" In 1994 Linux was still an under-the-radar, barely-talked-about solution for managing a computer's operating system. Proprietary software firms were ignoring Linux as still being in RD, so big software firms saw either few possibilities in or threats from Linux. But Linux was quietly gaining momentum, with shipments increasing to 1. 5 million units in 1995 from only 100,000 in 1993. And yet almost no money was exchanged for these shipments, just sharing among computer programmers-like a technology-centered socialism.
"When I asked them where this free software was coming from, they would use lines like, 'You know, it's from engineers according to their skill, to engineers according to their need.
' Right out of Karl Marx," Bob recalls. Bob's tour inspired him to take the leap and merge ACC Corp with Red Hat. They needed each other's skills-Marc's programming and Bob's marketing. Negotiating merger terms was painless because neither Bob nor Marc thought their businesses were particularly valuable. They split ownership in the new company fifty-fifty, retaining the name Red Hat. Red Hat started as a small lifestyle business, merging personal and business funds.
"The beauty of really early-stage companies is you know where every dollar is going," Bob says. "So whether I used this money to pay my mortgage one month, or to buy Marc a new server, or to pay for Marc's and Lisa's spring holiday-it was all one pot of money. " To finance the growing expenses associated with marketing and improving Red Hat Software, they raised seed money from eight friends and family who bought between ten and fifteen percent of Red Hat's stock.
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