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Byline: MURRAY COLEMAN
Open-source developers say Linux is ready for prime time.
They point to recent endorsements by major software makers like IBM Corp., Oracle Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc.
But few have been able to figure out a way to make money based on a free operating system.
Bucking that trend is Red Hat Inc. It's been a leading distributor of Linux since going public three years ago. The firm has $292 million in the bank and a positive income statement.
Investors still have questions, though. Red Hat's stock hasn't broken the $10 barrier in a year. It's trading at about 7.5, up more than 200% since last fall but still a long way from 1999's post-IPO run to 150.
"The big …