Why Red Hat is happy to have others make billions on its open source dime

Red Hat generates $2 billion in annual revenue but, by its CEO’s own admission, that’s not nearly as much value as it gives away. In a recent interview, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst likened his company to a machine tool manufacturer in the Industrial Revolution—a company that does well, but not nearly as well as the companies that put those machine tools to use to build, for example, cars.

And yet Red Hat—on a “mission from God” of sorts—seems perfectly happy with its role as enabler of other multi-billion-dollar enterprises.