August 3, 2004 1:12 PM PDT

Red Hat chief calls for idealism, reform, sharing

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SAN FRANCISCO--It's time for the United States to begin an era of economic sharing that will reduce resentment of the country and could mean a larger computer technology market for everyone, Red Hat Chief Executive Matthew Szulik said Tuesday.

"The real challenge...is to make the pie bigger, to challenge convention...and not hold our piece of the pie captive," Szulik said during the opening keynote speech at LinuxWorld Conference and Expo here.

There have been cases before where putting selfishness aside led to broad, powerful benefits, he said, citing the Salk vaccine for polio and the Marshall Plan to boost the European economy after World War II.

Without that sharing, the United States will continue to spur "resentment" and "alienation" in other countries, he said, noting that China, India and Eastern Europe now have begun to channel their anger into technological and scientific competition that challenges the United States.

Szulik's optimism, however, comes amid financial challenges at the company that have caused its stock to decline. In July, Red Hat said it is restating earnings for the last three fiscal years, reflecting a move to record revenue from Linux support subscriptions on the day, rather than in the month, that a deal is signed. Red Hat also has received a Securities and Exchange Commission "comment letter" regarding the company's annual report. In June, CFO Kevin Thompson abruptly resigned.

Szulik refused to comment on these issues during a question and answer session after the speech.

He noted that in a one-hour meeting, Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam told the Red Hat chief of his enthusiasm for boosting education in India with open-source software. But Szulik told attendees that he continues to struggle to get his own local schools even to learn how to pronounce Linux.

Szulik issued the exhortation during his LinuxWorld keynote speech. It was at least the third time his address to the forum has offered altruistic tones. In 2003, he exhorted open-source programmers to unite for their common good, and in 2001, he called for the use of Linux to boost education.

Sharing is an intrinsic component of the open-source programming philosophy, which requires that software be freely available for anyone to see, use, change and redistribute. Red Hat makes a profit by selling subscriptions to the Linux operating system and higher-level open-source software.

Szulik made only passing references to his company's products and was completely silent on its recent financial bruising. The Raleigh, N.C.-based company is profiting from tens of thousands of new subscriptions for its premium Linux product, but its stock price has plunged after an earnings restatement in June triggered by a more conservative revenue booking method.

As expected, Red Hat used the show to announce its application server software for running Java programs on a server. The product competes with application servers from JBoss, BEA Systems, IBM, Oracle, Sun Microsystems and others.

In addition, Red Hat also announced a partnership with Black Duck Software, a company that sells services to help companies that have programming projects ensure that open-source and proprietary software don't intermingle. The companies will jointly offer training and services to minimize legal risks.

During his keynote, Szulik--an avowed Boston Red Sox fan--tried to illustrate to Americans how they're viewed abroad by drawing an analogy to the well-funded and dominant New York Yankees. "It's that organization with the really deep payroll, the deep pockets, the organization that is always winning and unwilling to share its wealth," he said.

Szulik also called for the reform of intellectual-property law in the United States.

Copyright holders should be required to disclose all copyrighted works in their entirety, he said. Those who want copyrights but don't want to reveal proprietary software should be able to get federal trade-secret protection, Szulik said.

And software patents also need more critical scrutiny, he said. "Do software patents really inspire and create innovation?"

6 comments

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If you don't like US policies Redhat, then move to India
Redhat is just pissed because they know that the US market is where the money is and they can't get it. Unconstitutional my ass. They have this hysterical idea that if I write a program, I should be forced to release the source code. Not in this life. Not to educate their idiot programmers.
The open-source software (with few exceptions like MySQL, Apache, Zend, etc) is truly a a joke. Written by a hodge-podge of unorganized, arrogant, ego-maniacs who spend their time bickering amongst themselves (just look at all the forked projects), bashing Microsoft and clients who just can't seem to make their crap run without support. What a surprise. And especially, what a joke!
India and others are directing their anger at us through competition. Right! By creating substandard applications and providing support that runs along the lines of non-existent because they cannot speak proper english. They don't want us to share our wealth, they want to steal it by bidding 5.00 on a 6 week project. Just look at these ridiculous sites like ELance and others where these incompetant morons bid 100 on a substantial development project. They barely speak understandable English. Just call a customer support desk who outsources to these morons. More time is spent on the phone trying to decipher what they are saying than actually doing anything productive.
I, like many others are refusing to do business with companies that outsource to those who cannot speak legible english.
As for open-source, it could be successful if any one actually gave a damn about quality and customers. News Flash: just because your stupid enough to work for free doesn't mean the US owes you something. I dont' want Redhat forcing open-source crap on me anymore than I want Microsoft locking me into their OS. So Redhat, if you like India so much, then go peddle your wares to them and leave us to our wealth.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
OMG
Who screwed you and left you with all this anger?

Try therapy, or anger-management, instead av bashing and attacking just about everyone but your-self. It might just help you with your situation, ya'know...

Being a non-US citizen, being able to speak and write english, although maybe not as well as a "true american patriotic US-citizen", I would have been offended by your post if I actually could be persuaded to take it seriously.
Being a believer the open-source-movement, I would have been even more offended by your rampant attacks an all and everyone involved with or working for or using open-source software. But again, your post just seems plump and very mis-directed.

My guess is, you lost your job when the company out-sourced your position to a company in, could it maybe be India? And now you want to take out your anger on all foreigners and just about everyone else? Grow up and do something useful instead!
Posted by TurboG (5 comments )
Link Flag
Thats some bashing 'george'
george you seem to have a real strong grudge against india. i suppose the reason to it could be, you loosing yur job to an indian.
i am an indian and i suppose that our skills in english are no less than yours.
Dont blame it on us for having to get support from us but question your own people who are hell bent to send jobs to india to save billions of dollars.
i feel really pitty for you. coz love us or hate us we(india and indians) are here to stay.
Posted by (1 comment )
Link Flag
If you don't like US policies Redhat, then move to India
Redhat is just pissed because they know that the US market is where the money is and they can't get it. Unconstitutional my ass. They have this hysterical idea that if I write a program, I should be forced to release the source code. Not in this life. Not to educate their idiot programmers.
The open-source software (with few exceptions like MySQL, Apache, Zend, etc) is truly a a joke. Written by a hodge-podge of unorganized, arrogant, ego-maniacs who spend their time bickering amongst themselves (just look at all the forked projects), bashing Microsoft and clients who just can't seem to make their crap run without support. What a surprise. And especially, what a joke!
India and others are directing their anger at us through competition. Right! By creating substandard applications and providing support that runs along the lines of non-existent because they cannot speak proper english. They don't want us to share our wealth, they want to steal it by bidding 5.00 on a 6 week project. Just look at these ridiculous sites like ELance and others where these incompetant morons bid 100 on a substantial development project. They barely speak understandable English. Just call a customer support desk who outsources to these morons. More time is spent on the phone trying to decipher what they are saying than actually doing anything productive.
I, like many others are refusing to do business with companies that outsource to those who cannot speak legible english.
As for open-source, it could be successful if any one actually gave a damn about quality and customers. News Flash: just because your stupid enough to work for free doesn't mean the US owes you something. I dont' want Redhat forcing open-source crap on me anymore than I want Microsoft locking me into their OS. So Redhat, if you like India so much, then go peddle your wares to them and leave us to our wealth.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
UGH
Well, that's about the most unAmerican thing I've read this month. Why can't people like Szulik actually stop and think for a minute.

Szulik wants all software to be free? Because other countries see us as stingy and greedy? Szulik, in order to relieve the US of the burdon we have placed on ourselves in the eyes of other countries (your idea), would we not have to extend this idealism to all of our assets?

Isn't it interesting that he only wants to apply his philosophy to the one segment of the market that will help his company PROFIT while removing profits from his competitors? AH HA!

Hey Szulik... when you give away your services for free, I'll give away my software. I could use some free support... please call me. C'mon now, don't be greedy and "...unwilling to share [your] wealth..."
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Give Me a Break
Why is it always the people that have done the work, made the effort and sacrifices, to get something (in this case technology) that are the bad guys???

People that don't will always resent those that do, that's the darker side of human nature. Always has been. But it's hardly the fault of anyone that has.

And giving it away, or 'sharing', doesn't work either because the ones on the receiving end correctly recognize that they couldn't do it on their own, and that will always be bitter.

That is hardly the problem of the US. We do all the work, feed everyone, protect everyone, bend over backwards for everyone, and yet we are the bad guys.

Give Me A Break
Posted by kxmmxk (320 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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