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Who Is the Next Red Hat?

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The open source world is cheering as Red Hat joins the S&P 500. It’s a huge vote of confidence in Red Hat. But is it a vote of confidence in the open source business model? Or more of a sign that Red Hat is miles ahead of its open source rivals on Wall Street and in the channel? Some clues from The VAR Guy…

First, some background. Generally speaking, Red Hat is the only publicly held open source company that’s consistently profitable — thanks to both Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss middleware. Sure, Novell is publicly held but the company’s quarterly net income frequently swings from the black to the red. Plus, much of Novell’s revenue involves closed-source opportunities.

So, the big question: Just how healthy are open source companies? And which ones are best positioned to launch IPOs (initial public offerings) once financial markets further improve? Here are some quick educated guesses.

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