Today, IBM finalized its acquisition of Red Hat. Moving forward, Red Hat will operate as a distinct unit within IBM, and I couldn't be more excited—not only for what today represents in the history of two storied technology companies, but what it means for the future of the industry, for our customers, and for open source.
Red Hat's acquisition by IBM represents an unparalleled milestone for open source itself. It signals validation of community-driven innovation and the value that open source brings to users.
When the deal was first announced in October 2018, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst gave us a vision for the future: "Our unwavering commitment to open source innovation remains unchanged. The independence IBM has committed to will allow Red Hat to continue building the broad ecosystem that enables customer choice and has been integral to open source's success in the enterprise. IBM is acquiring Red Hat for our amazing people and our incredibly special culture and approach to making better software."
I believe open source won its place as the standard for modern IT solutions long before it became the center of the largest software acquisition in history. Open source won when Linux moved from a fringe technology to sitting in the mainstream of the enterprise. It won open source tools and software stacks became the go-to for developers. And it won when global-scale new businesses were born on top of open source technology foundations. Today, this is why open source is an innovation engine for the IT industry.
For Red Hat, "open" is in our DNA. It is the preeminent spirit that has driven us from our very beginning and something that we will not only preserve through this acquisition, but deepen.
Red Hat has spent decades championing open source as a superior way to create technology. As we start this new chapter with IBM, Red Hat will continue to be and do what it always has. We will continue to lead and participate in communities. We will carry on with our work in numerous open source projects. And the technologies we develop and offer to our customers will continue to be open.
This commitment comes with a pledge: keep these technologies open so everyone can help create, promote and maintain better open source software. We also continue our Patent Promise, to protect open source innovation by not enforcing our patents against free and open source software.
Open source, community, and the power of collaboration have everything to do with how we reached this moment. We truly believe open unlocks the world’s potential, and we will remain steadfast in our commitment to these values.
IBM is no stranger to open source and has been a strong advocate for and investor in open source technologies for decades. In fact, we have worked together on various open source initiatives and in numerous communities for many years.
We are coming together to build upon a firm foundation that will enable us to accelerate and scale beyond what either Red Hat or IBM could do individually. I firmly believe that our combined presence and reputation in the technology industry, along with a strong demonstration of shared values, will help us accelerate the broader adoption of open source around the world and reshape the technology landscape for generations to come.
If you have questions or would like to learn more about IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat, consider the following resources:
Todd Moore, VP of Open Technology at IBM, blog post about what this means for IBM’s participation in open source
FAQ on the Red Hat Community Blog
In addition, I will host an online Q&A session in the coming days where you can ask questions you may have about what the acquisition means for Red Hat and our involvement in open source communities. Details will be announced on the Red Hat Blog.
About the author
Chris Wright is senior vice president and chief technology officer (CTO) at Red Hat. Wright leads the Office of the CTO, which is responsible for incubating emerging technologies and developing forward-looking perspectives on innovations such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, distributed storage, software defined networking and network functions virtualization, containers, automation and continuous delivery, and distributed ledger.