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First Billion Dollar Open Source Software Vendor

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the lots-of-zeros dept.

Red Hat Software 75

head_dunce writes "Red Hat is doing very well in this economy. Total revenue and subscription revenue for this quarter is up 28% year-over-year. Jim Whitehurst, President and Chief Executive Officer of Red Hat said, 'Based on the strong first half results, we believe Red Hat remains well positioned to finish fiscal 2012 as the first billion dollar open source software vendor.'"

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Congrats to The Hat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37478222)

Just passed a RH office in mass the other day on my way to some mini golf and ice cream and wondered how they fared these days. Good job boys!

Re:Congrats to The Hat (1)

MikeKWarren (2467784) | more than 3 years ago | (#37479324)

I know of a bug wall st. firm that is using a huge amount of RH software. they could be profitiable from them alone...

Re:Congrats to The Hat (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#37481842)

Kimball's rocks, don't they?

Re:Congrats to The Hat (1)

Nermal (7573) | more than 3 years ago | (#37481936)

I love that I'm not the only one who knew exactly which office was being referred to. :)

Congratulations, IBM! I knew you could do it! (0)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#37478288)

oh...

Congratulations, Google! I knew you could do it! (1)

kervin (64171) | more than 3 years ago | (#37478734)

oh...

Apple....?

Congratulations, SCO! I knew you could do it! (0)

Lieutenant_Dan (583843) | more than 3 years ago | (#37478934)

oh ... no $699 from cocksmoking teabaggers.

Microsoft?

Of course..... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37478340)

They are a billion dollar open source company because they charge such ridiculous fees for support. However, imagine if they didn't charge so much how many additional users from the CentOS users base they would have, but that's what happens when you get greedy.

Re:Of course..... (1, Interesting)

CountBrass (590228) | more than 3 years ago | (#37478356)

Have to agree.

And the support fees are mandatory- no way to download a copy of RHEL from them without signing up to pay.

Re:Of course..... (2)

bsharitt (580506) | more than 3 years ago | (#37478486)

They should go back to a freely downloadable, but unsupported version. Compared to enterprise level support from other vendors(Unix, Windows, etc) I don't think their pricing is that bad, but an easily accessible free version with no support would alleviate the headaches of waiting for CentOS and others to keep up. Fedora is nice, but it's too far removed from the main Red Hat release and can be unstable.

Re:Of course..... (2, Informative)

cat5 (166434) | more than 3 years ago | (#37478542)

They should go back to a freely downloadable, but unsupported version.

It's called Fedora.... Also known as the upstream source for RHEL.

Re:Of course..... (1)

bsharitt (580506) | more than 3 years ago | (#37478602)

You seem to have missed the last part of that:

Fedora is nice, but it's too far removed from the main Red Hat release and can be unstable.

They're similar and in a couple years RHEL will resemble Fedora today, but by that point Fedora will be quite different too.

Re:Of course..... (3, Insightful)

cat5 (166434) | more than 3 years ago | (#37478658)

And... that's the whole point of Fedora vs RHEL. This has been discussed everywhere for years.
Users want something free - thats Fedora. OEMs and Vendors want something with long term support and accountability - which costs money. Thats RHEL, which you pay for.

All the companies that switch to CentOS, fine with me - but play nice, and buy at least 1 support contract/license from Red Hat. It's a nice way of saying thanks to the main company doing all the hard work.

Re:Of course..... (1)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 3 years ago | (#37480220)

All the companies that switch to CentOS, fine with me - but play nice, and buy at least 1 support contract/license from Red Hat. It's a nice way of saying thanks to the main company doing all the hard work.

That's a way of saying thanks for seeding my yum-rhn-plugin/reposync that updates untold numbers of unsubscribed RHEL systems. Not that using CentOS is mooching any less.

Re:Of course..... (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#37479220)

You seem to have missed the last part of that:

Fedora is nice, but it's too far removed from the main Red Hat release and can be unstable.

They're similar and in a couple years RHEL will resemble Fedora today, but by that point Fedora will be quite different too.

Well, businesses could run a Fedora from a few years ago. That should be like RHEL today, right?

I think CentOS is a better option if you are looking for "free as in beer".

Re:Of course..... (0)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 3 years ago | (#37478750)

> It's called Fedora.... Also known as the crowd-sourced beta testing for RHEL.

FTFY

Re:Of course..... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37478552)

They should go back to a freely downloadable, but unsupported version.

Wait...
Their OS works
They get 28% year-over-year

What's wrong with the way they do business?

Re:Of course..... (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37488748)

They should go back to a freely downloadable, but unsupported version.

Wait... Their OS works They get 28% year-over-year

What's wrong with the way they do business?

It's a philosophical, not a business argument.

Re:Of course..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37478572)

They should go back to a freely downloadable, but unsupported version. Compared to enterprise level support from other vendors(Unix, Windows, etc) I don't think their pricing is that bad, but an easily accessible free version with no support would alleviate the headaches of waiting for CentOS and others to keep up. Fedora is nice, but it's too far removed from the main Red Hat release and can be unstable.

There are already 2 unsupported free versions (binary comptabile) of RHEL, CentOS and Scientific Linux.
If waiting for a new version is killing you then put the dough on the table and get RHEL.

Re:Of course..... (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#37479110)

Of course it'd be good for you, the question Red Hat will ask is "What's in it for us?" That it doesn't have support isn't going to stop people from blaming "the red hat server" when things go to hell, maybe they'll get a few incident support fees but very little else. On the other hand they're likely to lose a lot of basic support agreements from companies who bought it because some PHB has heard of Red Hat, but never CentOS. There's a reason Fedora has its own name and brand and it's not Red Hat Linux anymore, because they don't want reports of Fedora problems to sound like RHEL problems.

I mean, like some other person commented there are plenty products that are very similar, if you just need a free server there's Debian or Ubuntu LTS, I don't know if SLES has a free version but if you absolutely want to run RHEL it's because you want their QA on it. Maybe that should be worth a little, otherwise you're free to help do the work of creating CentOS yourself and not just wait for others to help you. No payment, no contribution, yes it's easy to lean back and say please give me everything for free but the work doesn't do itself.

Re:Of course..... (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 2 years ago | (#37487680)

I believe OpenSuse is much closer to SLE[S|D] than Fedora is to RHEL, though I could be mistaken. I've certainly seen "trial" SLED DVDs floating around, which will prompt (but not require) you to buy a support contract and such when installed.

Re:Of course..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37478510)

Hmmm. Scientific Linux or CentOS. Take your pick.

Re:Of course..... (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#37478982)

That's why CentOS [centos.org] exists. It's Red Hat's SRPMs (which they distribute to stay GPL-compliant), without the Red Hat branding, built themselves and give away freely. So if you don't want support but do want something that's basically identical to RHEL, use that. And yes, this can be used on a large scale if needed.

What RHEL really caters to are the CTOs or small business owners who have heard from the trade magazines and their techies that Linux is a great tool, but are too stuck in the Microsoft mindset to think that anything available for $0 and without a formal support contract is good enough to use. So if you're in a MS shop and want to convince management to consider Linux, RHEL is a good stepping stone. And then the next step is "Ok, you've used Linux for a while without a hitch, how about not having to pay for it so we can save the company thousands of dollars in licensing?"

Re:Of course..... (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#37482002)

To fair, the support is pricey, but it's good. For the SOHO shop that is using a Linux box or two as a back end for their Windows and/or Mac workstations, they'll answer the straight easy "how do I do $thing in Linux" all day. For the big boys the basic support people will escalate to engineers for helping you optimize kernels, fix complex issues. I've used their support for some very tricky issues in clustering and HPC, they've always been willing to help and usually pointed me int eh right direction even if they didn't flat solve the problem. Unlike Microsoft, their "scope of support" is very broad, and they have at least a few real experts on any given topic.

Re:Of course..... (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37488762)

That's fine if your small business has enough technical resources not to require support. People on slashdot seem to forget that not all organisations are software developers full of knowledgeable people who are passionate about Linux and have spare time to help out doing IT work..

Re:Of course..... (2, Informative)

Sadsfae (242195) | more than 3 years ago | (#37478996)

Have to agree.

And the support fees are mandatory- no way to download a copy of RHEL from them without signing up to pay.

You can download a 60-day trial of RHEL here, just make a free RHN account first.
https://www.redhat.com/wapps/eval/index.html?evaluation_id=1008 [redhat.com]

It doesn't time out and you can use it forever you just won't receive updates after 60 days. You can also compile your own updates from the freely available SRC rpms like all the other RHEL clones do should you choose.

I stand corrected. (1)

CountBrass (590228) | more than 3 years ago | (#37479248)

I'd always balked at the signing up stage.

Thanks for the pointer!

Re:Of course..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37485150)

You can't create a RHN account with a "personal" email address such as Gmail

Re:Of course..... (1)

dcavanaugh (248349) | more than 3 years ago | (#37478838)

RHEL support fees don't work for me, but I am OK with waiting for CentOS. I don't need cutting-edge Linux, just a distro that doesn't choke on a tarball. For those things that truly need to be absolutely current, I'll go get the source code and install the old fashioned way.

Re:Of course..... (1)

Ksevio (865461) | more than 3 years ago | (#37479476)

Cutting edge? Have you seen the release cycle of RHEL?

Re:Of course..... (1)

Inconexo (1401585) | more than 3 years ago | (#37478924)

They are a billion dollar open source company because enough people pay their ridiculous fees.

Re:Of course..... (4, Interesting)

chrb (1083577) | more than 3 years ago | (#37480696)

The support fees only appear "ridiculous" when considered out of context. Red Hat is in the market of providing premium support solutions for enterprise. How much do you think similar companies charge for premium enterprise support? IBM? Oracle? Microsoft? Red Hat has a high value support proposition in the Linux industry: they have skilled engineers with expertise across the entire Linux stack. If you have a support contract query that requires escalating, then they are able to do it. If you have a problem with a low-level kernel issue, then Red Hat can provide kernel engineers. If you have an issue with the GCC toolchain, they have some of the people who maintain GCC who can work on it. You have a Java or JBoss problem? They have people who can do that.

And here's the big deal - if you have an interaction issue, where, say, JBoss performs badly on a particular series of kernel builds, then they have people who can work on that from both ends. How many other Linux distributions can say that they can offer support services across the entire Linux software stack, from compiler to kernel to Java Enterprise server, supported by the engineers who actually wrote and maintained the upstream projects? That is why enterprises are happy to pay Red Hat so much for a premium support package.

Re:Of course..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37484262)

Why should those engineers being paid at all? Why aren't people from the community volunteering their time?

Re:Of course..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37487046)

Why should they?

Re:Of course..... (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#37487626)

hey, i've got four kids to feed!

Re:Of course..... (1)

Reservoir Penguin (611789) | more than 2 years ago | (#37487670)

So what happened to number five?

Re:Of course..... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | about 3 years ago | (#37535084)

>> hey, i've got four kids to feed!
> So what happened to number five?

[the traitorous Benny shoots George/Kuato]
Melina: How can you do this? You're a mutant.
Benny: [shrugs] I got four kids to feed.
Douglas Quaid: So what happened to number five?
Benny: [beat tone] Aw, shit, man! You got me. I'm not even married. Now, put your fuckin' hands in the air!

Re:Of course..... (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37488834)

Why should those engineers being paid at all? Why aren't people from the community volunteering their time?

Why should anyone volunteer their time to a commercial organisation?

First year obligation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37478568)

I hope congress can leverage this in there first fiscal year obligation to R&D funding. www.kustombeats.com

WOW (1)

Grindalf (1089511) | more than 3 years ago | (#37478580)

I don't have anything to say but: WOW! I'm impressed!

A first for Slashdot! (0)

Warwick Allison (209388) | more than 3 years ago | (#37478694)

Well done! No-one else will be reporting this amazing milestone for about a year!!!

Re:A first for Slashdot! (1)

Warwick Allison (209388) | more than 3 years ago | (#37481298)

Sorry, it's 6 months to their end of FY 2012, not 12, the point by which they expect to have made $1B in a FY.

Which software (2)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 3 years ago | (#37478762)

I'd really like to see a breakdown of their subscription revenue. I heard a couple of years ago that their JBoss offerings were growing faster than the OS subscriptions, and they seem to be putting a lot of resources into that line. I think it offers a more compelling value proposition for businesses. I mean, their Linux OS isn't really anything special, compared to other distros or even [gasp!] Windows server, when you consider the subscription / support costs. On the other hand, when you compare the JBoss stuff to similar platforms from IBM, Oracle and the others, it's a hell of a bargain.

Re:Which software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37478952)

it's a great bargain for sure. we're in the process of ditching oracle/weblogic with a license upgrade/renewal cost of ~200k for jboss @ ~40k.

huuuuge difference

Re:Which software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37479372)

You're not the only one either, we have a few more weblogic servers to transition to jboss and we will be completely jboss on linux. The DB layer on the other hand...ugh. Now that Oracle has raised the sun cluster support costs by about 1000% I think we will be ditching that as well. I guess maybe RAC on Solaris or Linux. I really want to get rid of Solaris.

Re:Which software (5, Informative)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 3 years ago | (#37479210)

They predict that by 2013 non-OS software will grown to almost half the revenue.

Source [redhat.com] .

Middleware (likely JBoss) will be the majority of the non-OS software.

Re:Which software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37481002)

(likely JBoss)

PFFT! Bold assumption, considering how Oracle is handling Java...

Re:Which software (1)

Kludge (13653) | more than 3 years ago | (#37480838)

their Linux OS isn't really anything special, compared to other distros or even [gasp!] Windows server,

What are you talking about? It's unfakeable.

Seriously though, it is a very solid distribution with great support for far less money than you would pay for other *nix. And your "Windows server" comparison made me laugh.

Re:Which software (1)

Woy (606550) | more than 3 years ago | (#37481074)

or even [gasp!] Windows server Tell that to Diginotar. Ah wait, you can't, because they went with Windows servers, and no longer fucking exist.

Free as in... (1)

gtvr (1702650) | more than 3 years ago | (#37478804)

beer?

Re:Free as in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37479588)

No, free as in GPL, only when none of the two other definitions for free doesn't apply.

Re:Free as in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37488740)

No, free as in speech.

RHT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37479036)

I purchased a bunch of Red Hat shares at $32 a month ago. It might hit $42 soon, not bad ROI for a month. Long live the first billion dollar open source company!!!! May you keep growing.

Impossible!!! (0)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#37479152)

There's no money in open source software!! It's it's not protected, encrypted, DRM'd, closed source, there can be no profit in it and everyone will pirate and never pay!!

Re:Impossible!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37479466)

Sadly, one billion is tiny compared to places like Apple which has more money than most countries...

Re:Impossible!!! (1)

buchanmilne (258619) | more than 3 years ago | (#37479840)

And how much of that comes from vending/supporting "their" software (vs. selling hardware and taking cuts of everyone else's content and software that is sold via their "store")?

Re:Impossible!!! (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#37480702)

Well, if you actually had a clue you'd know that was true.

RedHat's worth and value is in the investments it made from its IPO sales, the majority of their income is from those investments, not from OSS.

If they still had to depend on the software side of the business to pay for everything they would have went out of business shortly after their IPO.

Re:Impossible!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37482224)

Apropos of nothing, did you know that fanatics are often lacking in a sense of humor as well as none too bright?

Well (1)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 3 years ago | (#37479262)

CentOS just works for me.

Re:Well (1)

Stax (13864) | more than 3 years ago | (#37483656)

Without Red Hat there would be no CentOS, and even with Red Hat doing the lions share of the work, the CentOS folks have a hell of a time getting updates, patches, security fixes out.

RHEL Is Not Open Source (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37479456)

RedHat Enterprise Linux is not open source. They sell it, nobody else is allowed to offer it for download. It's not free software.

Re:RHEL Is Not Open Source (2)

NorbMan (829255) | more than 3 years ago | (#37479650)

At the risk of feeding a troll, it is most definitely open source because you can download the entire source code (from RedHat), modify it if you want, and roll your own distribution with it. Which is exactly what Scientific Linux and CentOS does.

Re:RHEL Is Not Open Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37479948)

RedHat Enterprise Linux is not open source. They sell it, nobody else is allowed to offer it for download. It's not free software.

Oh my, you should inform Oracle.
They've been pirating RHEL for god knows how long.
I wonder if RH can sue them for 200 fantasty-billion dollars.

Re:RHEL Is Not Open Source (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 3 years ago | (#37480400)

As usual, it depends on your definition of "free". The term "Red Hat" is indeed a trademark, and other people are not permitted to use it. Hence you can't reproduce packages that use that term without removing the term. Does that violate any definition of "open source"? Probably not: OSI's Open Source Definition [opensource.org] says nothing about trademarks. I can't think of a single open source definition that excludes trademarks; in fact, the FSF have even explicitly declared that the use of trademarks is compatible with the GPL [gnu.org] :

"However, some licenses had requirements that weren't really restrictive, because they were so easy to comply with. For example, some licenses say that they don't give you permission to use certain trademarks. That's not really an additional restriction: if that clause wasn't there, you still wouldn't have permission to use the trademark. We always said those licenses were compatible with GPLv2, too. Now, GPLv3 explicitly gives everyone permission to use code that has requirements like this. These new terms should help clear up misunderstandings about which licenses are GPL-compatible, why that is, and what you can do with GPL-compatible code."

Since it is blatantly obvious that most people accept the GPL is an "open source" license, the use of trademarks obviously does not make source code "not open source".

So, bad economy is good for open source? (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#37479994)

So, that answers that question people were making by 2008? A bad economy is indeed good for open source.

My most recent guess was the oposite.

Re:So, bad economy is good for open source? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#37480738)

The majority of RedHat's income is from investments, not software, so saying a bad economy is good for OSS is misleading at best. OSS isn't wants keeping them afloat. Good investments during a time when everyone else made a bunch of shitty ones is whats keeping them going.

Red Hat investment income (1)

sjbe (173966) | more than 3 years ago | (#37482412)

The majority of RedHat's income is from investments, not software...

Red Hat's Statement of Cash Flows [yahoo.com] says otherwise. Over the most recent 12 months reported Red Hat had $23,378,000 in investment income against $107,278,000 in Net Income and $909,277,000 in Revenue. That works out to about 2.5% of Red Hat's income coming from investments. Last time I checked, 2.5% does not constitute a "majority".

Of course they're number one... (0)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 3 years ago | (#37480638)

...among "open source" companies. Because their model is as close to a closed-source company as they can be without violating licenses. Want a non-paid copy of their OS? Sure, but we're going to make it hard for you to find, and you'd better be able to compile everything from source yourself.

Note: I'm not knocking Red Hat here. I think they're actually smart, and I think they're successful because they operate more as a profit-seeking enterprise than an idealistic "lets make a few bucks while we change the world" enterprise. Clearly, the balance sheet is more important to them than the idealism. That's how you make money. Red Hat is becoming more like Apple or Oracle than the Red Hat of old. Which means that unlike most open source companies, they'll probably remain profitable.

Re:Of course they're number one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37484676)

The main issue with the business is that, unless you somehow protect something ( be it brand, documentation, expertise or anything ), you are likely facing competitors that will just rip your product, and who are likely to be bigger than you. For example, the whole Unbreakable Linux stuff is a famous example, but we can find several similar story ( Ubuntu and some local reseller, like the french assembly, Mandrakesoft and their firewall project MNF 1 ).

So Red Hat protect the brand for protecting the business in order to continue to pay coders, because otherwise, they would be out of business. Another reason is that the trademark laws ( at least in USAs, and from my own understanding ) requires a constant supervision ( or you lose the right to protect it ).

Re:Of course they're number one... (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37487938)

Even RMS supports Red Hat's trademark enforcement. Not giving away free end user copies of their OS doesn't make them less open source, it just makes them not freeware.

Cool! Now, when will they get bought out? (0)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#37480810)

And what will happen to all those "defensive" patents that they've been filing?

If you obtain software patents, you're the enemy. No exceptions, no compromises.

Re:Cool! Now, when will they get bought out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37484342)

Weren't they placed in OIN ( http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/ )

...for some definition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37481306)

...for some definition of an "open source company".

Google makes Android. Apple makes Darwin. They both make Webkit. Oracle, IBM, Samsung, all make money creating large open source software projects and selling products and services that rely on them.

Mr. Whitehurst, take a bit of that money (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 3 years ago | (#37481882)

and sue the fsck out of Microsoft for character assasination and brinksmanship against thrid party vendors. Force them to show these 'infringements' by Linux or be punished for lying about them for fud and profit.

the flames, the heat, the need (1)

nobodie (1555367) | about 3 years ago | (#37507730)

As a Fedora fanboy (let me be clear about my position here) AND a RedHat (RHT) stockholder (money where my mouth is) let me point out that:
1) Red Hat announced last year that they were approaching the 1 billion mark and hoped to pass it this year
2) This announcement is merely a prognostication that they will accomplish that this year
3) their stocks have been a consistent and strong investment for me (as opposed to AMD, various solar energy and battery companies).
4) Red Hat is a company, they are doing what their stock holders wish, as directed by the Board. We and the board believe in their implementation of OSS, FOSS, as well as their approach to the ideas of software freedom and how a company can be an important implementer of FOSS software. The amount of money (in salaries and development) that Red Hat gives back to the FOSS community and FOSS projects from the Linux kernel to thousands of gnu projects they help support is huge (not unparalleled, but only paralleled by companies like Google or IBM who are ginormous compared to Red Hat), yet they are growing in value year over year and have been for more than 10 years).

They have done this in the server and business market, competing with the huge players in the game and earning their respect and fear (MS, Oracle, Sun, etc although these companies might like to crush them they have not succeeded).

The report being quoted in the storyline is a report to the stockholders, a public document that Red Hat uses to give us good news and warn us of impending problems. It is notable that Red Hat is always honest in these public announcements, but also conservative. They normally do not trumpet changes or important milestones unless they have good reason to believe they will come about. Unlike many companies that use creative accounting to project rosy futures to try to pump up their share value only to have it crash after the truth comes out. Red Hat supports software freedom and honesty. They are a company I am proud to be a part of and proud to use their products and promote their products at every opportunity.

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