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January 23, 2006


Vinnie Mirchandani

Irving, you say this has influenced the whole IBM company. But your global services group (over half your revenues now)is definitely in the "cathedral" school of contolled tech development and deployement v/s the "bazaar" approach of Linux and Open source. Would your systems inetgrator group use the open source community for testing for example? would they pass the lowered economics on to clients?

The tech services world needs radical transfomration as I have written in Frederick Taylor and Technology services (see link below) ...learning from the Linux community would be great for them...


Nicholas Beale

I agree your embrace of Linux is stratgically very good and important. In our small strategy consultancy we've been using Linux for years but it's still frustratingly difficult to get decent support. My desktop has been Linux-only for several years but my Laptop dual-boots, mostly to Windows 'cos there are still apps that don't work properly under Linux. As soon as this playing field is levelled there will be a massive improvement in productive power/performance.

Tony Smith

My bIG problem...

I like linux. SuSE, Debian (not so much RedHat) I use them a lot.
I want to bring Linux into my company. I could create an "ActiveDirectory like" setup all integrated with file sharing, remote assistance and everything I need to make life good and easy.
I have about 600 users in my company and at least 550 of them should find everything they need in Linux.

But how can I switch operating systems when my users don't know how to use Linux. I can't imagine the frustration to take Windows away from them.
And assuming we get over this part and everything is working... a new employee comes aboard... again training, frustration... this would just go on...

My thought is that until Linux breaks into every home it will be difficult to bring it into the business environment. A few years back the biggest problem was compatibility between Linux and Windows. Now you can integrate the two but getting users to actually use it.... is next to impossible regardless of how much management support you have.



"Now you can integrate the two but getting users to actually use it.... is next to impossible regardless of how much management support you have"
--I agree Tony's Word

Its just people, who has to understand and think.

I struggled to bring people from MS Office to Star Office once I was IT Mgr. I failed at last. Just I succedded in implementing it in internet sharing PC for its native Firewall support (IP Tables).

Robert Pogson

Linux has nowhere to go but up and IBM, having jumped in early, will get a big share of the business. This is smart and visionary. I am absolutely amazed that there are still organizations that do not have this vision. Last year, I worked for an outfit that, in response to a dozen reasons why they should switch to Linux on the desktop, could only respond "we are used to Windows" as a reason to stay with Windows. They did absolutely nothing that Linux could not have done better with much lower costs. The previous year, I worked for an outfit that upgraded to XP for five times what it would have cost to upgrade to Linux. In both cases, the ongoing operating costs would have been slashed. IMHO, the choice of Linux is one of the great separators of businesses. Depending only on what fraction of budgets goes to IT, the Linux choice will be a major indicator of an efficient operation. The agile upstarts will have an advantage over more established firms that have more invested in the old ways.

Chris Ward

One way to learn is to make some 'Linux-for-Windows' screensavers, like I did for developerWorks here

Another way is to get one of the 'Live Linux' CDs or DVDs (or USB Storage Keys); find an old PC that is about to be thrown in the trash; and try using it. Or a new PC; the 'Microsoft Windows' hologram says that you have the right to use Microsoft Windows on it; that doesn't mean you have the obligation. Novell/SuSE, an IBM partner, make one available here http://en.opensuse.org/Welcome_to_openSUSE.org .
I've had success with that one, and with others; but of course that's no guarantee that anyone else will.

If you want commercial support, you may contract with IBM Global Services; or with anyone else you see fit. If you're a school or charity, you could see if there are any IBMers willing to help out in their spare time.

Linux and applications are actually very good at being standards-compliant. They have to be, for there to be any hope of others in the wider community understanding what they do, determining whether a behaviour is a 'bug' or not, and being able to maintain and build on them. So 'Bazaar' it may be, but it's usually fairly easy to get a 'Cathedral' application to run on it.

Im my opinion, Sony's Playstation 3 running Linux will be a most interesting possibility for a 'desktop workstation' in the not too distant future. http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/power/cell/index.html
For 'Playstation 3', IBM is making its top-of-the-line C++ compiler (xlC) available at no charge. Of course, if you want a guarantee that it will support your business, then signing a contract with IBM Global Services would be a very good idea; but if you just want a compiler, it's there.

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