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Red Hat, Inc. filed for its initial public stock offering on June 4. Interested parties can read the official press release on the move, but said release is extremely short on any sort of substantial information. About all that can be obtained from that document is that Red Hat did, indeed, file for an IPO.

What this really means, of course, is that, if all goes well, the principals of Red Hat will get rich. The company itself also gets a major infusion of money to fuel its further growth. On the first point, certainly there is nothing to complain about. The folks who created Red Hat have truly created a valuable company, and have done a lot for Linux in general. Certainly a lot of work, and a lot of committment was required to get that far. They deserve some rewards.

It will be interesting, though, to see what Red Hat does with their new pile of cash. If they get what they are after - just under $100 million - their war chest will far exceed that of any other Linux distributor. It would be naive to expect them to do anything other than attempt to further entrench themselves as the leading Linux distribution. Red Hat is a business, after all, and should be expected to act like a business. The application of that kind of money could change the Linux business picture dramatically. It will be interesting to watch.

Readers with a hunger for details may want to look directly at Red Hat's filing on EDGAR (thanks to Mike Renfro for the link). However, at almost 350K of straight legalese text, it can be a bit of a long slog. For those without that kind of free time, we have prepared a list of highlights of the IPO filing. There are some interesting things to be found there, including the current ownership of the company, and a list of "risk factors" that could bring them down. Plus, their future plans seem to have little to do with selling boxes of software.

LinuxHQ update. LinuxHQ is back online, under new management. Meanwhile, the site formerly known as LinuxHQ, now at kernelnotes.org has dropped the LinuxHQ name and is calling itself Kernelnotes. Mixed into all this are rumors that the owner of the LinuxHQ domain name is really out looking for a deal to sell the site. It's kind of a mess. However, it is worth remembering that Jim Pick is the guy who has run LinuxHQ so well over the last few years, and he's still at it with Kernelnotes. It's the people, not the domains, that matter in the end.

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June 10, 1999


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