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8/15/2006
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Big Blue Details Big Plans -- And Big Money -- In Open Source Strategy

IBM Linux and Open Source VP Scott Handy lays out a sweeping game plan in his LinuxWorld keynote Tuesday, including major investments in open source client-side middleware, development tools, Web application servers, data servers, and numerous other technology categories.

IBM plans a major expansion beyond Linux into the open source technology and services business.

At the LinuxWorld Conference here, IBM Linux and Open Source Vice President Scott Handy said the company will invest more heavily in open source client-side middleware, development tools, Web application servers, data servers, systems management, open hardware architecture, grid computing and technology services businesses.

For example, IBM Global Services plans to offer both business consulting and technology services to enable customers to benefit from open source solutions and open source models, he said.

"We plan a major expansion beyond Linux into open source. ... It's poised to be a more disruptive force in the industry in the next three years than Linux has been in the last 15 years," Handy said. "With open source beyond Linux, we'll be as aggressive and leapfrog right to the injection stage."

IBM did not discuss Red Hat's purchase of open source application server giant JBoss. But the Armonk, N.Y. company emphasized during its press conference Monday that its software, hardware and services organizations will push hard on open source business models to drive new revenue.

The company will push the Eclipse Rich Client Platform for hosting cross platform applications, Eclipse frameworks for development, Web application servers based on Geronimo, open source database Apache Derby and license-free IBM DB2 Express-C, the Aperi open source management project, open hardware organizations, Open Grid Services Architecture and Globus Alliance.

Handy said IBM will parlay its success with large open source projects such as Linux, Apache and Eclipse to drive growth in these eight disciplines, including the IBM Global Services business. Linux has ballooned into a $7 billion business since IBM began investing in it seven years ago.

IBM currently has 15,000 customer engagements with Linux and more than 7,000 Linux Global Services consultants available to help customers build Linux solutions. The company has also pledged to make its Lotus Notes and SameTime IM corporate applications available on Linux natively.

IBM will also continue to drive advancements in the Linux kernel. To that end, IBM plans to integrate its Cell BE processor technologies into the Linux kernel and will work with Red Hat to extend Security-Enhanced Linux.

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