MANY technology firms are floundering amid the recession. But many of the ones that offer services tied to open-source software—free programs written by volunteers who collaborate online—are boasting double-digit growth. Sales at Red Hat, the world’s biggest independent open-source firm with annual revenues of $653m, grew by 18% year-on-year in the first quarter. More and more firms, particularly in Europe, seem prepared to embrace open source (see chart). “Budgets are tight and we think that is good for open source,” said Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat’s boss, when announcing the results.

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