The following is an excerpt from my keynote today at Red Hat Summit.


Open source can fan the sparks of potential around the world, unlike any system that has ever existed. It solves two fundamental problems that limit innovation: 

  • Having ideas be noticed

  • Having ideas be iterated on. 

For example, to have your idea noticed in open source, you don’t have to be known in the industry. Your academic background and pedigree don’t define how or what you contribute. The idea and the implementation of it are what matter; once accepted, they are there for anyone to build on.  

Just think of the potential of the work done by Ada Lovelace, the pioneer of computer programming, being accepted and then iterated on in the 1800s, and the impact that would have today. Imagine mathematics prodigy Srinivasa Ramanujan working in an environment where he had access to the fuel he needed for his spark. 

It’s open source that can make these ideas accessible to everyone. I’ve experienced this first hand because most of what I know about software, I learned from the greatest developers of our time. I didn’t learn this in school; I learned it by studying open source. In fact, the impact of that experience is what brought me to Red Hat.

Our passion extends beyond the software itself. We believe that the way we create software creates a better world. It’s not perfect and, as with many things infused with passion, it can be messy; but we believe it can bring out the best in people. We believe that open unlocks the world’s potential. We are driven to help you realize this same potential for your businesses, for your ideas, and to connect these sparks all around us and fuel them.

To foster this, we are introducing the next wave of capabilities in Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud portfolio. This starts with the foundation that serves as the epicenter for open innovation: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9 (RHEL).

RHEL has always been the platform that connects technologies, ideas and code. RHEL 9 continues this mission to provide the stable foundation for innovation. Our operations now stretch beyond the datacenter to the devices in our hands and the machines we interact with every day. The IT world isn’t just about applications anymore, as computers can now think for themselves and make data-driven decisions.

RHEL 9 is the foundation for all of these environments:

  • It’s available on practically any hardware from the datacenter to the edge

  • It supports a vast choice of hardware architectures from x86 to Arm to Power and Z

  • It supports running on machines, physical and virtual, in containers and even embedded in devices. 

  • And it enables and supports a vast ecosystem of software.

Security is critical to this foundation. Software supply chains are complex and exploits, ransomware and other issues hit the headlines weekly. You need to know that what you put into production stays yours, and that your innovation is used as intended. This is what RHEL 9 provides: a platform that links the open source innovation in Linux to the security and trust you depend on as an enterprise.

This same platform also links products and technologies across Red Hat. Red Hat OpenShift extends RHEL across vast fleets of computers, applications and services, enabling you to manage and automate container technologies to deliver intelligent applications.

Because of how we build our software, your innovation isn’t limited to just consuming what we produce. Co-creating isn’t just a buzzword for us, as there are no boundaries to how you work with us on our platforms. Your engineers and vendors will have access to the same code we work on and they can work side by side with us in upstream communities. From CentOS Stream to OpenShift Origin to Ansible AWX and more, you have the ability to participate in the open source journey with us. We see the potential of innovating together.

Red Hat also brings our customers and partners a complete stack, from edge management to automation to security controls for the next-generation of computing, all forged in the flames of open source and ready to ignite your sparks of potential.

Open source as a system for innovation and realizing potential is spreading across industries that once largely drove innovation in a mechanical sense. Software innovation is no longer constrained to the datacenter. Whether it’s in manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, or other industries, the future is being defined by software. And open source software is the ideal way to realize the potential that exists in these industries. The merging of physical machines and software is happening right now and the ability to innovate across traditional boundaries is critical. This is what open source will enable.

One company in particular is embracing this model. A company that sees the potential of automobiles transforming to electric and then autonomous fleets. They are driven to realize innovation across all boundaries to redefine the future of the automotive industry. We’re pleased to announce a collaboration with the world’s leading automotive manufacturer, General Motors. Together, we will bring Red Hat’s expertise in collaborating on open innovation and the market leading enterprise Linux platform, with GM’s vision to fuel the next automotive revolution.

Earlier today our president and chief executive officer, Paul Cormier, referenced a quote that means so much to us at Red Hat.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” 

This quote is displayed prominently in Red Hat offices around the world and I personally walked by these words every day. But this statement was more than words; it’s the foundation on which Red Hat is built.

Red Hat isn’t just in the business of creating world-class enterprise software - although we do that. We are in the business of open source software. We are in the business of inspiring and connecting potential. And we are in the business of enabling others to build on inspired innovation, wherever it arises, to do even greater things. 

That’s what is at stake for us and for your organization. It’s why we fight for open source and fight for innovation. Because we believe we all win in that fight. At Red Hat Summit 2022, I hope you get to experience this passion yourself And work with us to unlock the amazing potential in your organizations.

About the author

Matt Hicks was named President and Chief Executive Officer of Red Hat in July 2022. In his previous role, he was Executive Vice President of Products and Technologies where he was responsible for product engineering for much of the company’s portfolio, including Red Hat® OpenShift® and Red Hat Enterprise Linux®. He is one of the founding members of the OpenShift team and has been at the forefront of cloud computing ever since.

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