IBM Memo Outlines Linux Desktop Push

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-01-08 Print this article Print

IBM officials denied that the company has specific plans to move to the open-source operating system on the desktop, despite a leaked memo outlining a challenge for such a move by 2005.

Theres little surprise that IBM might be pushing the use of the Linux desktop within its walls, and an internal company memo published on the British IT site The Inquirer on Thursday said that Big Blues chief information officer is moving ahead with such a transition. IBM officials, declining to comment specifically on the memo, said that the company has no definitive plans to switch to the open-source operating system on the desktop. But the leaked memo does appear to be a rallying cry within IBM IT to investigate a switch to Linux. "Our chairman has challenged the IT organization, and indeed all of IBM, to move to a Linux based desktop before the end of 2005," states the memo from IBM CIO Bob Greenberg, as posted in The Inquirer story. "This means replacing productivity, web access and viewing tools with open standards based equivalents."
The memo goes on to discuss the creation of an Open Desktop project office to lead the effort.
IBM spokeswoman Trink Guarino said the company is a proponent of open platforms such as Linux but as a matter of policy does not discuss internal memos. "Its no secret that were a leading supporter of open systems and open platforms, and were proud of that," Guarino said. "I can tell you that its routine for IBM to challenge its internal IT teams to rigorously test new platforms and technologies inside IBM." The debate over whether Linux can become a bigger force on the desktop continues to rage. Such notable national and international organizations as the City of Austin, Texas, and the United Kingdoms Office of Government Commerce are considering the use of desktop Linux. Discuss This in the eWEEK Forum
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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