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IBM Software Linux

Memo Confirms IBM Move To Linux Desktop? 881

m5shiv writes "The Inquirer is reporting on an allegedly leaked internal memo from IBM CIO Bob Greenberg discussing IBM's move to a Linux desktop: 'Our chairman has challenged the IT organization, and indeed all of IBM, to move to a Linux based desktop before the end of 2005. This means replacing productivity, web access and viewing tools with open standards based equivalents.' The enemy of my enemy is my friend?"
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Memo Confirms IBM Move To Linux Desktop?

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  • ITYM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:42PM (#7909204)
    The enemy of my enemy is .. useful.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @10:23PM (#7909560)
      This can't be so unexpected. They have a nice Linux commercial on tv, featuring (among others) Muhammad Ali [] advising an attentive little boy: "Speak your mind, and don't back down." So, IBM switching to Linux desktops....not so unexpected. My Daughter loves the linux commercial, It seems to equate the use of linux with all the worlds best in their respective fields of expertice. As though God himself runs linux, (provided by IBM, of course.)
      Really, the commercial is so good, it brings tears to your eyes, especially if you are a long-suffering linux advocate of sorts in a sea of micro-idiots.
      • by kevcol ( 3467 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @11:44PM (#7910145) Homepage
        This can't be so unexpected. They have a nice Linux commercial on tv, featuring (among others) Muhammad Ali advising an attentive little boy

        Until you see the same little boy running around like an ADD afflicted monkey in a Chuck E. Cheese commercial like I did.
      • by HansF ( 700676 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @05:43AM (#7913001) Journal
        You will find the commercial in realplayer, quicktime and mpeg for linux format here [].
  • you'd think with all those developers using KDE or GNOME or whatever.. there'll be someone who re-invents the wheel again =P
    • there'll be someone who re-invents the wheel again

      With any luck, a round one this time instead of suffering with the two (main) horribly clunky desktop choices offered to Linux users now. If you really think KDE or GNOME are usable, you just haven't been around. If IBM had a clue, they'd push for more GNUstep [] development, which would actually give us all a shot at running some quality apps (commercially coming over from the Mac camp, of course) on Linux. A lot of things on Linux are nice, but making

      • by Feztaa ( 633745 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @12:03AM (#7910294) Homepage
        I agree that GNUStep is pretty cool, but it's main problem, much to my chagrin, is that it's ugly! GNUStep looks like they took OSX, ripped out all the cool quartz stuff, and then asked, "what can we do to make this interface the ghastliest, most horridly ugly thing the world has ever seen?"

        Seriously, I'd rather eat dogshit than try to look at a GNUStep screenshot, it's just that terrible.

        If IBM wants to take GNUStep and make it sexy, more power to them, but in the meantime, KDE will remain the coolest, most gorgeous linux desktop environment available.
    • winder if a new DE will come out of this

      It won't be KDE or Gnome - it will be WebSphere Portal applications w/Mozilla browser.

      What desktop... (grin)
    • My bet (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DaveAtFraud ( 460127 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @01:58AM (#7911892) Homepage Journal
      Novell bought Ximian. Novell bought SuSE. IBM invested $50M in Novell.

      Any bets that IBM's corporate desktop looks a lot like Ximian running on SuSE?
      • Re:My bet (Score:5, Informative)

        by OS24Ever ( 245667 ) * <> on Thursday January 08, 2004 @07:14AM (#7913300) Homepage Journal
        Nope. It's Ximian running RedHat. 7.2 I believe, whichever one came with the 2.4.9 kernal, don't remember.

        and then we have Lotus Notes and Microsoft Office setup in Wine enivornments.

        It's available for installation right now, however not everyone can use it because of certain applications that require specific things they've not gotten either emulated in Wine or replaced by a non-MS Specific application.

        All you need is a diskette and about an hour and you too can wipe out your Windows Thinkpad or Desktop and off you go. Most of the engineering places that don't need a lot of the more verticle type applications like the Watson Labs and other labs have fully flipped to linux.

        It's us types in the marketing/sales/customer facing environments that need specific apps that are holding us a back a bit.

        Plus there's been no mandate. We all joke about it at tech conferences (I'm on the xSeries side) and such because everyone had 'heard' of this type of memo and a lot of our guys closer to using Linux more (IE not in the midwest but east and west coasts) have already converted over.

        Most run VMware workstation to fire up windows on the rare opportunity that they need them. And the last guy I talked to about it as far back as August said he rarely ever needed to fire up Windows any more.
  • But? (Score:5, Funny)

    by JoeShmoe950 ( 605274 ) <> on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:43PM (#7909211) Homepage
    Does it run linu.... oh
  • Access (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vpscolo ( 737900 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:43PM (#7909212) Homepage
    Its nice to see that the chairman has made a stand but has also made sure that they will remain compatible to the rest of the business world. As much as we might all like Linux to survive in the business world we need to be able to speak what everyone else speaks. It might be good to have the moral high ground but its no good if you can't read your suppliers documents Rus
    • Re:Access (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dalcius ( 587481 ) <> on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:54PM (#7909314)
      I don't know about that. Not too many people will tell IBM to 'go take a hike' when IBM wants something in another format (that happens to be openly documented).

      Documents that IBM exports are one thing, but for documents sent to IBM and internal stuff, what IBM says goes.
    • Re:Access (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Phillup ( 317168 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @10:03PM (#7909394)
      What is so hard about "Save As RTF"?

      Even someone running Word can figure out how to open it...
      • by rs79 ( 71822 ) <> on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @11:04PM (#7909835) Homepage
        Tell my boss that.

        2000: He sends me a doc files. Each time I say "Don't send me doc files, I can't read them. RTF or PDF." I'm too stubborn to do whatever it takes to read doc files.

        2001: He sends me a doc files. Each time I say "Don't send me doc files, I can't read them. RTF or PDF." I'm too stubborn to do whatever it takes to read doc files.

        2002: He sends me a doc files. Each time I say "Don't send me doc files, I can't read them. RTF or PDF." I'm too stubborn to do whatever it takes to read doc files.

        2003: He sends me a doc files. Each time I say "Don't send me doc files, I can't read them. RTF or PDF." I'm too stubborn to do whatever it takes to read doc files.

        Guess how 2004 is shaping up? Hint: he sent me a doc file this morning.
      • Re:Access (Score:5, Insightful)

        by farnsworth ( 558449 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @11:13PM (#7909907)
        What is so hard about "Save As RTF"?

        I've seen this argument and I've always thought that it makes sense. Until I tried to RTFify a medium-sized Word document that was less that 5 MB. The resultant rtf was over 200 MB.

        Lesson? A compressed, teplated, styled document format sometimes makes more sense than an inline marked up format. And if you are using Windows, what other format fits that bill besides .doc?

        • Re:Access (Score:5, Informative)

          by Unipuma ( 532655 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @10:42AM (#7914374)
          For a project at work, I've been involved with changing a module that generated Word-DOC documents into code that delivered RTF.
          The first step was to have Word convert it's own documents to see what happens, and Word does the same here as what FrontPage was famous for as well: Loads of markup code that isn't used (putting font code around an image, for example).
          The most anoying part is that any in-document image is stored twice in Word-RTF. Once in hex-code, and once more in WMF-format. The latter will usually be 8 to 10 times the size of the hex-code representation, and can safely be removed. Word will still show your image normally... but should you save the document, it'd generate the WMF file inline again.

          The code I wrote generated styled resumees, and the average document size went down from 150kb to around 10kb by switching to RTF. Opening and saving the file again in RTF with Word would bloat the file up to 2MB.

          So, yes, RTF can be used to make styled documents the same as Word, and the document will actually be smaller, but don't let Word generate those documents for you. It'll bloat then.
    • by Saeed al-Sahaf ( 665390 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @10:28PM (#7909591) Homepage
      And this is the one big problem with participants in the Open Source movement (note: not with Open Source, per se): There are many fine Open Source apps, but the majority of them are by developers for developers. We need to look more at what business needs out of Open Source. Hate PowerPoint? Well business wants it. Hate Access dB? Well, business loves it. And without any question, until OpenOffice addresses these issues full force, especially all the bells and whistle of Excel, "enterprise" businesses will not migrate the desktop. It really is going to be all about business applications if we want to win the desktop war.
      • by rs79 ( 71822 ) <> on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @11:12PM (#7909894) Homepage
        Anybody remember the mid 1980s?

        The Mac was gonna set the world on fire. It did desktop publishing to beat all hell. But not Lotus 1-2-3 so one got put in the graphics department and everybody else got PCs. And Lotus.

        The Amiga was one of the neatest computers ever made, it outperformed the PC in every respect... but it never ran Lotus 1-2-3. Two businesses bought them and they were gone within 5 years.

        Whatever software your idiot boss needs to run dictates the platform the company and businesses in general, will use. There are simply no exceptions to this rule.
      • by Idou ( 572394 ) * on Thursday January 08, 2004 @12:05AM (#7910350) Journal

        But I quietly wait for the day when stupid managers are replaced by smatter managers who realize that Excel, Access, and its ilk only create drones that copy and paste all day, tend to their macros that greatly complicate "simple" programming problems(therefore, must be tended to), and create "irreplaceable employees" that you can't fire because what they do is so poorly documented the business would stop running for an unexceptable time if you did (hmm, what does this cell do . . .).

        I can't wait . . . until outsourcing to India and China makes programming so cheap that all those drones who think they are "knowledge workers" can finally be set free to get real careers because companies can now afford masters of Perl and the DBI module to actually bring back efficiency and dignitiy to the human race by expressing human thought in a burst of insightful code ONCE, instead of mindless clicks and grunts every month, an endless cycle of futility.

        Mind you, these new knowledge workers will most likely be home grown, once unemployed programmers who went back to school to learn accounting and finance. They will believe in solving the same problem ONCE and will not be afraid to code to get the job done. They will also have seen how accountants have bettered their own profession by making it independent of corporate interests and hopefully will bring the same to the IT profession (which I will work hard to become a member of).

        Until then, it is back to writing Perl to deal with the stupidity that apps like Excel and Access breed . . .

        Seek the truth, and ye will find Open Source.
  • Hmm ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tcgwebs ( 737923 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:43PM (#7909213) Homepage
    Interesting, but I wonder who it was that leaked the info? I'd sure hate to be that person :) Anyway, I'm glad that Linux is actually being recognized by large companies such as IBM as an option for this.
    • Re:Hmm ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by KrispyKringle ( 672903 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:57PM (#7909344)
      Considering that IBM is one of the strongest supporters of enterprise Linux (offering it on many servers and mainframes), it's not surprising that they've recognized Linux as an option. And unlike, say, Sun, IBM doesn't have any real desktop offerings of their own with which Linux on the desktop would be competing (I strongly doubt they were considering using OS/2 :P), so it makes sense that they would have gone this direction.

      Probably the big reason they wouldn't be interesting in flaunting it so much is that their workstation offerings are far more limited than Sun's, who has made a big effort to show that they are ``with it'' when it comes to Linux on the desktop (even if they continue to adamantly support Solaris as a server OS).

      But I don't know. Just seems to be like that.

    • Re:Hmm ... (Score:5, Informative)

      by GAVollink ( 720403 ) <gavollink@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @10:02PM (#7909388) Homepage Journal
      I worked at a phone company called US-West about 5 years ago, and they had over 1600 desktops running Linux as primary ... way back then. They used Citrix servers to get to that "compatible stuff"... well, MS Office. It certainly wasn't all desktops but it was certainly a nice chunk. IBM isn't the first to take Linux seriously as a cost effective option for productivity.
  • Only makes sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kjd ( 41294 ) <(kdraper) (at) (> on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:46PM (#7909234)
    IBM's a large, large company with abundant resources in the area of software design. They've got the ability to tailor-design an OS to the needs of their company and deploy it enterprise-wide, and with Linux and friends, do it without losing much cross-platform compatibility.

    A similar switch might be tougher for other large organizations with widescale Windows deployments, where a few lightly-customized Win2k images might be the most they can currently support.

    They'll come around eventually...
    • Re:Only makes sense (Score:5, Interesting)

      by memmel2 ( 660484 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:49PM (#7909274)
      At a business level IBM is like a lot of other companies. So once they do it for themselves they will be in a prime position to resale the experience to there own customers. Not only do they get Linux for free but they stand to make a lot of money off this.
    • by siskbc ( 598067 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:52PM (#7909302) Homepage
      IBM's a large, large company with abundant resources in the area of software design. They've got the ability to tailor-design an OS to the needs of their company and deploy it enterprise-wide, and with Linux and friends, do it without losing much cross-platform compatibility.

      I don't think this makes sense from a productivity standpoint. Most of us probably believe that linux wins a TCO fight with Windows, but that would not be the case if you had to develop all your basic tools from scratch, even for IBM.

      No, this is about eating their own dog food. It's not a good message when you're pushing your product but you use other products. If IBM is to convince buyers to use Linux for typical desktop productivity work, they better use it themselves.

    • So silly. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by twitter ( 104583 )
      IBM's a large, large company with abundant resources in the area of software design.

      Pththth-fit, wrong-o. The whole point of real openly published standards is to avoid the need for software design. While IBM has made real contributions to free code, this is a cost saving move.

      ...without losing much cross-platform compatibility.

      If by "cross-platform" you mean it will run all the old Microsoft crap they paid for, they have already done that. Running legacy windoze was part of the Munich deal. No on

  • Turn around. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by irokitt ( 663593 ) <> on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:47PM (#7909243)
    Yes, in about 20 years big blue has changed from the evil empire (with some saying it was beeing challenged by upstart Microsoft-although I never would have thought) to a worthy comrade in open-source armor. Way to go, IBM, for taking the final plunge.
    • Re:Turn around. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mhesseltine ( 541806 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:57PM (#7909347) Homepage Journal
      Yes, in about 20 years big blue has changed from the evil empire (with some saying it was beeing challenged by upstart Microsoft-although I never would have thought) to a worthy comrade in open-source armor. Way to go, IBM, for taking the final plunge.

      Yes, but realize that IBM has been around since about 1914, that they have been the "bad guy" before, and just because they are supporting open source now doesn't mean that they couldn't find a way to exploit it for their own selfish good later.

      Again, glad they're supporting open-source software, but I wonder how much of their support is in recognition of the value of open-source, and how much is just to spite Microsoft?

      • Re:Turn around. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jnana ( 519059 )
        I'm sure they, like every other (for-profit) corporation out there are not doing it out of altruism, but that they are doing it is the important thing. They are probably doing it mostly because it makes sense to them business-wise -- both because of cost savings and because of the example it sets for other companies to follow (in which case the IBM consultants will be sitting there waiting to sell them services and extras) -- and perhaps to spite microsoft too, but that again is in their business interest.
      • Re:Turn around. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @10:19PM (#7909534) Homepage Journal
        ... glad they're supporting open-source software, but I wonder how much of their support is in recognition of the value of open-source, and how much is just to spite Microsoft?

        Well, 20 years ago I worked for several employers that had a big IBM mainframe (and minis were just coming in). What did the mainframe run? It ran VM, of course, plus whatever subsystems the various departments liked.

        And where did VM come from? Uh, it was developed in academia. It was an open-source project from the start, though the term hadn't been invented then. IBM tried to downplay it for a few years, and then embraced it as they realized it was a Good Thing for everyone.

        VM came with full source (I saw a fair amount of it), and there wasn't any problem showing it to people. IBM supported it, and they also happily accepted bug fixes from anyone.

        I was in the engineering department, and one day we brought in Amdahl's version of unix that ran on VM. We joked about installing it over the dead bodies of a lot of IBMers. But the IBM reps themselves didn't have a problem with it. They were curious, and several wished they could supply something so useful. The "dead IBMer bodies" were the local people who thought that IBM was a religion and we'd invited in a devil. The actual IBM employees thought these people were stupid. Their attitude was more like "If it help customers use our machines, we're all for it."

        In fact, IBM has long supplied software like VM that they didn't develop. Having lots o useful apps has always been a good tool for selling the hardware. And they have long supported at least some non-IBM software, because much of their income comes from support contracts.

        IBM has long been a mixed pack of very good guys and very bad guys, with a lot of people ethically in the middle. Like any other giant monopolistic corporation.

    • Re:Turn around. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dedazo ( 737510 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @10:09PM (#7909440) Journal
      It's so funny how everyone here cheers IBM like this because they're "sticking it to teh M$". Have you seen the source code to DB2 or Notes lately?

      IBM is a corporation whose main reason for existence is to make money and maximize shareholder value. Things like these have absolutely nothing to do with their "support" of free software.

      • Re:Turn around. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by chill ( 34294 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @10:17PM (#7909520) Journal
        It's so funny how everyone here cheers IBM like this because they're "sticking it to teh M$". Have you seen the source code to DB2 or Notes lately?

        IBM is a corporation whose main reason for existence is to make money and maximize shareholder value. Things like these have absolutely nothing to do with their "support" of free software.

        Most major closed-source software projects contain large chunks of code licensed from other people. It is quite possible that good portions of DB2 and Notes are licensed from others.

        The cost of a code audit on something like that can be enormous. Google for Bruce Perens' comments about when HP let OpenMail go -- and why he advised *against* open sourcing it.

        Supporting open source and maximizing shareholder value aren't mutually exclusive. IBM is a very large services organization. They can and do make quite a bit of profit supporting other people's stuff.

        -Charles Hill
    • friends. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by twitter ( 104583 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @10:25PM (#7909573) Homepage Journal
      m5shiv asks if The enemy of my enemy is my friend?" He's looking at it wrong. A friend of freedom is a friend of mine. Free software is my friend and openly published standards are good for everyone. Microsoft hates both of those things and is not your friend. While you might think that IBM is doing this to hurt Microsoft, it's far more likely that IBM is doing this to help IBM. I mean, how embarsing it must have been for IBM to have their desktops messed with by I LOVE YOU, Code Red, SirCAM, SoBig, Mellisa, Blaster and all that.

      Go Big Blue! It's about time for you to take back the innovation crown those monkeys in Redmond pretended to wear.

  • by siege04 ( 547166 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:47PM (#7909247)
    A big company such as IBM switching to Linux is sure to bring good things to the community. Perhaps this is the first major step in bringing Linux to the desktop market.
  • IBM leak (Score:3, Funny)

    by weeboo0104 ( 644849 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:47PM (#7909252) Journal
    Geez, first the ISS and now IBM? What gives?
  • by benzapp ( 464105 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:48PM (#7909264)
    Just think of how much better the 1990's could have been if the entire IBM organization pre-empted Windows 95 by 3.5 solid years.
    • by eyegone ( 644831 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @10:13PM (#7909477)
      They did. It was a nightmare.

      The hardware of the time was woefully underpowered for the job. A high-end desktop in the early '90s had maybe 8 MB of RAM. Try running OS/2 2.0, CM/2 (the SNA protocol stack), and Win-OS/2 (Windows 3.0 hacked to run in a DOS session). Win-OS/2 was a requirement, because the 16-bit Windows applications of the time were vastly better than their 32-bit OS/2 counterparts when the latter even existed.

      • Dude I ran OS/2 2.0 on a 386 DX/40 machine with 8 megs of ram and it ran perfectly. OS/2 2.1 raised the bar, but it wasn't that bad.

        I ran a multi-node BBS on a 486 DX2/66 with 12 megs of ram for at least 2 years. I was able to run Wordperfect 6.0 in a seamless session and two dos sessions simultaneously all the time on that machine. It ran just fine.
    • Just think of how much better the 1990's could have been if the entire IBM organization pre-empted Windows 95 by 3.5 solid years.

      OS/2 was doomed to fail when directly competing against Windows. Not due to any technical reason, but because you can't beat Microsoft's Windows by attempting to market a better Windows, than Windows. By embracing Linux, you can't be gamed by Microsoft.
  • by AlphaSector ( 676934 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:49PM (#7909269)
    Another internal memo leaked from SCO to all employees: "First one to find a way to sue IBM for this is employee for the month"
  • Linux as a desktop? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by R33MSpec ( 631206 ) * on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:49PM (#7909271) Homepage
    As i see it this can only serve to help encroach Linux on the user desktop OS market dominated by M$.

    Think of it - if the whole of IBM starts using a well designed desktop system, i'm sure a lot of other companies will follow suit.

    This really is what Linux needs - a HUGE and well known company using not only a Linux user dekstop system but also assocaited open source applications to get things done in everyday business, while managing NOT to use any M$ products whatsoever.

    And if successful and I never thought I'd be saying this but it could be the beginning of the end of Microsoft's total dominance in the desktop OS market.
  • by cartzworth ( 709639 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:49PM (#7909276) Journal
    ...the Linux licensing fee to SCO? hahahaha
  • here's hoping (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <> on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:50PM (#7909277) Homepage Journal
    That they use this oportunity to learn from any issues, take data from the user base, and add to Linux.
    With any large deploy of a new system, there will be issues, and if they can correct those and/or customize it for there need in house they will make a great selling point for other corporations.

  • Why not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Christoff84 ( 707146 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:50PM (#7909282) Journal
    Why shouldn't IBM move to linux? They are basically fighting for linux against SCO (yes I know, it's about AIX, but linux is there too), if they are dumping so much money into killing/beating SCO, why not use the software they are fighting for themselves. They have the resources to develop and support it themselves.
  • by Fortunato_NC ( 736786 ) <> on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:50PM (#7909286) Homepage Journal
    (I guess that rates a big DUH!)

    But the business reason probably has something to do with Longhorn shipping 2006ish, and avoiding paying an upgrade fee to MS for desktops for over 300,000 employees worldwide. Even if the upgrade costs them just $79 and they only have to upgrade 100,000 computers, they could still save a cool $7.9 million by switching to a Linux desktop.

    You talk about an MS tax, an additional $7.9 million looks good on anyone's bottom line. I wish IBM good luck with this one!

    Of course, if they got rid of PC's altogether and replaced them with 3270 terminals and daisy wheel printers, they would be able to save $$$ on desktop management costs. ;-)
    • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @10:32PM (#7909630)
      Developing a Linux desktop solution that scales to the size of IBM is going to cost at LEAST 8 million. Then you get into training the internal helpdesk folks, etc and soon it's not really a win just on internal use. The real win is the experience you get so that you can sell the solution to your customers.

      I work for IBM in a rollout and customer service capacity.
  • Now is the time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:51PM (#7909293)
    People keep saying "next year"...but I think you need a larger target audience to get the impetus for change. Its great to see IBM eat their own dogfood, and of course there are no worries - GNOME or KDE, OpenOffice, Mozilla, etc are all well suited to provde the tasks the employees will actually need.

    Of course IBM could also see a huge cost savings over time as well, and provide a true real-world case for negating the ridiculous "TCO" whipping horse MS continues to fabricate results against.

  • by pointym5 ( 128908 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:51PM (#7909294)
    IBM's internal email, expense reporting, project planning, etc. is already (supposed to be) Notes-based.
  • by msevior ( 145103 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:53PM (#7909307)
    This is just a ploy to extract a more favourable deal from MicroSoft...
  • by Camel Pilot ( 78781 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:54PM (#7909317) Homepage Journal
    In my wife's small business [] the only obstacle to going to a linux desktop is vender tools such as UPS worldship and, etc.

  • Lotus Notes Client? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Joseph Lam ( 61951 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:55PM (#7909325)
    Does that mean there will be Linux version of the Notes client? IBM's whole internal communication and intranet applications depends heavily on Notes/Domino.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @10:07PM (#7909425)
      They are currently working on a Java client (based on the Eclipse framework) for their new Lotus Workplace products. This client will have the ability to interact with Notes/Domino.

      I haven't heard if it will have full client functionality or just a subset (might be just mail). They are going to have a basic version for release mid-year and then release a full version with offline capability by early next year.
  • by diamondsw ( 685967 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @09:57PM (#7909343)
    A couple facts from inside IBM. We've had a workstation build for Linux for quite some time, encompassing all basic business needs in IBM (Notes, corporate instant messaging, etc). Also, all of our HR and other internal applications are pretty much web and Java based, with a quiet directive that Mozilla will be our standard browser platform by 2005.

    However, many groups use applications that cannot be replaced on Linux. My group, for instance, does nearly all of our work in Visio. I've looked at Kivio and others, and I can't begin to tell you how primitive they are. Also, at least my group does a lot of active development in Visual Basic to automate Visio and other programs.

    Essentially what I'm saying is many basic users here may be able to move to Linux, but Windows will remain the primary client for the forseeable future, simply for the applications, integration, and relative ease of working with partners who use Windows.
    • by soft_guy ( 534437 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @10:10PM (#7909455)
      No, you need to run Wine! If Wine doesn't run the program adequately, then either the program needs to be ported to Linux, or Wine needs to be improved.

      Wine can be like the "Classic" compatibility environment for running MacOS 9 apps in MacOS X. You use it when you have to until the native app gets ported and and gets good enough.

      As a former IBMer myself, I encourage you to try to migrate to Linux on some of your boxes. When you run into problems - report them and try to chase them down and get them solved!

      IBM's move to Linux on the desktop could be the catalyzing event that kills Windows forever. Go for it!
    • You need to read the memo and get with the program :-)

      Only kidding.
    • by burns210 ( 572621 ) <> on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @11:26PM (#7910017) Homepage Journal
      understandable, but you are IBM. You have the resources to port what apps you control, or fund development of WINE so that you can run what apps you can't port. Plus, the porting of ALL your apps also helps when you go to move another company to Linux. Eating your own food is the cheapest way to find what needs to be fixed and rush it's development in the corporate world.
  • by EngMedic ( 604629 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @10:06PM (#7909421) Homepage
    I remember a time when IBM was regarded with as much animosity as Microsoft is now -- perhaps even more so, but for different reasons. More recently, the geek-public opinion of IBM has begun to shift towards neutrality and an uneasy understanding -- where do we see IBM's role and public opinion going in the future, especially with their (seemingly) wholehearted adoption of open-source technologies?
  • by curious.corn ( 167387 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @10:11PM (#7909457)
    He shure looks like one! []
    Jokes apart, Gerstner [] put this guy on top and it's the one that managed the first sniffing ceremonies towards Linux. Do I see a pattern? Companies on the point of extinction like Apple and IBM (big companies... as far as mindshare and cultural relevance) literally resurrected the moment they embraced OSS and played by it's rules. Other companies like sun [] are fading away and nasty M$ (Yah, troll me... I'm spelling is M$... yes, I'm biased) is yapping in fear []. Folks, it's our time. Old PHBs are retiring to Florida's golf resorts, the evangelized decision makers are making space for the new illuminati... I hate to say it, actually I'm not pleased by the "feast or fast" attitude of this industry, but the cosmological pendulum is swinging our way (I just hope I won't be put aside as these fools are today).
    • Yah; and with IBM and Sun jumping onto the linux bandwagon, it's about time that we start seriously working on the system that, 10 or 20 years from now, will start pushing linux aside.

      We wouldn't to be responsible for another monoculture, now would we?

      Of course, there's always iTron ...

  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @10:16PM (#7909509) Journal
    My father has tried moving to Linux several time (home use). In each time, it was like of Lotus organizer and Quicken that moved him back. Also, I have known a number of companies that will not move because IBM has not moved Notes.

    If IBM is serious, they will help port (or offer incentives) to companies such as Quicken to move. Mostly, they will simply move their own stuff.
  • by failedlogic ( 627314 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @10:19PM (#7909532)

    Sun has already invested money and resources for its own Java Desktop System [].

    IBM has invested resources to developing the Linux kernel. Will IBM also develop its own desktop system? If so, how will it be different from the competition? Will they contribute their code (some or all) to the Linux community under a GPL'd licence? Will it conform to some sort of formal standards? What of the system architecture? Will we see PPC IBM branded desktop computers and/or will it work on Wintel architectures?

  • by ca1v1n ( 135902 ) <snook@guanotroni ... minus herbivore> on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @10:28PM (#7909595)
    IBM stands to make a killing migrating companies to linux. This is a great chance for them to experience the migration for themselves in a way that sending a few engineers to remote sites never can, and it's probably a lot cheaper for the amount of knowledge they'll get out of it. Obviously this is more than just an experiment, but it clearly makes good sense for them to say to the world "We did it, and we'll help you do it too."
  • by dupper ( 470576 ) <> on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @10:31PM (#7909621) Journal
    SCO will sue you!
  • by Halo- ( 175936 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @11:11PM (#7909885)
    The biggest hurdle is gonna be migrating Lotus Notes. Pretty much the entire world runs off Notes within IBM. (Except the stuff on VM, which is being phased out...) R5 runs fairly well (but far from flawlessly) under Wine, but R6 doesn't work at all.

    I work at IBM, and Linux is the only OS I use. It's a little rough in some spots, but ultimately workable. For me, the combo is:

    SameTime (The Lotus Messenger) => Sanity (a Perl based clone)
    Notes R5 => Notes R5 under CrossOver Office
    MS Office => MS Office under CrossOver Office (when needed)

    If Linux were the official desktop, that would be awesome.

    Note: While I work at IBM, I'm not in any of the areas which decide these issues, and have no information is support or refutation of the rumors in the report. (But I can dream...)

  • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @11:25PM (#7910011) Homepage Journal
    I don't understand the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" bit. So what, Apple made a big anti-IBM commecial back in 1984. Both Apple and NeXT embraced IBM by the late 80s and through-out the 90s.

    IBM created the PC and then basically "open sourced" the architecture. Who knows why they did this, because lots of people made big money off it, and IBM didn't see very much of that. So IBM made PS/2 and MCA(microchannel) and tried to wrestle the market back. Then they gave up and focused on providing business machines (servers). They kept starting and discontining their home computer lines. I can never remeber if they still make desktops, harddrives or laptops. :)

    I'm not sure why IBM would be the enemy. They are pretty active in the open source community. They don't really "interfere" with our choices of systems.

    Also I'm actually surprised to see this in the news. I foolishly assumed IBM already moved to using Linux a few years back. They seem to promote Linux enough at tradeshows and TV and magazine ads. I guess it's hard to promote Linux if you aren't willing to use it in your own company, perhaps this is just putting their money where their mouth is.
    • IBM created the PC and then basically "open sourced" the architecture. Who knows why they did this, because lots of people made big money off it, and IBM didn't see very much of that.

      According to most of the books I've read concerning the history of the computer industry, it happened something like this:

      The IBM PC was hurriedly slapped together with off-the-shelf parts because IBM wanted a piece of the burgeoning personal computer market, which was then practically owned by Apple. IBM knew that if they went through their normal development cycle and did everything in-house, the product would have been hopelessly late to market. So they assembled a team of people and told them to basically circumvent the normal IBM Way of Doing Things, and did so by buying almost every component they needed from outside vendors, including the OS, which came from a relatively small company called Microsoft (perhaps you've heard of them?). The only truly proprietary part of the PC was the BIOS.

      Anyway, IBM went ahead with the PC because they thought that the proprietary BIOS would prevent anyone from duplicating the PC without getting trampled by IBM's lawyers. They also thought that the volume discount component prices they were getting could not be matched by any ragtag startup company. Compaq proved them wrong, first by reverse-engineering the BIOS and then producing an IBM PC clone profitably.

      Phoenix also reverse-engineered the IBM BIOS, but instead of building their own PC clones with it, they began licensing their version to anyone who wanted to use it.

      Then the hardware producers in Asia started stamping out shipping containers full of parts, component prices reached 'commodity' status, and IBM's perceived exclusive economies of scale were history.

      Microsoft's non-exclusive terms with IBM let them license MS-DOS to anyone who wanted it, so the cloners were able to ship the same OS as IBM.

      IBM still tried to compete, but their product cycle was twice as long as everyone else's. IIRC, Compaq was first to market with a 386-based system. IBM had defined the standards and then the cloners ran away with the market. Microchannel was IBM's attempt to regain the title of 'standard-bearer' for the computer industry, but the cloners took one look at the onerous licensing terms for MCA and said no thanks. They then formed their own coalition to develop standards for the hardware they were developing, and that was pretty much it for IBM as a force in the personal computing market.

      So basically, IBM didn't "open source" their hardware purposely. They were victims of their own greed-- desperate to get a piece of the personal computer market as quickly as possible, they created an almost completely open system that was much more quickly and easily duplicated by third parties than they thought.

  • by DuctTape ( 101304 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @12:39AM (#7910948)
    A friend of mine in IBM Austin said that one of the big reasons that they didn't switch to Linux on the desktop was because Lotus Notes doesn't run on Linux.

    However, as you could read from another article linked at the bottom of the original article, IBM is dropping Lotus Notes. I wonder what's going to take its place.


  • times have changed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @12:44AM (#7911075) Homepage
    Times have changed. IBM is no longer the monolithic giant that dominates and overtakes everything - they're at the size where either significant growth or significant growth loss is fairly difficult without catastrophic catalyst. They're no longer a significant threat to the 'little guy' either, as they used to be - and as MS is now.

    Think about it. IBM has quite thoroughly embraced linux, and is moving in more of that direction every day. Linux's very core philosophy is that of openess and unrestriction - the very philosophies that monopolies fight against.

    The only thing (at least from the business perspective) IBM gains by embracing linux is to move the power away from MS. From that point, where does the power go?

    Well, obviously, it draws power from AMD and Intel and more towards IBM for PPC processors, since linux works just fine on PPC processors, but in terms of software, they gain nothing. You can't 'take' something that is given away, as linux is.

    Instead of power migrating from MS to IBM in the rise of linux, power migrates to the people - the populace and citizens. That's democracy.
  • More apps to come? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Maltese Falcon ( 11786 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @01:59AM (#7911897)
    According to this [] article, IBM currently has 320,000 employees. With these numbers (I'll assume 1 system per employee avg.) and their clout/connection with ISVs, this is bound to ensure more business apps ported to Linux. I'm sure as a result of this, M$'s competitors will now be chomping at the bit to port to Linux to sell to IBM plus get them to promote their wares.
  • by bfree ( 113420 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @03:09AM (#7912331)

    Excuse me for still having some scepticism in my brain, but if I was running IBM, I would have already set as much of this up as feasible by the back door and then announce publically that I was going to do it on a quite short timeframe. Then when I succeed I can go to other companies "look, it's predictable and safe". Companies hate change, employees hate change, it's risky or just plain annoying so if you really want to get the huge organisations to take this sort of a change seriously, you are going to have to be able to provide serious evidence.

    Leaving scepticism (which was fueled by a comment refering to a base desktop build which already exists in IBM) aside, this is so logical it's simple! If IBM transfer their own business over to IBM's own software across the board, then they have a constantly provable business environment which they can sell and support on their own hardware. They can return to selling one stop shops, but by basing the underlying systems (as far as they commit to) on Free software, they completely disarm the feeling of being forced to choose between evils, you can choose a potential evil and feel free to walk away (well you might be replacing lots of hardware if you completely drop them) with your system. IBM could effectively start getting end customers to foot the bill for Free software development by IBM and the more of that work they are doing, the more of the work they are likely to get. The rules (well the licenses of most software they would be likely to use) prevent a monopoly, but IBM's power is huge and hence it could attract business to a monopolistic level, at least until a new tiger appears which can take it on in the newly expanded market. IBM don't need software licensing revenue, IBM can exist for the rest of time on it's name provided they can provide people with dependable solutions (i.e. they can charge a profit margin others would dream of, just because it's IBM).

    What dissappoints me is that this all makes me recall many moments while I worked for Corel International Linux Support when I tried making people see the benefits of eating our own dogfood. I truly felt (though I mattered squat) they should have moved the next (or following if already too late) version of their Office and Draw suites to QT (or gtk, I only really say qt as they had already committed to KDE on the desktop and had peeople working on it) and start consolidating on their work. They were deciding what system to buy for the Linux Support desk, and I asked why they didn't just adopt a free one! Moving over all their hosting to Linux was another issue and one that was more important in their minds (and judging by netcraft [] it seems they achieved something there I wasn't expecting anymore). It was interesting however to watch the various reactions from managers to administrators, support staff to developers when they realised they had a bit of a Free software zealot in their midst! I even managed to get in my digs at visiting big-wigs (something makes me think that isn't why Corel left the country though). Corel had an opportunity, but they didn't even try (in fact I wonder why they even bothered starting with Linux if they weren't going to go down this route).

    IBM would have to be insane not to try this. Really it is a case of when they feel they should make the jump to best effect, and if IBM feel that now is the time to do it, you can be sure it is very doable (for them) because egg on the face here could cost IBM massively and for a long time. I can't help feel that this has been in the works ever since they lost out on OS/2 and if the MS V Linux "Get The Facts" can be taken as evidence that MS is scared, this should be taken as evidence that MS should be petrified! If IBM do follow through with this, the impact in having all the IBM employees worldwide proficient with GNU/Linux/X/??/?? would be significant apart from the developments you would be sure would be seen in each piece o

  • by BESTouff ( 531293 ) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @04:56AM (#7912846)
    Does that mean that we'll actually see thinkpads with linux preinstalled, and for less than their MS-taxed siblings ?

The computer can't tell you the emotional story. It can give you the exact mathematical design, but what's missing is the eyebrows. - Frank Zappa