Red Hat, Inc. is the largest distributor of the GNU/Linux operating system, which it distributes under the Red Hat and Fedora brands.
Red Hat was originally founded in 1993 by Bob Young as ACC Corporation, a business which sold Linux and UNIX accessories from catalogs. In 1995, ACC Corporation merged with a Linux distribution formed by Marc EWing in the previous year, and the company’s name was changed to Red Hat Software. The company went public in 1999, recording very large opening day gains, and acquired Cygnus Solutions (another free software provider) later that same year.
Today, Red Hat is based in Raleigh, North Carolina, with other offices around the world. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol RHT (it was previously listed on NASDAQ under the ticker RHAT but transferred on December 12th 2006), has approximately 2,200 employees (as of April 2007), and achieved a revenue of US $278.3 million in 2006.
Red Hat’s prinicipal business is based around distributing Linux and providing associated professional services. The company is also involved in the middleware market as a result of its 2006 acquisition of JBoss. Other activities that Red Hat is involved in include:
– 108 – An open content portal aimed at developers.
– Dogtail – Open source software for testing GUI applications.
– Mugshot – A social networking site based around entertainment.
– The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative – An attempt to create an inexpensive laptop to be distributed to children around the world.
– Red Hat Exchange – A distribution portal for FOSS software.
– Red Hat Magazine – An online news publication about Red Hat, Fedora and open source generally.