As the news broke, there was expected knee-jerk reaction within the open source world. I played the devil’s advocate to see what some of the actual community members think and it’s quite obvious that everyone is excited about this deal. As someone who tracks open source at IBM, I am super excited about this news, but I will get into that in the follow-up blog. Here I want to list out some facts that you need to know about IBM-Red Hat acquisition. These facts will change your opinion about this acquisition:
IBM is among the top 10 contributors to the Linux Kernel: If you are worried that IBM doesn’t know anything about open source and may manhandle RHEL, let me tell you that IBM is among the top 10 contributors to the Linux kernel.
IBM was behind OIN: You must have heard of OIN, Open Innovation Network, for the first time in a while when Microsoft announced that they joined OIN to protect Linux. It must be noted that IBM was one of the forces behind OIN.
Red Hat will remain independent: IBM is not going to absorb Red Hat technologies and talent within the company diluting the Red Hat branding. According to what has been told, Red Hat will continue to run as an independent unit within IBM, just the way YouTube and Google are the independent entity within Alphabet.
Jim Whitehurst will remain the leader of Red Hat: No one knows Red Hat and the business side of open source better than Whitehurst. He will remain the head of the Red Hat unit with his team intact. That’s similar to how SUSE continues to operate as an independent unit, under the team of Nils Bruchmann, irrespective of the owner.
No impact on Open Source projects run by Red Hat: In a press conference, when I asked any impact on open source projects like Gnome, Fedora or CentOS. I was told that there will be no impact whatsoever, these projects will continue to be run the way they are run today.
I have a good feeling about this acquisition and I, like many others, see the possibility of Red Hat culture overtake the culture of IBM and turn IBM into a Red Hat-flavored company. We may even see Whitehurst taking over the helm of IBM as their next CEO.