Rumors that Red Hat was preparing to launch an online open source store went unconfirmed last week, but today, they proved true. The top Linux distributor just announced Red Hat Exchange, or Rhx.
BusinessWeek calls Red Hat Exchange an "online marketplace" where customers will be able to purchase not only Red Hat's offerings, but also software and support from several other open source providers, including MySQL, JasperSoft and SugarCRM. By serving as an open source software "hub," a Gartner analyst explains, Red Hat will likely be able to drive demand in the mainstream market for open source software that runs on Linux. Especially software provided by vendors that don't yet have a presence or name recognition in the enterprise.
The move appears to be an attempt on Red Hat's part to create an "ecosystem" around Linux similar to the one Microsoft has built around Windows. It just might work. As the CEO of participating vendor Jaspersoft puts it, "rhx is the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for [open source] applications."