Red Hat to open software "Exchange"

Much of open source development has been, by nature and by design, scattered throughout the world, in countless independent offices and small, upstart businesses. The comparatively few larger businesses who have made Linux and related open-source technologies their sole stock in trade have typically had to get creative in order to grow, as the constant threat of someone (legally) giving away their core products for free is a very real challenge.

Over the years, Red Hat has adopted a strategy of offering a wide range of paid services and support along with key acquisitions of high-end software and infrastructure developers in order to keep its bottom line healthy. Now, the company is branching out into a new services marketplace it intends to grow into a clearinghouse of elite enterprise-grade open source products. Dubbed the Red Hat Exchange, or RHX, reportedly Red Hat has signed up more than a dozen prominent vendors of open source business software, including MySQL, SugarCRM, Compiere and JasperSoft.

Red Hat's contributions to the exchange are expected to be numerous, from providing the operating system layer itself (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) to providing a marketing and community resource for the third-party applications. Recommendations and peer-to-peer discussion may be part of the mix as well. Red Hat will also provide technical support and services for all RHX-branded applications.