IBM Eats Its Own Linux Cooking

VP Steve Mills says IBM's growing internal use of Linux proves the OS is rock solid and ready for even the most mission-critical applications.

NEW YORK— Linux is here to stay, and IBM plans to keep putting money and resources behind the open-source operating system to make sure it does, said Steve Mills, IBM senior vice president and group executive in charge of IBM software, during his Thursday morning LinuxWorld Expo keynote here.

"Were in the game for keeps," Mills told keynote attendees. And while IBM has sold more hardware, middleware and services thanks to Linux, Mills emphasized that IBM is pushing Linux primarily "to help our customers be successful."

While IBM didnt trot out a total cost of ownership study of its own to counter the December International Data Corp./Microsoft TCO study that found Windows to be a better value than Linux in a number of operating scenarios, Mills pushed the TCO message hard during his address. He spent most of his hour-plus remarks talking up IBM customer wins involving Linux, ranging from Venezualas Banco Mercantil, to Sherwin-Williams, to Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein.

Linux is "here, real, deeply embedded and here to stay," Mills said. And, in one of several jabs he took at Microsoft Windows, Mills characterized as "a silly notion" the idea that "Windows will become more scalable and reliable and take out Linux."

As evidence of Linuxs solidity and scalability, Mills cited IBMs own growing use of Linux internally. Mills said IBM is realizing cost savings by replacing its own OS/2 and Windows servers handling virus scanning, file and print, Web and application serving, portal, and search-engine functions with Linux ones running on xSeries and zSeries servers.

"Weve been writing operating systems at IBM for 40 years, and we know what good operating systems are supposed to do," said Mills.

IBM announced a couple years ago that it was investing $1 billion in Linux, Mills said. And it is continuing to pour more and more funds into it, he said.

Mills concluded by reiterating IBMs contributions to Linux. He said the company has more than 1,000 internal XML developers and more than 1,500 Linux developers in-house. The company has more than 5,500 business partners supporting Linux, and more than 4,600 Linux customers worldwide, Mill said. In total, IBM currently has more than 5,000 IBM employees in research, development, porting, sales and marketing working in some way on Linux, Mills said.

At the show, IBM announced new Linux hardware, ports of its existing software to Linux, and new Linux services and support options. IBM also said that Linux-related sales generated more than $1 billion in 2002 for the company.