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How Low Can Public Open Source Companies Go?

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While I remain in agreement with many observers who see the economic downturn as potentially very positive for open source, I have to wonder whether we're going to see some of the leadership open source companies swallowed up in all the financial carnage. Red Hat, Novell, and Sun Microsystems are all companies that I'd like to see continue their open source leadership without the meddling of huge corporate parents, but one has to wonder how cheap these companies can get in the public market before their independence is threatened.

The stock market just closed a few minutes ago. Red Hat's stock dropped just shy of 10 percent on the day, and Novell's did too. Both stocks got hammered far harder than the five to six percent declines for the various market indexes. Sun fared worse, dropping nearly 12 percent for the day. Sun and Novell both sell for under $5 a share, and Red Hat sells for under $10 a share.

These are just numbers for today, though.

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