Red Hat, the $1 billion Linux company

In August 1998 Microsoft employees Vinod Valloppillil and Josh Cohen wrote a famous internal confidental document entitled "Linux OS Competitive Analysis", which was subsequently leaked to Eric Raymond and became known as "Halloween Document 2".

Whilst the whole set is fascinating reading it is worth noting what the document said about Red Hat at the time...

RedHat Corporation was founded in 1995 by a pair of Linux developers/enthusiasts with the intent of creating a commercially supported, "cleaned-up" Linux distribution.

The company currently has ~35 employees. Financials and some run-rate information is available in an interview with their CEO in Infoworld (

Bob Young, president of Red Hat expects the 3-year old company to earn revenues of $10 million this year and to ship about 400,000 copies of Linux, ranging from $50 to near $1,000 for a supported version.

Thirteen years later (note the spooky references - from Halloween to 13, triskaidekaphobia alert!)...

Linux software company Red Hat is projecting revenue growth of at least 15 percent for its current fiscal year that ends in February, which would easily push it past the $1 billion mark.

Not too shabby for a company whose open-source software is available free.

Red Hat has 3,750 workers worldwide and has been adding roughly 100 employees every quarter. It employs about 700 in Raleigh.

Read more at News Observer.