In 2002, Red Hat was perhaps the biggest of the Linux distributors, but the biggest? SUSE and Caldera–before its went over to the dark side and became Darth SCO–were also contenders for the top spot. Behind them, now struggling Linux companies such as Mandriva and deceased businesses Progeny Linux, which tried to take Debian Linux to market, were also potential players. Then, ten-years ago, Red Hat completed the move, which would take it from first among equals to being corporate Linux’s top dog: the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) to being the first billion-dollar pure open-source play company.
Today, Paul Cormier, Red Hat’s president of products and technologies said in a statement that “Red Hat is thankful to the worldwide Linux community and all our partners, and is proud to recognize the achievements we’ve made with Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Building on the last decade, today Red Hat enables the most advanced IT environments in organizations that offer products and services that truly enhance the way we work and live. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a great example of making disruptive technology an industry standard.”
Indeed it has, but back when Red Hat first made its “disruptive” move, many Linux fans hated Red Hat’s change in direction. They did so because at the same time Red Hat was launching RHEL, it was closing down its low-end Linux distribution: Red Hat Linux (RHL)