Red Hat boss on Linus Torvalds: 'He's changed the world'

Paul Cormier says there would be no cloud computing had it not been for Linux and open source.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor on
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Red Hat CEO Paul Cormier has continued his regional virtual tour this week, sharing with media in the Asia Pacific region on Thursday his thoughts on what the work Linus Torvalds has done over the last 30 years means for the world.

"Oh, my gosh, where do you start?," he began.

"I mean, he's changed the world. Just his vision of an open operating system."

It's not just the operating system that came out of it, Cormier said.

"That was the very beginning. Even when we got started with Linux 20-plus years ago, it really wasn't -- it was for hobbyists, but what Linus did was really show the world that open was a better way to develop new innovation," the CEO said. "And I think where Red Hat took it from there, from an enterprise perspective, we showed the world that we really could run critical enterprise workloads on open source-developed software."

According to Cormier, Torvalds was undoubtedly the leader "out of the gate", but Red Hat then "set loose" the innovation engine around Linux and open source.

"We would not have cloud computing, had it not been for Linux and open source, it was just too big of a problem for one company to solve," he continued. "And that's why it's moving so fast right now, because where the best technology wins, you really take a lot of the one company blinders type of thing out of the picture here, and you just get so many minds on a problem."

He said the best technology wins, which is why innovation is moving at such a rapid pace.

"Linus was really the person that opened the door for everything you're seeing in cloud computing today, is how I would characterise it."

Cormier was speaking as part of Red Hat Summit 2021, which has seen a slew of announcements made, including the arrival of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.4.

The CEO has been touting the message that chief information officers will all have to be cloud operators in the future because these execs will be stitching together platforms to conduct business.

On Thursday, he added the belief that tech vendors should be looking to build their software on OpenShift, if they aren't already.

"IBM made a bold decision. Even before the Red Hat acquisition, IBM had made a decision that they were going to move all of their software to be container-based," he said. "They actually they had their own IBM container-based platform with their own Linux, but when we came in, they moved that out, and standardised everything on Red Hat OpenShift."


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