During a world tour of Internet companies and introductions to young developers all over the globe, Linux caught the attention of IBM’s then senior vice president Sam Palmisano (left). Along with Irving Wladawksy-Berger (right), then head of Internet strategy, Palmisano commissed a study and convinced then CEO Lou Gerstner to embrace the Linux operating system. This is when IBM first puts its eggs in the open-source basket, now a huge part of its business and the development ecosystem globally.
IBM’s Linux Technology Center was established as the primary vehicle to participate in the Linux community. The Linux Technology Center’s aim was to make Linux better, expand the platform’s reach for new workloads, enable IBM products to operate with Linux and increase collaboration with customers to innovate in ways IBM cannot do by itself. A year later, IBM announces a $1 billion investment to back the open-source movement. This grabs the attention of CEOs and CIOs around the globe, and helps Linux be accepted by the business community.
Following the initial investment in 2001, IBM announces another $1 billion investment, this time directed specifically at advancing Linux on Power. Along with this investment is the fourth Linux Center in Montpellier, France. This all comes directly on the heels of the OpenPower Consortium, under which IBM will license the core intellectual property for its Power technologies to other companies for use in designing servers employed in cloud data centers.