Why Red Hat Is Not Free

Operating Systems

Red Hat is a widely recognized and respected name in the world of technology. Known for its reliable and secure operating system, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), it has become a go-to choice for many businesses and organizations. However, there is one aspect of Red Hat that often confuses people – its price tag. Contrary to popular belief, Red Hat is not free. In this article, I will explore the reasons behind this and provide some personal commentary on the subject.

The Open Source Philosophy

Before diving into why Red Hat is not free, it is important to understand the concept of open source software. Open source refers to software that is freely available for anyone to use, modify, and distribute. This means that the source code, which is the human-readable form of the software, is accessible and can be studied and improved upon by developers.

Red Hat, being an open-source-focused company, embraces the open source philosophy. They contribute heavily to the open source community and make the majority of their software available in the form of source code. However, this does not mean that they give away their products for free.

Enterprise Focus and Support

Red Hat’s business model revolves around providing enterprise-level software and support. Their flagship product, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), is designed specifically for businesses and organizations that require stability, security, and long-term support.

When it comes to pricing, Red Hat charges for their subscription services, which include technical support, updates, and access to additional features and tools. This ensures that businesses using Red Hat products have the peace of mind that comes with professional support and maintenance.

Investment in Innovation

Another aspect to consider is the significant investment Red Hat makes in research and development. By charging for their products and services, they are able to fund the development of new features, technologies, and innovations. This contributes to the overall growth and advancement of the open source ecosystem.

Furthermore, Red Hat’s business model allows them to employ a large team of experienced engineers and experts who provide valuable support and contribute to the ongoing improvement of their products. This level of expertise and dedication comes at a cost, which is reflected in the pricing of their offerings.

Personal Commentary

As someone who has been involved in the tech industry for years, I understand the importance of sustainable business models. While the idea of free software may initially seem appealing, it is crucial to recognize the value of investing in the development and support of these products.

Red Hat’s pricing model ensures that they can continue to provide high-quality, reliable software and services to their customers. By charging for their products, they are able to sustain their operations, foster innovation, and support the open source community as a whole.


In conclusion, Red Hat is not free due to its focus on enterprise-level software and support, its investment in research and development, and the need for sustainable business models. While some may initially question the cost associated with Red Hat products, it is important to recognize the value and long-term benefits they provide. As the open source community continues to thrive, Red Hat plays a vital role in driving innovation and delivering top-notch solutions to businesses and organizations worldwide.