Red Hat's basic business model consists of making the source freely available, and then charging subscription fees for enterprise-grade support. Today that model is copied--albeit on a smaller scale--by a wide range of open-source software companies, such as Eucalyptus (for cloud computing software), Alfresco (content management software) and Jaspersoft (business intelligence). Large IT vendors, such as Oracle, IBM and Dell, routinely offer some of their software as open source. Even the world's largest proprietary software vendor, Microsoft, has dipped its toes in the water, releasing some of its ancillary code as open source on its Codeplex repository.
"Today, we're at a place in IT where online collaboration is such a broadly accepted concept," King said."Red Hat is an extremely well-run company, and collaborative development is paying off for everyone in the ecosystem," said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation. The company is one of the largest contributors to the source code of the Linux kernel, he noted. "It is this commitment to collaborative development that is one of the key ingredients to its success."