RedHat has contributed a lot of very cool things to Linux. They have acquired software and opensourced it (e.g. Sistina, Qumranet, Sun/iPlanet LDAP server). They work not only to make a good distro, but also try to solve the bigger problems. For example, they have put together an awesome set of tools that brings Active Directory-like functions to Linux (easy to deploy Kerberos, LDAP, certificate server). They are working on OpenLMI which provides Linux with WBEM management functions. Their Atomic host project is also very interesting. Again, all opensource.
As far as systemd goes. So far I like it. It hasn't burned me at all. Quite the opposite, it has made it easier to write init scripts for our in-house software.
Oh, and BTW, you did hear that the FreeBSD is considering replacing their init system, right? Maybe even something like systemd or launchd (see http://www.slideshare.net/iXsystems/jordan-hubbard-free-bsd-the-next-10-years