) to think that everyone who posts to comp.unix.aix is even remotely interested in actually buying RS/6000's. Most people can't afford them, even discounted.

    But most people can afford to invest (reasonably heavily) in Redhat's shares, I suppose?

    Now, I know what you're going to say (after "duh") you are going to say that you need to indicate your interest in email in some public way before you should get it. Well, at least 75% of the email I get is unsolicited in this way. It is sent directly to me by people who think that I want to get it or should get it for some reason. Sometimes they're wrong, but I don't make a big fuss over it. Take a valium, people.

    Unsolicited mail is fine, as long as it's personal. I'm happy to receive mail that is in some way relevant to something I've posted or attached my email address to - I wouldn't have put the email address there otherwise. There's a difference between mailing one person about something they've written (which is unsolicited (possibly) and email, but not bulk) and a company related to something I've written only insomuch as they sell and develop open-source software sending me (and a large number of other people, without overly rigorous checking as to who gets it) an advert trying to sell me stuff. The major difference is that the second is bulk, and thus the second is spam.

    If I ask questions on comp.unix.aix, that doesn't mean I want to buy an RS/6000. If I attach my email address to the open-source movement in some way, that doesn't mean I want to buy Redhat shares.

    This raises an interesting question. How could they have asked? By sending email? Wouldn't that have been SPAM? I guess that could have telephoned everybody. Now that would be so much less annoying. The truth is, these people attached their email addresses to Open Source projects so that people could contact them with respect to their work. This mailing was in regards to their work, although not directly.

    One fairly obvious solution would be to provide a form on their website for interested people who could then list their contributions. Once these had been checked, they'd have been given the information. True, this would mean more difficulty for Redhat. But that's not the issue - the onus is on them to make sure that the only people paying for receiving this information are the ones who are interested.

    Y'know, telecommunications tarriffing in Europe is, put simply, TOTALLY FUCKED. It's really a subject for totally different thread, but stop whining. You have a lousy cost structure for data communication. We have an overabundance of uncontrolled firearms. Count your fuckin' blessings.

    Hell, I know the telecommunications industry in Europe is far from optimal. That's not the point. Network traffic costs money no matter where you are on the planet. Spam increases network traffic. Spam costs money. Universities have to pay for their network traffic, and so spam costs them money. In the UK, universities are paid for by taxes. Every person in the UK who pays taxes pays for spam.

  • That's not correct unless Red Hat selectively grepped for a name and sent email to every address it matched. I got the offer at both my home email address, where I submit most of my code from, and at work. The only connection between the two (beside the name) is that I purchased a Red Hat product using each address.
  • ...what about Slashdot readers, and Red Hat Linux users? What are we, chopped liver? Do we get a crack at the IPO too?

    Come on, I didn't open this E*TRADE account for my health.
  • > First, it's not spam--If you were sent a username and password for an online trading account worth a million bucks unsolicited in the e-mail (with a reason and your name attached) would you turn it down?

    It's just as much spam as the other junk I get - it's unsolicited, it's commercial and it's e-mail.

    The fact that it contains some account information is irrelevant - porn sites sometimes do this, and they at least would allow me to use their services (the offer is open only to US residents, which I am not).
  • Just to say that in my experience people who see twisted things everywhere are twisted themselves.

    If RedHat hadn't something like this, YOU would have criticized it, now that it does something like this for the community, YOU criticize it again!

    Just say you hate RedHat in one big fat message and don't post any more stupid comments like this one.

  • I answered someone the same thing I am going to say to you.

    Say you hate RedHat in one big fat message.

    And STOP posting STUPID messages like this one.

    Spam???? Are you crazy or something?

    Maybe you should calm drugs down!

  • Good grief. Spam is sending bulk E-mail to people who don't give a flying crap about what you have to sell or say.

    Red Hat's mail was targetted to people who have actually contributed the THEIR OWN success. This is a big thank you to the open source community from Red Hat, and they are VERY cool for doing it!

    Just wish I got one (but then, my contributions aren't particularly big)...
  • ...an open source contributor?
  • Yes, spam is any unsolicited mass commercial emailing. This fits that definition. Whether you happen to see it as a positive spam does not make any difference to the hundreds of people who received it and did not wish to receive it. To them it's just another piece of spam, and you'll see that at least some of them are not very happy about it if you read the rest of the comments here.
  • by jwilloug ( 6402 ) on Tuesday July 20, 1999 @09:30PM (#1793104)
    A few days ago everyone was being real paranoid about how Redhat would now have to answer to its stockholders. "What if Microsoft buys a stake?!" came the bellows. So what does Redhat do? They dump a ton of shares back into the Linux/OSS community. Everyone has focused on how this is free money if you sell out early, but it also gives you partial control of Redhat if you stay. So now Microsoft might own a piece, but so will Debian. And we all know the kind of amoral money-grubbers Debian attracts...

    But this is wrong too? So y'all don't want he money coming from outside, because that biases RHAT away from the community, but it can't from inside either, because that biases the community towards RHAT. So where can the money come from? Is there anything Red Hat can do that isn't sinister and underhanded?
  • How is this any different? If you really think you have a good chance of making tons of easy money through Red Hat's IPO, you need to learn more about the stock market.
  • I got one of the emails and appreciated. The next day I setup an etrade account and FedEx'd a $1500 check. My colleague who also got an email did the same.

    Today I called etrade because their "Indicate Interest" pages don't work and did the eligibility form with a human. I failed... don't know what you have to pass this thing. I have a household income over $75k, 2+ years in stocks/mutual funds, and experience with electronic trading and full service. Coming up with the $1500 cash I was making available for 100 shares was no big deal.

    Oh well... looks like RedHat's choice of etrade was bad for us. I'll take etrade's $75 bonus for opening the account and close it.
  • Me, too. ((C) Unknown AOL User.)
  • Interesting... I wonder how many people have been declined. I emailed RedHat about it and basically got... sorry, etrade expects 10% to be declined and the offering has so far been in line with that.

    I still can't believe I'm in the lower 10% of those RedHat targetted with the directed shares in either financial status or trading experience. My guess is that by the time I filled out the eligibility form pretty much only previous etrade customers had tried (I FedEx next day'd the money and app after I got the letter)... and etrade gives preference to long standing customers when processing the eligibility form.
  • This is my first investment (I'm 14). My dad has offered to loan me $50,000 to invest if he likes RedHat's prospectus. Whoopee!!

    Man! I'm 36 and I won't see $50K in the next 5 years. I wish that people who are this rich would throw some of that money my way.

    Life sucks!

    At least Linux is there to keep me going. :-)


  • For what it's worth, I was accepted. I have used E*Trade since the company started and have a couple-hundred thousand cash in my account there. I put in my order for 5000 shares of Redhat this evening (But I doubt I'll get all 5000).


    I actually think it kinda sucks too. Redhat should be GIVING out some stock-options to open-source contributors. It's not like most of us have money. I'm just a bit lucky (and live in the Silicon Valley where money rains from the sky a couple times a week).

  • We contribute a great deal to the Open Source community by offering free hosting to anyone who wants it. We host hundreds of Open Source projects and we also advertise our use of RedHat for our servers on our site and we got skipped, too. Sadly, we do have some money to invest, would anyone care to allow us to "piggy back" and contribute some cash to their pool? Heck, we sure could use some extra money to aid our efforts here! Thanks a million!

  • Thanks for the info... I am kind of coming to the opinion that current etrade customers are much more likely to get approved. Of course I don't think I should need a couple hundred thousand in the account to buy 100 shares :) I didn't think RedHat was aiming the directed shares at a group with that kind of money (in general).

    I'll be really curious what the response is like on the 28th when everything is due in to etrade... people without etrade accounts will have gone through the process by then.
  • I got a copy of this, and reacted pretty badly (since SPAM really pisses me off), but I've calmed down now.

    In my case this is definitely SPAM, since it's a get rich quick scheme that I'm not eligible for (I live in the UK). I'd still consider it to be SPAM even if I was eligible.

    I'd imagine that some pointy-haired genius at RedHat thought that a mass mailing to a randomly trawled list of contributors would be a great idea.

    It reminds me of the one where Dilbert sarcastically suggests that they mass mail all their customers, and the PHB says "Do it''

    What they should have done, is publish a page, saying "e-mail us with a justification of your claim to be a open source (sic) contributor, and we'll send you a password.''.

    I presume they didn't want to do that, because it would have caused them work, whereas they're perfectly happy to waste thousands of other people's time, and in many cases money downloading some crappy email that doesn't apply to them.

    OK, so in conclusion we have the following facts:

    -- dubious research compiling the list of victims
    -- disregard of other people's time/data costs, in order to save themselves effort
    -- responding to the email is likely to make money for the sender

    Looks like SPAM to me.

    P.S. I've go no axe to grind against RedHat in general, but IMO they don't get a license to spam no matter how generally wonderful they are.
  • Having never used ETrade before, I figured registration would be a simple matter of filling out an online form and wiring over some money and bam, account. -WRong-. You have to print and sign the application, mail it in and wait 3 to 5 days for it to be activated.

    Let's do the math: Email received Tues. July 20th @ 5pm. Deadline, Wed. July 8th. Six business days.

    One day to FedEx the application, up to five days to get the account registered. In a worst-case scenario you can barely make it (this assumes you happen to have $1000 lying around.) Of course, I didn't investigate opening an ETrade account until this weekend (that's my own damned fault) and realized I didn't have enough time to set up the account before the July 28th deadline.

    So, between cursing, kicking and screaming at RedHat and ETrade I happened to look at ETrade's RedHat IPO page again... the deadline has been extended to Aug 4th! YAY! Anyone that was in my boat now has a second chance, go for it!

    PS Of course, now I have to take back all the nasty things I said about RedHat. :)
  • I'm sorry, but you're just a complete moron. People have asked time and again how companies like redhat can give back to the developers. This is one way. You obviously don't want companies like RedHat to share their profits.

    In order to pass on the cash they have to *contact* you after all.

    Perhaps you don't like the way they're doing it. Present an alternative. Quit whining like a two year old.
  • If we used those rules, then everybody could justify their spam as being ok. "Sure, it's spam, but I'm giving him a REALLY good deal on this porn site subscription." "Sure, it's spam, but if he puts our ad banners on his site he could make a ton of easy money." I don't see how Red Hat's spam is any different. Some of the people who receive it may like it, and may make money from it. The same goes for some of the people who receive spam from a banner ad company. Both are spam, and both display poor judgement on the part of the spamming company.
  • I started an Etrade account with 5,000
    Account went active last night.
    Today Etrade informs me after I answer their 'profile' questions that I cannot participate.

    Here is a summary of the answers I gave that hopefully someone else can use to get a better chance of Etrade accepting them:
    Income: 40k
    Total Liquidity: 10K
    Current investments: 3k
    Market Knowledge: Limited
    Investment Goal: Growth
    maybe 'capital holding' is a better answer here
    The etrade broker also asked what the e-mail address was that I received the invitation from redhat at.(IOW non-transferability check)
    Now I have to wait 2 weeks before they will let me get my money back. Sounds like a great deal for Etrade to me.

  • As an active member of the open source community I can't accept
    spamming. And by sending the attached message to members of the open
    source community Red Hat has spammed the community.

    By sending this spam Red Hat has lost a lot of points in my score
    book. I have never used Red Hat and after this spam I'm sure I never
    will. I can't support companies spamming potentiel users.

    Please make sure that I'm removed from any spamlist inside RedHat and
    make sure that I'm not going to enter one again.
  • Ok, first off. Don't edit my post to fit your argument. I didn't write "VIOLATED". Being such an influential company and being in the spot light they way they are, I think this was a bad move. Most of the people i know in the "community" despise SPAM. Now, if they are like most admins or internet users, they have enough spam to fight already. You would probably be rather irritated if Debian mailed you with news of a new release (reaching here, we have no stock and sell no products). You didn't ask for the mail and your address was harvested in some fashion from mailing lists or something. The Internet is clogged with spam. I use all spamblock methods I can, and STILL get tons of the crap. Maybe you like it. Can we all re-direct our spam to you? In short, I think it reflects poorly on RedHat.
  • I got it at the address I put on README files, so I guess I got on the list because of maintaining some package or other that they distribute. I didn't get one at the bugzilla address, so if they did that list too they must have uniq'd on real name.

    too bad their offer is limited to 'US residents only', I'd probably been interested otherwise.

  • hey if you can't use it, i'll pay for it....reply at dubonic@ivillage.com
  • Oh, and get a l/p for yourself. Don't hide behind AC.

    Disclaimer: Again, this is me. NOT Debian speaking.
  • //joke mode on
    did you see the movie the prophecy??
    //joke mode off
  • Provide a form on their website? And that would have been harder then digging through source files for email addresses?


    don't get me wrong, i love sed/awk/grep as much as the next guy, but to write up a script to grab email addresses, good ones, that's not easy.

    the web form would have been a much better way.

    now... how should they have announced it?

    they could put a post on slashdot, but a lot of developers probably don't read slashdot. in fact there are probably quite a few developers who don't read most linux related web sites since a lot of the userland stuff is shared between the *bsd's and linux.

    of course they should get a chance to get redhat shares since their code is contributing to redhat's success.

    essentially redhat wants to come up with a way to share their success with the developers that created their success. if you don't want to take part in that, then just press d and move on.
  • Since Linus is not a US citizen,
    he's not allowed to buy RedHat shares.
    ... seems pretty strange to me.

    Raphael Wegmann
  • See the original post you replied to.

    Thank you, drive through...

  • No luck for non-US residents like me:

    In appreciation of your contribution to the open source community, Red Hat is pleased to offer you this personal, non-transferable, opportunity.

    • Due to certain securities industry regulations purchase of these securities can be made by US residents only.
  • Well golly gee. Up until RedHat announced the IPO all we heard was that distributors skimmed off the hard work of others. With the IPO we heard that RedHat had confirmed their "grab money and run" intentions.

    Now RedHat is attempting to allow developers access to their stock - before the big players grab it up and raise the price.

    Nowhere in this has RedHat done anything to say that other distributions can't do the same. They haven't patented the IPO method of giving back to the free s/w community.

    Debian is free to offer cash or stock back to free software developers. So are Caldera, SUSE, Corel, etc.

    RedHat is the first distribution to attempt to give money back to as many developers as it fiscally and legally can. Being first they'll obviously make a few missteps.

    Now when Linus first released Linux to the net, which would have encouraged him?

    "You fucking moron! Don't initialise a console like that. Get a fucking clue, and quit spamming the *MINIX* newsgroup."


    "Linus, your console init routine has some goofs. Here's a patch that fixes some of them. You might also want to check in this paper at the following ftp site (user anonymous, password your email address) ..."
  • They didn't filter out non-US email address, you complete and total moron.
  • I don't know how they created their list either. I'm both an FSF volunteer and Debian volunteer, but they sent to jonas@coyote.org, which is my mostly personal address. Ah well.
  • See? Write screen savers, get in on IPOs. Who said screen savers were useless.

    In a psychology class I took a few years ago, we were told about an experiment on rationalization. Two groups of people spent huge amounts of time picking up paper clips off of the ground, one at a time. One group was paid well for their task, while the other group was paid very poorly. At the end, both groups were interviewed and the poorly paid folks were much happier with their work. According to the Prof, they subconciously figured to themselves, "hey, here I am doing all this work for no reward, so to maintain my mental self respect, I'll imagine it's satisfying."

    I distinctly remember trying to decide how to spend a certain block of time last year. It was either enter the RedHat screensaver contest or put together mail-archive.com and help out the communications infrastructure for a whole bunch of software projects. Which I feel pretty good about (how can one feel bad about supporting xmame?) Anyway, I think I've just about convinced myself that I made the right choice by not working on those lucrative screensavers.


  • Then send you user name/pass to me! I will use it.

    I am VERY EAGER to get in on this IPO. I opened an account at ETrade just for this IPO.

    I've been using RedHat for awhile (though I use Mandrake in my main machine right now) and I think this IPO is gonna go thru the roof!

  • I'll be so angry, there's no way I'll buy more than 500 shares.

    But seriously, folks, RedHat is walking a very thin line here. I suspect would take the position that if you wrote code that ended up in RedHat, that would constitute a prior relationship. That's not a completely unreasonable position, either. Then again, there are a lot of anti-spam people out there are ARE completely unreasonable. I'm sure spammers love them, too, because they make tend to make all anti-spammer look stupid.

    I just hope it's not something real stupid like those X10 spams I keep getting. Dammit, if I get something that reads like a porno spam, there damn well better be some naked chicks on their site!
  • Go to the bank, to a friend, to your folks and borrow the necessary cash. At the end of the day/week, sell off enough shares to pay back the loan.

    Who am I?
    Why am here?
    Where is the chocolate?
  • In an interview, when questioned about money, Linus has referred to the fact that one of the Linux vendors (he wouldn't say which) *gave* him shares a while back.. I would tend to assume it was RedHat.
  • What are the SEC issues? If your an Executive on a NasDaq company you can certainly get in on an IPO, doesn't matter what country you are from. Is there different rules for "friends" of the company?
    I am looking at the Etrade application. All that stops someone from outside the US, is a SIN#, so how do I go about getting one of those?
  • I'm curious what it answers. Since they openly said that they may have sent it to multiple email addresses, how do they know what person is associated with which email address? Is the offer keyed in some way to the email address?
  • not to be a sore looser... but i have made several open source contributions and wasnt sent an email.. oh well.. and i just opened up an etrade account too... luck of the draw i guess...
    no riches for me just yet....
  • AFAIK, the user/pass is the same for everyone.

    The letter said that people are being identifed by e-mail address, and have to use that to sign up at E-Trade.
  • I had a feeling that the RH IPO would be available today.

    Don't worry. It's not today. I checked their web site. From the looks of it, it would appear that they start entertaining indications of interest about a week or two before the IPO. In Red Hat's case, that would be next week or the week after.
  • First of all, congrats to all of the people who got the investment letter - from what I know, this is a damn good opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a company that may do extremely well.

    Second, to all of those who are naysaying this offer and saying 'RedHat is EVIL', I say get a life. Making money is not evil - and from what I've seen so far, you are hallucinating that RedHat even has a hope of a prayer in becoming the 'next microsoft' in terms of tactics.

    So that out of the way, I'd like to make *my* following offer. If you got the letter and can't invest (for monetary reasons, or whatever) I'd love to 'stake' you in some way (such that the risk is all mine, and I would get a share of any potential profits). And I've got some fairly significant money I'd be willing to risk on this IPO in such a manner. I'm THAT sure that this IPO will be a blow out.

    Anyways, I'm not sure about exactly how kosher this would be (legal wise and such), so I guess I'm going to be making some phone calls tomorrow.

    And I think it would be really cool if a pool of money could be made in this way in the linux community - but I guess that would be something for Bob Young and RedHat to allow.


    PS: thanks to redhat - you took the this 'allowing developers to invest in the IPO' idea right out of my mouth. I appreciate how redhat helps linux - and appreciate the risks of the business that you are in after reading your business plan in preparation for this IPO. Best of luck.
  • This /. stupidity is why the Kernel mailing list often disparages slashdotters.

    Since when has turning down money been part of the Linux tradition? Linus is happy to make money from Linux, and so should anyone else with at least half a brain. Hell, even RMS isn't anti-money.

    Most slashdotters wouldn't recognise spam if they were served a spam sandwich,
  • I'd *love* to get a few shares of RHAT early. I like their company, and believe in the product. (well, maybe not 6.0, but... never use the first release of anything on a production machine until you're sure it's stable :)

    However, for you doubters crying "Foul!" and "SPAM!", remember that Mark Twain had an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a little venture run by his friend Alexander Graham Bell, and... he turned it down because he'd gotten burned one too many times by bad investments.

    So when I get my shares of RHAT too late, or don't hold onto them, I might be feeling pretty stupid...
  • GS only has to buy it if it is a secure underwriting. Most IPOs contracts are structured as a
    "best efforts" underwriting, where all GS has to do is offer the shares and if they don't make
    their subscription, they're not on the hook to buy all the shares...

    In a secure underwriting, the underwriter buys all the shares and then sells them. In a "best efforts"
    underwriting, the underwriter only buys the shares that they have orders for (although partners can
    put in their own orders so this is ususally not a problem)...

    However, I have no doubt that RH will be over subscribed 10-20x and they will have no trouble
    selling any shares they offer (including over-allotment shares) regardless if it's a "best efforts"
    or a secure underwriting.

    FYI, the reserve or directed shares are a great deal since IPO shares are subject to allotment.
    The IPO shares are sold by allotment to brokers which depends on how many they ask for.

    For a hot IPO like RH, it'll be way oversubscribed so a broker will ask for say 10mil shares and
    only get say 1mil which the broker is free to divy-up however they want (usually to their best
    customers first, or just by percentage like I bid for 1000 and get to buy 100). The only rule is that
    they have to be spread out between small and large buyers in a fair fashion (so if you put in a small
    order, you could get lucky, or nothing).

    With directed shares, the pool is separated from the riff-raff and most people can get what they
    bid for.

    BTW: all the IPO shares are sold to every one at the exact same price (nobody gets special price
    treatment). You either get to buy them or not. If not, you have to wait for them to be traded.
    That's why everyone wants the IPO shares. But after they are in the market, orders sit around,
    until they are filled, and if you put in a market price bid, you may end up paying a lot of money...

    • Most of the people i know in the "community" despise SPAM.
    I'm sure that most of the people you know also think girls are icky.
    • The Internet is clogged with spam.
    Yes, and unlike RedHat's mailing, Spam is indiscriminate. You get it because you have an email address and for no other reason. That's why it's annoying. I've never wanted to sell crap in my spare time, see hot shaved teens (well, not on a computer), and I've heard the Good News(tm) about Jesus(r) more times than I can remember.
    • I use all spamblock methods I can, and STILL get tons of the crap.
    Yeah, me too. And y'know what? When some spam slips through, I hit the DEL key and get on with my life. But I guess a "life" is something I have that you don't. Well, that and pubic hair.
    • In short, I think it reflects poorly on RedHat.
    Fine... and your smug pettiness reflects well on Debian? Unfortunately, smug pettiness seems de rigeur for people with debian.org addresses.

    Keep picking nits. The grownups have work to do.

  • Yes, but there is more to it than that. When a company sells stock anyone can buy it. Read another way, people who don't necessarily care about (or even agree with) the principles of free software can buy stock. And stockholders have some pretty hefty influences on a company - after all, they own it. By reserving some stock for people they think are part of the linux community, RedHat limits their risk of stockholder influence that would be considered 'evil' by the community. They even get PR points in the process - and it doesn't really cost them anything.

    Having said that, not everybody they offer a slice to will get all that they want. They have a fixed number of shares that will be randomly assigned in blocks of 100 shares if demand exceeds supply.
  • It's a risk I'd be willing to take too (apparently I cannot, being British)

    The quality of the offer is not what's being complained about.

    They selected a bunch of people who are almost bound to be long term spam victims (I know I am), and they spammed them.

    That's just stupid.

    If they'd asked (on their web site) for people that were interested, and and eligible, to mail ipo@redhat.com (or some such), everyone would be thoroughly cheerful about it, and they'd have got a nice pat on the back from /.

  • My only question is where did they get my e-mail address. If anyone knows how they compiled this list, I'd be very appreciative. It was sent to my main personal address, not any of my tagged addresses. I appreciate the offer, and if it weren't for an employment agreement which forbids me from purchasing securities from anyone other than my employer, I'd have my money over in e-trade faster than you can say 'redhat is evil'.

    I'd just like to know how they determined that I had made "a contribution to the open source community".

    Thanks for the generous offer, RedHat. That's one IPO that I'd LOVE to be in.
  • And I quote: "In appreciation of your contribution to the open source community, Red Hat is pleased to offer you this personal, non-transferable, opportunity."
  • Not to be rude, but I'm wondering about those of you who are complaining about this being spam...

    a) did not receive the e-mail?

    b) do you currently invest in securities?

    c) do you have the budget to participate?

    d) do you trust on-line commerce enough to put money into e*trade?

    e) are you unable to participate due to other restrictions? (location, contractual agreements, etc.)

    Now here's to hoping this gets moderated to a place that people respond....
    • I guess I'll just have to produce my own [better] distribution ... (not particularly hard).
    Please, please, produce a distro better than RedHat. Don't use any crappy RedHat code like their easy installer or RPM. In fact, I'll sit here and hold my breath until you do.

    [turns blue]

    PHEEEEW... hurry up! I can't hold my breath that long! Ok... here I go again!

  • So if you make/write/create something that anybody uses, that person has the right to e-mail you sales offers?
  • I think that this is called "directed shares" and E*Trade has a mailbox and a phone number set up specifically for this ("directed shares" in general, not Red Hat specifically.)

    Now, I don't know if directed shares are a different pool set aside for "friends and family" or if it just means "hey, we targeted you with an email and we hope you buy some." In other words, I don't know if people who got this offer have any better chance of participating in the IPO.

    I seriously doubt that this is an SEC violation - surely E*Trade and Red Hat's lawyers would have stopped it otherwise.

    YMMV, IANAI (I am not an investor)... Well, not much of one anyway. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, 1999 @12:54PM (#1793208)

    .... and people wonder why so many tech startups fail! A company practically throws money at you, enabling you to get in on ground level on what's shaping up to be a successful IPO and people complain "OH NO, SPAM!!!"

    Yeah, I'd hate to get mail like that.
  • Anyone with an E*Trade account (for example) has a shot at "getting in before the masses." E*Trade has an IPO center, and you can try to get in on any IPO (It's basically a lottery for the popular IPOs). I'm wondering if the people who were extended this offer from Red Hat have a *better* chance at it than the general public, or if they're in the same boat as everyone else.
  • I believe they got at least some of them from bugzilla on developer.redhat.com.

    I'm not entirely sure, mind you, but the only place I can think of where I've been an open source contributer is bug 3701 there. (not that I don't want to be, mind you, I've just never coded anything useful)
  • by rstewart ( 31100 ) on Tuesday July 20, 1999 @01:03PM (#1793226)
    For all of you that think this is spam think again this is a GREAT offer. Why is this great? Well simply put this is an offer to get in on the ground floor price before it shoots through the ceiling. By the end of the day the price will more then likely be triple or more the initial price and that is quite a return on an investment. If you sell at the end of the day it's quite profitable.

    Admittedly some do not have the $$ to open an E*Trade account and partake but those who can it is an excellent offer. All I can say is that Red Hat did have a good idea here since it is an excellent offer (whether you like the company or not) to make some $$ quite easily and with virtually no risk. No one says you *HAVE* to hang on to the shares at the end of the day (or week) they'll be worth quite a bit more and make you a nice profit.

    I only wish that I'd received an email about this however a lot of my work is not high profile or where they would have heard of me. For the developers overseas all I can surmise is that RedHat did it in this way by email to limit the number of offers to just those developing and not to where the average person could get the info and take advantage of it. Why all the Debian developers? Simple they probably needed a quick and easy way to get the info out or it would be useless to waste a lot of people's time just looking for people that would be interested.

    This is in a way them saying thank you to the developers by letting them make some $$ off of their IPO whether they like the company or not.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, 1999 @01:06PM (#1793229)
    Personally, I think this is a great reward. First, it's not spam--If you were sent a username and password for an online trading account worth a million bucks unsolicited in the e-mail (with a reason and your name attached) would you turn it down? No. You would be jealous of the guy next to you if he got that account though. It's also very much in the "directed shares" category. Who made huge chunks of the product they sell, the community, so who are they trying to reward? The community. They can't get everybody (so don't bitch if you didn't get e-mailed) but they seem to have tried to hit a bunch. I've sent in patches to various packages I've worked with, and I'm not pissed that I didn't get e-mailed, but who cares, it's the thought that counts. In addition, stuff like this usually amounts to 100 shares a person, and if you have to open an account at etrade at $2000 and it opens at 20, then you just spend all the $ anyway, so don't bitch about the $$.
  • A few points:

    1. You can open an Etrade account w/ just $1000. However to buy 100 RHAT shares at the expected IPO price of $12 you'd need $1219.95.

    2. Etrade limits IPO purchases to 100 shares for all traders, all IPOs. It's just an offer; you don't have to take them up on it.

    3. Email addresses care not about geopolitical borders. If Red Hat has an email list of OSS developers, they can't tell where the developers are located geographically. I'm sure they just wanted to make sure all of the developers got a chance to participate.

    4. Apparently, Red Hat recognizes the value of all OSS developers, and generously made this opportunity available to developers of "rival" projects, not just their own. Shame on them.

    5. IANAL, but I think "MakingAnOffer" ne "Hyping"

    6. Nor am I an OSS developer, but if I were I'd consider myself lucky to be given this chance. As it is, I'll just have to throw my name into the lottery with the rest of the regular Joes.


  • Come on, this isn't an ad to take out personal ads in the National Enquirer and get rich in thirty days. This is an invitation to buy stock which may add a sizable chunk to your savings in a few years, from a company which has done a lot for the Open source community.

    Let's face it, E-trade is one of the few ways Joe Bloes like us are going to get our hands on IPO stock. The big boys on Wall Street pick up most of it, and it's damn hard to get any when you only want to buy a hundred shares. I don't think you are justified in denouncing it as spam. Delete the email. Rant a bit. Sleep on it.

    Also, how is Red Hat to know whether you are a non-US citizen? I use a NetForward address to (very primitively) protect my privacy, and there's no quick way to tell where the email ends up (as it turns out, I'm Canadian. Boo hoo, no IPO for me). Admittedly, they could simply not send email to anyone whos email address ends in a foreign country's suffix, but you might just be an American student working abroad.

    I support their decision to offer IPO stock to everyone associated with the Open Source community. It's very generous of them.

  • by austad ( 22163 ) on Tuesday July 20, 1999 @01:09PM (#1793240) Homepage
    Quit your bitching!!!! I can't believe you're calling redhat spammers... Sure they sent out emails to many people, but they are doing these people a favor. They are not getting any personal gain out of it.

    Here's what happens:
    1. Red Hat emails a bunch of developers to tell them about their IPO and how they can get in early.
    2. Developer chooses to open an etrade account (initial $1000 DEPOSIT, not a fee, you can get your money back by closing the account)
    3. Red Hat's IPO happens. The price will (probably 99.9% chance) shoot up way above the initial offering, and then eventually drop off a little (or possibly alot).
    4. Developer sells off stock at much higher price than he bought it for and makes lots of money, or chooses to hold on to it expecting it to climb higher sometime in the future.

    Hmmm, who wins at this???? Well, the developer makes some money (looks like a good way for RedHat to give a little extra thanks back to the Open Source community), and etrade gets 29.90 for executing the trades for you (BFD, you just made a bunch of cash). Red Hat doesn't really gain anything out of it except maybe a short-lived bias towards their distribution.

    Red Hat doesn't necessarily make the best distribution, but they definitely don't make the worst. They've had to put up with a lot of shit over the last few months because many people in the Linux community seem to adopt the idea that making money is evil and Red Hat is turning into Microsoft. Just because they try to turn a buck doesn't make them evil. Suse made more money last quarter than RedHat and they don't seem be criticized as much. Quit your complaining about this and take it for what it is... a simple thank you from Red Hat to the developers of open source software.

  • Oh, thanks. I had no idea there were different kinds of underwriting.
  • First of all it's not a successful IPO just yet.

    Second, it's not like they are doing you a favor, this is normal... Companies that help bring the IPO always get a share to sell it to their customers first, look at dozens of other E*Trade IPO offering. They will only have a limited supply for people like us though, most of the "hot" IPOs are reserved for people with large accounts who trade often, yet keep the stocks for a while...

    They probably have a 100 shares for this total, and E*Trade just found a way to get tons of new accounts open...

  • So which one of Microsoft's PR firms do you
    think posted this insightful message?
  • With Etrade, you need to open an account (which it sounds like you already did). Their docs on IPOs are really vague. So, a few days ago, I emailed the support dept and asked how to get in. ETrade takes "indications of interest" where you need to fill out a form that asks some basic investment type questions (what is your short/long term goals?, etc.). Based on your answers you may or may not be admitted to the IPO. Etrade wants the IPO to match your investment goals.

    The strange part about this is that they only accept indications of interest for 2 hours. This usually happens after the close of the market (4:30 EST), but they will never tell you what day and you need enough cash in your account to cover the purchase.

    If you go to the IPO section and find an IPO that has a "Go Now!" link, it is open and you can fill out one of their "indication of interest" forms.

    I had a feeling that the RH IPO would be available today. I've been trying to log on to Etrade all afternoon, but their system is screwed up again and I have not been able to access anything.
  • I disagree.

    I get a lot of unsolicited mail - by friends who have found me via one route or another, by people who will have read something I've posted, even some targetted promotional offers.

    That's the important part - *targetted.*

    People who were targetted based on their participation in developing the kernel or other open source projects, who leave their email addresses available in the context of those projects, are open to mails targetted to people involved in those projects. Whether it's an IPO offer like RedHat's, or a note from a contented user saying "thanks for your work," or a bug report.

    Spam is more than merely unsolicited mail with more than one person in the To: header - it's unsolicited mail that isn't targetted, that transmits mail completely unrelated to the source of the address, for direct-marketing purposes.

    Content can define SPAM, because content betrays intention.
  • by DzugZug ( 52149 ) on Tuesday July 20, 1999 @02:25PM (#1793299) Journal
    I've seen many postings on both sides of an apperent debate. Some people claim that this is some kind of underhanded move by the people at etrade. Others would sugest that this shows how RedHat cares about its customers. One person likened it to RedHat throwing money in our faces. I say to all of you, "Calm It!"

    Now, a few things. First the way IPO's work is like this. The portion of the company to be sold publicly is given to one main (in this case two) brokers. They in turn sell the stock at a price determined jointly by the broker, the company, and to some extend SEC rules. The borkers sell a portion to "friends and family" of the company having the IPO, a portion to the brokers customers, and a large part to other brokers. The other brokers sell some to their customers and put some into mutual funds etc. It is the small portion that goes to the brokers customers that apears to be in dispute.

    It is not uncommon for this to be mostly sold to the winners of a lottery; however, some of this stock can be given to people in the industry. In the case of RedHat there just hapens to be a lot of people in the industry.

    Yes, ETrade can require you to have an acount (they sell it to their customers remember). This creates competion and is why everyone wants to sponsor IPOs.
  • IPO shares do not always immediately jump up. It's the job of the company to pick the price that it thinks is reasonable. If the company knows that it'll go up immediately, it'll pick a higher price to begin with. Picking a purposely lower price knowing that it'll go up immediately could get you in trouble with the SEC after a few of your close friends make a bunch of money.
  • The point is that they're not offering him any sort of reward, since he can't get in on the IPO anyway. They're just cluttering up his mailbox with useless spam.
  • It's still spam. It's somewhat better directed spam (i.e. the people they sent it to have a better than 5% chance of being interested), but still spam. As a webmaster I get offers from people wanting me to put their ad banners on my page for money. I can make money from this, and it's reasonably well-directed (I do have a webpage after all), but it's still spam. RedHat's offer is not any different.

    If they wanted to do this, they should've had it up at a webpage where people could sign up to voluntarily have their email box cluttered.
  • by Fizgig ( 16368 ) on Tuesday July 20, 1999 @02:37PM (#1793315)
    If no one buys the stock, Goldman Sachs has to buy it. They get the $96m either way.

  • I continue to be impressed with the degree to which people feel compelled to complain about Red Hat. Yes, they're making money off the IPO (I mean really, that's what IPO's do). No, they are not especially making money off providing developers allocations of their stock. If they didn't use those allocations, institutions and random investors would eat them up and they would make exactly the same amount of money. The entire IPO is going to be sold.

    Did it make sense to offer various people in the community free shares? Probably, since they sell open source software and those people are involved with development. Did they do a perfect job of selecting all the developers they should have? Probably not. I doubt they had time to develop dossiers on everyone they wanted to send an email to. Was it spam? Only in the sense that someone who sent a voucher for $1,000 to 1,000 people would be sending out spam. It's found money, people. If you can open an account with eTrade and want to, do it; otherwise, dismiss the whole thing out of hand. Either way, there's no call to be angry.

    Did I get the offer? No. Am I paid in any way by Red Hat? No. But it doesn't seem especially reasonable to yell at them for trying to spread the wealth a bit. Their privilege to offer, yours to decline.

    Rob Levin

  • Just because a spammed offer is, in your opinion, generous, does not make it not spam to the hundreds of people who received it unwillingly. It is still unsolicited commercial email.
  • Your argument is irrelevant. Whether a mailing is spam or not is not affected by whether the advertisement is a "good" one or not. Red Hat sent out thousands of unsolicited commercial emails inviting people to buy their stock. That fits perfectly with the definition of spam. Whether these people may or may not make money (it's doubtful that any stock gains will hold up for more than a day or two) is not relevant to the fact that they were spammed. Unless these people signed up at Red Hat's website to receive mailings from them about their IPO (which does not appear to be the case) this mail was unsolicited. Since it is asking people to buy their stock, it is commercial.
  • From the mouth of anonymous cowards... :)

    Anyway, it's pretty certain that Redhat got the email addresses they're sending this to from their bugzilla, as that's the permutation of my e-mail address the e-mail I got from them on this subject was addressed to.

    At any rate, whether it's "spam" or not depends on what the sign-up form for bugzilla said with regards to what they'll do with your address. They at least haven't been mining newsgroups for addresses, it seems. :)
  • by Christopher B. Brown ( 1267 ) <cbbrowne@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 20, 1999 @03:13PM (#1793341) Homepage

    Red Hat Software is offering this to those people that wrote code which is something that represents a contribution to the body of software that makes up the product that they sell.

    That represents value returned for value contributed.

    If your only "participation" is in having bought a box from them, then you received your reward in the form of that box.

    If your only "participation" is in reading Slashdot, then I see no connection, no value, and no reason for them to give you anything.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, 1999 @03:21PM (#1793348)
    Certainly some interesting responses to all of this. Personally, I think that this was a very nice gesture on the part of RedHat. But can you image what would have happened if CmdrTaco had decided to go public with a /. IPO instead of selling to Andover?

    Rob generously offers /. user accounts first dibs at the IPO; unfortunately, he announces this by a mass e-mailing. This triggers a Jon Katz story about /. spam, which results in a heated /. discussion about /. spam, which results in a Jon Katz story about the discussion about /. spam.

    eTrade goes down under the immense /. effect. In Rob's filing with the SEC after the IPO, he sheepishly has to report that the largest shareholder is someone named Anonymous Coward.

    This is followed by /. poll: I own 1) 0-10 shares, 2) 10-100, 3) 300-1000, 4) 954+, 5) JarJar sucks. Unfortunately, someone inadvertently comments about the right to own stock. You know where this eventually leads to.

    Moderation points are partly determined by the number of shares you own. This proves disastrous as MEEPT posts start at a +5.
  • If it wasn't send to many people (or many copies to one person) then it is not spam.

    If the people asked for it, it is not spam.

    If it was send to many people who did not ask for it, it _is_ spam.

    Content doesn't enter the equation.

    The reason some novices think content matter, is because most spam have a very low quality content. So when thye hear "that is spam", they assume the word refers to the quality of the content, not to the fact that it was send to many people who did not ask for it.
  • At least one source of email addresses seems to have been to grep the Red Hat distribution sources for email addresses, because some folks got in on the offer sent to addresses used only in xscreensaver modules!

    See? Write screen savers, get in on IPOs. Who said screen savers were useless.

    Too bad E*Trade is involved, though -- E*Trade SUCKS . Completely unusable site, and I've been trying to fucking close my account with them for months -- they just won't do it. There's no way to do it on the web site, if you email them they say you have to do it in writing, and when I ask them in writing, they keep sending my letters back to me. It seems that the only way they can keep customers is to make it impossible for anyone to cease being a customer.

    I didn't even ask to be a customer in the first place, if you wanted to participate in Netscape's Employee Stock Purchase Program, you had to use E*Trade, there was no other option.

  • by alisdair mcdiarmid ( 64568 ) on Tuesday July 20, 1999 @03:44PM (#1793362)
    If I decided to email you about some investment opportunity, would you consider that spam too?

    Content does not define what's spam.

    According to you. Spam is unsolicited *advertising*, by my definition.

    Where do you draw the line?

    If it was sent to a list of people who did not solicit the mail, it is spam. No exceptions.

    Geez, that's pretty tough. I just sent a mail to 10 people I know at university, and I didn't ask them first. And earlier today I sent a mail to a list (of 2) Slashdot posters, and I sure as hell didn't ask them first.

    If I were to suck a list of Linux kernel developers and mail them all saying `here, have a free Quad PII Xeon box, to help with your development work', would that be spam? If I were to mail a list of MPs in the UK telling them that key escrow was stupid and shouldn't go ahead (perhaps put slightly more rationally, and with arguments), would that be spam? You really have to clean up your definition a little. IMVVHO.

    People abuse the word spam.

    They do indeed.

    And they misdefine it, too.

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.