IBM Sees Linux In Your FutureJuly 28, 2000 Summary: by Charles Babcock, [email protected] Week — While some see Linux as a low-priced alternative operatingsystem for vendors to push out the bargain basement of their mainproduct lines, computing giant IBM thinks Linux has the power tochange the face of business. In fact, John Patrick, IBM vicepresident of Internet technology, goes so far as to call Linux a”disruptive” technology that will generate improvedways of conducting e-business, displacing older technology. Interactive Week By Charles Babcock, [email protected] Week — July 28, 2000 19:46 GMT (12:46 PDT)
While some see Linux as a low-priced alternative operating system for vendors to push out the bargain basement of their main product lines, computing giant IBM thinks Linux has the power to change the face of business. In fact, John Patrick, IBM vice president of Internet technology, goes so far as to call Linux a “disruptive” technology that will generate improved ways of conducting e-business, displacing older technology. IBM isn’t the first to say so, but thus far, the idea that Linux will change the way companies do business online has been restricted to a handful of the most zealous Linux advocates and Internet start-ups. Now that IBM is saying it, Eric Raymond, president of the Open Source Initiative, says, “IT [information technology] managers will take notice.” Part of IBM’s stance is that it is a good student of disruptive technologies. After all, it has been disrupted by a few itself. First there was the Intel-based PC, which overturned IBM’s preferred method of distributing end-user computing services via mainframe to dumb terminal. Then there was the Transport Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), which eventually disrupted more secure, sophisticated networking protocols such as IBM’s Systems Network Architecture when it became accepted on the Internet. “It takes the greatest sinner to know how to repent. IBM is very enlightened on this issue,” Patrick says. IBM has been steadily expanding its list of Linux offerings. The company is in the process of porting Linux to the System 390 mainframe so that a developer producing software to run under Linux will have the widest possible choice of platforms on which to run it. “It runs great on S/390. It runs great on the AIX/Power PC, it runs great on [Intel-based] Netfinity servers,” he said, citing three IBM product lines. Linux runs on other vendor’s hardware as well, giving developers of e-commerce applications the widest possible target. The result, Patrick says, will be more e-business software developed for Linux and more businesses running Linux servers because the software will exist for the business applications to talk to each other.