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IBM's Pilot Program For Internal Use of Macs

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the thinking-different-than-blue dept.

IBM 257

geoffrobinson writes "Roughly Drafted has obtained internal IBM documents detailing the results of a small pilot program for internal use of Macs. Positive and negative results were detailed, but overall most participants were happy with their Mac experience. The pilot will be expanded this year. One advantage cited: less reliance on Windows. So it seems a mix of Macs, PCs, and Linux boxes are in IBM's future. Given the history between IBM and Microsoft, this is quite interesting."

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257 comments

I thought it's a joke (0)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 5 years ago | (#23119578)

When I saw it somewhere else for the first time.

Re:I thought it's a joke (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#23119796)

It's really not that strange-- it's not like the old days were Microsoft's OS is talked about as running on "IBM compatible computers". These days, Apple hardware isn't that different from anyone else's, so it's just a question of which operating system they want to run. Since IBM is so tied to Linux/Unix these days, it shouldn't surprise anyone that they're considering moving away from Windows.

I think the more ironic thing is that they're probably considering the move because Macs have become more popular since moving from PowerPC architecture to Intel's chips. To spell out the irony a little bit more, IBM started considering using Apple's computers (partially) as a result of Apple ceasing to use IBM's chips.

Re:I thought it's a joke (2, Interesting)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120040)

Another interpretation of these results is that IBM is still bitter about the dos and os/2 issues from way back, and they're finally gearing up to give the big blue finger to Microsoft.

Re:I thought it's a joke (4, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120696)

Yet another interpretation is that IBM couldn't give a fsck about religion, but is aware of how much Microsoft licensing costs (even if you're IBM I'd imagine it's non-trivial).

Combine that with the fact that they're almost certainly using Notes (rather than Exchange) for calendaring and email, and suddenly Windows is a very expensive choice for little benefit.

Re:I thought it's a joke (2, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120702)

If that was all there was to it, why wouldn't they have stopped using Windows already?

These days, IBM is not interested in selling a desktop OS or even selling consumer-grade computers. They're essentially in the business of selling big iron and IT services, and they're often providing Unix/Linux solutions.

Whether they hate Microsoft or love Microsoft, it still makes a lot of sense that if you're providing Unix-based services, you'd also want to be using Unix-based client-machines. It would just be a better solution for a variety of technical and non-technical reasons.

So once you assume that your client-machines are going to be running a Unix-y operating system, it seems like the natural question would be, "who's going to be using Linux and who's going to be using a Mac?" (I'm assuming that there would be a mix, naturally.)

Re:I thought it's a joke (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120740)

Another interpretation of these results is that IBM is still bitter about the dos and os/2 issues from way back, and they're finally gearing up to give the big blue finger to Microsoft.

That would be a valid interpretation if "IBM" were an individual with too much time on his hands. As it is, IBM is a large multi-national corporation that is incapable of holding grudges.

IBM logo turns pink, gets emo haircut (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23119596)

The downfall has begun! Apple means "self-obsessive, egomaniacal faux artistry" in ancient Aramaic.

Why wouldn't an engineer want a Mac? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23119652)

Functional on the inside (Unix), functional on the outside (Mac OS).

Re:Why wouldn't an engineer want a Mac? (0)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#23119756)

Because IT decided to use MS Active Directory for all our internal servers. Otherwise I would ask for a mac (and probably be denied anyway).

Re:Why wouldn't an engineer want a Mac? (5, Insightful)

CommandoCody (1154955) | more than 5 years ago | (#23119820)

We have a whole building of Macs here using Active Directory. I won't say it's trouble-free, but it works fairly well.

Re:Why wouldn't an engineer want a Mac? (5, Funny)

bittmann (118697) | more than 5 years ago | (#23119994)

We have a whole building of Macs here using Active Directory. I won't say it's trouble-free, but it works fairly well.

We have a whole building full of Windows XP machines here using Active Directory. I won't say it's trouble-free, but...never mind.

Re:Why wouldn't an engineer want a Mac? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23120770)

We have a bunch of Linux computers using Active Directory...I won't say its trouble free but never mind....

Re:Why wouldn't an engineer want a Mac? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23120568)

Because they're not in Mac's target demographic (grandmas).

Maybe this is why... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23120612)

Maybe the engineer might be a little leary of learning the truth about Apple [albinoblacksheep.com]

This shouldn't be a surprise! (4, Insightful)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 5 years ago | (#23119668)

Can you imagine the shocked faces seen around the world if it was announced that StuffHauler Inc, a long time Ford customer, was trying out GM brand vehicles? Me too, people would find it hard to believe!

Right.

In every other market it's normal to run trials to evaluate several options when making critical capital investment choices. It is only an inexplicable level of incompetence that means that most large companies don't do regular small scale tests of alternative solutions, just to keep tabs on them. Even if all you get out of it is some knowledge and possible a price break from a worried Microsoft it is still worth the time and money.

Software investment in a 100k user company will be upwards of $10m yet the contracts are let without even a thought of competitive tender or technical justification. If I let that through for any vendor on my normal projects I would be shit canned so fast my seat would still be warm when my replacement arrived.

Re:This shouldn't be a surprise! (4, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#23119754)

But unlike most large companies, IBM isn't only a software customer. They're a vendor and consulting firm. This isn't news just because they're trying it in-house. The implications down the road are more IBM apps working natively on Macs and significant influence in migrating other companies to Mac desktops.

Re:This shouldn't be a surprise! (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#23119812)

Sorry, that should be desktops and laptops. Which is also interesting since they only left the laptop business 3 years ago.

Re:This shouldn't be a surprise! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23119948)

Posting as an AC because I have direct experience with IBM Global Services (their consulting/services/outsourcing division).

What IBM decides to use internally has NO bearing on what they try to get customers to use. They will still push IBM boxes with either Linux or Windows. This is just a pilot for internal use.

Re:This shouldn't be a surprise! (5, Insightful)

barzok (26681) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120558)

True, but if IBM's consultants start showing up at client offices with MacBook Pros instead of Thinkpads, the clients will notice, and start thinking "hey, if it works for IBM, maybe we should look at using Macs too"

Re:This shouldn't be a surprise! (1)

dick johnson (660154) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120754)

News Flash. IBM doesn't sell PCs anymore.

They sold the Business to Lenovo. THAT company still sells computers under the IBM brand name.

But the computers are not IBM computers and therefore the company can be fairly agnostic about whether to support one platform or another.

Re:This shouldn't be a surprise! (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#23119830)

Absolutely. I would opine that anyone that wants to position their services in opposition to MS would have to cater to all competitive products.

MS has left some holes in the application portfolio of the Mac user. Sure there are alternatives, but there are also holes to exploit there.

If you can happily get your products to work on any OS, and happily network with any OS, you will find a sweet spot. (Note: this prognostication is FOC)

I believe that as reported in some trade press articles, Windows is running out of steam. Not much reason to upgrade to Vista till XP support is denied to you. NOW is THE time to begin cobbling together the alternate answer to a windows IT environment. YearOfLinuxOnTheDesktop is here, and if IBM and Sun are trying to position themselves to catch what falls off the MS wagon in the next three years, it will be an interesting time.

Re:This shouldn't be a surprise! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23119940)

I would be shit canned so fast my seat would still be warm when my replacement arrived.
That would be an indicator of how quickly your company could hire your replacement, not how soon you were fired. Your seat will be warmed by your rear for as long as you are there sitting on it, whether that's 1 day or 1 year.

Re:This shouldn't be a surprise! (4, Interesting)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120258)

Perhaps a better analogy would be a real one in the rental car business.

Until recently, Ford owned Hertz, and Hertz's fleet was entirely Ford Motor Company vehicles. Ford spun them off in 2005. Now Hertz is buying cars from GM, Hyundai and Toyota as well as Ford.

That probably started as a pilot program. It probably made the "Auto Rental Weekly News" or whatever as interesting. Everyone else yawned when it went out on the PR news wire from GM, Hyundai and Toyota.

In this case, IBM (a company that used to make laptops and desktops) sold off their laptop and desktop business. A couple years later, they started a pilot program to try laptops from another manufacturer than the one who bought their business unit. It made the news on Slashdot, and everyone else is going to yawn when Apple sends out the blurb on the PR news wire.

Re:This shouldn't be a surprise! (1)

wass (72082) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120316)

100% Wrong. IBM used to make the Thinkpad.

So your analogy should be more like asking a group of long-time Ford assembly-line workers to try out a new Mazda for their own personal use. And finding that 86% of them prefer the new company's product over that which their own company made.

Re:This shouldn't be a surprise! (3, Informative)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120670)

Unfortunately, you fail at making a car analogy.

Ford owns 33% of Mazda, and many Mazdas (the Mazda6, Mazda Tribute, and the B-series truck, among others) are built on Ford assembly lines, by Ford workers. And, EVERY current-production Mazda except for possibly the RX-8 has at least one Ford part in it.

No... this is different.

This would be like... Volvo (the truck company) using Saabs to shuttle executives around. A former competitor, but Volvo (the truck company) got out of the car business (selling their car manufacturing division to Ford.) But, still blasphemy.

Re:This shouldn't be a surprise! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23121146)

No, it would be more like your mom leaving your dad, and trying out his brother.

Re:This shouldn't be a surprise! (2, Insightful)

maddskillz (207500) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120434)

Actually, I think if this was a News for People who Like Trucks website, that would probably be big news.

Re:This shouldn't be a surprise! (3, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#23121074)

What is so surprising? From my understanding, IBM Research is involved in the pilot program. And they are specifically studying issues involving Macs. IBM Research might be using Suns and Dell Linux boxes too for all we know. This is not IBM Sales using the Macs. That might bring shock. Even MS uses Macs in development and research.

Re:This shouldn't be a surprise! (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#23121174)

"Can you imagine the shocked faces seen around the world if it was announced that StuffHauler Inc, a long time Ford customer, was trying out GM brand vehicles? Me too, people would find it hard to believe!"

More likely if Buck was trying out Ford brand vehicles. In case you missed it IBM created the PC standard that Microsoft rode to world domination.
Throw in that IBM is a HUGE company and that they have a very large influence on the tech industry and I think you are way off base in your downplaying this.

This is a HUGE slap in the face to Microsoft.

1984... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23119670)

So, does this mean that Apple is now Big Brother?

Mac vs Windows or really Mac versus Linux (3, Insightful)

Gefion (1271090) | more than 5 years ago | (#23119678)

Given IBM's various and sundry Linux initiatives, I am more curious by the Mac versus Linux desktop implications here than Mac versus Windows. It seems obvious that IBM would shift off Windows as fast as they could regardless.

Re:Mac vs Windows or really Mac versus Linux (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23119786)

IBM hasn't rolled out Vista support internally, so it's sort of everything versus Vista at this point. The standard software installer website currently lists Windows 2000, XP, and Linux. I doubt that the Mac OS will replace 2000, and Vista inevitably will. Oh well.

Re:Mac vs Windows or really Mac versus Linux (2, Informative)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120168)

Macs have a lot more commercial offerings than Linux.

Linux has a lot more up-to-date/less bug-ridden FOSS offerings than Macs.

Both have SSH and other unixy goodness that make them working together pretty nice. Then again OSX does not follow all the rules Linux does.

Both are easier to manage than Windows (system wise and license wise)

Re:Mac vs Windows or really Mac versus Linux (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120244)

Linux has a lot more up-to-date/less bug-ridden FOSS offerings than Macs.

Then again OSX does not follow all the rules Linux does.
Could you be more specific on both of these? Thanks.

Re:Mac vs Windows or really Mac versus Linux (2, Informative)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120448)

Linux more up to date FOSS:

Many FOSS projects I am interested in (Open Office, Scribus being two big ones) are really lagging behind in the OSX ports, either more bugs or are a version behind. I understand that is partly because of Aqua or some other binding issue with OSX. It is truly not the seamless experience you get with running a Linux version on Linux.

Macs don't always follow the Linux rules:

I've had to do some on my SAMBA server to get Macs to properly use permissions. Usually when I find a problem, I do a bunch of googleing and end up with some obscure note that SMB was mis-configured in OS X and to get it to work with Linux add: xxx into your servers conf file, etc. (I plug in the lines and usually it works, but many times it doesn't 'just work')

Other times it's a case of "Oh yeah, Apple fixed that - but only in the [insert latest version of OS] just buy upgrades" - that seems to happen a lot in Apple's support of Java Libraries.

Re:Mac vs Windows or really Mac versus Linux (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120828)

Linux more up to date FOSS:

Many FOSS projects I am interested in (Open Office, Scribus being two big ones) are really lagging behind in the OSX ports, either more bugs or are a version behind. I understand that is partly because of Aqua or some other binding issue with OSX. It is truly not the seamless experience you get with running a Linux version on Linux.
I see what you mean now. Well, the X Window versions will be up to date, so you could always run those.

Macs don't always follow the Linux rules:

I've had to do some on my SAMBA server to get Macs to properly use permissions. Usually when I find a problem, I do a bunch of googleing and end up with some obscure note that SMB was mis-configured in OS X and to get it to work with Linux add: xxx into your servers conf file, etc. (I plug in the lines and usually it works, but many times it doesn't 'just work')

Other times it's a case of "Oh yeah, Apple fixed that - but only in the [insert latest version of OS] just buy upgrades" - that seems to happen a lot in Apple's support of Java Libraries.
Okay, so misconfigured third-party stuff - I thought you were referring to OS-level stuff, like OS X does chmod differently or something bizarre like that.

I've never had any Java problems, and all my contracts recently have been Java-related, all developed on OS X, but it's entirely possible I'm just lucky or something. Historically, Linux has had far worse Java support because of free/non-free issues, leading to half-baked reimplementations like Blackdown.

Re:Mac vs Windows or really Mac versus Linux (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 5 years ago | (#23121166)

Many FOSS projects I am interested in (Open Office, Scribus being two big ones) are really lagging behind in the OSX ports, either more bugs or are a version behind. I understand that is partly because of Aqua or some other binding issue with OSX. It is truly not the seamless experience you get with running a Linux version on Linux.

Well, IBM probably have the resources to fix that fairly quickly for the products they need. For starters, they have their own OpenOffice-based productivity suite [lotus.com] - not currently available for OS X, but that could change if IBM became Mac fans. Eclipse seems to be pretty stable on OS X these days - and who knows how much of IBMs internal stuff is built on the Eclipse application framework?

Macs don't always follow the Linux rules:

...but now that OS X is officially UNIX it ought to follow POSIX rules. Anyway, OS X contains a lot of FOSS subsystems (Apache, Samba, Cups) which ought to be customisable/fixable - and the jolly blue giant probably has the nous to fix things like that.

Re:Mac vs Windows or really Mac versus Linux (3, Interesting)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120554)

Indeed. It seems almost like this is tacit admission that their 5 year old plan to migrate from Windows to Linux has failed. They seem to think that MacOS is a more viable alternative to move to than Linux.

At least that's what I take away from it. I mean, they made a big deal out of their plans to move everyone to Linux a few years ago, and to date it still hasn't happened in any large numbers.

Okay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23119714)

Well, for the longest time IBM was the manufacturer of Mac's processor.

Can you blame them? (0, Flamebait)

ooh456 (122890) | more than 5 years ago | (#23119722)

Windows has a well-deserved reputation of being slow Zand buggy. I'm surprised it took IBM so many years to realize that employees will be more productive on an OS that respects them.

Re:Can you blame them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23120118)

Yeah, I like it more when non-sentient, inanimate objects respect me.

What?!! (0, Troll)

rrahimi (1270478) | more than 5 years ago | (#23119740)

If the problem is reliance on Windows, then Linux is the solution, not an even tighter software and hardware lock-in.

Re:What?!! (1)

Amiga Trombone (592952) | more than 5 years ago | (#23119862)

If the problem is reliance on Windows, then Linux is the solution, not an even tighter software and hardware lock-in.
It's got nothing to do with reliance on Windows. It's just about accommodating the preferences of individual users. Some IBMers prefer Windows, some Linux, some Mac OS. There's no move afoot in IBM for a mass movement off of Windows.

Re:What?!! (2, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120028)

If the problem is reliance on Windows, then Linux is the solution, not an even tighter software and hardware lock-in.

The problem for IBM is being locked into Windows... or any other single solution. The answer is flexibility and making sure their software and services are cross platform so if they need to they can deploy Linux or OpenSolaris or NetBSD based appliances, or (more likely) a combination of all of the above. I seriously doubt IBM is going to become Apple's biggest customer, but it certainly makes sense for them to make sure they interoperate with OS X such that they can sell solutions to customers that include OS X systems when they make sense. It also makes sense for IBM to consider OS X for some internal uses where making Linux work might be too expensive (like running Adobe InDesign). In general IBM seems committed to moving towards Linux, but they need to keep their options open and where Linux is not appropriate, it makes sense for them to have a choice of OS X or Windows. You'll note, these were all Windows users that were comparing OS X to Windows, not to Linux.

Re:What?!! (2, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120366)

Huh? Apple machines are the only ones that can run windows, OS X, and linux on the same box. You can have all three installed easily. hardware lock-in is for the software only.

Yes OS X does have some strict software lock in then again no Apple product uses activation codes, that get lost, misused, or forgotten about by the Apple.

Would MSFt give up product activation if their software only ran on selected hardware? hardware that could run anything else anyways?

For Internal Application Only (5, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#23119766)

I know Apple makes little "nano" iPods, but is it shipping actual Macintoshes small enough to be "used internally"? Byte-sized, even?

(*rimshot* - I'm here all weekend, folks - try the veal)

Re:For Internal Application Only (5, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#23119852)

Little known fact:

The goatse guy actually started his career after he tried to use one of the original Mac portables internally.

A few things to note (4, Interesting)

gelfling (6534) | more than 5 years ago | (#23119810)

IBM Research Watson is an entity unto itself. It has its own IT support infrastructure and runs according to its own rules. They rarely if ever want for funding.

IBM has been non-supporting Apple for years by allowing clients to run VMWare and similar tools to host the IBM apps that don't run natively.

IBM has been attempting to roll out an 'open' client on Linux for years. It's progressed very slowly, considering. It appears to lack funding and focus.

IBM is aware of the MS software licencing costs which is why there is some effort to rollout an OO based Lotus alternative to MS Office.

It doesn't serve anyone to replace MS licencing costs with Apple hardware costs. So the probability that IBM would roll out lots of expensive Apples is nil. More likely they will offer a client CD you can use to build your IBM standard client on Mac.

The most common client rolled out today is a Thinkpad T60 or T61.

Re:A few things to note (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23119996)

And speaking of clients, they're thinking about switching engineers from one laptop and one workstation to one laptop and bigger iron support in the form of blades. If you get your laptop running two flat-panels it's not such a bad setup, really. My workstation is a four processor 300Mhz Power3 with 16GB RAM-- 9 years old, maybe? It's more an more of a space heater and an ssh client these days. Short term, they're still rolling out Linux workstations. Longer term, I have to think the blade idea makes more sense.

Upgrade cycle (4, Insightful)

mveloso (325617) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120070)

Note, though, that ignoring the hardware cost of a Windows box only is valid until the next hardware upgrade cycle.

I think IBM's hardware replacement cycle is 3 years (leases), so if the timing is right there may not be that much extra expense. They'll have to upgrade the hardware to run Vista anyway, and the extra hardware cost of a Mac would be marginal at the scale that IBM is talking about. In fact, since it's all eaten by IBM finance the actual cost really doesn't matter that much (blue dollars).

The question is if they got a productivity boost. It's unbelievably difficult to get those, so if they can show that they got a 4% or 6% boost in productivity by switching, that's more than worth the cost of the hardware/software. Scale that across IGS, and suddenly you've changed how well your whole company works.

Re:Upgrade cycle (1, Flamebait)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120726)

The cost difference between Mac and Windows PC hardware should be fairly small for IBM. While I, personal user, can equal a $2000 Mac with $500 of hardware and then load Ubuntu and/or Windows onto it, IBM buys in bulk from other vendors. I've been involved in about a half dozen bulk purchases of computers in the last seven years, and I'm always shocked that the cost per machine is always at least twice what it would cost to buy the components separately and put them together myself. Also, in the case of a recent Dell purchase of a laptop for my boss I configured a system through the large business site, or whatever it's called, and then configured an identical system through the home and home office site, and system one was $2600 while system two was $1500. That's for the same hardware prepared by the same company with the same warranty. For all the talk about thrift in the corporate world, I'm shocked at how happy giant corporations are to pay twice as much as they could if they had more flexibility (allowing reimbursement of a purchase from the home store) and less bureaucracy.

Re:A few things to note (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23121042)

Add to that switching to Mac would mean ditching lenovo, which IBM has a large stake in. There'd have to be some really big gains in other areas to make this work financially.

Thinkpads still rule (1, Flamebait)

boudie2 (1134233) | more than 5 years ago | (#23119838)

From the article: If the remote connection and Sametime issues are worked out, I think that Mac users can be productive in IBM. However, if I had to recommend a non-Windows setup, I would recommend Linux on a ThinkPad. I see the convenience and reliability of ThinkPad hardware as superior, and the Mac OS is still a proprietary OS that seems to require a Windows license for some tasks anyway. I do not see enough of an advantage in the Mac OS to be worth the incompatibility issues when collaborating with my colleagues. Take that macbook fanboys. Me and my T40 running Gentoo feel very smug. Very smug.

Re:Thinkpads still rule (0)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#23121290)

However, if I had to recommend a non-Windows setup, I would recommend Linux on a ThinkPad.

Recommending Linux makes a lot of sense for IBM, since they're selling it and it is a cost savings. As for the ThinkPad hardware, well independent reviewers tend to have a different opinion.

I see the convenience and reliability of ThinkPad hardware as superior...

Consumer Reports and several other independent testing companies publish regular statistics on hardware reliability. Lenovo ThinkPads have consistently been coming in second to Apple MacBook pros for several years. Someone (from the article) should have checked their facts.

...and the Mac OS is still a proprietary OS that seems to require a Windows license for some tasks anyway.

OS X is a proprietary OS and will cost an OS licensing fee that Linux will not. For the second part, however, whether you're running WINE, Cedega, RDP, or Windows in VMWare, the cost is the same on Linux and OS X. I'd even argue that today, OS X needs Windows for fewer tasks than Linux does. If you're running MS Office, Adobe Photoshop, or any number of other commercial applications, there are native OS X versions that let you bypass the Windows license whereas Linux still has to pay to play. OS X also does better at interoperating with Windows only protocols in many cases.

I do not see enough of an advantage in the Mac OS to be worth the incompatibility issues when collaborating with my colleagues. Me and my T40 running Gentoo feel very smug. Very smug.

Of the hundred or so people I know who switched from Linux on the desktop to OS X, I know one who switched back. There is always a minority opinion though, in fact more of them from this IBM study than I've seen in my work environment. For some use cases (Linux on the desktop development, for example) Linux certainly is a better choice. That said, several parts of this smug opinion are very doubtful, or poorly researched.

Reality not so Appley (1)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 5 years ago | (#23119856)

IBM 'might dump Windows for Mac'

In-depth research polls, err, 24 employees

http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2008/04/17/ibm-might-dump-windows-mac/ [theinquirer.net]

Re:Reality not so Appley (1)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 5 years ago | (#23119998)

Actually, that was not accurate, according to IBM. IBM announced today there are no plans to switch entirely to Apple computers, and that this is for software development/testing purposes only.

This is News? (1, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#23119860)

The article says IBM is running a very small program to let some employees run OS X. Is that news?

IBM is a giant corporation that has been slowly moving more and more away from Windows internally and has a large scale move to Linux underway. It is an engineering organization, in the computing field. OS X has been rapidly gaining market share in the US and undoubtedly many of IBMs customers use it to some degree.

It would be news if IBM was not running a small program to see how well OS X works internally, especially since they use their own company as a proving ground for things they sell elsewhere. This clearly helps them create better solutions for customers that have OS X in their mixed deployments.

The article says their employees have have a very positive response to OS X, the vast majority of them preferring it over Windows. Is this news?

OS X has been positively reviewed by most users for a long, long time and compared very favorably to Windows by, well, a lot of different people and members of the press. It has been gaining install share in the US (and slowly worldwide) compared to Windows. It has been gaining market share very quickly among geeks, like here on Slashdot and in scientific fields. It would be news if most IBM users did not prefer it.

In short, this article is "news" mostly in that it just confirms what we already know, but which many Mac users are still a bit insecure. Is there any article about IBM and OS X that won't make Slashdot?

Re:This is News? Yes it is. (1)

wass (72082) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120510)

There are two things that make it newsworthy (well, newsworthy to the average tech geek).

Firstly, IBM used to make the Thinkpad, and the pro-Thinkpad loyalty that exists there is obviously disintegrating very quickly.

Secondly, and more interestingly to me, are the numbers. There were 24 people in the pilot program, 22 of which responded to the survey. Of those 22, a whopping 19 actually preferred to keep running OS X on their Macbook instead of Windows on their THinkpad! That's pretty damn huge. 86% of a group of NEW users to OS X, given a time enough to get used to it, actually prefer PS X and the Apple hardware, to the software environment they were previously accustomed to and on their company's own developed hardware system to boot.

Re:This is News? Yes it is. (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120624)

Firstly, IBM used to make the Thinkpad, and the pro-Thinkpad loyalty that exists there is obviously disintegrating very quickly.

Okay I can see that as interesting, although it has been three years now.

Secondly, and more interestingly to me, are the numbers. There were 24 people in the pilot program, 22 of which responded to the survey. Of those 22, a whopping 19 actually preferred to keep running OS X on their Macbook instead of Windows on their THinkpad!

Why do you find that surprising? Among security professionals I know, that is below the normal switcher rate for those that try Apple machines (in my experience). In fact, that is lower than the switcher rate among engineers coming from Linux who tried it at my last company. The loyalty of people who try OS X is fairly legendary in the press and in the geek community.

86% of a group of NEW users to OS X, given a time enough to get used to it, actually prefer PS X[sic] and the Apple hardware, to the software environment they were previously accustomed to and on their company's own developed hardware system to boot.

Considering Apple's laptops are one of the few to consistently be reviewed better and do better in hardware reliability tests by independent testing companies, that just seems to fall in line with the numbers companies like Consumer Reports have been publishing for years.

GO IBM! (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#23119866)

GO! Start the new tide of change... (But, please, see this as an opportunity to rewrite (internally, or via the Open Source Community) the IBM-owned portions of the LOTUS SMARTSUITE software from scratch and deprecate Symphony, and let them work around the patented stuff with current tools and obvious features sets not envisioned nor blocked by the previous patents.)

Alternatively, Work HARDER with Sun, and merge the best of the two so end-users can still have WordPro for it's tabs and smart palettes, and Approach apps without being forced to become programmers.

The numbers are insignificant, but.. (5, Informative)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 5 years ago | (#23119894)

The numbers of testers may be insignificant compared to the IBMs whole workforce, but IBM is seeing the front line, and is adjusting itself.
Think about it, they have a lot of IT savvy folks, who know a thing or two about operating systems. And especially Unix/Linux. Why would those folks be pushing for their competitor's platform (Microsoft) as opposed to staying truly cross platform compatible.

The OS is becoming more irrelevant nowdays. Some folks at IBM are seeing that and adjusting accordingly.
(And saving money on CALs to boot...)

I'm surprised IBM hasn't been doing this already.. (2, Insightful)

MickLinux (579158) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120218)

Even when the OS was significant, there would have been good reason to use all three.

The Mac has long excelled as a desktop publishing machine, for example. So you would expect the advertisers and some of the manual writers to use it.

On the other hand, for information that is internal, you probably would want to use TeX and LaTex a majority of the time. For that, I'd suggest Linux.

Likewise, Linux makes a good server system. It is more easily and cheaply repairable than other systems, and can be expanded as necessary (and as new hardware becomes available). It is also good for quickly testing out new ideas. So lab computers and servers should probably be Linux.

Finally, Windows is good for government compliance (yes, see, we're using a Windows system over there, right next to the desk fan. If we need to use windows, we have that too.) Basically, Microsoft gave their OS to the government and educational systems as a way of forcing others to use it. So by all means, every business should have at least one copy.

Anyhow, that's how I ran our small business back in the 90's thru 2002, and it worked fine.

Aside from that, having a windows system allowed me to complain. I find there's nothing more frustrating than hearing "how's it going", and having to say "Can't complain."

Re:The numbers are insignificant, but.. (1)

wass (72082) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120390)

The numbers, not included in the slashdot summary, are more interesting. 24 people took part in the pilot program, and these are new users to OS X. 22 responded to the survey, and 18 of the 22 actually prefer OS X over Windows (one felt they were equal, and 3 preferred Windows to OS X). Now when looking at these numbers, keep in mind they are new to OS X, and had to get over the learning curve.

More interestingly, the 19 of 22 requested to keep using OS X on their Macbook instead of going back to Windows on their Thinkpads. That I think speaks volumes to the overall Mac/OS X experience.

Powerbook 2400c (5, Informative)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120048)

IBM has built Mac laptops before.

The Powerbook 2400c was made for Apple by IBM Japan.

I would assume that the group responsible ended up on the Lenovo side of the line, and I would love to see an Apple branded Thinkpad.

IBM and Apple, whodathunk it (PPC) (4, Funny)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120050)

Yeah, it's not like IBM ever made processors for a Mac [com.com]... oh, wait...

What is more surprising is that they do this after Apple threw them over for Intel chips. Maybe it's one of those things where you get along better with yer Ex after the divorce than before.

To appropriate "Married with Children":
Peg: Would you rather have sex with A) Your wife...
Al: B!

where "your wife" = small values of Windows.

Re:IBM and Apple, whodathunk it (PPC) (1)

wass (72082) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120574)

Your analogy fails to mention that IBM used to make the Thinkpad! Ie, the laptop that the people in the study gave up for the Macbook.

Making the actual Thinkpad, is more of a draw than making the PowerPC chip that is used in Macs, as well as many other systems.

This is not really new (3, Informative)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120100)

In 1991, I was friends with a girl whose father worked at IBM's Armonk facility. He and several other researchers had Mac systems for some kind of graphic/visual analysis research, mostly IIci [wikipedia.org] and IIfx [wikipedia.org] systems. He had problems with System 7 [wikipedia.org], I was a Mac guy, and I had reason to impress the girl. So when I said I could fix his Mac, he invited me up to Armonk, and I fixed it.

Didn't help much with the girl, but at least I got to visit a major IBM facility.

Re:This is not really new (3, Funny)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120214)

"I was friends with a girl". Clearly this story is fabricated.

Re:This is not really new (4, Funny)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120340)

"I was friends with a girl". Clearly this story is fabricated.
Actually, it's quite plausible. Nerds tend to hear "let's just be friends" quite frequently.

Conversely... (2, Interesting)

fitten (521191) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120158)

One advantage cited: less reliance on Windows.


Does this have a corresponding disadvangage of "more reliance on Apple"? Seriously... if an advantage of switching is less reliance on a single source, then more reliance on a different single source must be a disadvantage (regardless of who that single source is). This is one obvious place where OSS (and Linux) has an advantage.

Re:Conversely... (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120282)

It has a huge advantage. Next time MS threatens to raise the price of your Volume subscription, you threaten to move a few thousand more machines to linux or apple. They back down. Next time apple threatens to raise the prices of their software, you threaten to move a few thousand machines to windows. Many companies bitch about the costs of licensing, but its just bitching, since they don't see themselves as having a choice. IBM will have a choice, and can shop around to get the best prices.

Target Diversity (1)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120198)

In diversity lies strength. IBM is simply providing a target diverse environment for hackers. I've heard rumblings that DoD is interested in changing the MicroStatus quo, but couldn't see an affordable, manageable way to do it. Don't you know, there's a war on?

That's it! I've had it... (0, Flamebait)

Tardius Maximus (959523) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120312)

I am sick of everyone's smarmy afterglow about their switch to Mac after all the "terrible" experiences with PCs and Windows. It's always the same one sided comparison, " I can't believe how other-worldly the Mac experience is compared to Vista." Of course, carving your name in stone with a hammer and chisel is better than Vista. But as a network admin, I have better control and flexibilty with PCs and AD than any Mac I have handled, and I started my IT career on Macs. The latest OS for Mac is very pretty and whiz-bang, but getting integration into a predominantly Windows environment requires additional software purchases, extra configuration issues and more time/money overhead. Yes... you can access an smb share on Windows from a Mac, after you turn of digital signing and reduce your domain's security level. Nice touch. Every Mac Lover I encounter has the same story, "I use it at home and it's so easy. I must use it in the office!" Douchebag! Looking at porn at home and synchronzing data from your laptop to a domain share for redundancy while having access to Group Policy management are NOT the same thing.

And the next person who shows me how awesome Time Machine is has a three word answer from me: Volume Shadow Copy. Windows Server has had this feature since 2003. And with a few mouse click and GPO push (read: automatic) of one app, all machines in my company can pull up network data from any time without use of backup tapes. And any company worth its salt has good virus protection, spam blocking and border security in place. Now here comes the Mac which can make use of none of those office level features. 5% market share does not good anti- virus make. When there are enough of them out there, and bored German teenagers get busy, then let's talk about how secure Macs are.

You win with Vista... it sucks and blows. You're not getting an argument from me there. But XP SP2, which now has support until 2014 from MS, just works. Apple knows how to make things pretty, but they always seem to do it after other OS and PC manufacturers take the hard road.

P.S.: Hey Apple, you didn't invent the MP3 player. My Creative was rockin' long before anyone said the phrase iPod.

No that's not it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23120380)

No, no, no. It's only in IBM's San Francisco office. You see, it's part of their diversity program. All of the gay people there were demanding their Macs and IBM not wanting to lose their gay employees are starting this program.

P.S. Apple, you need a pink Mac! geethes!

Re:That's it! I've had it... (5, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#23121070)

I am sick of everyone's smarmy afterglow about their switch to Mac after all the "terrible" experiences with PCs and Windows.

It is, however, very understandable. Users try OS X, realize some of the problems they've ben working around for years and no longer even think about are no longer problems. They get a bit crazy and try to understand why most people still use Windows and in the process can be very loquacious and annoying. It calms down after a few months or a year.

But as a network admin, I have better control and flexibilty with PCs and AD than any Mac I have handled, and I started my IT career on Macs. The latest OS for Mac is very pretty and whiz-bang, but getting integration into a predominantly Windows environment requires additional software purchases, extra configuration issues and more time/money overhead.

So you're saying your IT department standardized on solutions that locked you into one vendor, and now that users are demanding support for other vendors, your lack of foresight is biting you in the ass. Umm, maybe next time you should consider the future and flexibility as a feature so you don't have to purchase new software that handles the use case you did not consider.

Yes... you can access an smb share on Windows from a Mac, after you turn of digital signing and reduce your domain's security level.

It's called NFS. Any OS can use it. Why did you ignore the possibility of Mac or Linux or Solaris workstations when you picked a network file system?

Every Mac Lover I encounter has the same story, "I use it at home and it's so easy. I must use it in the office!" Douchebag!

Well why don't you just ask Microsoft to improve Windows. You're they're customer, surely any company you chose to do business with is responsive to your concerns as a customer, right? Oh wait, you chose to do business with an entire organization of douchbags you have repeatedly been convicted of crimes against their customers. Good choice there.

Looking at porn at home and synchronzing data from your laptop to a domain share for redundancy while having access to Group Policy management are NOT the same thing.

No they're not. Your job is to implement a solution for the latter that actually works for what your users want to do. You do realize IT is supposed to be about facilitating user needs, right?

And the next person who shows me how awesome Time Machine is has a three word answer from me: Volume Shadow Copy. Windows Server has had this feature since 2003.

Congratulations. You fundamentally misunderstood the ways in which Time Machine is innovative. I don't even use it, but I read the whitepaper. What kind of IT geek are you if you don't actually read up on new tech?

And any company worth its salt has good virus protection, spam blocking and border security in place.

What does this have to do with anything? Since when has border security stopped malware problems anyway? You seem about four to six years out of date when it comes to business security models.

Now here comes the Mac which can make use of none of those office level features.

The Mac can make use of plenty of those office level features, if you implemented a cross platform solution instead of locking yourself into one vendor. Man am I glad I haven't had to deal with vaguely incompetent IT people with Windows only skills for many years. Maybe you should take some courses at the community college or something.

5% market share does not good anti- virus make.

Maybe, maybe not. But whatever Apple has done, it works so far. Realistically, malware is not a problem for Macs at this time. In future that might change.

When there are enough of them out there, and bored German teenagers get busy, then let's talk about how secure Macs are.

When and if that happens, you might have a point. For now speculation that Macs might be insecure in the future is pointless.

You win with Vista... it sucks and blows. You're not getting an argument from me there. But XP SP2, which now has support until 2014 from MS, just works.

I use WinXP and OS X daily. Sorry but XP just doesn't cut it. As an IT person can I recommend you actually invest in a Mac and use it regularly as a way to be educated and update your skills. You don't have to like it, just learn it like a professional. Arguing for XP over OS X, with no details of use cases is, well nothing at all.

Apple knows how to make things pretty, but they always seem to do it after other OS and PC manufacturers take the hard road.

Umm, okay. First, why do I care? Second, why do I care what your unsupported assertion on this is?

P.S.: Hey Apple, you didn't invent the MP3 player. My Creative was rockin' long before anyone said the phrase iPod.

No, Apple sure didn't. They just made it usable enough so that normal people could actually rip their CD collection, load it onto their player, and play songs while jogging. They also made it easy enough that normal people could buy a few songs online and burn them to CD. I don't even own an iPod, but I acknowledge the accomplishment, not that it matters. The market has acknowledged it with a pile of cash, which means more to apple anyway.

So what? (2, Insightful)

joeyblades (785896) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120420)

These kinds of pilots happen all the time, always with the same results...

(1) The user experience with the Mac OS is generally high

(2) The IT department decides that more Macs means less dependence on IT

(3) Less dependence on IT means smaller empires for IT managers...

Guess who gets to decide what users are allowed to have on their desktops...

Re:So what? (0)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120674)

(2) The IT department decides that more Macs means less dependence on IT (3) Less dependence on IT means smaller empires for IT managers... Guess who gets to decide what users are allowed to have on their desktops...

Both of the last two companies I worked at had two interesting things. First, IT is part of the engineering group. Second, employees (including IT) get cash bonuses and stock options based upon the company's performance. At the last company, Apple is one of only two pre-approved hardware vendors and IT likes having less work to do to keep them running. The last time we hired an IT guy, OS X experience was the #1 most important criteria due to the number of employees running it.

Office 2008 and Macs? (3, Insightful)

ErichTheRed (39327) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120484)

Here's a good question. Microsoft released Office 2008 for Mac,and surprisingly it doesn't come with VBA. This could be _the_ major problem with interoperability.

Companies live and die on Excel macros that various pseudo-programmers have put together over the years. What was Microsoft thinking? Oh wait, I know... :)

In all seriousness, this is a cool thing. Apple has finally started down the enterprise compatibility road, with all the AD hooks and such in Mac OS. Being a Windows admin though, one of the really nice (and really limiting) things about Windows clients + Windows servers is group policy. I can change every machine's IE settings in 15 minutes as opposed to copying down a new firefox config file. I can control almost every tweakable setting on a Windows machine from one location. What's the cross-platform answer for this?

At this point, the central management piece and availability of apps are the two big questions. The other is having the IT department support another piece of hardware.

Re:Office 2008 and Macs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23120576)

In all seriousness, if you want to know the reasoning behind the death of VBA on the Mac, avoid all of the various fanboy and Microsoft-hater conspiracy theories and look up the Microsoft Mac Office engineer blog posts that have been on the Web for a long time now, with very extensive user discussions following the posts. As I understand it, in a nutshell, it had to to with some show-stopper issues related to upgrading VBA to run on Mac OS X on the Intel processors. (Office 2004 is not Intel-native on the Mac).

It is not a good thing. Not a good thing at all. But they had their reasons, whether we believe them or not.

I'm not going to believe it was about "this will kill the Mac once and for all." If it was that, they should have just killed Office!

Re:Office 2008 and Macs? (1)

ErichTheRed (39327) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120844)

I agree, and I've read the reports. It's just convenient timing that even made it a credible theory.

You would think they'd invest a little more effort in getting VBA working though. Full compatibility with Windows Office is one of the major things keeping people buying Office for Mac. Apple has their own alternative (iWork) and of course you can run any of the open-source office suites on Mac OS. Both ate better than Office 2008 IMO.

In fairness, they're also going to kill VBA on the Windows side too, in favor of Visual Studio Tools for Office. There's going to be a lot of contractor work available for those crazy enough to go picking through 8-year-old Excel macros with 30,000 lines of spaghetti-code goodness.

Never underestimate the power of VBA in large corporations. SAP? J.D. Edwards? PeopleSoft? They're just great big databases for departments to pull the numbers from. All the real crunching is done with some creaky VBA code running on some dude's desktop.

Re:Office 2008 and Macs? (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 5 years ago | (#23121324)

I am putting together puppet [reductivelabs.com] to manage our Debian boxes. It works with Linux and Mac OSX (according to the site, we don't have any Mac OSX machines for me to test the reality)

Re:Office 2008 and Macs? (1)

cens0r (655208) | more than 5 years ago | (#23121334)

Hey, I'm a real programmer... It's not my fault that someone saw the excel macro's I wrote to make my life easier and decided it would be good if everyone in the company started using it.

Great! (3, Funny)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120616)

Now they should start a pilot program to reduce the Lotus Notes-related suicide rate. Perhaps a bottle of vicodin gets delivered to your desk every time the app starts up...

Re:Great! (1)

chamont (25273) | more than 5 years ago | (#23121348)

They might as well ship that vicodin on a freight ship from the other side of the planet.

Roughly Drafted is not a credible source (2, Informative)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120644)

Poke around the site for a few minutes and it will be come really clear that Roughly Drafted is just some moron running a Microsoft hate blog. Chances are these "documents" are either made up or exaggerated.

Let's stick to numbers and press releases when we start talking about market share and company's official positions on operating systems, not the musings of some apple-phile.

Besides, we know that IBM quite plainly supports linux and unix. They're a top linux contributor:

https://www.linux-foundation.org/publications/linuxkerneldevelopment.php [linux-foundation.org]

Chances are much greater they'll be using linux internally more and more as time goes on, not relying on yet another proprietary OS vendor they have no influence over. They probably use about as many macs internally as microsoft does- and that's not an ironic statement.

Why I enjoyed reading this post. (5, Informative)

4g1vn (840279) | more than 5 years ago | (#23120836)

More and more companies are starting to realize the Microsoft conundrum.
1) How do we properly license upcoming products (Server 2008, SQL 2008, etc...)? Spend an eight hour session and you MAY figure it out.
2) Let's standardize on a document format (.doc). OK, here comes Office 2007 with (.docx). WTF is that, and it's the default when saving a new document. Shame on you Microsoft.
3) Vista promotion. It's better than XP, blah, blah, blah. No, it sucks, and was rushed to market. I use it (I'm forced) and very few of my network utilities work properly.
Hats off to IBM for making a bold but, intelligent decision.

Not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23120860)

This is not news.

Having worked at IBM through the .com boom I can say quite a few Macs were in use in various departments, namely graphic design, web front-end and technical writing, and I was not aware if IBM had a strict no-Mac policy at that time.

Apple isn't really helping efforts like this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23120980)

I've tried to do the same thing at my own company (very large defense firm), but the roadblock, oddly enough, is Apple's own refusal to ship iMacs without wireless (802.11 and Bluetooth) capability. Security restrictions (and reasonable ones, this isn't a case of over-paranoia) prevent me from buying anything with an active wireless link that would be located in secure areas, and that's a damn shame. iMacs would be a damn sight better in many ways than the Dell and HP boxes we're forced to use now.

Re:Apple isn't really helping efforts like this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23121230)

Until very recently, I worked in a very large defense firm as well. I hear you. But I think that is unique to the defense industry.

Apple tends to stay more focused and try not to get distracted from their plans. Maybe at some point they will focus more on corporate sales and include the needs of defense companies.
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