Red Hat was the first major GNU/Linux company, which gave it a number of advantages, including the fact that it was able to sweep up many of the top kernel hackers to work for it, as well as enabling it to raise significant amounts of dosh with its IPO, which benefitted from a certain novelty value when it came out.
Since then, it's used that money to make a number of shrewd acquisitions, notably JBoss, and focussed increasingly on the enterprise market, where it seems to be doing very nicely, thank you.
All these threads come together nicely in Red Hat's latest launch:
HornetQ is an open source project to build a multi-protocol, embeddable, very high performance, clustered, asynchronous messaging system.
HornetQ is an example of Message Oriented Middleware (MoM) .
HornetQ is Red Hat's flagship Java messaging system.
HornetQ flows straight from Red Hat's JBoss acquisition:
During most of its development the HornetQ code-base was known as JBoss Messaging 2.0.
We decided to rename it and spin it off as an independent project since it differs in a great many ways from JBoss Messaging 1.x and we did not want to confuse JBoss Messaging 1.x with JBoss Messaging 2.x.
The vast majority of the code base of HornetQ is different to the code base of JBoss Messaging 1.x.
JBoss Messaging 1.x continues to be known under the name of JBoss Messaging and the project is now in maintenance mode only, with all new messaging development happening on the HornetQ project.
HornetQ is obviously a serious bit of enterprise code, and it's great to see Red Hat continuing to expand in this area. The more high-quality software there is in this domain, the more businesses will take open source seriously.
It's also good to see Red Hat focussing on one sector, rather than trying to be all things to all people. It's something that other GNU/Linux companies need to bear in mind as they grow and evolve. The last thing the free software ecosystem needs is internecine conflict in the enterprise sector.