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RALEIGH, N.C. — In quarterly earnings announced Tuesday, (NYSE: RHT) did slightly better than predicted by analysts.

The world’s top Linux open source software and services provider had a profit of 17 cents per share, higher than analysts’ prediction of 16 cents. That compares to 24 cents for the same period in 2008.

The company had quarterly revenue of $194 million – up 18 percent from last year – and subscription revenue of $163 million – up 21 percent. Deferred revenue totaled $619 million, an increase of 23 percent.

Red Hat also repurchased 1.9 million shares of common stock, priced at $52.3 million.

"Continued solid execution drove another quarter of strong results for Red Hat," said Jim Whitehurst, the company’s president and CEO. "Our double-digit growth in the current economic environment was driven by our compelling value proposition and outstanding service.

"Our customer focus has clearly differentiated us from the competition," he continued, citing Red Hat’s fifth ranking as the top software vendor by IT executives in the Ziff Davis CIO Insight Study in the past six years.

Red Hat stock closed at $29.87 Tuesday, up 13 cents a share.