Case | HBS Case Collection | November 1999 (Revised March 2002)

Red Hat and the Linux Revolution

by Alan D. MacCormack and Kerry Herman


The case describes the history of the Linux operating system and the open-source movement in general. Focuses on a critical decision being made by Red Hat, the largest distributor of Linux, about its future development efforts. The decision allows students to explore alternative approaches to software development and examine the dramatic success of the open-source method.

Keywords: Open Source Distribution; Software; Product Development; Change Management; Research and Development; Business Processes; Disruptive Innovation; Information Technology Industry; North Carolina;


MacCormack, Alan D., and Kerry Herman. "Red Hat and the Linux Revolution." Harvard Business School Case 600-009, November 1999. (Revised March 2002.)