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Red Hat recruiting open-source firms to Raleigh

Posted January 6, 2012

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— As Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT) prepares to move its headquarters to downtown Raleigh and expand its operations, the company is also trying to build an open-source community in the city.

Chief Executive Jim Whitehurst said Friday that he has already persuaded another open-source software development company to open a 12-person office in Raleigh, but he declined to identify the firm.

Whitehurst and Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane held a news conference to formally announce that Red Hat would be moving by early next year from its headquarters on North Carolina State University's Centennial Campus into a downtown office tower which now serves as the headquarters of Progress Energy Inc.

Progress plans to vacate the tower upon the completion of its merger with Charlotte-based Duke Energy. Federal regulators have asked for more consumer safeguards from the combined utility before approving the merger, but Progress recently signed a 23-year deal with Red Hat to ensure the software company would take over the office tower.

Red Hat has already starting gutting one floor of the building to prepare for the move, Whitehurst said.

The company employs about 750 people in Raleigh, but he said it's unclear how fast the local payroll will expand. He recently said the company would add at least 1,000 jobs globally in 2012.

McFarlane and former Mayor Charles Meeker, who worked to keep Red Hat's headquarters in town, declared Raleigh an "open-source city," both for its growing use of Red Hat software to run government and to reflect their desire for a more collaborative local culture.

Red Hat news conference Raleigh trying to emulate open-source culture

"Open source means a different, more collaborative approach to business," Meeker said. "While there are few pure open-source companies like Red Hat, there are many companies that have open source as part of their business plan today. As with Raleigh’s partnership with Cree for LED lighting, the city views open source as a better business model."

Raleigh can use that mindset to recruit more open-source firms to the city and build on Red Hat's success, he and Whitehurst said.

"If we look at the winners in this age, especially in the technology space – Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter – all of their development work, all of their work in the technology side is done on open-source software," Whitehurst said. "I think there's an opportunity for us in a public policy perspective to look at those companies and where they're locating their next facilities."

9 Comments

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  • gallbury Jan 6, 2012

    Bev Perdue is going to need a job come Nov. 5, and she already has a "red hat," so you guys keep one open.

  • mjkmj Jan 6, 2012

    I want to work there!!

  • SubwayScoundrel Jan 6, 2012

    I wonder how this declaration will make non-open source companies feel about Raleigh.
    mjjunk
    January 6, 2012 3:21 p.m.

    No effect what so ever. Almost all SW out there has some open source. If not, they have a boatload of SW coders, so therefore a huge company. Even huge companies use open source. Only one company would be against open source and that is Microsoft and they are not moving to Raleigh.

    Where I think this is good for Raleigh or could be is get more IP attorneys in DT Raleigh.

    The big item with open source are IP rights and what rights open source companies are allowing or what is allowed by OS used in the code.

    But IP attorneys can live anywhere but nice to keep them close.

  • smcallah Jan 6, 2012

    "Now if only Red Hat would lower their prices on Enterprise Linux. You may as well go with Windows 2008 at the price Red Hat's charging.

    Of course, there's always CentOS."

    It's the support you're paying for with RHEL. If you just want the OS, then you use CentOS like you said. There isn't really any Linux Server variant you can buy for much cheaper with 24x7 support for a corporation that needs the support. You could go for Oracle Solaris, but that's not cheap either, and no longer open source.

  • mindcrime Jan 6, 2012

    Dear Jim: Fogbeam Labs are right next door in Chapel Hill. We could probably be persuaded to setup shop in Raleigh... maybe if Red Hat is interested in investing in the next big open-source startup?

  • mjjunk Jan 6, 2012

    I wonder how this declaration will make non-open source companies feel about Raleigh.

  • bigal02282 Jan 6, 2012

    I would love to see Joomla's Open Source Matters project development team open up offices there.

  • Pseudonym Jan 6, 2012

    Now if only Red Hat would lower their prices on Enterprise Linux. You may as well go with Windows 2008 at the price Red Hat's charging.

    Of course, there's always CentOS.

  • mrkevinowens Jan 6, 2012

    Wish Fayetteville could have some sensible economic policy, maybe we could get some development.