Zen and the art of RedHat

Is this the way a company should be? Or is this the way an open source company has to be?
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive

Could there be less to RedHat's strategy than meets the eye? Might it all be, well, zen? (Or Xen?).

That's the impression I gathered talking to vice president-enterprise solutions Tim Yeaton yesterday.

The onetime Compaq executive, who joined RedHat last year, said the JBoss deal was based on cultural consistency, that the Mugshot project was about insiders following their bliss, and that everything RedHat does is based on the desires of enterprise users.

For that reason, Yeaton is not worried too much about issues like license harmonization, preferring to be just as open as RedHat sees its enterprise customers wanting it to be. "We have the most open license for each technology. There are some things we build in that may be under other licenses, and it’s not our place to choose how open source projects license."

As to where RedHat is going to be physically (JBoss is based in Atlanta, RedHat itself in Raleigh) the answer was, wherever you want to be. Yeaton himself is based in Massachusetts, where many of the company's top developers (including the folks behind Mugshot) prefer to live. "We have a lot of engineers working out of their houses." (They also just opened offices in Brazil and Argentina.)

Yeaton is personally working hardest for enterprise customer loyalty, focusing on things like certification and virtualization (that's where the Xen comes in), with top-line growth being more important than margins. This is the way it is in fast-growing markets, which open source certainly is.

"All our projects are at the stage where they are ready to build community," he added, so expect to see more moves in that direction soon.

Is this the way a company should be? Or is this the way an open source company has to be?

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