IBM this week will highlight its affinity for Linux by playing up the benefits of the platform to IBM developers at its annual developerWorksLive conference.
At developerWorksLive, which kicks off Wednesday in New Orleans, IBM will highlight developer successes on the Linux platform and also deliver a new Linux-based solution for small and medium-size businesses. The company also plans to announce several new initiatives with the IBM-sponsored Eclipse open-source Java-based application development platform.
"What were seeing is an increase in momentum in developers using Linux and writing for Linux—both in terms of developers writing applications for Linux and others writing applications for Windows but developing on Linux," said Adam Jollans, Linux strategy manager for the IBM Software Group.
IBM is keen on Linux "because it gives developers the potential to go across the hardware platform, from mainframes to RISC systems to Intel, all with the same set of skills," Jollans added.
Jollans said more than 5,000 Linux applications have been registered on IBMs systems.
According to Gartner Group, 45 percent of midsized businesses are using or experimenting with Linux. IBM officials said these midmarket companies tend to view Linux as a "reliable and cost-effective operating system." And the growing support for Linux presents a major opportunity for developers to create Linux-based business applications for these customers, Jollans said.
Meanwhile, IBM is looking at the SMB (small and medium-size business) market as a ripe opportunity for its Linux thrust, Jollans said. "The SMB space is very interesting," he said. "The ISVs are especially interested in the SMB space with Linux. And were counting more than 6,000 customer engagements with Linux coming from IBM."
And while tools have been sort of a sticking point for Linux developers, Jollans said IBM offers a capable set of Linux development tools in its WebSphere Studio.
"The development environment is shifting from just being command-line compilers to interactive tools Windows users are used to," he said. "There are some people that will only use command-line development, but you have things like WebSphere Studio and Borland [Software Corp.s] Kylix."
And "one thing to help this even further is our Express product line—with our DB2 Express and WebSphere Express for the SMB space," Jollans said. "Linux is a thing where were seeing growth in different areas concurrently."