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Mystifying Words from Red Hat’s CEO

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat, Servers at 9:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In a new article, Red Hat’s CEO has some curious words to share:

Microsoft recently disclosed that it has 235 patents that “read” on open source technology, but has not identified which patents the Linux kernel allegedly infringes upon. “We continue and invite the opportunity to participate with Microsoft around standards and about improving the customer relationship and experience of being able to operate successfully within a heterogeneous environment,” Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik said in response to a question about dealing with Microsoft about patents. “For us, it’s less religious and more importantly about how do we create a win-win for the customer. Our position hasn’t moved and it’s been the same for as long as I’ve been at Red Hat.”

This one, for a change, does not come second-handed from Jim Finkle. What do you reckon is going on here? This may be very subtle, but is Red Hat softening? Has last week’s stance changed? Please call me a paranoid. The context of this article is purely financial.

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  1. John Drinkwater said,

    June 29, 2007 at 10:42 am


    IMHO: His quote backs up Red Hat’s stance, maybe it’s just a poor choice of words, due to it being targetted at investors.

    The important quote: “…to participate with Microsoft around standards and about improving the customer relationship and experience of being able to operate successfully within a heterogeneous environment,” is everything RH has been saying all along.

    And on patents: “Our position hasn’t moved and it’s been the same for as long as I’ve been at Red Hat.”

  2. shane coyle said,

    June 29, 2007 at 12:32 pm


    Yeah, and he specifically says ‘around standards’, which is in line with their previously espoused stance on interoperability as well.

    Probably nothing to worry about, Novell had serious financial problems when MS knocked on their door, Red Hat’s business is soaring – why alienate their developers for a less-than-useless patent pledge?

  3. kripken said,

    June 29, 2007 at 1:23 pm


    As I follow the Red Hat announcements, it seems pretty obvious what they are getting at (as I see things, at least).

    Basically Red Hat are a for-profit corporation, with FOSS ideals at heart. Because of those ideals, they won’t sign a vague ‘patent covenant’ like Novell did. Yet, if Microsoft shows the actual patents publicly, and they are found to be a serious issue, Red Hat will have no choice but to arrive at a deal (or, barring some technical workaround, stop doing business in the US).

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 29, 2007 at 8:36 pm


    Thanks for the clarifications. The eye-catching headline and the following part of the sentence led me to far-fetched speculations.

    …hasn’t moved and it’s been the same for as long as I’ve been at Red Hat

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