Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, ZDNet:
When Bloomberg broke the news that IBM was acquiring Red Hat, Red Hat’s corporate leadership already had all its ducks in a row. The company’s worker-bees, though, were blindsided. Many of them are worried sick about Big Blue’s acquisition of the world’s largest Linux and open-source power.
Can Red Hat still be Red Hat under IBM? Many Red Hat employees fear it can’t be.
In the first hours since the news broke, I’ve been told by Red Hat staffers:
“I can’t imagine a bigger culture clash.”
“I’ll be looking for a job with an open-source company.”
“As a Red Hat employee, almost everyone here would prefer it if we were bought out by Microsoft.”
Why all the fear?
First: The news, which had been scheduled to be released early next week, broke early. None of Red Hat’s rank and file knew this was coming. Red Hat’s leadership had no chance to let them know in a timely manner to comfort the blow.
Second: While IBM has a long, distinguished history of supporting open source, in recent years they’ve been perceived as a company falling behind the times and is hamstrung with red tape and bureaucracy. This is the opposite of Red Hat’s open organization leadership style.
What’s there to worry about?