Red Hat Chief Rallies Linux Troops

In his LinuxWorld keynote, Red Hat CEO Michael Szulik calls for developers to get involved in the Linux battle.

SAN FRANCISCO—On Tuesday, Red Hat Inc.s chief executive harkened back to the old rabble-rousing populist days of Linux, delivering a wakeup call to developers at LinuxWorld here.

Michael Szulik, who had put his companys money where his mouth was Monday when Red Hat filed suit against The SCO Group, claimed that the industry has "devolved" since the onset of SCOs litigation and warned that developers must get involved in the fight as well as push the evolution of the Linux platform.

"This is not the open-source community I joined," Szulik said.


Szulik did not turn his speech into the "LinuxWorld equivalent of the Home Shopping Network," as he said, promoting his own companys products. Instead, Szulik talked about 20-year-old students and other individuals he had met while crisscrossing the country who had fiddled with Red Hats own source code, and talked, developer to developer, about improving it.

"This is the generation I want to influence, I want to benefit—that can see the code without worrying about being arrested," Szulik said. Linux has charged forward, adopted by such major customers as, while developing countries are building their national infrastructure around open-source software.

"How much more proof code do you need?" he asked.

Szulik also noted that the industry has spent billions of dollars over the last few years on standardization efforts, and that the consulting and tools services surrounding Linux dwarf the industry itself.

Given an arbitrary 10,000 companies formed around Linux, several hundred will receive funding and go public, while another 1,500 or so will fail and go out of business. That leaves about 5,000 or so struggling companies that wont have the available funds to fight the legal challenges SCO has engendered, Szulik said, something that the companys defense fund, began Monday, hopes to address.

Finally, Szulik talked about the overwhelming budget crises that have plagued 48 out of the United States 50 states, and how challenges by closed-source companies could derail the important cost savings open-source software offers.

"I find this a tremendously exciting time, and I hope you feel this way as well," he said. "Its not about new features [in new products], but about the wonderful collaborative process of moving this industry forward."

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