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8/6/2008
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IBM To Linux Desktop Developers: 'Stop Copying Windows'

Company executives call on the open source community to do more to make Linux popular as a desktop OS for consumers and businesses.

In the long term, IBM expected SMB technology to evolve into products that combine open source and proprietary technologies, as well as Web services. Within that mix, however, "we want to work with open source to get a toehold there," Sutor said.

IBM also believes there's an opportunity for the open source community to build industry-specific applications that would run on Linux. "I'm getting tired of waiting," Sutor said of the lack of such software.

Open-source business software should be appealing to developers who believe all software should be free, something that Sutor didn't believe would happen anytime soon. "Prove me wrong."

Sutor said he believed the many open source licenses, as well as the many software standards bodies, that exist today, would eventually dwindle to only a few. As it is now, five or six open source licenses cover more than 90% of the available software today.

On the standards front, IBM planned to work hard toward reform over the next 10 years, believing only five or six bodies are enough to approve technology standards. "We've got to get rid of this," Sutor said of the current labyrinth of standards and the bodies that approve them.

Finally, Sutor believed Linux over time would branch out well beyond the x86 server platform, where it has become most successful today, and will become a strong player in Internet-connected appliances, handheld devices, smart phones, and other technology. "Linux may become much more widely used, but you may not know it," he said.

In conclusion, Sutor said the last decade in which IBM has been involved with Linux "has been a heck of a ride, and we're incredibly impressed." Going forward, however, the Linux community had to be conscious of the "enemies of open source" and couldn't rest. Although Sutor didn't say who these enemies are, Microsoft has certainly been a major detractor.

"We're very positive about the future of Linux," Sutor said. "We're not going to slack off."

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