Back when I was at Novell, in its early days of SUSE, we were frantic to catch up to Red Hat in the applications arms race. It was the reason we lost deals back then, more than any other reason.
Today, Red Hat is highlighting the history of its application certification program, and it's well worth a read. Behind the words, however, is a tale of big (and growing) numbers:
...[C]ounting how many applications are certified turns out to be more complicated than you might imagine. And maybe it doesn't even matter because, where applications are concerned, there's a classic 80:20 rule in play. In other words 80 percent of customers use the same 20 percent of applications. Provided the 15 applications you need are available the fact that there are several thousand to choose from doesn't really matter. Nevertheless, it's fun to count....
The growth rate of applications in our catalog has been astonishingly rapid, from just a 100 or so applications in late 2002, we crossed the 1,000 barrier in 2004, and the 2,000 barrier in early 2006.
Where do these applications fall in terms of industry?
What about in terms of software category?
You want to out-Red Hat Red Hat? You need applications. Lots of them. Red Hat recognized this early and made applications a cornerstone of its business, and it's paying nice dividends.