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IBM to unveil more Linux plans 128

Over at Financial times, there is a story about IBM which will unveil a Linux plan to invest 200 million dollars, helping companies to write Linux applications. Definitely worth a read. Thoughts anyone?
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IBM to unveil more Linux plans

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  • by nevets ( 39138 ) on Friday July 21, 2000 @06:21AM (#915815) Homepage Journal
    Its non-commercial nature, however, means that no money is invested directly in the development of Linux, in contrast to competing products such as Windows, and the Unix operating system developed and sold by IBM, Compaq, SCO and others.

    I'm glad that IBM is throwing this much money into developing apps and support for Linux, but I feel that they could also do something to help in the development of the kernel as well. It almost seems that, with this statement, that they are saying "Someone else can worry about that". Like they are taking advantage of the open source community.

    Ok, I'm not totally against this, and this is a statement from the reporter and not from IBM themselves. But I think this is a point that most commercial companies are missing. It is actually to their advantage to offer some expertise to the free stuff. For one thing, it makes you look good in the eyes of the community (SGI sees this). And another thing (which RMS probably won't agree with), is that, by doing so, you can have more influence in the decisions that are made.

    Steven Rostedt
  • Nop.

    I've been reading /. for 3 years now - and an author since last year :)
  • Upgrade to Netscape 4.74 (which appeared yesterday on Netscape FTP site), and enable javascript - this should do the trick (at least at worked here on my 2 Linux machines [Redhat 6.2])
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...but how long will it take for the /. and OSS communities to realize that their best friend is IBM? Yes, IBM is a Big bad Corporation that's intent on making money, and they've got no shortage of skeletons in their closet (many with an MS logo on the skull), but the bottom line is that IBM is throwing boatloads of money and support at Linux, and it will be a better operating system and environment for it. This latest investment in apps for Linux just shows, IMO, that IBM "gets it" and is spending wisely.
  • NOTE: This my opinion only and in no way reflects IBM's policies or plans

    It seems most people are happy that IBM is throwing money to the linux community, and I personally agree. It's nice to see any influx of money going into R&D work for Linux. This is not, however, the first time IBM has made such a move. IBM is working on porting it's jounalizing file system to Linux, it's working on a version of linux of it's servers, and many other things. Here are my predictions on WHY IBM is doing this all.

    1. IBM has been VERY slow picking up new technologies on the OS front (look how long it took us drop OS/2). With Linux they can get in on the ground level.
    2. Small, Medium, and increasingly so, Large business are starting to use Linux.
    3. Linux is stable, windows is a little less then so.
    IMHO it goes like this. Linux + publicity = Install base. Install base + IBM linux software = $$ for IBM.
    It all comes down to where the money is. Linux is coming into it's own and IBM wants to be the first name on the returns list.
  • It might not be the fastest...

    oh really?
    have a look at this []

  • We need to librarify everything first. Just as this /. article with the troll title of UNIX Sucks! [] points out.

    I'm totally into Java at the moment [] but I can appreciate the benifits(and know how to avoid the pitfalls of) object oriented programming and the need for reusable software components on unix.

    We must librarify everything before we build apps! How bout that IBM? I mean it. I want to work on unix libraries. I'm not bad at c/c++.

    There should be a very high quality library with a uniform API for e-mail, mathmatics/finance, network filesystem, distributed computing, configuration file API, logging for apps, ... etc.

    Examine everything that is common/and not so common to day to day computing, reduce it to it's primitives and freeze it into a portable library.

    I can go on like this if someone wants to talk about it.


  • YES!!! FINALLY!!! SOMEONE SAID IT!!! WOOHOOO!!! I don't care if I get a 0 for this one, I just wanted to say "HELL YA!!!"

    All these businesses are putting up there E-Commerce sites and then E-Jaculate all over themselves because they feel cool and "hip".

  • Not quite true, you don't need to be a monopoly to run into
    `competition protecting' legislation: the notorious `anti-dumping'
    legislation of the 80s was directed at foreign manufacturers who were
    alleged to be selling their product at less than cost. One of its
    Keffects were that companies used it to gain injunctions stopping
    imports, saying `well, *we* can't make it that cheaply'.

    Still I think the story you give is how it *should* work: if you
    aren't a monopoly, you should be free to set your prices however you
    like, for whatever reason you like. If you are a monopoly ... tread

  • An operating system in itself is useless without software capable of running upon it, and the more software that can run upon it, the more widely adopted a system is likely to be. At present, Linux is mostly used to run websites, but its advocates would like to see businesses base their whole computer systems on the technology, as they do with systems such as Microsoft's Windows.

    Some small companies and individual computer programmers are working on software to run on the Linux system, and many of the world's largest technology companies, such as Oracle and Sun Microsystems, are adapting their existing software products to run on it.

    In fact, rumor has it that by the end of the year, Linux will offer the user a web browser, email client, word processor, and integrated development environment (TM). You know, just like Microsoft. Developers have also begun to speak of the "holy grail" of Linux development, an emulator that would allow Windows programs to run on Linux machines, although a product like this is obviously far in the future.


  • I'm just waiting for IBM to release a baseball Game for Linux/X. Then I will be convinced Sisko is running the place.
  • by cvd6262 ( 180823 ) on Friday July 21, 2000 @06:24AM (#915826)
    Theres an article [] in USAToday about IBM (amoung others) looking for young talent - Not easily found in the IPO-rich tech industry. Here's a tidbit:

    Nearly 50 fresh-faced engineers and entrepreneurs in San Jose and Cambridge work alongside IBM's sharpest minds on newfangled products and services, such as Linux systems management and pervasive computing devices. IBM employees manage the youthful groups.

    Okay, so we probably wouldn't call Linux "newfangled", but it's food for thought for all you college seniors who want to work on open-source, and get paid.

  • by FascDot Killed My Pr ( 24021 ) on Friday July 21, 2000 @06:27AM (#915827)
    IBM's strategy is very smart--help APP developers start using Linux and there will be more apps--which means more users, which means more of everything for everybody.

    But throwing money at the kernel people gets you nothing. The kernel people aren't driven by money. You might conceivably find someone who was unable to implement a feature due to lack of money, but all your money has bought is the feature--not apps that exploit the feature.

    In short, IBM is throwing money at problems that benefit from having money thrown at them--but no farther.
  • I'm fed up with this 'one OS to rule the world' crap.

    One OS to rule them all,
    One OS to find them,
    One OS to bring them all,
    and in the darkness bind them.

  • IBM are unquestionably looking at Linux as a low to medium-end replacement for AIX. They've ported most (if not all) their Java tools over, they have TWO Java compilers (Jikes & IBM JDK), they've ported a large chunk of JFS, and then there's their DB/2 port, their Application Server port, their work with Apache and their ports of Linux to IBM mainframe systems.

    IMHO, throwing big bucks at Linux is an attempt to turn Linux into a system that IBM can use to blow away Sun and DEC at the low-end, and boost their sales & support.

    NOBODY spends money, unless they feel they're getting -some- return, of whatever kind that means something to them. In IBM's case, long-term survival versus "budget" systems (such as Wintel) and short-term improvement in relations with geeks and companies make for some plausable return that IBM might well want.

    IMHO, also expect to see IBM and SGI work jointly on Linux. So far, both have been doing a lot of work in EXACTLY the same areas (journalled fs, Apache improvements, etc), and so it would make a lot of sense if they were to combine resources, rather than duplicate work.

  • If only there were more people like you on Slashdot. Of course that would probally mean most of us would be using Some sort of BSD.

    Wait, what would be the problem there?
  • by s_n ( 132651 ) on Friday July 21, 2000 @06:33AM (#915831)
    This sounds promising.. $200'000'000 is quite some money. now what to do with them in order to complete our universe of free software ?

    Microsoft gave us the answer: look at their [], read how they plan to change the world, and then, let's sit together and thinker how we, the people, can make something better, something worth living. We need free, standardized solutions for the following areas:
    • A Privacy/Identity Framework
      A Client/Server solution for identifing people in a secure manner, where *we* control our privacy. This is a must for serious e-commerce, e-governemt.

    • Building Blocks for Net-Applications
      Tomorrows Net will be in the center of tomorrows society. Connected by mobiles, and a myriad of other devices, we will communicate, deal and live together digitally to a great extend. And we do not want to let a single corporate (or governmental) entity control how things will work.

    • Governmental Tools
      The more we "live" on net, the greater will be the need for some control - that's what the government was for the old economy. In the new economy we want to define how this control works, who controls whom, what's right and what's not. This all depends on the infrastructure.
    That's a lot, I know. And all the Biggies (Microsoft, AOL, Nokia, Media, TelCo's, etc.) will be fighting for defining the standards of the tomorrows net-world. We have to act now, in order to define our standards - you do know why, don't you?
  • I agree, but instead of deciding on the libraries themselves, how about standardizing the interfaces instead? This will allow anyone to create a library in whatever language they choose. I cannot see an easy way to create a common set of static or dynamic linkages to satisfy all languages, but you could standardize socket interfaces. For example, a math package daemon could sit out on port 9000 (e.g.) and take commands to do things like complex math, matrix math, etc. Then a plotting package sits on 9001 waiting for a 2-D data stream, 3-D data stream, etc. Don't like your plotting package? Download and install a different one. This is a lot of what enterprise java beans (EJB) are trying to do.

    The cool thing is that, if you want, you could publish these services to allow others to use them on your box. App servers anyone?

    I can see how the network overhead might be a problem, but if you only need localhost support perhaps a virtual network driver (similar to what VMWARE does) could virtualize the requests so they are all software and, therefore, much faster than an actual network socket call.

  • I hope, no pray, that they don't introduce the quirkiness that beset AIX. Bleurgghhh!
  • Grrrr. That pissed me off when they discontinued the X client with R5. During the R4-R5 development cycle, a few things happened:

    • Server-based computing (Citrix, whatever) became a mainstream option for running apps.
    • Citrix ported their server-side stuff to Solaris.
    • Lotus discontinued their Solaris Notes Client.

    So if you want to run a significant number of Notes clients over ICA, you're stuck with the (abysmal) scalability of NT and attendant high systems management costs. Of course, it was all the X clients that were discontinued at the same time (Solaris, AIX, HPUX). Linux never had one. HEY LOTUS! X11 IS a viable client platform!

  • Microsoft should never have gotten IBM angry over OS/2... I am sure that for IBM, revenge is sweet.
  • IBM is in the business of making money (strangely enough). I think this is great, but how does this further their business plan? Or is it more like trying to erode the market share of competitors?
  • by Keju ( 82514 )
    The article deals primarily with the IBM investment. Those lines you plucked out are just background for general readers. Why bore laypeople with minor details like that? I thought the article was more balanced and thorough than the treatment given by some more tech-oriented magazines.

    The GPL is great but does every article about Linux need to have a book-length appendix discussing its license? Next we'll see every article having to do with Windows talking about the EULA.. hmm, maybe that wouldn't be such a bad idea after all.
  • If you are going to make it these days, you're going to need some seeeeerious software... that's why IBM is moving towards Linux.
  • Isn't it a Sicilian saying that "revenge is best eaten cold"? After nearly a decade since MS stiffed IBM over OS/2 (and lost us a superior OS even if not one under the morally virtuous GPL) it would be nice to see IBM underwrite the "end of Windows". Even if IBM is another nasty "global corporate". I'm almost minded to say the enemy of my enemy is my friend, but can't quite get it out between clenched teeth (being no supporter of global corporatism). Still, be interesting to see what happens...
  • In the late 80's and early 90's we ran networks of AS/400's that had better uptime than our commercial MVS environment. Exactly 0 unplanned IPL's in 8.5 years. Only downtime was OS upgrades and tape drive replacements. Rock solid the most reliable stuff I've ever seen ever better than 4381's. But remember some of that came with operational discipline, planning and rigor we borrowed from the MVS world and its 30 years of refinement.
  • I feel that they could also do something to help in the development of the kernel

    I think you may mis-understand IBM's movitves behind this (other than MS-bashing): they want to sell more of the development tools. As Ms. Axton says: it will make more developers familiar with IBM's software, and so spread its use. That's the deal; sell more IDE's (and presumably DB2!?)

    There are basically two requirements for this to work:

    1. It must be commercial products that are developed, so the developers can afford to pay for IBM's software, and
    2. The developers must want to use an IDE and other software tools from IBM.

    Kernel development probably fails both of these criteria. The first one obviously so and for the second one: I don't hack kernel anymore, but the people I know who does use Emacs or even vi. They don't want no frigging IDE. They would never touch DB2 :-)

    It's not all bad: yes, there is still a lot of work to be done in the kernel, but having more applications will probably drive the acceptance of Linux in many more places. That will give us more kernel developers; not spreading telephone number sized amounts around (thought they are welcome to spread a little in my direction...).


    "Where do you come from?"

  • I wonder why IBM decided to invest in Europe and not in the US or Canada. I know a lot of small businesses in Montreal that need money to develop for Linux. They got a lot of experienced programmers, and really believe in Linux. So why IBM wants to give the $$ only to europeans?
  • He might not quite be running the place, but he is the emmisary of the profits.

    ...and that should just about take care of my quota for really bad puns this year. :)

  • Ibm want to use linux so they can sell more Net-Appliances. That is why they are doing this. Which is not a bad reason. They want to sell more iron they could not care less about the OS that hardware runs on they just want to sell it.
  • Well, they are helping in the kernel.

    I think it's rather healthy that they're starting to help the majority of the system which lives outside the kernel. There's way too much attention on the kernel; way way way way way way too much. It's important, but it doesn't exactly do anything by itself.

  • That's great. Maybe they sould send some to Lexmark(a distant relative of IBM)...see below: ***I had the same conversation with Lexmark about a year ago. However, I recall reading a post in this list re: someone who had hacked a driver. My solution was to give the printer to my kids (win-machine) and buy a Canon BJC-610 - that I found was compatible via the supported hardware page. Let the buyer beware. I had a conversation with a dealer, and he assured me that Lexmark supports Linux... I repeat, Let the buyer beware :~{ ----- Original Message ----- From: John Gay To: Cc: Sent: Friday, May 28, 1999 9:27 AM Subject: Lexmark is less than helpful : > > This is a reply I received in response to a request for Linux drivers for the > Colour Inkjet 3200 printer from Lexmark. I guess I should have checked printer > compatibility a bit better before I bought it : ( > > > In reference to your e-mail of 25/05/99, unfortunatly at present we do not have > the drivers to work with Linux and have no plans to introduce it in the near > future. If there is any move to introduce a range of drivers for Linux, we will > inform all customers. > > If any othrer problems arise with your printer you can contact our technical > support line on 01812801701, Monday to Friday 9am to 5.30 pm. > > Best regards, > > > I especially like the 'Best regards,' bit. Rather Ironic, I think. On a related > note, does any one have any experience with attempting to get this printer to > work from Linux? I'd have thought that 'a printer was a printer, was a printer' > But apparently not. I am not a programmer/hacker type, just an ex-Windows user > who is trying to move to something better. I have WindowsNT on a 2G partition, > while I learn the ropes of Linux. I hope to re-format that partition within the > year, though. I don't want to see what happens with WindowsNT come Y2K. Thanks > again for all your help in the past, and all the help I'm sure you will continue > to provide in the future. > > Cheers, > > John Gay >***
  • While I'm sure revenge is on the minds of those in charge (and mine actually) but IBM wouldn't waste millions for such as a lowly purpose. This type of revenge is what makes them happiest, a step into the future.

    AIX (and the others) has been floundering for years. IBM has by this time put more money than most of us can imagine into developing UNIX/AIX software/hardware. We (should) all know what MS did to them.

    Now comes an opprotunity to:
    1. Regain a use for their most of software and hardware.
    2. Seek revenge on Microsoft
    3. Gain popularity with a community that used to hate it
    4. Be one of the firsts in the market
    5. Have all future developing & testing done free/cheap

    Personally I wonder why more *IX companies aren't doing the same things.

    Devil Ducky
  • Only problem I see with that is IBM will surely want to buy a well-known distro (if they didn't make their own). In the US the obvious choice would be Red Hat, some other options could be SUSE, Debian, Mandrake, and I don't think Slackware is a viable option for this discussion.

    But for discussion sake they choose to buy Red Hat. They take last week's earning from Thinkpads and buy up all of the stock. No more Red Hat bumper stickers, no more pictures of penguins wearing red fedoras (always looked to me like a penguin that just got laid by Carmen San Diego). But now they also control GNOME.

    I believe that the GNOME/KDE debate is one of the best things happening to the linux world. It spawns better graphics, stabler desktops, more built-in features, more customizationabilty, etc. Who knows what would happen in IBM's hands?

    Sorry, I forgot where I was going with this, just make up whatever ending you want. All I ask is that in your ending I sound smart. :-)

    Devil Ducky
  • There's no serious doubt that anti-dumping laws were widely abused by
    US companies. Frequently the whole aim of pleas was to obtain
    `short-term' injunctions, and then attempted to drag out for as long as
    possible a case they couldn't win. Whatever your take on GATT and the
    WTO, they have at least cleaned up international trade law a great
  • Here's a AVI version of a new IBM commercial about it's support for Linux: om/software/is/mp/linux/audio/ibm_linux-02.avi []

    (Thanks to Nanux for pointing this link in the Slackware forum)


  • It still acts like a frame-bomb under NS4.74/noJavascript

    I've had too damned many denial-of-service attacks disguised as JavaScript pages to allow it to be enabled on any of my machines.

    And FS does not have a proper "webmaster" feedback bounced. MAY THEY ROT LIKE THE BASTARDS THEY ARE!!

  • Or how about "Mighty Blue Justice"? Very fitting in every way, and envisioning Microsoft as 1Ton is amusing.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The FT article doesn't say what sort of software IBM is encouraging the development of. Are they paying for development of free GPL'd software, or do they want to see proprietary apps for sale. If the latter, then their business model may be to take a cut of sales in exchange for distributing the apps for sale.

    IBM's approach at least has the possibility of eventually producing income. Contrast that with SUN, who paid hundreds of millions for StarOffice and is giving away apps for free (and soon GPL'd source).

    Now I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me that a large software company recently got into big trouble for giving away software that a perceived competitor was selling. It appears to be a crime to spend money to give away a product if the only possible result is to cut the income of your competitor. Microsoft's defense (which didn't fly) was to say "we really wanted to include the browser in our OS - see, it's now a better OS!"

    If Sun gets charged with antitrust for trying to cut MS's income by giving away a competing product, how will Sun defend itself? Can giving away StarOffice have any positive effect for Sun, or only negative effect for MS? Along those lines, how did Netscape get away with destroying Mosaic by giving away a browser when Mosaic was selling one? Presumably IBM has a defense in hand and can point to a possible revenue stream. Like I say, I'm not a lawyer, but I'm wondering what are the legal ways to cut off a company's "oxygen supply"?

    -------------------- Lee

    Often in error, never in doubt!

  • Read the article again. This is just the beginning..

    Traditionally, Linux is much more acceptable in Europe rather in US or Canada (don't take my word on it - Ask IBM Europe, or SAP)

  • (any IBMers out there want to correct me?)

    "...companies like IBM promoting Linux software."

    Even supposedly cross-platform code needs to be tested. And, usually, at least slightly modified to run on the new system. I don't think IBM is saying "write your software to run on Linux, here's a machine to do it on". I think they are saying "got some software that you'd like to make (sure) run(s) on Linux? come to our center and see!"
  • Sadly marketspeak will win over accuracy. I listened to Mac OS X be referred to as a Linux-based OS. Whether the person knew the truth or not was irrelevent, he was in marketing.
  • Does anyone know if this IBM Linux [] commercial has been on the air anywhere yet?

    Its pretty amusing. It does play it a little fast and loose with the facts, but it is a commercial, so that's hardly unexpected. Having IBM say that "Now the forces of openness have a powerful and unexpected new ally" just strikes me as funny.

  • by Amphigory ( 2375 ) on Friday July 21, 2000 @06:51AM (#915858) Homepage
    Yeah... You're right. No large company would use Linux. IBM wouldn't. Nor would UUNet WorldCOM. Or HP. You're absolutely right. I'm sorry I was so deluded. Would you send me a copy of Windows 2000 please? I've seen the light.


  • by xant ( 99438 )
    Simple - IBM sells Big Iron. If Linux becomes everyone's OS, IBM's $200 million will be an investment in DISPOSING OF THEIR SOFTWARE BUDGET. And it will also take a big chunk out of their support budget. IBM makes money off hardware, period. AIX/390/other OS's are just something to put on the hardware.
  • I would say that JAVA does far better than "a sporting try". My experience with JAVA 2 is that it is very portable between SUN, AIX, LINUX and of course Windows. I have not tried the new Macintosh yet, but it also looks good. The days of write once test everwhere are gone. Now it is write once deploy to ALMOST everywhere.
    The last argument of the VM being too slow is also gone. The modern VM's with modern JITS(Hotspot) has made the performance very close to C (if not better). The only time I see performance being an issue would be in a graphical application (game) that cannot allow garbage collection to run.

  • IBM is in the business of making money (strangely enough). I think this is great, but how does this further their business plan? Or is it more like trying to erode the market share of competitors?

    IBM has moved away from being a "mere" hardware provider into a "service provider" since that's where the money really is.
    Look carefully: IBM has embraced "open" technologies recently- which helps them a lot!
    Java provides an environment where the same program (w/o recompilation!) will work on darn near everything they sell- and, with experience on this platform, can sell services AS WELL AS HARDWARE.
    Linux provides a consistent platform (kinda like Java, but at a lower level) that works the same everywhere, so, knowledge gained in one area can be applied elsewhere.

    It is very likely that IBM isn't interested in "owning" Java or Linux (which, given some history, has killed stuff off before) but can make plenty of money renting out their knowledge of these technologies- which is what service is about.

    Java and Linux provide something that the services folks at IBM must've been salivating for over the last umpteen years: a level playing field they can compete in.
    Hey, given Linux, an IBM geek can work on ANY SYSTEM RUNNING IT- whether it's IBM's, Sun's, Compaq's or whoever. The money seems to be in building up useful applications on top of the OS.
    Now if only they'd beat somebody at Lotus over the non-portability of Notes, 123, etc...

  • Actually, I was just using the Kernel as an example. But what irritates me is this notion that "we will use the free/GPL software, include it, write tools to interact with it, but we will not support it in any other ways".

    Actually, hasn't IBM already provided a Journaling FileSystem for Linux with a Logical Volume Manager on the way?
    I've installed RH 6.1 on an IBM NetFinicky 5500 (OK, so it ain't finicky w/ Linux in it's belly) and the ServeRAID controller is known to Linux. It sure looks like somebody at IBM did that.

    And wasn't it IBM that provided patches to run Linux on the S/390? (Gawd, I keep watching eBay- I've seen some S/390s up there...)

    IBM seems to have learned some humility. It seems that teaching BG@M$ the same lesson is gonna take more effort...

  • IBM are unquestionably looking at Linux as a low to medium-end replacement for AIX. They've ported most (if not all) their Java tools over, they have TWO Java compilers (Jikes & IBM JDK), they've ported a large chunk of JFS, and then there's their DB/2 port, their Application Server port, their work with Apache and their ports of Linux to IBM mainframe systems.

    Actually, _I_ think (IMHO) that IBM sees a Linux entry server/workstation market as working TOWARDS selling AIX boxes- though this may backfire.

    Consider- when you run out of steam w/ an NT box (you're never far from empty running NT) your NT-based application CAN'T migrate to, for instance, an S/390. If you're running Linux on the Desktop (or on servers) you DO have a choice- AIX. I've heard stories of GNOME and KDE ported to AIX, so AIX is a useful place to go, and so, Linux can help customers started on the path to AIX (this also works AGAINST AIX since there's also Tru64, Solaris, etc).

    I administer AIX boxes for a living and I've managed to sneak in some NetFinickies as Linux servers too. AIX is far more tolerant of hardware changes (like adding/removing disks from a SCSI bus) than I would EVER have believed before. (The magic incantation is "cfgmgr".) I can see that AIX scales in areas that Linux won't. On a 43P it's a wash 'tween Linux and AIX; but, on an F50 you really want AIX (what with the hotswap drives...). I doubt that IBM will throw in all of the wonderful goodies they've based AIX on into Linux- but what they're throwing in, while not everything, is _enough_ to make me happier (JFS and LVM, wooo-hooo!) so "I am not entirely displeased".
    Please note that I _like_ AIX for some stuff, Linux for others. If I could have some of the Lotus apps that the PTB have made de regieur (sp?) run native on a Linux desktop I can be done with Windoze.

    BTW, my LILO has three labels: win, lose, draw.
    • WIN: Linux
    • LOSE: Windoze
    • DRAW: Backup copy of Linux

    My son suggest the use of the good, the bad and the ugly.

    "You are the MS-DOS of Evil: Only 640K, not even enough"

  • Well, since Cisco is one of the hottest and most capitalized Internet companies, this is probably how IBM best felt they could compete.

    But hopefully people won't consider IBM to be an Uncle Tom [] because of this.

    If you haven't seen the ad, btw, here's a transcript:

    1991 Helsinki. A 21 year old student named Linus Torvalds writes a new computer operating system. He calls it "Linux". Then does something revolutionary: he gives it away, free. Over the Internet. The powers that be dismiss him as an eccentric, a freak. But everywhere coders and free thinkers embrace linux; improve and refine it. Now the forces of openness have a powerful and unexpected new ally.

    It's a different kind of world. You need a different kind of software.

    I just love the way he pronounces "software" - it's sexy. One thing though: how come he pronounces Linux as /LIN-ucks/, but Linus as "LIE-nus"?
  • I agree with this observation. I kinda looks like its payback time for Micro$oft..hehehehehe
  • The press release from IBM is here: []

    More interesting is the page at linux/eu_en/program.html [] which has a little more detail.


    "Where do you come from?"

  • by Amphigory ( 2375 ) on Friday July 21, 2000 @06:52AM (#915867) Homepage
    I know! They could call it "the Big Blue RedHat!" If it didn't take off in computers, it could always be a childrens TV show.


  • Cross-platform is hard to do. Java is a 'sporting try' at it, but it's still not quite there. With c-p, you necessarily take a penalty hit with a VM, or platform-specific abstraction hardware. It's the nature of the beast, as long as there are different platforms, there will necessarily be platform specificity. I'm all for some sort of meta-assembly language that everyone would agree to implement; but how do you propose to do that?

    Portability has it's own issues. Different platforms exists beacuse there are some problems that are better solved one way, and others that are better solved another way. Some chips are good for real math, others for integers, others for parallel matrix work, others for graphics processing and still others exists solely to support LISP. True application portability would require a standard set of libraries (native of course) for the 'portable' language to hook into. (Umm, Java again, some C/C++, FORTRAN have already tried this). And you still have to recomplie (though not necessarily edit much code) to run on the new system - and there's keeping the libs up to date to worry about.

    We just push the problem to another layer.

    Asking for the problem to go away isn't going to do it. There will always be cross-platform issues - for as long as there are different platforms; and for just as long, there will be portability issues.

    Many people have been trying to solve the problem of multiple platforms, and all of them have developed pretty good solutions. Sun, Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Linus, IBM... :)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If I could have whatever I wanted from IBM, it would be...

    Source code to dsmit. Caldera is no longer maintaining the COAS website at all. LinuxConf is LinuxConf. If we had the source code to dsmit, maybe it would provide enough of a boost to help us take care of things.

    Source code to the Tivoli Storage Manager *client*. A good portion of this is already provided via the TSM API but I would still like to play with the full client code. It would be so much fun to get some true crypto into it and make the changes available for peer review.

    Techincal specs for SSA... This is a must for being able to run Linux on any recently purchased RS/6000. Yet, IBM still hasn't provided enough information to write drivers for any of their SSA cards. :(

    Release a reference implimentation source code to a SNA stack! It still seems silly that IBM is going through all the trouble of getting Linux ported to the IBM 390 but you still can't talk SNA to/from it!

  • Cross-platform is hard to do. Java is a 'sporting try' at it, but it's still not quite there.
    Java isn't cross platform. Java is a platform.

    With c-p, you necessarily take a penalty hit with a VM, or platform-specific abstraction hardware.
    I disagree. A well formed C program (for example) can be efficient and cross platform, without a performace hit. If you want platform specific optermisations, well then thats some extra work, but with #defs it can still be done.
    I'm all for some sort of meta-assembly language that everyone would agree to implement; but how do you propose to do that?
    Whats the problem with high level languages? Is it really such a huge problem to compile code? Compilation can be automated.

    Yes, your right, in some respect, platforms will exist that "break the rules" and cause apps to fail, but thats life. I can write a C/C++ that will run native, unchanged, optermised, on more platforms than I can think of. It *is* a valid goal.


  • We have been seeing a lot of companies investing in Linux. Which is, obviously, a great thing.

    The big problem, as I see it, is that we aren't (as yet) seeing any of these companys getting any appreciable return on their investments.

    I love linux as much (or more) than the next guy, but I can't help but start to worry that the current fascination with Linux is going to start to fade very quickly unless a company like IBM can find a very real way to make their investments start to pay off.

    We are seeing Corel hurting for sure, which they would probably be doing without linux, but it seems to be a current trend which, for me at least, is very uncomfortable to watch.


  • Actually, it's not illegal at all to give products away with the sole intent of cutting off a company's "oxygen supply" (was it Gates who gave us that wonderful expression?). I'm perfectly justified in giving away copies of bestselling books in an attempt to drive Barnes and Noble and Amazon out of business. I'd just lose a lot of money, though, and drive myself out of business.

    It's a different story, however, if I had a monopoly. Let's say I'm now MegaBooks(tm), and this little Barnes and Noble store tries to open up shop. Now I could give away books to drive them out of business, and I'd probably succeed. They'd run out of money long before I did, and I'd end up with the market all to myself once again. THAT would be illegal.

    I believe it's also illegal to, e.g., use a monopoly position in another market to leverage one's way into another market. For example, if I, say, had a monopoly in the desktop operating systems market, I couldn't start an online bookstore which gave away books to try and steal the market from Amazon and BN. The law is designed to prevent me from using the relatively bottomless profits a monopoly position provides to gain an advantage over competitors who have to actually make money on their business.

    Throughout the whole Microsoft thing, that was the issue that most people didn't seem to understand. Monopolies just aren't allowed to behave like other businesses. Many people argued that Microsoft was just behaving as every other software company does, but what's okay for Novell just isn't okay for Microsoft. Sun can give away StarOffice, because it doesn't have a monopoly to leverage. To summarize: it's okay to be a monopoly, you just have to behave differently (under penalty of law, of course). If you're not a monopoly, then pretty much everything short of firebombing warehouses is just fine (okay, price-fixing is still bad, and anti-competitive agreements, and ...).
  • by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Friday July 21, 2000 @06:56AM (#915873)
    About 20 years ago, or so...

    IBM giving money to some "unknown" to develop software for the system they were building...

    Whatever happened to them?


  • Yes, at linux/eu_en/program.html [] they are quite explicit about this:

    Develop on Linux, Scale on AIX -- Getting the best of both worlds
    Project Monterey is IBM's Unix-based AIX operating system initiative, designed to extend AIX enterprise strengths to the Intel 64-bit architecture. This initiative will include a Linux Application Execution environment for both AIX and Monterey on Intel, allowing many Linux binaries to run on IBM Unix platforms.

    This offering allows you to test your applications developed for Linux on an IBM Monterey platform, either by recompiling or by running it under the Linux Application Execution environment.
    Available on announcement of Monterey


    "Where do you come from?"

  • When IBM was the enemy? How things have changed in the last 10 years. I remember when all this was just fields blah blah reminisce........
  • Dude, I'm just glad IBM didn't sue "Big Blue Disk" back in the day.

    (they weren't related, right?)
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [].
  • I wish the AS/400 wasn't so hard to learn.

    There are a lot of really cool things about it, but I have never seen such a vertical learning curve in my life. You have to understand the whole gestalt behind the system before you can write 'hello, world'.

    So Linux on the hardware might indeed be a dream solution.


  • And IBM's journalling filesystem is what, chopped liver? Sure, I'd like to see them make more contributions to the kernel, but they've already headed in that direction and purportedly plan to do more. IBM's plans to port Linux to the AS/400 and S/390 architectures will almost certainly result in kernel code!

    While it would be stretching the truth to suggest that I fully trust IBM, a number of high-level IBM execs have pretty well staked their careers on the success of Linux and free software in general and IBM has made some significant contributions to the body of open source software. IBM's open source Java software goes a heck of a lot further than any gesture Sun has made.

    Besides, while I'm sure Slashdotters all have a wish-list for the kernel, the great unwashed masses currently sucking at the great tit of Redmond don't -- they'll plainly accept any old operating system, but they want apps. Heck, I want more apps.
  • One OS to rule them all,
    One OS to find them,
    One OS to bring them all,
    and in the darkness bind them.

    bind them? Is this a TCP session (Tolkein Corrution Protocol;-)?

  • Buy Corel Linux, fire sale could happen soon. Its mostly Debian, and rescue WordPerfect also. Greg's .$.02
  • Lexmark? It is a company spun off from IBM, and for [I think] 5 years had rights to use the IBM name on printers if it wanted to. That time is past. But they were spun off, and have NOTHING to do with IBM whatsoever. Therefore, IBM cannot influence them at all.
  • > One thing though: how come he pronounces Linux as /LIN-ucks/, but Linus as "LIE-nus"?

    American pronunciation. "LIN-ucks" is the winner in the pronunciation debate, probably because it's closest to how Linus pronounces it when his accent isn't as pronounced. In his native tongue, his name is "LEE-noose" and the OS is "LEE-nooks". He didn't name it anyway, he called it Freeix.
  • The immediate question I ask, when I see big numbers like "$20 Millin" thrown around, is *what are they after?*

    IBM isn't doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. They expect payback.

    They expect to get their twenty million back PLUS another twenty to sixty million minimum.

    So where's the money going to come from?

  • Good points, I agree completely except you should have said Microsofts plan to ->manage<- the world !
  • They need to bring back Denis Leary for their IBM/Linux commercials. He'd make the perfect outspoken Linux zealot

    "Microsoft!?!? Fuckin' Bill Gates!@#!"
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I should have qualified that by say for personal workstation use. I, personally, have no use for microsoft in the server dept.
  • IBM's strategy is very smart--help APP developers start using Linux and there will be more apps--which means more users, which means more of everything for everybody.

    Strongly agree.

    But throwing money at the kernel people gets you nothing. The kernel people aren't driven by money. You might conceivably find someone who was unable to implement a feature due to lack of money, but all your money has bought is the feature--not apps that exploit the feature.

    Actually, I was just using the Kernel as an example. But what irritates me is this notion that "we will use the free/GPL software, include it, write tools to interact with it, but we will not support it in any other ways".

    Now if IBM comes out with tools that are not under the GPL, that's fine. They can do what they please, and do what they think will give them the most money.

    But it doesn't hurt to help improve the tools that are GPL. I read the comment in the article as "it's non-commercial, it's free, so we won't do anything for it". That is not the way to interact with GPL software and the Open Source community. Write your own tools under your own license, but if you use something that is under GPL and can afford to help improve it a little, then go ahead and do something.

    I guess I'm just sick of this free software taboo. My company spends more money on inferior products just because it comes with a license that they understand. I'm not just talking about Windows vs. Linux. We couldn't use majordomo for a mailing list, and had to go buy some terrible "closed source" software. That's just one example. But I've been told by upper management "if it's free then it can't be good". That statement just irritates the hell out of me!

    Sorry for the rant, but things have got to change.

    Steven Rostedt
  • I listened to Mac OS X be referred to as a Linux-based OS.

    I thought that Jobs was going out of his way to say that MacOS X is going to be based on "a very Linux-like system". Of course, I'm sure some marketing idiot took that to mean it was Linux based. Fortunately marketing is one of the few degrees you can get without possessing even a single brain cell. And I should know, one of my old "friends" from school is taking a marketing course right now. If you can lie with a straight face, you can be in marketing!
  • I want cross platform software.

    So you should be quite pleased with this announcement!? These centres give developers the opportunity to try out their applications on various Linux distributions and AIX, and on various hardware platforms. You can even test your systems remotely over the internet without visiting the centre.

    To my mind this is a great step forward. How many small Linux development organisations have the resources to really test on different hardware or even software distributions? With this announcement they have the ability to test and produce the "cross platform software" that you desire.

    Sure, I'd like to see even more unixes and more hardware (Sun, HP, Cobalt, ...) but that is probably a little much to ask from IBM. Let us instead hold up IBM's initiative to the other vendors, and try to persuade them to launch something similar.

    As for "Linux software": I guess the commercial realities of today is such that you have to include the word "Linux" or e-something-new in a press release to (a) get any attention on /. (and the rest of the media) and (b) get your share price going.

    This really is good news, if the access is releatively open and free.


    "Where do you come from?"

  • FT pages (not just the linked one, but various others, too) are consistently crashing my browser. The symptom is evidently an infinite loop attempting to load something that isn't there, followed by an append of a rather large (textually) "page not found" table.

    fwiw, I'm running NS4.71/Linux/noJava/noJavascript.

  • Isn't SGI supposed to be waiting around for a buyout? What exactly would make IBM a worse fit as a new 'parent' for them than Sun? Let's see...IBM buys SGI, integrates their contributions to Linux into the IBM tree, and in about six months, we suddenly see:

    "IBM Linux! Certified, guaranteed 99.9% uptime, data integrity, and 24/7 local or remote support. Now with 'Big Iron'(tm)!"

    As to the comments above about IBM only wanting Linux to fill the workstation-to-small-server niche, I fial to see what they would have to lose by moving away from AIX.

    They can't be making any truly significant amount of their revenue from OS licensing, since they only sell it for their hardware, (which costs an order of magnitude more) but having the most respected Linux servers in the biz could be a real money maker for them. Especially considering how 'hot' Linux is with all the PHB's these days...
  • Big companies like IBM and Sun "give" stuff away because they expect it will help them sell more stuff in the run.

    * We GIVE you the software and you BUY the hardware
    * We GIVE you the hardware and you BUY the software
    * We GIVE you some hardware and software and you BUY some support

    Who ever gives away the least and gets the most wins. End of story.

    It has NOTHING to do with Linux / Open Source philosophy, so don't whine when the Financial Times does not appear to "get it right".

    IMHO Microsoft has been wooing developers for years. In addition to the stuff they sell, they provide free SDK's for all sorts of technologies:

    Winsock, TAPI, DirectX, Agent, Win32, OLEDB, MAPI, Plug & Play, etc.

    These APIs may be closed, but they drove a few million developers into the Windows camp.

    A few development/porting centers is NOT going to make up for this. Sun used to do the same thing 10 years ago. It didn't work and they are still trying to figure out what they can give away for free to convince people to give them money.

    I see lots of argument still over windowing managers, distros and packages -- how about common things like DDKs to encourage hardware vendors to support Linux.
  • A little bird told me...

    Hi Scott

    I was at the CICS conference in July and spoke to the developers about this.

    The word is they do not want to make it public yet but do have plans to make it available at some time. They do have CICS running on AIX and would probably port that to Linux.

    The other thought was S390/Linux and CICS running as a application server running Java code and connecting to CICS-CICS to other platforms like MVS.

    With CICS supporting IIOP and Java things will be getting very interesting very soon. The next release will support EJB.

    Yes this does sound cool indeed!
  • Hand me a copy of Win2000 please. No, I'm not kidding.
  • Does anyone know if this IBM Linux commercial has been on the air anywhere yet?

    Not that I know of, but I really, really hope it is. That would do wonders for the adoption of Linux by businesses. IBM is a big name, and technologically challegened management types tend to do what the big names tell them...

  • I read an interesting articel from nicholas peterly, im sure some of you are familiar with him. anyways he basically was saying that many large vendors i.e. ibm/sun etc. were supporting linux in an attampt to create a neutral battle ground for their companies to compete on. as it is now microsoft has the upper hand because they control the OS/API's. I am not sure i totally agree with him, but take a look at your latest Info World magazines lying around, i forget which issue but its in there.

    "The importance of using technology in the right way has never been more clear." []
  • It is free to use and its continuing development is undertaken by a disparate group of computer enthusiasts all over the world, whose proposed upgrades to the system are ratified by their peers.

    Hey, who do they think they're calling desperate, I've had my date for the year...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'd still like to see an IBM distro if for nothing else but to legitimize it a little more to the PHB types or software developers who are hesitant to port over to it. A big well-known name like IBM's on a distro would help things a lot.

    It might be expensive, but what if they just bought out RedHat or Mandrake and renamed it "IBM Linux" ? (or IBM RedHat, or whatever)
  • IBM wants to sell systems running Linux, but they can only do that if there are products that will run on it. Invest a pile of money in having people write and/or port apps and you set yourself up for a large gain in the market. Simple. Malk-a-mite
  • It seems to be a pretty simply strategy - right now Apache running on Intel is the most popular web server platform on the Internet. Watch for lots of Linux drivers for the IBM low to mid-range servers...
  • It looks like they are hoping to help Linux grow as a client desktop environment, where it will compete with Windows, rather than at the enterprise level, where it might someday chip away at AIX. (Yes, I know Solaris is kicking AIX's a??, but IBM is still a player in the UNIX scene, and does not want to compete with free beer.)

    It could be a smart move for them, but it also makes me wonder if they are doing this because they are still a little bitter from the whole Windows-vs.-OS/2 thing. :)

  • I've seen several of the new IBM ads, but I've not see this one. Anyone have a pointer to a nice (Linux viewable, please) MPEG or RealVideo stream of it?

    BTW, anybody ever see the Caldera ad on TV?
  • by pb ( 1020 ) on Friday July 21, 2000 @06:11AM (#915905)
    It's nice to see some of that money going back to the motherland, where it will be appreciated. I'll pretend that IBM is thanking Europe for developing Linux in the first place--except that I don't see Finland mentioned. :|

    However, it's good to see that Intel is in on this one, too. Anything they can do to annoy Microsoft always entertains me.

    Now, I don't expect a great degree of technical accuracy from the Financial Times, but I always snicker at that "running webservers" stuff. I guess that's all people care about. Forget that mundane crap like DNS, Mail, News, Timeservers, Database Servers, NFS, FTP Mirrors... All we know about is the web. Web pages, yeah, that's the ticket.

    I'm not even going to mention compilers, image processing, clustering... I mean, really, who cares if it's not on the Internet? And if it isn't on the web, well, where can we find it? Isn't the Internet the web? Isn't that AOL? Ah well...
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [].
  • by weinerdog ( 181465 ) on Friday July 21, 2000 @07:10AM (#915911) Homepage

    I don't mind software that's tied to a particular platform. While portability across platforms is a good thing, it isn't essential. I don't have any problem using software that's only available on one platform.

    The problems, IMHO, are caused not by single-platform applications, but by single-application data formats. Software is just a tool for manipulating data. It doesn't especially matter which tool you use on which platform to manipulate a particular set of data, so long as you can transfer that same data to another platform and not be SOL. MS Office isn't bad because its only available for Windows, but because it works with data formats that aren't readily exportable to other platforms or applications.

    Having said that, I do recognize the value of an application that runs across multiple hardware and software platforms. But, I don't see cross-platform software as being nearly as important as cross-platform data.

  • IBM's strategy is very smart--help APP developers start using Linux and there will be more apps--which means more users, which means more of everything for everybody.

    Yes, it's very true.

    throwing money at the kernel people gets you nothing ... all your money has bought is the feature--not apps that exploit the feature

    Well, it really depends. There are a number of Linux companies that are paying people to write kernel code. While it makes sense for them, it might not make sense for IBM - they might not have an itch to scratch as far the kernel is concerned.

    Take RedHat and Alan Cox, for example. And look at TUX - RedHat wanted Linux to beat Windows (and everyone else) at web benchmarks. Take SuSE and, who are funding the development of ReiserFS.

    Throwing money in the development to get a specific feature is a good idea, if you have an application that needs that feature. IBM is a big software house - and they have a lot of cross-platform stuff. I can certainly understand why kernel development might not be an attractive course of action for them.

  • While on the topic of IBM's contribution to Linux...
    If they gave a few S/390 boxes away to developers to use, we'd see quite the proliferation of Linux for S/390 software. That can only help Linux and IBM. Or, maybe they could do a test-drive program similar to what Compaq offers [], basically you sign up to get an account on one of their machines running various flavors of Linux.

    For those of you who might otherwise enjoy dissing this established hardware, make sure you know the facts:
    • There are millions of 'em in the world
    • In many environments management would appreciate the ability to migrate to something more unix-like
    • These things have awesome I/O bandwidth
    • 65,536 IRQ's!
    I've personally witnessed the first three points. Especially the third one; Linux on an LPAR boots in under a second. I also saw it dump 17,000 files out of a 160mb tarfile in 3 seconds (!). Now that's just damned fast.

    A Linux on 390 guy,
  • ...then they should offer everyone the chance to buy their IBM computers with Linux preinstalled. I was looking at their site the other day, and they have some cool small-form-factor desktops. I was thinking about getting one for my 12x12 dorm room, but I'm gonna have to pass because I'd have to buy a Windows license (which I neither want nor need) with the computer. You may think that I'm being petty, but I am on a tight, tight budget and the price of a Windows license is a big deal.

    I think it sucks that these corporations -- while paying lip service to Linux, Free Software/Open Source/whatever, and consumer choice -- still force you to buy crap like Windows, Office, and God knows what else for each system you buy.

    Stephen C. VanDahm
  • by GnomeAttic ( 97126 ) on Friday July 21, 2000 @06:16AM (#915925) Homepage
    IBM has been pleasanly surprising us ever since they made Benjamin Sisko their Captain. Coincidence? I think the facts speak for themselves.
  • by mancuskc ( 211986 ) on Friday July 21, 2000 @06:16AM (#915926)
    IBM Hardware:

    It might not be the fastest, quietest, smallest, best looking, most cutting edge -

    But by God is it reliable.

    Once worked for a company with 43 IBM AS/400 machines, one at each of their sites. We had a disk crash about once a month.

    Bad? They were all over 10 years old, and had NEVER been rebooted, or turned off. (Oh - and we never lost any data, the diags built into the hardware gave you just enough time to pipe the data off the disk before it went bang).

    I would like an industrial IBM machine with Linux please - have it oiled and sent to my room immediately.

  • by wishus ( 174405 )
    This article's treatment of linux and its license is horrid..

    Linux, a rival to Microsoft's Windows that is free to use.

    Linux, the brainchild of Linus Torvalds, a Finnish computer scientist, is non-commercial. It is free to use...

    No mention of the GPL, or the philosophy behind it. No mention of RedHat, or S.u.S.E., or Caldera.. Yes, the kernel is non-commercial.. But the article is misleading. When will journalists get it right?


  • They can think of it as a promotional expense.

    Compared to what it cost them to have Avery Brooks talk about the lack of flying cars on prime-time TV several times a week, $200 million is a drop in the bucket.

  • by jabber ( 13196 ) on Friday July 21, 2000 @08:10AM (#915936) Homepage
    Cross-platform is hard to do. Java is a 'sporting try' at it, but it's still not quite there.

    You said: Java isn't cross platform. Java is a platform.

    Exactly right. Java's way of making the language cross-platform is to abstract the underlying platform. Hence the mention of VMs and hardware abstraction.

    I can write a C/C++ that will run native, unchanged, optermised, on more platforms than I can think of.

    Sure, "Hello World!" will port fine. But what use will it be?

    Any actually usable (from the end-users perspective) program REQUIRES that it be interactive, hooked into the OS and hardware, and implemented within the reasonable real-world constraints of budget and schedule. Witness the problems between Gnome and KDE... Now add Windows and MacOS and BeOS and VMS and Solaris. If you can write a real-world app to span those, they'll give you a Turing for it.

    Imagine what's involved in making something like Netscape 'source portable'. Or Office. Or even grep or vi... The underlying filesystems of UNIX and NT (for example) alone are so different that the size and complexity of the program become unreasonable, and you're better off developing parallel, platform specific versions.

    The complexity required for a widely portable C/C++ application program calls for considering a HUGE number of #defs, testing it all, making it modular in the extreme and prevents timely development.

    We're back to the VM, aren't we?
  • As a person who used CICS to connect S/390 to NT using CICS, I PRAY that at least the CICS gateway would be ported to Linux.

    At my previous job, they were simply "Anti Liunx" and I had the single chance to install Linux and show it at work - I found that CICS is not available for Linux :(
  • by Jon Peterson ( 1443 ) <jon@snowdrif t . o rg> on Friday July 21, 2000 @06:21AM (#915941) Homepage
    I spend years telling people to write cross platform code and now we get companies like IBM promoting Linux software.

    I hate Linux software, I hate Windows software I'm fed up with this 'one OS to rule the world' crap.

    I want cross platform software. Anything that says it works on Linux but not other unixes I don't touch with a barge pole. I get fed up with crap like "KDE, the popular Linux desktop". KDE runs on multiple platforms dammit, as does Gnome, Apache and all the other poster children of the so-called Linux revolution.

    I have no interest in Linux software, only good, cross-platform free software.


"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas