Open Source

Citigroup interested in buying Red Hat?

Jack Wallen takes on the rumor that Citigroup is considering purchasing Red Hat Linux. It's a frightening proposition, but is it one worth considering? Read on to find out.

One is continually climbing the stock markets while the other is perpetually falling. One is helping to save their market-space while the other threatens to help take theirs down. Citigroup's stock is in the tank (Currently at $2.43 per share) while Red Hat's is still strong (Currently at $16.99 per share.) In fact, Red Hat's stock is less than $2.00 per share shy of Microsoft's stock.

While the thought of such a large company buying Red Hat, and then switching every PC they have on every desk and rack to Linux is tempting, the fear of having such an albatross around the shoulders of one of the most successful Linux companies makes me shudder at the thought of this purchase.

Now I will say that this is nothing more than rumor. This is one failing company seeing a successful company and concluding it might be a wise move. And of course it would be a wise move. Just like any company "investing" in Red Hat - or any Linux for that matter. It's investing in the future. It's not investing in a technology that is going to be out-moded in a year. It's not investing in a technology that will require further investment.

And what about the old rumors of Oracle purchasing Red Hat? Even those have surfaced again. And the IBM/Sun take over has found new teeth. The latter purchase of Sun by IBM makes good sense - at least for Red Hat. IBM and Sun both make machines that run Red Hat Linux. If they came together it would mean an even larger company producing Red Hat powered hardware. Of course this would probably only fuel both the rumor mill and the desire of companies to want to swoop down and take away Red Hat.

I am of the opinion that Red Hat should stand alone. It always has and always should. From the beginning, it was a company often been regarded as Linux itself. We all know this is false, but it illustrates how the court of public opinion holds Red Hat above other distributions. Red Hat has monetized Linux to the enterprise level. No other Linux company has done that as successfully. And regardless of how you feel about the Red Hat Linux distribution, there is something to be said about the company that wooed the corporate giant. Does this mean Red Hat is a sellout? No, not yet. But if Red Hat falls under the mighty acquisition sword of a company that has helped destroy our nation's economy then, yes, it has sold out. Fortunately for us, I believe the suits at Red Hat are smarter than to allow this to happen. If Red Hat is going to sell itself, it will do so to a fellow tech company so that they can further the "cause" of Linux.

Even though many believe Red Hat "gave up" a long time ago, I still believe them to be the same Red Hat that was co-founded by the ever-smiling gentleman Bob Young. And even though I have plenty of faith and trust in Red Hat Linux, I have to plead with their current leaders and say, "Please, don't sell out."

What do you think? Should Red Hat be purchased? If so, by whom? Which two mergers would make the most sense (cents?)? Is there a company out there that could merge with Red Hat and help Linux achieve the world domination it has always dreamed of?

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

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