Via Dana & Matt, The Register reports that the Red Hat Exchange (RHX) “roars like a muted lamb”. The Register’s point is that RHX has met with a lukewarm reception to date.

After reading the following comment from Matt, with his VP of business development at Alfresco hat on, I wonder if The Register story is missing the point.

“So, again, in terms of traffic, it’s not yet on par with Sourceforge and other avenues for us,” Asay said. “But it has been surprisingly fruitful given the number of downloads and trials we’ve had through it. If we had this same ratio of download to trial to conversion on Sourceforge, we’d be IPO’ing tomorrow.”

The open source community really doesn’t need another arena for projects to live and be downloaded from. There are plenty of players in this space (Sourceforge, Apache, Google, Codehaus, etc.). RHX isn’t intended to drive 1M downloads a day, or hundreds of project ratings. These are functions that developers generally do. Enterprise buyers and decision makers are less likely (not unlikely) to play this role.

RHX appears to be where projects graduate to after they’ve proven their chops at Sourceforge et al.

As I see it, RHX is intended to serve the needs of an enterprise decision maker that is already using RHEL and wonders: “okay Red Hat, what else do you recommend I try?” or “what CRM app should I use with RHEL?” Try answering either of these questions at Sourceforge.

The higher conversion rate that Matt alludes to on RHX should be the key metric for evaluating the success of RHX.