IBM has a long history of creating or buying things to support the long-term viability of their products. They tend to look strategically at business, not tactically. The company will do things that other businesses won’t in order to insure long term support of products.
Red Hat, in my opinion, is another one of these strategic moves. Remember: IBM already owns at least two versions of Linux: AIX was developed off of the AT&T source code in the late 1980s and UTS was ported to the mainframe around the same time. So IBM didn’t buy Red Hat because it needed an OS. Also, IBM has transferred most if not all of its patents on UNIX into public domain in order to prevent another UNIX patent fight like the decade long SCO battle over ownership.
Red Hat to IBM is a strategic investment that adds to IBM’s service portfolio, and takes RH preemptively out of play for acquisition by Microsoft or one of the super companies (Facebook & Google). IBM is a good steward to protect Red Hat and insure support for it into the future.
CENTOS and Fedora are integral parts of the RH ecosystem in that they provide the inventive spark for RH extensions to compete with Ubuntu and SuSE. IBM will almost certainly continue their support and possibly even increase it.
Another factor triggering this reaction is likely the Linus Torvalds meltdown that called into question the stability if licenses in the FOSS community. Because IBM has ownership of much of the old AT&T code and patents, if Linux components are license challenged, IBM has the legal experience and deep pockets to fight based on their Red Hat ownership.
IBM has been a very good friend of Linux for decades and has invested millions to support it legally. Given the questions of license control, ongoing support for development, and their need for both custom extensions and revenue from maintenance, IBM’s purchase of Red Hat only makes sense as a protective measure to preserve the top Linux distro against legal and financial challenges. Since the community projects CENTOS and Fedora are integral to the RH ecosystem, support for them should continue or even grow.
Article from Brett Brennan