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Happy ninth (public) birthday, Red Hat

Nine years ago Red Hat was born as a public company. What hath it wrought since then?

I had nearly overlooked the fact that Red Hat went public nine years ago on August 11, 1999 with one of the top-ten single biggest gains in Wall Street history. Impressive.

And yet those stock gains weren't to last.

What did endure, however, was Red Hat's commitment to open source. Nine years later, Red Hat has yet to reach $1 billion in sales, but it gets closer each year and has provided cover for a wide array of open-source startups aiming to get funded as the "Red Hat of [insert application category]." Cumulatively, Red Hat has delivered over $1.85 billion in revenue since 1999 according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

While I'm grateful to an array of vendors for proving out the open-source opportunity, including JBoss, Novell, MySQL, Zimbra, and others, I'm most grateful to Red Hat for sticking it out and demonstrating that superior value can be delivered at lower cost through open source.

Thanks, Red Hat, for becoming more than just a hot IPO.