Ten years of IBM and Red Hat

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Over on the Red Hat site there’s an article by Alex Pinchev, President of Red Hat Global Sales, Services and Field Marketing, and Inna Kuznetsova, Director, IBM Linux Strategy, called “Red Hat and IBM Celebrate 10 Years of Global Partnership.” It’s a pretty nice summary of the joint work that our two companies have undertaken in the last decade, including, for example, the fight to get ODF and other real open standards adopted around the world.

Last summer when I spoke at LinuxWorld I discussed a bit of the Linux history of the last ten years and made some predictions for the next few. Linux goes back much longer, of course, but I think that it is now undeniable that

  • Linux can handle the toughest enterprise operating system tasks
  • Even its former foes are now seeking strong co-existence, though remaining tough competitors
  • While I would be the last to suggest that 2009 is the year of Linux on the desktop, it’s becoming a solid contender and leading to interesting configurations on netbooks and in virtual environments.

So as IBM and Red Hat blow out the ten candles, I’ll note that the next decade is looking even stronger than the last. It’s been a great trip so far, and about to get even better.

One Comment

  1. The big sticking point seems to be the schools.

    From observation, Microsoft use K-12 schools as a ‘Microsoft showroom’, the same way that IBM uses IBM Research, IBM Development, and IBM Marketing buildings as ‘IBM showrooms’; and the same way that Ford, GM, Chrysler, etc. each have their automobile showrooms across the USA.

    You can test-drive the autos, in fact that’s the commercial reason for the showrooms to exist, but if you want to drive off with the auto and call it yours then you have to ink a deal with the salesman and it has to be approved by the sales manager.

    You don’t go into a Ford showroom if you have in mind getting a GM auto. Or at least, you don’t stay there long, and you don’t part with your dollars there.

    I can get a Sun Solaris or Hewlett-Packard HPUX box if I need one … and there are kinds of interoperability testing that cannot be done without one … but the amount of paperwork to be filled in and approved is rather large compared with what I would have to do to get hold of an IBM pSeries box. In fact, my manager kind-of pushes IBM STG hardware on me because he knows I cannot do my job without hardware and he wants IBM hardware in the IBM showroom.

    I think the reason that there’s not much penetration of IBM Lotus SmartSuite into schools is that IBM expects to be paid for every user per year; there are academic and quantity discounts, but not (I presume) so large as to make the contracts unprofitable for IBM. There are limits.

    If you want a free Lotus Notes, then you have to come to one of the IBM showrooms. Become an IBM employee, and of course you need to use IBM’s internal Lotus Notes service, and IBM can hardly expect employees to pay for it from their own pockets. Or come along as a potential client and ask for a ‘test drive’; your IBM Lotus Notes salesman is always ready to take your call.

    Anyway, the schools aren’t really doing the K-12 students any favors by taking operating system software from a single publisher. Microsoft, Apple, RedHat, Novell, and Canonical are all businesses willing to supply with global presences, and exposing every child to a mixture seem to me to be the appropriate way forward. Though schools’ fnuds available for investment in technology are severely limited, they aren’t ‘zero’, and they can always ask their salesmen about discounts. You have to, if you want something but the ‘retail price’ is too high. The answer might not always be ‘no’.

    But since I don’t run a school, I am not in a position to affect their choice in any way.

    I don’t think IBM is willing to supply OS/2 any more. It’s obsolete, and there is no IBM successor product. I wonder what IBM recommends you look at, in this case ?

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