IBM has standardized on the Mozilla Firefox Web browser as the default browser for its employees.
In a July 1 blog post, Bob Sutor, vice president of open source and Linux in IBM Software Group, said: "We're officially adding a new piece of software to the list of default common applications we expect employees to use, and that's the Mozilla Firefox browser."
Sutor succinctly summed up the news: "It is not news that some IBM employees use Firefox. It is news that all IBM employees will be asked to use it as their default browser."
Moreover, "Firefox has been around for years, of course," Sutor added. "Today we already have thousands of employees using it on Linux, Mac and Windows laptops and desktops, but we're going to be adding thousands more users to the rolls."
Sutor said he believes Firefox and its growth "reinvigorated" the browser market as well as the Web overall by spurring competition and innovation.
It is no surprise that IBM would standardize on Firefox, as the company is a staunch supporter of Linux and open-source software, and open standards in general.
"While other browsers have come and gone, Firefox is now the gold standard for what an open, secure and standards-compliant browser should be," Sutor said. "We'll continue to see this or that browser be faster or introduce new features, but then another will come along and be better still, including Firefox."
IBM's move to cloud computing also plays into the decision to go with Firefox, Sutor said.
"There's another reason we want to get as many of our employees using Firefox as soon as possible, and that is Cloud Computing," Sutor said. "For the shift to the cloud to be successful, open standards must be used in the infrastructure, in the applications, and in the way people exchange data. The longstanding commitment of Mozilla to open standards and the quality of the implementation of them in Firefox gives us confidence that this is a solid, modern platform that should be part of IBM's own internal transformation to significantly greater use of Cloud Computing. Examples of this already include Blue Insight, an internal cloud for business analytics, and LotusLive, for online collaboration."
Sutor said he began using Firefox because it was "new and fast and cool," but he continues to use it because:
"- Firefox is stunningly standards compliant, and interoperability via open standards is key to IBM's strategy.- Firefox is open source and its development schedule is managed by a development community not beholden to one commercial entity.- Firefox is secure and an international community of experts continues to develop and maintain it.- Firefox is extensible and can be customized for particular applications and organizations, like IBM.- Firefox is innovative and has forced the hand of browsers that came before and after it to add and improve speed and function."
So what does it mean for Firefox to be the default browser inside IBM, Sutor asked. It means that "Any employee who is not now using Firefox will be strongly encouraged to use it as their default browser," he said. "All new computers will be provisioned with it. We will continue to strongly encourage our vendors who have browser-based software to fully support Firefox."