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Forbes names Red Hat America's 11th fastest-growing company

Red Hat is the US' 11th fastest-growing company, which is all the more impressive when you recognize it gives its software away.

I wouldn't mind being in a list with companies like Google and Salesforce.com, which is precisely the company Red Hat is keeping in its continued growth trajectory. Forbes just named Red Hat the 11th fastest-growing company in the United States. Red Hat's sales have grown 41 percent over the past five years.

Not too shabby.

It's particularly impressive when you consider the hurdles a company has to overcome just to be considered for the list:

Our focus is on sales growth--we require at least 10% annualized sales gains over the past five years--but candidates for our list must be profitable over the past 12 months and have Thomson IBES consensus earnings forecasts of at least 10% annualized earnings growth over the next three to five years.

To which Red Hat adds further detail:

From an investor's perspective (where future results are key), the list also seems to include those companies that the equity analyst community believes are positioned to deliver double-digit earnings growth well into the future. Given our fast, top-line growth, strong EBITDA margins and high cash flow yield, Red Hat is a standout company on Forbes' survey of over 2,000 public companies.

All while contributing millions of lines of code to the software community...for free. Hmm. Maybe there's something in this open-source phenomenon, after all.