This week’s Open Source Business Conference was a strange meeting of Enterprise IT users, venture capitalists, and free software entrepreneurs. The opening keynote was delivered by Red Hat’s freshly minted CEO Jim Whitehurst who gave a very modest speech noting that while Red Hat has been a leading open source company they have not necessarily been an open source leader. Whitehurst’s presentation lacked anything especially insightful or noteworthy and he has the advantage of being the new guy so he’s off the hook for anything that might have happened before he took the job.
What is apparent is that in the open source software Red Hat’s no longer exciting. They’ve crossed over to respectable elder statesman of open source. The action is among the new batch of up-and-coming open source software companies who are not yet venture backed but are developing interesting technologies and services. Here are some of the companies that may well be the new open source superstars.