Red Hat Exchange: Do Open Source App Stores Work?

In 2007, Red Hat launched the Red Hat Exchange (RHX), partly in response to Novell's Market Start program. Now neither program is still operating.

An open source app store from a Linux vendor is a good idea, right?

As it turns out, Linux vendors selling their open source partners solutions directly isn't always a recipe for success. Just ask Red Hat, or its rival Novell.

In 2007, Red Hat launched an effort called the Red Hat Exchange (RHX), a marketplace for selling open source solutions from Red Hat's partners. RHX was in part Red Hat's response to competitive pressure from the Novell Market Start program.

Now in 2010, neither of those sales programs is still operational.

"When we came out with RHX we were hoping for more ambitious adoption but we've learned that selling third-party applications via a marketplace is challenging," Mike Evans, Red Hat's vice president of corporate development, told"When you've got marketplaces that offer buyers the choice of buying in the marketplace or directly from the vendor themselves, which is what our marketplace was, there isn't a real efficient marketplace."

Evans noted that Red Hat put the Exchange out and quickly found out that the ISV partners were getting the biggest value from the visibility they got from being on the site. He added that ISV partners appreciated the publicity aspect of the program, and the lead-generation aspects that followed.

"As we were working through [RHX], we started working with SYNNEX and the Open Source Channel Alliance and it became clear in talking to ISV partners [that] what they wanted was visibility into our user base and sales channel," Evans said.

Read the rest at Linux Planet.

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