Red Hat, IBM, and Fedora

Today marks a new day in the 26-year history of Red Hat. IBM has finalized its acquisition of Red Hat, which will operate as a distinct unit within IBM.

What does this mean for Red Hat’s participation in the Fedora Project?

In short, nothing.

Red Hat will continue to be a champion for open source, just as it always has, and valued projects like Fedora that will continue to play a role in driving innovation in open source technology. IBM is committed to Red Hat’s independence and role in open source software communities. We will continue this work and, as always, we will continue to help upstream projects be successful and contribute to welcoming new members and maintaining the project.

In Fedora, our mission, governance, and objectives remain the same. Red Hat associates will continue to contribute to the upstream in the same ways they have been.

We will do this together, with the community, as we always have.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about today’s news, I encourage you to review the materials below. For any questions not answered here, please feel free to contact us. Red Hat CTO Chris Wright will host an online Q&A session in the coming days where you can ask questions you may have about what the acquisition means for Red Hat and our involvement in open source communities. Details will be announced on the Red Hat blog.


Matthew Miller, Fedora Project Leader
Brian Exelbierd, Fedora Community Action and Impact Coordinator

Fedora Project community


  1. « What does this mean for Red Hat’s participation in the Fedora Project? In short, nothing. »

    No change is better than less participation, but when you see the amount paid by IBM, you can’t help but dream that it would have been really nice to get more participation in the free desktop, which is unfortunately far too neglected by the Linux Foundation and most of the players who rely mainly on servers or the cloud that brings in more and more money :-/

    • Absolutely. In the period leading up to the deal closing, we couldn’t actually make plans with IBM for regulatory reasons, but I do think there’s a lot of potential for growth rather than just no change in the future. Stay tuned!

  2. Marcio

    I hope the wonderful #Fedora is not discontinued or receives less attention from #IBM, I long for #Fedora and #RedHat!

  3. Zach D.

    I wish y’all the best of luck. IBM bought my department from Verizon along with a department from AT&T as well as all of Softlayer to jump-start their cloud offerings. I was optimistic and stuck around the first year. By the end of the first year they made sweeping changes and things didn’t look good, so I left for a better opportunity. At my current job I have a lot of colleagues that used to work for IBM as well, and the running joke is “IBM: Where good software goes to die”. Now not even 2 years later and IBM told everyone brought in from Verizon and AT&T they will be unemployed in 90 days. I don’t know about Softlayer only because I didn’t know anyone from there. Hopefully Redhat will get better treatment and a better investment from IBM than we did. Unfortunately I think they’ll eventually send all your jobs off to India and another small tam based at another office in the US and let all of you go to cut costs, because that’s what IBM does.

    • Time will of course tell, but there’s good reason to believe that this won’t be like that. This is the largest software company acquisition in history, significant even for a company IBM’s size. Sure, they can mess it up, but from everything I can see the genuine intention is to not to.

  4. jackson simfukwe

    It would be bad to see fedora neglected. Fedora deserve more continuity.

  5. jesse

    I love the Fedora distro. With Gnome or KDE.

    I really do hope that IBM leaves Red Hat alone and allow it to continue supporting the Fedora Project.

    I do not want to see more splits in the Linux community.

  6. Tony Rawlings

    Well, Lenovo was once IBM and they are going strong plus they fully support Linux.

    • Brandom

      ….really?? not so long ago hear that the trackpoint and the modular battery were in risk

  7. IBM always seems to purge huge numbers of good talent around the end of the year. I’ve personally known five very brilliant people who were laid off within a week of Christmas. I wish the best of luck to Red Hat employees. When you need us, we’ll be here (current linkedin employee)

  8. Esteban

    Former IBMer myself, i am affraid IBM could take an aggresive policy aimed at reducing ‘unnecesary costs” at anytime, like removing most of RH staff, and completely terminating Fedora project (Remember Informix) You know, CEO has to make shareholders happy. IBM’s fat-a$$ed managers taking over usually are much like monkeys wielding a razor. Lets hope “IBM is committed to Red Hat’s independence” remains true for the years to come.

  9. Rithik

    It’s the only distribution which fills my needs with Rock solid stability and latest kernel and fairly updated applications. I am very glad to hear that there is no change in fedora mission. I absolutely love fedora and it deserves to live long.

    • Brian D

      I’ve been using Fedora since before Fedora Core 3. After a major system failure when I upgraded to Fedora 29, I installed Debian Stretch and Linux Mint Debian on other partitions. Actually they both work better with my Nvidia graphics card than Fedora does. And they are both more stable. I still use Fedora, but I don’t trust it nearly as much as I did before last December when everything failed. I was almost convinced that the OS had been sabotaged. I still don’t know that it wasn’t. I just hope that I don’t need to kiss it goodbye.

  10. Some

    We should all be very afraid.

    Just looking at IBMs history of software acquisition should be enough to put the fear into you.

  11. Leguis

    Im sorry for the bad decision that Red Hat just did. I guess is a matter of business. The best definition of a pessimist that I know is this: A pessimist is an optimist with experience, and what everybody is hoping, is that Red Hat would get better treatment from IBM than their usual behavior, but the truth on the matter is that nobody buys eggs to sell eggs and no business makes a huge investment to let it be independent. Something is expecting at the end of the rope.
    Good luck Red Hat!

  12. Awesome

    Nothing will stop the mighty Fedora and its awesomely awesomeness! In the future Fedora will program itself, run on photons and will decompile and liberate all proprietary software from their overlords. Did I mention awesome?

  13. GNUman

    I hope IBM does’t kill GNU/Linux desktop with cooperation with Microsoft.

    • @GNUman: If you pay attention to the news, you’ll know that Microsoft makes more money off Linux on Azure than they do off Windows. So that’s a pretty unlikely scenario.

  14. Jan

    It makes me uneasy that it has not once been mentioned that Fedora will continue to its 4 foundations, mainly “freedom”. It is only stated that “Fedora that will continue to play a role in driving innovation in open source technology.”.

    I might be nitpicking on the free- and open-software separation, but I genuinely hope that Fedora will strive for freedom in their software.

    • @Jan: There are no changes to that — the Fedora Project continues to ship free and open source software subject to the very few exceptions required to be an operable distribution (like certain firmwares). For the past few years, we haven’t put as many obstacles in front of our users’ choices of software they install. As far as I can tell, this is the path we’ll continue to walk, and nothing about this event changes that direction.

  15. svsv sarma

    The news is an alert for Fedora. An Enterprise dependency is not advisable for FOSS! Perhaps Fedora has 2 years time to look for support, contributions and sponsors from the community. I like FEDORA. Long live FEDORA.

  16. @svsv: I find this comment curious. Before yesterday (or maybe even before November 2018), what enterprise dependency do you think Fedora did or didn’t have?

  17. Johnny

    If IBM was committed to keeping RedHat independent, then why would they buy them? I understand we shouldn’t panic, but you need to be realistic, when was the last time you heard of a buyover where the bought-over company actually benefited?

    • There’s no one brush with which one can paint all acquisitions. In Red Hat’s case, the acquisition is a strategic one; and in those cases, generally the acquired company has the ability to thrive, especially if the market opportunity is good (in Red Hat’s case, it’s excellent).

  18. friendofafriend

    As I remember, Mandriva went through some trouble. The commercial venture failed, but OpenMandriva lives on. That bears repeating, OpenMandriva is still available.
    IBM may or may not ‘cut costs’ with Red Hat staff, but they can NOT shut down Fedora. The best thing the Fedora Community can do for Red Hat is to develop applications for Fedora that improve the utility of the distro. If the community is developing good software, then IBM won’t shoot themselves in the foot by shutting down Red Hat.

    • Zach D.

      As a former IBMer, I cn tell you they don’t do things because “they make sense”. It’s essentially a slaughterhouse for good software; they by good software companies, chop away everything they don’t care for and keep what they want, then close or discard the rest.

  19. svsv sarma

    Fedora has the look and feel of an enterprise, thanks to Red hat. Can Red Hat ignore Fedora now and can Fedora afford it? And now IBM has its own interests. Too many enterprises is too bad, but it rings a bell. I feel FEDORA may soon loose its ‘F’.

    • @svsv: Sorry, your comment makes no sense to those who work on Fedora daily. First, Fedora gets work not just from Red Hat but from a small army of volunteers as well. They all make up a community, which is how open source works. Red Hat has not, does not now, and will not ignore Fedora in the future. It’s part of how Red Hat Enterprise Linux is made, which in turn is a fundamental building block of many other products in the Red Hat portfolio. Fedora works well by being a good upstream for RHEL and having a strong community. That’s what it will continue to strive and adapt for, as the IT world around us continues to change as well. (Also, it’s Fedora, not FEDORA, because it’s not an acronym.)

      • svsv sarma

        Thank you all for your persistent assurances. I really hope Fedora stays immutable. What a wonderful team spirit indeed!

    • “edora”? Probably not.

  20. ripfedora

    Meybe IBM create a fast supercomputer on top500 list with linux,
    probably open office for linux or OS/2 convert to open source similar BeOS=Haiku

    or IBM dont do this

  21. Thanks for the great insights on Red Hat IBM & Fedora. Loved your thoughts you put in this article.

  22. duwba

    Red Hat + IBM – Fedora ;(

    In my opinion IBM cuting every open source projects, no one will be open in future (red hat buing many software and open it) IBM frozen any new features

  23. duck

    This news worries me as a long time Fedora and open source user. If IBM pulls their usual tricks at least I know Debian is safe.

    • @duck: It shouldn’t. Fedora is an important part of the development of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, as explained here. (Older video, but still applies 100% today.) RHEL is itself critical to other product portfolio such as RHV, RHEL CoreOS, and OpenShift — core to the product strategy. Those of us who have worked on Fedora for a very long time at Red Hat are not overly concerned about this.

  24. I had used red hat but early on, it became an enterprise thing. I know little about IBM…I sure hope that the current microsoft does not buy them else it’s the end.

  25. JP

    Been using Fedora every since 1. Hope that the progress continues. IBM will have to cut some things to help pay and reduce cost. Gnome development continues at a good pace. System allows me to use cloud, email, office and financial app. I will be monitoring it closer in the coming year to see where things go.

    • What leads you to the conclusion that “IBM will have to cut some things to help pay and reduce cost,” and why do you think that would be relevant to Fedora progress?

      • JP

        Thanks for you reply, Fedora project has always been that go to community,

  26. Jonathan Rioux

    I would like to see FEDORASTATIONs comming from IBM with Power9 cpu at a price tag that could be interesting for enthusiast as well as professionals (299-350$ motherboard).

    Something like the Talos but backed by IBM in a try to mass market an blob free open computer running openPower and Fedora. They could just even just mass produce the talos2 board to reduce the cost without having any redesign/validation to do and ask for a chassis from Lenovo. A 3 way partnership IBM-Raptor Computing-Lenovo. Just missing a GPU, wondering if former PowerVR at Imagination technology would be interested (videocore of broadcom). AMD/Intel wouldn’t probably want a share, and Nvidia is too obscure/closed to opensource…

    Any way, keep going Fedora ! I’ll continue with my current 1gen threadripper till something new pops up.

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