Red Hat Execs Talk on Profiting from Free Software
They delve into the company's revised business model, touting incremental improvement to programs and a "certify, repair and maintain" message for customers.ASHEVILLE, N.C.Red Hats stock may have been troubled recently, but businesses still believe in the Linux distributor. At a recent Blue Ridge Entrepreneurial Council meeting here of about 100 businesspeople, a trio of Red Hat Inc. executives didnt find questions about law firms seeking to file class-action suits against the Linux company because of its recent financial restatement. Instead, they found an audience eager to know how Red Hat had turned "free software" into profitable business. There was no simple answer. First, "Red Hat believes in entrepreneurs," said Tom Rabon, executive vice president of corporate affairs. "We wouldnt be here today if it we didnt have that spirit in our own house." However, he added, with open-source, "Its not just all about making money; its about doing good."
But that isnt to say that open-source is just about sharing for sharings own sake. Michael Tiemann, the companys vice president of open-source affairs, explained that open-source makes great business sense by leveraging the efforts of more than a million developers, according to a recent Evans Data research project. That being the case, its no wonder that "open-source software is developed faster and its bugs are fixed faster than those of proprietary software," he said.