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IBM CEO Ginni Rometty’s 5 Biggest Statements At The Red Hat Summit

‘Working together is the right word. Coming together is not necessarily the way I would describe this,’ IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said about the acquisition during a keynote with Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst at the Red Hat Summit. ‘Jim and I have both agreed—Red Hat should stay an independent unit.’

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IBM’s Open-Source History

Whitehurst: We've been working together over 20 years, and I think some people forget that, and how early IBM invested in open source and saw that opportunity. I am so excited about what we are going to be able to accomplish together with just such greater scale that we’ll be able to bring to our customers and, importantly, to the open-source communities that are so critical to the work that we do.

Rometty: It was ’74. IBM did System R, kind of a precursor to the relational database. But to Jim's point, it was ’98 [Apache], and then it was ’99, so when he says we invested in Linux and in Red Hat, it was a billion dollars. And in ’99, that was a lot of money. I mean it’s still a lot of money. And so is $34 billion, just to be extra clear.

I just go back in that time, and then I just think about everything that has followed, whether it was Eclipse, Hyperledger … Istio. There's quite a long list that goes on, so I think those roots are deep between the two of us, and some of the beliefs. This is something Jim and I've talked a lot about. The beliefs in how important an ecosystem is to drive innovation, unless you think you can hire every smart person there is, which none of us can. I have really come to appreciate two big things. One is the importance of open governance, and it is just vital to open source. And then the second piece is around if you're going to take, you have to give. It's really been something that we have instilled for decades about that's OK, you use it, but you’ve got to contribute in a big way. So it's a history of not just what we did; to me, it's as important as those beliefs and how we did it.

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