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Where Will IBM Drop Windows? 501

TurboProp writes "An article by the Associated Press on Friday (1/09/2004) Says that IBM has plans to abandon Microsoft operating systems on it's internal desktops by the end of 2005. The news originated from an internal IBM memo published by the Inquirer, a British technology news site. Further stories from the Inquirer, indicate that IBM May already have begun dumping windows. While this all bodes well for Linux users, and would seem to be a good PR move for IBM, executives at IBM seem to be trying frantically to put a much milder spin on the story. They say that the memo was taken out of context. I really can't imagine why they wouldn't be posting it on billboards."
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Where Will IBM Drop Windows?

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  • by FearUncertaintyDoubt ( 578295 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:01PM (#7946188)
    ...that SCO cut them a great deal on Linux desktop licenses, and IBM just couldn't refuse!
  • My hope (Score:5, Funny)

    by Shut the fuck up! ( 572058 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:01PM (#7946192)
    Is that they do it at the prom and it is really embarassing for Microsoft.
    • Re:My hope (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lysurgon ( 126252 ) <> on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:05PM (#7946221) Homepage Journal
      Is that they do it at the prom and it is really embarassing for Microsoft.

      Oh man! Zing!

      I think it's great news. I like that they're playing it cool too; seems like maybe they're positioning themselves to represent "levelheaded business people" who are making the move away from MS.

      All the basic functionality of the Office Suite is there in Free form, so all MS has to play up are advnaced features that require you to drink their kool-aid on an enterprise level. Many corporations are now realizing that locking their data to one provider isn't necessary anymore for "great moments in business" to happen.
      • by conner_bw ( 120497 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:38PM (#7946480) Journal
        Don't forget, IBM makes the G5 for Apple Macintosh.

        They have 2 platforms to fall back on, OSX and Linux.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 11, 2004 @05:34PM (#7946816)
          Remember tho, it's all about profit.

          G5 sales are a nice feather in IBM's cap, but Apple makes the money when a G5 goes over the counter. The R&D is more what IBM is interested in, they get to use lessons learned in their POWER line.

          That's where they'd like to be making their money, in the high-margin low-quantity areas like server clusters and high availability.

          Maybe someone here who's read IBM's SEC filings can tell us where their money actually comes from.. The PC business must move a lot of machines, but I'm forced to wonder if there's any profit in it at all, the market being as cutthroat as it is.

          Heh, and don't forget to include Java as a platform IBM can fall back on, they've put a lot into WebSphere.
          • by sydb ( 176695 ) <> on Sunday January 11, 2004 @07:17PM (#7947510)
            Where I work, IBM makes loadsamoney on:

            * Mainframes, mainframe software and mainframe support. DASD. Backup equipment (ATLs)
            * RS6000s of various flavours (pSeries NUMA machines are $$$)
            * AS400 still has a strong presence
            * WebSphere (and MQ / MQ Integrator), DB2.
            * Lotus Notes!
            * Services - they charge mountains of cash if you want to outsource something to them. Ask them to tender, and weep. Then pay.

            We don't use IBM PCs.

            I reckon IBM make most of their cash in low volume / high margin. Linux is probably a way to turn the desktop into high volume / medium margin (support).
        • That was my thought as well... IBM could definately license Apple's operating system. This would be great for both Apple and IBM as Apple could definately dictate the terms for such an agreement and I think IBM would like it just in principle to stick it to Microsoft.
        • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @07:49PM (#7947750) Homepage

          IBM has never been big on selling software. They are fairly OS agnostic.

          They see OSes for what they are: tools to get the job done with the hardware you have. This is why they have such a large girth of OSes that they deal with: MacOS, Linux, AS/400, Windows. They don't give a damn what their customers do with the hardware they purchase from IBM, they just want the customers to be productive with their products.
          • >>They are fairly OS agnostic

            Could have fooled me. Watching U.S. football playoffs today, I lost track of the number of IBM Linux commercials. Strangely, I didn't see any IBM MacOS commercials, nor did I see any IBM AS/400 or IBM Windows commercials.

            A lot of people like to use the word agnostic as meaning "not supporting one side or the other".

            I prefer the version by the guy who most famously brought it to light, Professor Huxley in 1869.

            in a nutshell, "we are incapable of knowing"

            so if i'm agn
      • Re:My hope (Score:5, Insightful)

        by chunkwhite86 ( 593696 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @06:33PM (#7947206)
        I think it's great news. I like that they're playing it cool too; seems like maybe they're positioning themselves to represent "levelheaded business people" who are making the move away from MS.

        I agree. I think this is very important for Linux. If they played it up and ran humorous BSOD ads on TV proclaiming their switch, other "level headed business people" would probably group them with the zealots and wackos (us).

        By treating this switch as "business as usual", it gives the distinct impression that desktop Linux isn't just for hobbyists and college students anymore.

        Just my 2 cents.
      • Re:My hope (Score:5, Interesting)

        by michael_cain ( 66650 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @07:40PM (#7947672) Journal
        All the basic functionality of the Office Suite is there in Free form

        Since I retired and went back to school, I have discovered large groups of people that use Excel as a general-purpose everybody-has-it environment for numerical computation. They make heavy use of tools like the embedded Visual Basic and Solver (general nonlinear constrained optimization). Some of those features, such as Solver, will be quite difficult to duplicate. If an OSS alternative uses a different algorithm, for example, it may have quite different convergence properties that cause the alternative to get different numerical solutions than Excel. Similarly, an embedded programming language that is almost-but-not-quite Visual Basic will break a large number of existing spreadsheet applications.

        Are there OSS apps that provide "sophisticated" compatibility?

      • Re:My hope (Score:5, Informative)

        by Amiga Trombone ( 592952 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @07:46PM (#7947720)
        I think it's great news. I like that they're playing it cool too; seems like maybe they're positioning themselves to represent "levelheaded business people" who are making the move away from MS.

        The reason they're playing it cool is because it's ridiculous. I hate to rain on the parade, but I can assure you, Lotus Notes hasn't been dumped, and it isn't available on Linux except as an internal skunk works project running on WINE (and it doesn't run any too good, either).

        Notes isn't the only problem. There's all sorts of applications we use internally that aren't (yet) available on Linux. The panel they showed listing the internal apps available doesn't even begin to compare to the necessary apps that are available on Windows. There are something like a hundred apps available on Windows that are frequently used by employees, and dead few of them are can be replaced by anything available on Linux.

        Additionally, as services is now our largest business, many, if not most of us, work on customer sites. And that means we have to be able to exchange documents and file formats with our clients, and I sure don't know of anything in Linux world that's compatible with applications such as Microsoft project.

        The only Linux desktop available internally is an (unsupported) hack of RedHat 7.2, and my experience with it was that it isn't even close to an acceptable replacement for the Windows desktop.

        In short, this is a wildly exagerated claim. While it's entirely possible that IBM will eventually support internal use of Linux, it's highly unlikely it's going to be anywhere near to replacing windows by 2005.

        I love Linux as much as the next ./er, and I use it at home all the time (I'm using it now!). But as much as I'd like to use it as a work desktop, the required functionality just isn't there.

        It's just not gonna happen anytime soon.
        • Re:My hope (Score:5, Informative)

          by Quino ( 613400 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @08:48PM (#7948154)

          Notes runs in some ways better under wine and Linux than under Windows (Notes under wine is the way I've been doing it for well over a year now). Zap-Notes (when Notes misbehaves) is nearly instantaneous when you're on Linux, and at best it's killed the instance of wine when it really screws up -- never my whole computer.

          Ditto for MS Office under wine (not to mention there are MS-free alternatives).

          Most everything else is web-based.

          Maybe it depends on what you do and what your perceptions are, but honestly Notes and Mozilla is probablly *all* the software that a good chunk of IBMers need to do all of IBM's business.

          What doesn't can be made to run under wine (and I think for large entities it's cheaper to have a small army of people making sure everything needed works under Linux than paying MS licenses).

          What about remote administration? Windows still pales to UNIX from decades ago, and is a joke in this department compared to Linux (and people bemoan X's network transparency).

          It's far from fanciful -- Linux on the desktop inside of IBM makes, IMHO, practical and financial sense, and it's made more sense in large entities like IBM and governments than Windows for quite some time now.

          Are you using the RPMs available internally (there's *tons* of more software available than what the screenshots show in these articles, BTW -- including office and Notes pre-wrapped in Wine, ready for the C4EB Linux internal, totally unofficial but tolerated, linux distro).

          I know I have more stringent software requirements than management and secretarial people, BTW, and I've been running Linux exclusively and painlessly at work for well over a year. Esoteric DOS apps run great under dos emulators (take your pick), and Wine does a ton of things already without any tweaking or even seeing a command line (download "installer.exe",click on it, and shortcuts even placed in "start" menu). I run and have installed several engineering "windows only" apps literaly this easily.

          I added the Ximian desktop to the RH7.3 (I'm pretty sure it's RH7.3 based -- maybe you tried it a really long time ago?) I run, and even based on aesthetics and usability Linux has left Windows behind.

          Anyways, another viewpoint from "inside".


          Yes, sharing documents with the outside world is important, but is this really an issue anymore? I'm constantly in touch with outside vendors, and it's just never been in an issue for me (Word, Excell, e-mail, PDFs are the bulk of communication for my line of work -- and none have ever been an issue for me).

          I realize that we work in pretty different enviroments, but maybe all that means is that, today, IBM could only switch 50% of it's employees to Linux (not sure what the breakdown is). I would also question your assertion that the bulk of IBMers work at customer sites -- maybe it's where the biggest revenues come from, or maybe it's where the biggest profits come from, but I do think that it's enabled by the fact that IBM makes everything under the sun hardware related (that's armies of research, development, and manufacturing engineers that never visit customer sites, not to mention management, techs, secretaries, manufacturing *complexes* with 100's of operators, etc.)

    • Re:My hope (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bwhaley ( 410361 ) <spam4ben AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:29PM (#7946416)
      My favorite thing about Internet journalism is the quality of writing:

      "A quotable quote in the Wall Street Journal has an IBM spokeswoman claiming that it's...."

      Riiiight. Is it just me or is the writing online much, much worse than in newspapers and magazines?

  • First Post! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:03PM (#7946202)
    Heh... I misread that headline as: "Where Did IBM leave OS/2?"
  • Pussyfooting (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Craig Maloney ( 1104 ) * on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:03PM (#7946204) Homepage
    Not sure why IBm is pussyfooting arond on this one either, unless it's to make sure they don't piss off Microsoft so they'll be penalized in the retail or business support sector. Who knows why they're pussyfooting around with this.
    • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:07PM (#7946228) Homepage Journal
      Not sure why IBm is pussyfooting arond on this one either, unless it's to make sure they don't piss off Microsoft so they'll be penalized in the retail or business support sector. Who knows why they're pussyfooting around with this.

      You just like saying that word, don't you? : )
    • Re:Pussyfooting (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tonyr60 ( 32153 ) *
      IBM is a very large organisation with a significant IT infrastructure. Apart from Microsoft, I suspect that every such organisation has a team somewhere looking at alternative desktop software vendors. But this is nothing to get excited about as such investigations, whether approved or not, have been going on for years. It used to be Apple, now it is Linux, who know what OS will be the hot alternative in a few years (Windows, I hope).
      • Re:Pussyfooting (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Selecter ( 677480 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @05:01PM (#7946625)
        IMO it depends on three things :

        if Longhorn is delayed longer than the early 2006 the best estimates have as of now;

        If Apple & IBM make the Mac the fastest desktop during those years ( think dual core PPC980 based G6 @ starting >3.5 Ghz by this time in 2005 );

        If Apple continues making OS X better at the same level and gets to true 64 bit-ness in time;

        I think Apples market share will grow to 15~20% by the time Longhorn arrives.

        A year ago, no one could even see Apple where it is now. They were universally dismissed as a cult and a joke. Now IMO they have the greatest mind share in computing right now, and it's only going to get better. HP decided to switch than fight the iPod, and if others get on that bandwagon, look out. Apple may actually win this time.

        • Re:Pussyfooting (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Txiasaeia ( 581598 )
          The problem with your statement is you're comparing iPods to actual computers. I know people who love their iPods but would never dream of using an Apple computer (non-techie types).

          It doesn't matter when Longhorn shows up, nor who makes the fastest computer, nor how good OS X is. The 15-20% you're talking about are going to come from mom and pop types, not hardcore users of either Wintel or PPC, and these mom and pop users are still using Wintel - why would they switch when the hardware and software is

        • According to the Mac News Network [], independent sources put its latest sales figures of desktop systems at around 3.8% market share.

          CNet [] puts Apple's latest (3rd Quarter 2003) market share figures slightly lower: "Apple, meanwhile, saw shipments rise, but not as fast as the market. The company's U.S. market share is now 3 percent, while its worldwide share is below 3 percent."

          While it is true that Apple has taken as much as 7% market share in the laptop market of the US in some months (see this []

        • Re:Pussyfooting (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:01AM (#7950288) Journal
          SOunds very familiar.

          "IMO it depends on three things :

          if Longhorn is delayed longer than the early 2006 the best estimates have as of now;

          If Apple & IBM make the Mac the fastest desktop during those years ( think dual core PPC980 based G6 @ starting >3.5 Ghz by this time in 2005 );

          If Apple continues making OS X better at the same level and gets to true 64 bit-ness in time;

          I think Apples market share will grow to 15~20% by the time Longhorn arrives.


          Flashback to 94/95 ... your statements sound alot like someting a decade ago involving new risc more powerfull powerpc's and powermacs vs delays in WIndows95 called chicago back then.

          1.) If Chicago aka Windows95 is delayed longer and summer 1995 is the best estimate.

          2.) If apple made clones and increased its marketshare

          3.) IBM continues to make os/2 available to the mac and powerpc for true 32-bit trueness

          4.)If Motorolla gets those powerfull 604 processors and makes them 133mhz by 1996 ... then and maybe then %20 of all new pc will be risc powerpc based with macOS/OS/2 real soon!

          I hated MS with alot more passion back then because their products were much much more flakier and unbearable back then. Does anyone remember how to get out of an infinite loop in Windows 3.1?

          Hit the reset button. What if it took 5 minutes to log in due to a crappy network configuration? 3 infinite loops in your program cost you 15 minutes of time! incredible! This was my highschool by the way a decade ago.

          I assumed the world would switch to OS/2 and MacOS to escape this hell that is Windows/DOS and these primptive CISC processors.

          You know what?

          THe world chose Windows and pentiums got faster. Same will happen here. It already is happening with AMD64.

          Windows will be here forever and ever and will never go away. Not to sound trollish but how many million upon billions of VB code and MCF C++ code is lyeing around offices world wide? How many corps invested millions to upgrade their networks for Active Directory?

          As hobbiests its one thing But IBM cores market is WIndows and they want a single platform they can support. Now which will have they chose already? You get the picture.

          Same in 94 and same in 2004! Hell more so today with legacy Windows systems around.

          They do not want Linux. Companies use Linux secretly or because they need stability or security. WIndows is improving and with palladium will be secure enough to kick it out. Stability wise Windows2k and 2k3 are as stable as Unix. Ask anyone who adminstered any MS boxes. Yes NT4 was not.

          IBM needs Windows and will be hurt without it. Why oh why did they make that horrible deal with Microsoft 25 years ago? why?? They are still stuck and can not leave.

    • Re:Pussyfooting (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ralph Yarro ( 704772 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:24PM (#7946364) Homepage
      They're "pussyfooting around" and not "posting it on billboards" because they might not achieve the target. How many IT projects fail or overrun badly, even at IBM do you think?

      So what becomes a tough internal target to meet can become a PR failure for a product they're trying to push.

      "We're increasingly using Linux on our own desktops" is good.

      "We're now using Linux on all our desktops" is great.

      "Weren't you going to have Linux on all your systems by now? What happened to that?" is a disaster.
    • Re:Pussyfooting (Score:5, Insightful)

      by stevesliva ( 648202 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:30PM (#7946421) Journal
      From a pro-Linux perspective, the worst thing that could happen here is for IBM to publically commit to Linux on the desktop by 2005 throughout its organization and fail to deliver on that promise. Think of all the organizations considering Linux desktop deployments that would think, "Well damn, if IBM failed, what are our chances then?"
      • don't worry. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by twitter ( 104583 )
        the worst thing that could happen here is for IBM to publically commit to Linux on the desktop by 2005 throughout its organization and fail to deliver on that promise.

        They already committed in Munich. There's no going back. They either believe what they say or they don't take advantage of free software in house. They can't have it both ways.

        The chances of failure, by the way, are slim to none.

    • If they were truely moving ALL their employees over to Linux, that would allow companies such as HP/Compaq, Dell, Gateway, etc. to sell more internal support contracts at MS based companies. Look, how can they really know how to use Windows if they do not even run it on their systems. All they will be doing is pushing Linux. Of course, for the most part, they are starting to subtly (and sometimes, not so subtly) push Linux everywhere.
    • Re:Pussyfooting (Score:4, Insightful)

      by willtsmith ( 466546 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @05:15PM (#7946702) Journal
      This is impossible.

      IBM simply could not COMPLETELY migrate.

      For one thing, they still have to support tons of Microsoft enabled applications like Notes. Tivoli (my former boss and IBM company) needs to support Windows.

      The art and marketing folks couldn't possibly switch to Linux without support from major software applications like Photoshop, etc... Likewise, the ubiquitous use of MS Project is also a barrier.

      Even exclusive use of Linux on the backend is problematic for the same reasons. IBM does IT services and must have Microsoft servers to at least TEST with.

      Complete migration to Linux is probably only possible in organization with very narrow missions that require applicances (cash registers, input terminals, bank teller machines, etc...) as opposed to general purpose swiss-army computers.

      As a matter of fact, any application that previously used OS/2 is probably appropriate for a switch to Linux.

      A total switch to Linux would take decades. What IBM has to do along with Unix vendors is enhance cross platform tools that allow deployment of generic apps to either Linux or Win32. So IBM needs to support toolkits like Qt, Mono and Lindows. These will allow organizations more opportunities to convert desktops to Linux. Also a specific domain knowledge for getting Win32 apps to run on Linux is also necessary. IBM needs to promote this area and get books on the shelves that help people write Win32/Linux apps.

      If they do this, in five years PhotoShop and other popular apps may run on Linux as well as on Windows with identical code bases. Then such a transition will be 100% possible.

      • Re:Pussyfooting (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Unoti ( 731964 )
        IBM could port Notes to Linux. They had native versions for OS/2 before. The server side is a console app, and the client side can be done on web browsers. I wonder if Project works under WINE? There's also the possibility of Citrix servers. You're right though, it'll be very difficult for them to be completely off of Windows by 2005. They did bend over backwards to get themselves on OS/2 though. But OS/2 had nice Windows emulation, which was key to their ability to do that. I've never played with W
    • Backlash

      Microsoft shouldn't be expected to take something like this lying down. You can expect the folks in Redmond to dig into their bag of dirty marketing agreement tricks and find a way to punish IBM. Things like not giving them preferential pricing for installed Microsoft software unless IBM publicly renounces use of Linux on internel systems, that sort of thing.

      Microsoft wasn't able to force IBM out of the OS and applications market by offering technically superior products; they did it by using th
  • ABOUT TIME!! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:04PM (#7946212)
    They should have done that when they launched OS Warp almost 10 years ago - instead, they pre-installed Windows everywhere - from their retail machines to their own network. OS2 Warp was technologically speaking more advanced than other flavors of Windows of the time.

    What were they thinking???
    • The OS/2 of 1993 is still more advanced than the WindowsXP of today. The Warp desktop is still more advanced than any desktop today.
      • Re:ABOUT TIME!! (Score:4, Informative)

        by bluGill ( 862 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @05:26PM (#7946768)

        In some ways. The desktop is more advanced. Other than the single input queue which really sucked, no matter how good it looked on paper. The drivers though? 16 bit only. If your drive won't run on a 286 it won't run on warp. (not true strictly, you can write 32 bit drivers if you want to go through a lot of work interfacing to the 16 bit system, figguring out for yourself where your memory is and all that. Not worth it)

        If IBM had out half the effort into OS/2 that MS does into windows it would be a lot better yet, but as it stands windows is catching up, and in some way surpasses it.

    • Re:ABOUT TIME!! (Score:2, Informative)

      by TAZ6416 ( 584004 )
      My wife worked for IBM in Portsmouth, England and they were using OS/2 on the Desktop up to 1999, when they started to migrate to Windows. Jonathan
  • by bc90021 ( 43730 ) * <bc90021&bc90021,net> on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:05PM (#7946222) Homepage would any organisation. No matter how much we might want them to get rid of Windows, they will only do so in areas it makes sense to do so.

    In all likelihood, I would suspect that the vast majority of their servers already run Linux... Domino runs on Linux (and has for a while), and most of their webservers are likely to run Linux.

    However, while desktops may get replaced, I would think that the engineers would be a prime target for Linux desktops well before, say, secretaries. But I wouldn't think it impossible that "where appropriate" will include Ms. Jane Q. Secretary in another year or two...
    • by ealar dlanvuli ( 523604 ) <> on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:16PM (#7946296) Homepage
      I'm pretty sure a secretary PC can be replaced now with little interruption.

      The people I worry the most about are accounting and other professionals who rely on deeper parts of the os on a regular basis.
    • by Vegard ( 11855 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:47PM (#7946528)
      Never underestimate secretaries. Linux may very well be quite right for them too.

      In the mid-90s, I was working a place where Unix (no, not Linux, Unix - we were in academic business, probably had huge discounts) was standard on the desktop. Things worked all right, and everyone was mostly satisfied. There was one exception, our house-economist, which needed more tools. Today, even he would be satisfied, I guess.

      Anyways, the administration increased in size, and at some point, someone decided that we, too, should go the Windows way. Needless to say, tecnical staff was less than satisified, including me.

      We had two secretaries. I did a little mini-poll on what they would prefer on the desktop? The answer: It doesn't matter, as long as it makes communication with the tecnical staff easy.

      Well, it seemed for a while like we were going the Windows route. Then, one day, over lunch, one of the secretaties dropped the magic line: "I think I would prefer this. Now, I've learnt it, and don't really want to switch at all".

      This seemed to have done the trick. Not long after, the course changed, instead of standardizing on Windows, one standardized on formats that made it easy for everyone to choose for himself. Nowadays, people are using Windows or Linux depending on what they like, and as long as you avoid the lock-in-traps in Microsoft,this is quite possible it seems.

      So, yes, a mixed environment is possible, but don't automatically assume that the secretaries will be slow picking up Linux. They will use whatever tool makes them do their work best, given choice. As should everyone.
      • by willtsmith ( 466546 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @05:23PM (#7946745) Journal
        Linux isn't an issue for secrataries. Applications are an issue for secretaries. Do you think a secretary CARES what operating system s/he is using. If anything, they probably would prefer Macs because they could they look prettier.

        The issue for a secratary, Linux and IBM is whether NOTES works. It's also whether a suitable replacement for Word can be deployed that retains the interface concepts and speeds transitions.

        Outside of the geek world, no one really gives a fuck about the internals of an operating system. They just want something that helps them get their work done. Windows has the most software so it will suit more needs.

        For IBM, the biggest milestone will be porting Notes to Linux. Good luck. If the interior looks ANYTHING like the exterior, it will be an INCREDIBLE task.

    • I would have to disagree with the statement that engineers would be a prime target before secretaries. Engineers are less likely to have software that will run on multiple systems (like custome chip design software), than a secretary running pretty generic out-of-box software that is more likely to be available on multiple platforms (word processing, excel spreadsheet, etc...).

    • I would suspect that the vast majority of their servers already run Linux... Domino runs on Linux (and has for a while), and most of their webservers are likely to run Linux.
      No. Internally, IBM runs AIX. [] The US Open site run by IBM uses both AIX and Linux [].
  • by b0r0din ( 304712 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:05PM (#7946224)
    First off, they won't be dropping it on their desktop or laptop lines anytime soon, so consumers can feel safe IBM is not abandoning them; Windows has a huge stake in IBM's business. However, it wouldn't surprise me to see IBM begin to try a move to desktops among their own company; however, I can state for fact this is nowhere near the implementation stage, there are a lot of barriers before this will become full-fledged across the number. IBM is too big a player to abandon Windows fully, but they may be making a little bit of a political statement in full support of their desktop, especially in light of the SCO case. IBM has their hands in so many honey pots, there should be no worries that the next ThinkPad you will get will be Linux-only.
  • Commerical (Score:5, Informative)

    by BoldAC ( 735721 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:06PM (#7946225)
    Enjoy their linux commerical here. []


  • by Knights who say 'INT ( 708612 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:07PM (#7946229) Journal
    I remember when it was Multimedia. Now it's open source. So why are we celebrating that IBM is using new hype words to motivate its workers?

    So what about their past sins []?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They were all over the TV during last night's NFL playoff game...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Yeah, they should buy a good spot during the superbowl. They could have a penguin throwing a hammer through a giant Windows desktop screen.

      Or maybe one on how they're "Thinking Differently" now?

      Let's see something new!

  • by mr_majestyk ( 671595 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:13PM (#7946268)
    I really can't imagine why they wouldn't be posting it on billboards.

    IBM does *billions* of dollars of business selling Windows systems, and this declaration would be tantamount to throwing that all away.

    The first rule for growing a business is to preserve the existing business above all else. Then you can figure out a way to obtain new business opprtunistically with an alternative offering.
    • IBM also does billions in Linux sales. IBM does not sell Linux or MS Windows. They sell hardware and services. In the end, IBM does not care if you buy their hardware to run MS Windows or Linux. They also will have their massive global services come and help you with MS Windows or Linux deployments/solutions. IBM wants to help customers to exercise their choice and not have that choice limited to only MS Windows.

      IBM is not going to stop selling thier customers MS Windows hardware or services that wan

  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:14PM (#7946283)
    Even if they only have one or two divisions or sub-divisions running on it, they will find out EXACTLY what the benefits and deficiencies are.

    It's easier to sell something to someone if you already use and prefer the product.
    • But for BUSINESS PURPOSES Linux doesn't really have many drawbacks other than being shut out of some software. But the main software dirth is for home users, cute stuff, home perphials, etc that most businesses don't really want on there networks anyway. In that respect Limited, difficult to modify software is a feature not a bug.

      What I've found is that all the pieces exist for a perfectly functioning Linux office right now...the only problem is dealing with those 1 or 2 windows apps floating around.

    • Of course IBM eats its own dogfood-- Blotus Notes, Blotus SmartSuite, and AIX.

      Replacing Blotus Notes for Linux may be the largest obstacle IBM faces here.

  • by jeboyer ( 24453 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:16PM (#7946297)
    Here's a thought...

    If IBM drops Windows and adopts a Linux desktop, they're no longer tied to the x86 architecture. Of course, all the machines they have will still be useful, but what chip does IBM design and fabricate?

    PowerPC []

    Now, I don't expect anything to happen immediately, but with the 970 aimed firmly at the desktop market, having a Linux desktop sure would make hardware migration a lot simpler--essentially transparent to the end-user...

  • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:16PM (#7946301) Journal
    There are two reasons why IBM would be juditious in how public they make this. The first big reason is IBM and M$ have a strained relationship to say the least. The big bit of control M$ uses to manipulate PC vendors to do their will is windows and office licensing. Even if you are IBM or Dell if M$ decides to pull your dirt cheap licensing of windows and office and make you pay like they do all the little people your bottom line just got crushed. IBM most likely has no interest in seeing one of there cash crops get killed and knows M$ would tolerate misbehaivor from them least of all their big partners. The seccond reason is IBMs server business is becoming more and more dependant on Linux and its related technologies. Even though desktop and server Linux tech are not always related, IE what is good for a big server is not always good on my PC and the other way around, and sometimes the same thing is good on both, a failure is a failure. If they have to back pedal and go to windows again for any reason its a failure for Linux and PHBs will hear about it. The conversation will go like this.

    "We want to sell you this Linux server."

    "I heared you guys tried Linux and had to swich back, why would I want to go through that."

    "No we use Linux on lots of server systems its desktops that we had to go back to windows for."

    "So windows works better then I want a windows server!"

    "No Linux is a better server OS most of the time."

    "I am calling HP bye."

    If I was IBM I would much rather make the swich under the radar incase things don't work out and then tell the world what a great success the swich has been if it does. If not then it never happend.
  • by IvyMike ( 178408 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:18PM (#7946323)
    My company uses two IBM-owned Windows-based products: Lotus Notes and Clearcase. (Yes, it is appropriate to feel sorry for me now) Will IBM continue to develop and support these products for Windows? Certainly. But will IBM but less priority on those products now that they're almost certainly not going to be using them in-house to the same degree? It's possible.

    My company and many others don't want to hear that IBM is de-prioritizing their Windows products, and that's why IBM isn't making such a big deal out of this.
  • I really can't imagine why they wouldn't be posting it on billboards.

    i can imagine quite well. whatever IBM wants to use internally, they still have to sell their desktop and laptop systems with windows preloaded (or at least as an option). while they do have a firm grasp of the server market, a loss of windows on their desktop would be a huge hit. and if MS hears definitively that big blue has a nefarious plot afoot to destroy windows, i'd bet MS would find a way to get out of their contracts to IBM

    • i'm not so sure that IBM would move away from windows internally anyway. sure, there might be a move to replace a lot of workstations with linux, but at the very least they need to keep some around

      Why? It's not like they kept any PS/2's around dispite the fact that all the documentation included lifetime free techsupport.

      • a fine example of taking a *part* of a sentence out of context and totally missing the point. IBM sells desktop and laptop machines bundled with windows. as such, they get hardware-related tech support calls where it's really nice to have a windows machine around to make it easier to walk a customer through some bit of troubleshooting.

        i take the ps/2 case as a bit different. desktop hardware becomes obsolete all the time - in the ps/2 days IBM may not have had such a firm grasp of that concept. i'd be
  • I welcome IBM as (Score:3, Insightful)

    by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <.teamhasnoi. .at.> on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:21PM (#7946343) Journal
    HA! You thought I would say 'new overlords'...but I welcome the standardized gui (among other things) that IBM could bring to Linux. Might actually mean Linux could be ready for the desktop.

    I'm still lusting after the Mail implentation that was recently on /. - more stuff like that, all over Linux, and I might be convinced.

  • by Linus Sixpack ( 709619 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:27PM (#7946391) Journal
    IBM is dropping Windows because it is a good business move not as a gimmick. They are not trying to impress Slashdot or open themselves up to abuse.

    IBM is simply too big to not sell Windows so they don't want to make this rude. IBM needs to make money from the whole market to support IBM. They do not want the more childish Linux Element posting to the web every time they see a non Linux machine in the hands of one of their reps.
    The move is hugely important because it will help them hammer out all the kinks in their understanding of the software. It will help them see where business oportunities lie, more than anything else. They will then be in a position to share how they do it with the rest of the world.

    They are not doing it to insult Microsoft. They are doing it because they have more control and bigger margins when they sell Linux.

    IBM will run _all_ prevalent operating systems as long as there is an IBM. They are just too big not to.

  • sigh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wo1verin3 ( 473094 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:30PM (#7946422) Homepage
    I believe this was taken out of context.

    IBM is a thousand companies within another. Each with seperate financials, goals, etc, etc...

    This memo was issues to a select number of small groups within the company and was not indicitive of a company wide shift.
  • consulting business (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bigpat ( 158134 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:32PM (#7946445)
    It is very simple, they actually want it both ways. They want to play up the fact that they are moving to Linux, but make it clear they are not abandoning Windows. Since they still sell Windows and sell consulting services for Windows customers, they want to make it clear they aren't biased against Windows if that is what the customer wants.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    "I really can't imagine why they wouldn't be posting it on billboards."

    Likely because outside of the slashdot / computer professional crowd, Linux is either unknown, looked at skeptically, seen as an outsider, and/or seen as a tool solely for the computer geek. You all may view Linux favorably, but the OS still has a long, long way to go before the common consumer truly embraces it.

    Besides, the move away from Windows only affects employee laptops and workstations. Why would most of the rest of the worl
    • If the average person hasn't heard of Linux up until now, they have been getting more familiar with it in the last couple of weeks. At least football fans have.

      Why? Those IBM commercials with Linux as the "adopted kid" that have been running during the NFL playoffs. There have been other commercials mentioning Linux in the past couple of years (from IBM and Dell), but this is the first one that emphasises it.

      Any commercial that features such diverse talents as 95-year-old ex-UCLA baseketball coach John
  • by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:44PM (#7946514) Homepage
    Where Will IBM Drop Windows?

    The dumpster would seemto be the obvious answer. Although that could backfire when the rest of the garbage gets up and walks out of the dump in protest.

  • What IBM needs... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kitzilla ( 266382 ) <> on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:48PM (#7946542) Homepage Journal a project team to decode the corporatespeak of the original memo. Have you actually read that thing? What the hell ever happened to English?

    I agree with the comment that IBM is soft-pedaling the memo to avoid public timelines. This would be a huge transition, and needs to be taken at its own pace. Good luck, Big Blue.

  • by plusser ( 685253 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:56PM (#7946592)
    The problem is that Microsoft has now chosen to drop all versions of Windows previous to Windows ME, including NT version 4. Because Windows is a closed source operating system, this means that if a serious security breach is now discovered in these versions of Windows, Microsoft's attitude is "tough - upgrade". The problem is that many Businesses use these older versions of Windows, because they work. They are not interested in using the latest version of Office, as they have no need for the use of the new features provided, or even may have a compatibility issue they cannot resolve.

    Sure, Linux systems cost money to operate, but they tend to be more secure, as the system administrators must be better trained. Overall, huge long term savings can be made by using an operating system that can be maintained without a serious upgrade every 3 years as the company that sold the operating system decides not to support it. Anyway, many companies outsource their IT don't they?

    The other advantage is that there is more profit. By offering to support an operating system by up to 10 years, the supplier can charge more, as the customer will save money, as they don't need to spend money on re-training or new hardware. By adopting Linux across the business, IBM can show their customers how it can be done. Remember, that many older versions of Windows software can be made to run on Linux through the use of WINE. Yes, there will be some re-training, but not as much as the operating system will be better tailored to the customers needs.

    The bottom line is that IBM is re-adopting the old white shirt principle. This is where systems were designed to meet customer's needs, not enforce new requirements on customers. Remember, the customer is always right.
  • I was doing an OEM deal for my employer at Research Tringle Park (RTP) near Raleigh North Carolina with IBM. RTP's entire server development group works out of RTP, I was shown off the blade center before it was functional etc. Oddly enough! No ethernet. Still token-ring, why give up on your own technology?! This great resource center of hard work and tech invention was most likely the ugliest most run-down facility one could possibly expect. I would say the time frame for an ENTIRE move from Microsoft de
  • by potpie ( 706881 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:58PM (#7946603) Journal
    net: IBM+LINUX | SCO+MS

    see? it all balances out!
  • by tizzyD ( 577098 ) * <> on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:59PM (#7946613) Homepage

    From the comment:

    ... abandon Microsoft operating systems on it's internal desktops by the end of 2005.
    Just a quick note that we all should remember:
    • It's = it is (contraction)
    • its = possessive of it (possessive)
    Try to remember it in this fashion: If you know the sex, use the apostrophe (think phallic). If not, no apostrophe.

    It's a rule we can live by ;-)

  • No billboards (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bigbigbison ( 104532 ) * on Sunday January 11, 2004 @05:26PM (#7946763) Homepage
    I haven't seen anyone mention this, but one sure reason IBM is backing off from announcing that they are going to stop using windows is that they don't want to piss off Microsoft.

    Remember that IBM is supplying the chips for the next X-Box. It probably isn't too late for Microsoft to switch to someone else. THey piss off Microsoft by braggin that they aren't using Windows any more and that would certainly make Microsoft start looking for alternatives.
  • So... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @05:47PM (#7946905)
    Will they actually be dropping Windows, or are they simply fishing for better pricing from Microsoft, like India, Israel, et al?
  • by incom ( 570967 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @05:51PM (#7946935)
    Will IBM start selling notebooks without the microsoft tax too? And with fully linux compatible hardware?
  • by ScottSpeaks! ( 707844 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @06:31PM (#7947192) Homepage Journal
    Putting this on billboards - or otherwise making a big PR hullaballoo about this - would be a major mistake. IBM's big and powerful, but this ain't 1981 anymore and they cannot afford to make an outright enemy of Microsoft. Even Apple maintains good diplomatic relations with Redmond, largely to ensure that Office:Mac remains in development.

    If IBM declared war on King Bill, they'd face Least Favored Nation licensing terms for Windows (maybe even an embargo), which would hurt their ability to compete with HPaq, Dell, and Gateway. While many /.ers would love to see IBM boxes shipping without the Windows tax added into the price, mainstream corporate purchasers would be far less happy, and the SOHO market - many of whom actually think of MS as the swell people who "innovated" all these nifty technological geegaws - would come to regard IBM as a freakish Big Bad Blue monster.

  • by ToasterTester ( 95180 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @06:39PM (#7947244)
    WHat I heard at work was the contract with MS is up for renewal and MS practically doubled the price. So IBM is threatening going with Linux to get MS to drop the price.

    IBM makes a lot from selling Windows products and supporting Windows so they don't want to rock the boat too much with MS. So they are in a tough position balancing their need to make money on Windows and Linux.
    • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @07:17PM (#7947508) Homepage
      It's possible that IBM is just posturing to get a better price from MS, but I doubt it. IBM offers consulting services, and they sell support to companies adopting Linux. It makes sense for them to "eat their own dogfood", and once it's done they can point to themselves as a success story.

      However, IBM isn't a monolith, and various groups inside IBM might go off in their own directions. It's possible that some parts of IBM will take the deal from MS and go with the cheaper licenses for Windows.

      But IBM would be an ideal company for rolling out Linux everywhere: they have so many employees that they stand to save a whole bunch of money (on license fees they no longer have to pay), they can get computer consulting from their own consultants, and they can use the resulting success as a marketing tool (to help them sell consulting services). I think the only real question is "when", not "if".

      P.S. Naturally they will always have some Windows desktops running somewhere. As long as they sell computers running Windows they will need to have Windows in-house for testing, for one thing.

  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @06:58PM (#7947354) Homepage Journal
    First off, nobody moves 300,000 desktops in one year. You retire maybe 20% per year and refresh them with new machines that can contain a new OS.

    Next you have to insure that all of your custom desktop apps are rewritten OR - run under Wine or VM32.

    Then you have to create a build and tune it for your network.

    Then you have to push all of the legacy apps maintenance to sunset their own apps. You will need to do this for several years unless you plan on migrating entire business divisions at once.

    Then and this a BIG thing, you need to train a desktop support infrastructure to maintain it. That includes break/fix, troubleshooting and helpdesk.

    And Oh - you also need to develop national language support for all the desktop code, world wide in about 20 different languages including DBCS support and all the supporting documentation.
  • A Sound Move... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by polyp2000 ( 444682 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @07:04PM (#7947396) Homepage Journal
    Increasingly IBM is being mooted as a Linux company. Although I am not aware of an IBM specific distribution. Linux is probably one of IBM's highest sources of revenue.It only makes sense for them to use it internally, it looks better for them if they are using their own products etc.

    I wouldnt be surprised if the reason they are not making a big deal about this is due to the impact this may have on their Microsoft revenue stream. Its surely must be a blow to Microsoft that one of the largest tech companies(IBM) is publically ditching microsoft on their internal desktops. My guess is they dont want to harm their non-linux revenue streams , and at the same time avoid any rumbles with redmond.

    This also has to be a good thing for the maturing of Linux as a desktop OS. A company such as IBM is going to be able not only to see what problem areas exist with linux as a desktop machine, but due to its commitment to the os will actually be able to input and contributions actually fix some of the issues its internal users will discover.

    This is a sound move and one that shows just how strong Linux is becoming, and shows without a doubt that you dont need Microsoft to run your business no matter how large or small.

The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland"; but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.