IBM is a solutions company. It is also not a charity, and thus market share and profit decide what businesses IBM invests in and which technologies to develop and support. IBM provides solutions based upon the tools that it has access to and which of those options are best suited to solve the customer's situation.
Customers drive IBM. Not shareholders, nor employees. When a demand is there for a certain application or hardware device and IBM sees it as a profitable venture, then resources are allocated to the project.
What should IBM's position be in the Linux world?
Recall that IBM is a solution company, and solution companies must be flexible to the customer's requirements. This includes integrating non-IBM components with applications and hardware that the customer already has. Linux is to be yet another tool in IBM's toolbox for providing more complete solutions to its customers.
One parallelism that could exist is between IBM's handling of Linux and that of WindowsNT/95. IBM doesn't own Windows, its doesn't develop it, nor does it control it. What IBM does is create the applications, and design the hardware to support Windows. Likewise, IBM cannot control linux, nor can it own it. But IBM can support it, can write applications for it, design hardware for it, and solve its customers' problems with it.
What can Slashdot do? I cannot do this alone, and there are many questions that I have trouble answering, and this is where the readers of slashdot can help out. I would like to pose the following questions to the readers of slashdot:
What should IBM's role in the advancement of Linux be?
How could IBM derive revenue/profit from developing for linux?
What areas of Linux should IBM involve itself in, and what areas should it leave to the general linux community?
Should IBM favor a particular distribution?
If you were an IBM employee, how could you contribute to both the advancement of IBM and that of Linux?
One of IBM's premises is: "Win,Team,Execute", how could Linux fit into this premise?
and most importantly:Should IBM have a role in the further advancement of Linux?