Despite the jaded state of the internet stock boom, the new millionaires and billionaires just keep on coming. Red Hat, one of the many companies promoting the free Linux operating system, is the latest stock market sensation. Its stock, which came to the market last month at $14, has since rocketed to more than $120, creating three new paper billionaires.
Frank Batten Jr, the largest investor, has stock worth close to $1.8 billion, while Marc Ewing, the 30 year old founder, and Robert Young, the chief executive, have both squeaked past the $1 billion mark.
The irony is that the Linux system is free, created by a 'community' of programmers working in their spare time. Red Hat makes money by packaging the product and telling people how to use it.