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IBM VP Talks About Another $1 Billion for Linux Development (Video) 50

Posted by timothy
from the a-billion-here-and-a-billion-there-can-add-up-to-real-money-if-you're-not-careful dept.
Brad McCredie is an IBM VP, and head of IBM's Power Systems development. (He's also one of the mere few hundred IBM Fellows that have been named in the past 50 years.) He pointed out in his keynote at this year's LinuxCon gathering that IBM has been adopting and supporting Linux (and associated software, like Apache) in various ways for the past decade and a half. Famously, the company promised to support Linux to the tune of a billion dollars in 2001, and McCredie renewed the promise on Tuesday. I sat down to talk with him about just how they'll go about spending the next billion dollars on Linux development; when a company has more than $200 billion in market capitalization, there are lots of ways to spread it around. Spending on hardware is one way, and McCredie also talked about the recently announced OpenPower consortium, which ties directly into the ongoing Linux push.

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IBM VP Talks About Another $1 Billion for Linux Development (Video)

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  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @03:00PM (#44886437)

    A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The money will be spent on outsourcing it. IBM making this announcement is like Walmart claiming that they will spend 50 million on American businesses. What that will go into is food so that they can take out Kroger and Safeway. As somebody that once worked for IBM, I now say that they are a pure trash company.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      The money will be spent on outsourcing it. IBM making this announcement is like Walmart claiming that they will spend 50 million on American businesses. What that will go into is food so that they can take out Kroger and Safeway. As somebody that once worked for IBM, I now say that they are a pure trash company.

      umm so? it's an investment.. plenty of people work in those firms the money is used on. if they buy services that enhances linux what's so bad about that..? that they're not dumping the money on giving you a 200k/year job scratching your balls?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    IBM gonna make it rain all over GNU!

  • ...from everywhere on the globe where labor is cheap. Of course, you gets what you pays for, but that won't stop Big Blue, no sir!
    • by timothy (36799) Works for Slashdot

      A lot of it's going to be spent in France, which is famous for non-cheap labor ... (And on things like Watson, which has teams in New York, Austin, and India at least -- I think in some other places, too.)

      • A lot of it's going to be spent in France, which is famous for non-cheap labor

        Unlike US, where experienced programmers are so much cheaper than the French ones.

    • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @03:54PM (#44887089) Homepage
      You get what you pay for doesn't apply here at all. First of all, code needs to get accepted into the kernel. If you knew how that works, then you would know that garbage isn't getting into it. The people will have to be highly skilled and know their stuff. Even if they spend ten billion on "cheap labor" then there won't be a single line of code that actually makes it into the kernel.
    • by haakoflo (2497300)
      There is correctly priced labor, and overpriced labor. And then there are bitter labor that cannot face the competition. I don't post often, here, but honestly, I'm getting a bit tired of whiners with an exaggerated sense of entitlement. Decent programmers still earn enough dollars to buy cheap services from other labor groups that experience a lot more competition than the coders.
    • It's okay. Yes, they've made some fairly incredible contributions to the LINUX ecosystem (LVM comes screaming to mind), but as recent as that was it was still a very different IBM from the one that's doing this now. I have seen the GDF and IBM's current business model up close and personal; I'm just saying I don't trust 'em anymore and I don't perceive that this is going to be nearly as important an event as people here seem to think.
  • On a serious note (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @03:23PM (#44886733)

    IBM should use that 1 billion to offer better hardware support and "desktop" linux, moving marketshare into linux is sure to be the best investment if you can gain marketshare which you wont without desktop linux

    • You say this as desktops outside the corporate environment are dieing... I even see corporate environments turning to SASS terminal stations in the future. The future of Linux is the architecture all those terminals connect to.

      • You say this as desktops outside the corporate environment are dieing...

        Desktops outside corporate are *not* dieing, PC sales are *slowing down* because people are not replacing the ones that *work*, opting to buy toys like tablets.

        There is a difference.

        • by msobkow (48369)

          Exactly. Virtually everyone I know with a tablet already has a PC in the household.

          "Smart Phones" are another story -- I know a lot of people who's only internet access device is a smart phone. But they're also all young people who haven't built up a home and a house, and who don't have room for a computer in the room that they rent. I've no doubt that when they're older and in a home of their own, they'll have a computer like everyone else.

    • by Dega704 (1454673)
      As much as I also want to see this kind of effort put into desktop Linux, I have to respectfully disagree. IBM's angle here is obviously a long term investment to protect their mainframes and other Power based servers from the encroaching x86 systems. You could even say that it is BECAUSE Linux is so successful on the server side that IBM must do this. That is how it has always been for Linux. The bulk of the development will continue to go into everything but desktops because that is where the money is
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      IBM doesn't make desktops anymore. They sold all that off to Lenovo. Desktop Linux means nothing to them.

      • Actually, IBM does invest in desktop Linux and in a company of about 400,000 employees, has a sizable chunk running on an internally built standard and continuing to consolidate onto it. It wouldn't be a stretch for them to give this away given the efforts are already undertaken. The fact that they don't suggests they don't see a return worth it.
  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @04:12PM (#44887321) Homepage

    The way data centers are going, the "operating system" is migrating off the server farm. The trend is toward servers with a minimal OS that run a single application, probably in a VM. File systems are on other machines on a storage area network. Control of the server farm is on machines separate from the servers. Control machines tell server VMs what to run, what they can connect to (part of "software defined networking"), and their identity for security purposes. Logging, monitoring, and problem reporting is handled by machines other than the workers. Development takes place in a different environment than production. That's what Amazon AWS is like right now. That's what IBM needs to provide to their corporate customers.

    Data center computing may not need Linux at all on the production machines. The more specialized machines which run the support systems of the cloud may use it, but they aren't the performance-critical machines. They're the security-critical machines. What we may need is a high-security OS for cloud support machines, accepting some loss in performance.

    • VMs still present the resources in form of (virtual) hardware. You still need drivers. You still need some kernel code on top of those drivers to hold the whole thing together. Your libc or JVM is not going to parse TCP packets or file system structures.
    • by steelfood (895457)

      Well, for starters, Linux is but a kernel. The development efforts of software around the kernel, be it embedded microcontrollers or whole desktop OSes, still count as investing in it. Android runs atop Linux. I would imagine that the thin OS for cloud applications could use the Linux kernel too.

      Second, the Snowden revelations is making foreign organizations wary of U.S.-centric software. Linux, being Europe-centric, is ripe for growing in the enterprise workstation market in the long term as more internati

  • Sorry I don't have enough bandwidth to even watch the adverts on the front without it stopping and starting all the time. I guess it looks fine on the CEOs desk, though, so that's all that matters.

  • by Desler (1608317)

    when a company has more than $200 billion in market capitalization, there are lots of ways to spread it around.

    What does this even mean? Does Timothy actually think market cap is money that IBM has on hand? How exactly would IBM "spread around" their market cap value?

    • by tqk (413719)

      when a company has more than $200 billion in market capitalization, there are lots of ways to spread it around.

      What does this even mean? Does Timothy actually think market cap is money that IBM has on hand? How exactly would IBM "spread around" their market cap value?

      Try a thought experiment. IBM walks into a bank and announces they've $200 billion in market capitalization to spread around. How many bank officers do you envision falling all over themselves trying to find a way to satisfy the request?

      • by rubycodez (864176)

        Zero, since the phrase is meaningless.

        IBM does have about 12 billion in cash, however I expect this billion will be spent over many years. Note that it will be spent mainly on powerPC linux development

      • by Desler (1608317)

        None on that stat alone. Your credit worthiness has nothing to do with your market cap.

  • IBM stopped making stuff years ago. It buys companies that make stuff. When Brad talks about spending a billion on Linux he means purchasing a billion dollars worth of companies that do stuff in or for Linux.

  • IBM should just scale back the Power series to the desktop. Just give us some nice RISCs. Now that their AMD acquisitions aren't panning out, they can use AMD's personal to get it done. They can even use the ATI patents to integrate graphics so they really are well positioned for the project.

    Or maybe they can get their hands on MIPS. ImgTech doesn't seem to be doing anything useful with them. And coming around from both the low and the high-end will be quite devastating for Intel. Even pick up ImgTech along

    • by rubycodez (864176)

      desktop margins are way too low, which is why IBM sold off all that business.

    • by unixisc (2429386)
      They've exited desktops, but they could bring back Power workstations. But they do have to have a range of CPUs, with power consumption low enough for a tablet right up to the POWER8 line. If they can populate the low end, they could bring back some interesting workstation designs.

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