"Red Hat" is a reference to a red Cornell University lacrosse cap
given to company founder Marc Ewing by his grandfather.
"The duo launched Red Hat Software -- named after the Cornell
lacrosse-team cap Ewing inherited from his grandfather -- and set up
shop in Ewing's apartment."
From Linux Magazine:
Ewing, like his father, had worked for IBM prior to starting Red Hat,
which was named after his grandfather's favorite old red Cornell
lacrosse team cap. Ewing used to wear the cap between classes while a
student in Carnegie Mellon's computer science program.
From ZDnet news:
"He named his venture Red Hat, after the Cornell lacrosse team cap he
got from his grandfather. 'The real story is that it was red- and
white-striped,' said Ewing, who wore the cap regularly until he lost
it. 'But Red- and White-striped Hat didn't sound like a good name for
From the Washington Post:
" He spent years of hard work on Red Hat, which he named after a
Cornell lacrosse team cap he found in his grandfather's closet."
From Business Leader:
" In 1993 when Marc Ewing, co-founder and chief technology officer of
Red Hat, first started Red Hat a name based on an old red and white
Cornell lacrosse cap his grandfather gave him."
search strategy: "red hat," "named after," "marc ewing," "cornell
I hope this helps.