Joining thirteen other open source stalwarts including MySQL, JBoss, Zimbra and Sugar CRM, Alfresco is now one of the founding members of a new online marketplace for business applications called the Red Hat Exchange (RHX).In a move that hopes to take advantage of the growing momentum behind enterprise open source software, Red Hat has created an online destination where customers can research, purchase, download, and arrange support for a wide array of pre-integrated open source business applications. These applications, which have been verified and certified by Red Hat, will naturally take advantage of infrastructure software from Red Hat. Matt Mattox, director of the newly created Red Hat Exchange, had this to say at the Red Hat Summit in San Diego: "Red Hat Exchange demonstrates a core Red Hat belief of the inevitable expansion of open source,...Not many of our competitors in the proprietary world can claim to be an honest broker in the application space. But we're taking the long view here. We see this as an investment in a rising tide with greater opportunity for the ecosystem." Furthermore, the inclusion of Alfresco in the Exchange can be considered a win-win situation. Alfresco can now leverage Red Hat's established brand along with their large and expanding customer base to hopefully increase their sales. At the same time, Alfresco puts itself in an excellent position for possible future acquisition. Why would Red Hat want to acquire Alfresco? According to Larry Dignan at ZDNet, Alfresco not only makes JBoss a more attractive middleware solution but it also makes Alfresco a legitimate competitor with SharePoint (MOSS) and gives Red Hat another avenue into established Microsoft shops. CEO and co-founder of Alfresco software, John Powell, had this to say about Alfresco's participation in the Red Hat Exchange: "Red Hat is the de-facto brand in Linux and the availability of a Red Hat-tested and supported offering will accelerate the adoption of Alfresco and open source as a whole." Will Alfresco and Zimbra soon be introduced as "divisions of Red Hat"? There is definitely room for consolidation in the increasingly competitive enterprise content management and online productivity spaces. Either way, Red Hat not only creates yet another channel to increase their sales but they borrow a page from the playbook of salesforce.com by creating a place to monitor the performance of their partners for potential acquisition. If your company is looking to make the switch to Red Hat Linux or to expand an existing investment in the open source operating system, visit the Red Hat Exchange and find a solution that meets your needs.