The words Red Hat has two different meanings, one to do with the computer industry, the other to do with the Roman Catholic Church.
The Red Hat organization began in 1994 and has become the largest and most recognized company dedicated to Open source software. The company now has more than 500 employees[?] and 15 locations worldwide. Red Hat has its corporate headquarters in Durham, North Carolina in the United States of America.
Red Hat was founded by entrepreneurs Bob Young and Marc Ewing[?]. Open source lies at the foundation of their business model. It represents a fundamental shift in how software is created. The code that makes up the software is available to anyone. Developers who use the software may freely improve the software. Even competitors like Microsoft[?] admit that the result is rapid innovation (compare the Halloween documents).
Red Hat solutions combine Red Hat Linux, developer and Embedded Technologies, training, management services and technical support. Red Hat optionally delivers this open source innovation to their customers via an Internet platform called Red Hat Network[?].
On August 11, 1999, the company completed its Initial Public Offering of six million shares of common stock at a price of $14/share on the US NASDAQ. Its stock ticker is RHAT. Its site may be found at http://www.redhat.com (http://www.redhat.com). On November 15, 1999, Red Hat announced its merger with Cygnus Solutions, a leading open source vendor. Consequently, Red Hat now develops Cygwin. On March 31, 2003, Red Hat released Red Hat Linux 9[?], which was a surprise because most people anticipated that Red Hat would release a minor version upgrade for Red Hat Linux 8[?] first.
The words red hat when used within the Roman Catholic Church refer to the appointment of a Cardinal, a senior Prince of the Church who is a member of the electoral college that chooses the pope. A person on being appointed to the cardinalate is said to have received the red hat or cardinal's biretta. Since Vatican II, cardinals no longer actually receive birettas, which they would wear while cardinal and which would be hung up in their former cathedral on their death and left to disintergrate through decay and old age, symbolising the passing of manmade glories and power. Receiving the red hat is now just an expression associated with the appointment of someone as cardinal.