"Red Hat is best known for its Linux distribution, to
the point where it's sometimes mistaken for Linux itself (newbie to
mailing list: "I'm running Linux 7.0"). Red Hat's early lead in
developing a Linux OS that's easy to install and use resulted in
the first high-profile IPO for a Linux company. As a public
company, Red Hat is painfully aware of the limited revenue
opportunities in developing and selling a Linux distribution. No
matter how popular it is, any company with a product that can be
legally installed an unlimited number of times, freely copied, and
resold by others is going to have a hard time making its
shareholders happy. Red Hat's strategy is to become more vertically
integrated by bundling and selling applications that run on top of
its Linux OS and by offering a range of support, development,
consulting, and training services. The goal is to make money by
managing and streamlining the complexity of an application and
offering a single source of accountability for the customer.
Earlier integrated products consisted of third-party proprietary
server applications bundled with Red Hat Linux. Red Hat E-Commerce
Suite is Red Hat's most ambitious product to date in this vein.
The product targets the small- to medium-size business market.
Companies in this market need a robust, extensible, ready-to-run,
B2B or B2C solution. However, it must be one without the cost and
complexity associated with high end systems.
The Red Hat E-Commerce Suite is basically a shrink-wrapped
bundle of open-source software for Intel x86-based machines. It
contains the Red Hat Linux 7.1 operating system, Red Hat Database,
Stronghold Secure Apache Web Server, and the Interchange 4.8
e-commerce server. Red Hat Database is a rebranded version of
PostgreSQL 7.1.2, an ACID-compliant relational database. PostgreSQL
is one of the leading open-source databases that's staking out the
huge middle market between Microsoft Access on the low end and the
proprietary big boys who snipe at each other through billboard
advertisements. Stronghold Secure Web Server is the ubiquitous
Apache 1.3 Web server with 128-bit SSL encryption built in.
Interchange is a server application that was developed by Akopia, a
company Red Hat acquired earlier this year. A descendant of the
Minivend and Tallyman applications, Interchange has been around for
more than five years. Because of its longevity, Interchange is
proven, well documented, and boasts a sizable user base."