LinuxWorld: Life without Red Hat And other unpleasant possibilities

The fear is that, with Linux stocks in the tank right now,
the likelihood of Red Hat (or other distributions) failing or being
swallowed up in a merger is high. Then Linux itself could be
subsumed by the world of corporate IT, and in the process lose its
freedom, its soul, and its community.

“Before going any further, let me say that the chance of Red Hat
failing, in the near future or in the long term, is as completely
unlikely as VA Linux buying Microsoft. But Red Hat could become a
takeover target of a larger fish, especially given the churning sea
of tech stocks in today’s market. IPO feeding frenzies send stocks
soaring above rational levels one day, then the laws of gravity and
prudence bring investors, and stock prices, back to reality the
next. It was under just such circumstances that Red Hat bought
Cygnus last fall, and under which Corel is trying to buy Borland

“If Red Hat failed, a number of kernel hackers and GNOME
developers would be looking for another way to put bread on the
table; there is no denying that. But neither can you deny that they
would be pummeled with offers from elsewhere. Giving back to the
community is not just talk in the Linux world; supporting open
source efforts and open source developers is a mark of honor. I
have no doubt that all the Red Hat funding would quickly be
replaced quickly enough so that there would be no damage to the
Linux development effort.”

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