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Strong sales helped Red Hat's first fiscal quarter 2009 get a healthy increase of cash flow, but internal investments and taxes somewhat stymied the Linux licenser's end results.

Revenue for the quarter (ended May 31) was $156.6m, an increase of 32 per cent from the same period last year. Subscription sales were up 27 per cent year-over-year to $130.7m.

But research and development costs jumped 33 per cent to $28.9m, which helped eat away at the bottom line. Also, sales and marketing expenses rose 28 per cent to $59.3m.

Red Hat's Q1 profits totaled $17.3m, about a 7 per cent increase from $16.2m a year earlier. Operating income was $19.9m, compared with $14.9m year-over-year.

"The first quarter was a solid start to the fiscal year," said CEO Jim Whitehurst in a statement. "We continued to see top enterprise customers expand Red Hat deployments and new customers migrate to our solutions."

Red Hat's quarter included a refresh of Red Hat Enterprise Linux to version 5.2, updating JBoss Operations Network to 2.0, and Red Hat Network Satellite 5.1.

The company also recently freed its Satellite server code to the open source community as project Spacewalk, and decided to take a crack at the virtualization hypervisor and management market at its Red Hat Summit conference in Boston last week. ®

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