What is Red Hat Linux?

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that "Every revolution was first a thought in one man's mind."

That's exactly how the Linux revolution began.

It was created in 1991 by then college student Linus Torvalds. He wanted to create an operating system for his own use based on expensive, proprietary UNIX.

He made the new OS available on the Internet with source code, and protected it with a special license that allowed others to improve the software as long as the code remained visible and modifiable. In other words, open.

As the demand for Linux grew, Red Hat and other companies began selling a packaged version of the OS, including documentation and support.

Red Hat Linux often found its way into server rooms because it was cheaper to deploy, but stayed because of its reputation as a stable, reliable operating system.

Now Linux rises on a wave of inevitably. It has become the world's fastest growing server OS, according to research firm IDC. And it continues to achieve widespread adoption among the largest enterprises in mission-critical roles. A Merrill Lynch study found that a third of CIOs plan to buy Linux systems this year. Another Merrill Lynch study found that a quarter of CIOs said that Linux is strategic to their enterprise.

But all Linux is not created equal. There's Linux you can download and piece together yourself, and there's Red Hat Linux. Here's the difference:

Red Hat engineers assemble the Linux kernel and other elements of the Linux operating system, compile it, and test it for performance and reliability. Then they add new features, test for compatibility--all while sharing the software with customers, partners and software vendors, and members of the open source community in a structured feedback cycle. No other Linux company has a process this complete or meticulous.

As a result, Red Hat Linux has become the market-leading, most trusted Linux distribution. And it's why so many companies take advantage of our expertise for services like support, training, and consulting. We bring the benefits of Linux to the enterprise:

  • Performance. Red Hat Linux simply works. From the start it became popular among system administrators for its reliability--running months, even years without needing to reboot.
  • Flexibility. Red Hat Linux is based on open standards so it's more easily integrated with other enterprise systems. One of its most unique characteristics: It runs on everything from small embedded devices to large mainframe systems. This lowers management costs because there's only one code base to maintain. It also makes it easy for developers to write applications for the platform.
  • Cost. A January 2002 IDC study found companies that migrated to Linux from RISC/UNIX could save as much as 45%-80% on their infrastructure costs. Amazon.com saved $17 million in infrastructure costs in one quarter alone, due in large part to their migration to Red Hat Linux.

Copyright 2002 Red Hat, Inc. All rights reserved