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IBM VP Talks About Another $1 Billion for Linux Development (Video)

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the a-billion-here-and-a-billion-there-can-add-up-to-real-money-if-you're-not-careful dept.

IBM 50

Brad McCredie is an IBM VP, and head of IBM's Power Systems development. (He's also one of the mere few hundred IBM Fellows that have been named in the past 50 years.) He pointed out in his keynote at this year's LinuxCon gathering that IBM has been adopting and supporting Linux (and associated software, like Apache) in various ways for the past decade and a half. Famously, the company promised to support Linux to the tune of a billion dollars in 2001, and McCredie renewed the promise on Tuesday. I sat down to talk with him about just how they'll go about spending the next billion dollars on Linux development; when a company has more than $200 billion in market capitalization, there are lots of ways to spread it around. Spending on hardware is one way, and McCredie also talked about the recently announced OpenPower consortium, which ties directly into the ongoing Linux push.

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A billion here, a billion there... (2)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 7 months ago | (#44886437)

A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money.

Re:A billion here, a billion there... (2)

Bengie (1121981) | about 7 months ago | (#44887291)

$1b is a lot of hot-pockets. Linux programmers will be fed for a long time.

Re: A billion here, a billion there... (1)

techprophet (1281752) | about 7 months ago | (#44887783)

With a billion dollars, they could build a hot pocket factory and provide all kernel contributors with a lifetime supply!

Re: A billion here, a billion there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44888221)

With a billion dollars, they could build a hot pocket factory and provide all kernel contributors with a lifetime supply!

I just keep server rooms ticking over and build little shit. Is any of this $bn going to filter down to me?

nah; just BS (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44886545)

The money will be spent on outsourcing it. IBM making this announcement is like Walmart claiming that they will spend 50 million on American businesses. What that will go into is food so that they can take out Kroger and Safeway. As somebody that once worked for IBM, I now say that they are a pure trash company.

Re:nah; just BS (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 7 months ago | (#44886727)

The money will be spent on outsourcing it. IBM making this announcement is like Walmart claiming that they will spend 50 million on American businesses. What that will go into is food so that they can take out Kroger and Safeway. As somebody that once worked for IBM, I now say that they are a pure trash company.

umm so? it's an investment.. plenty of people work in those firms the money is used on. if they buy services that enhances linux what's so bad about that..? that they're not dumping the money on giving you a 200k/year job scratching your balls?

Aww hellz yeah! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44886627)

IBM gonna make it rain all over GNU!

All of it to be spent hiring the cheapest talent.. (1, Troll)

mmell (832646) | about 7 months ago | (#44886641)

...from everywhere on the globe where labor is cheap. Of course, you gets what you pays for, but that won't stop Big Blue, no sir!

Re:All of it to be spent hiring the cheapest talen (2)

timothy (36799) | about 7 months ago | (#44886797)

A lot of it's going to be spent in France, which is famous for non-cheap labor ... (And on things like Watson, which has teams in New York, Austin, and India at least -- I think in some other places, too.)

Re:All of it to be spent hiring the cheapest talen (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 7 months ago | (#44887399)

A lot of it's going to be spent in France, which is famous for non-cheap labor

Unlike US, where experienced programmers are so much cheaper than the French ones.

Re:All of it to be spent hiring the cheapest talen (4, Informative)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 7 months ago | (#44887089)

You get what you pay for doesn't apply here at all. First of all, code needs to get accepted into the kernel. If you knew how that works, then you would know that garbage isn't getting into it. The people will have to be highly skilled and know their stuff. Even if they spend ten billion on "cheap labor" then there won't be a single line of code that actually makes it into the kernel.

Re:All of it to be spent hiring the cheapest talen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44888429)

Userspace Code is the Future!

Re:All of it to be spent hiring the cheapest talen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44889191)

IBM is pretty skilled

Re:All of it to be spent hiring the cheapest talen (1)

haakoflo (2497300) | about 7 months ago | (#44887211)

There is correctly priced labor, and overpriced labor. And then there are bitter labor that cannot face the competition. I don't post often, here, but honestly, I'm getting a bit tired of whiners with an exaggerated sense of entitlement. Decent programmers still earn enough dollars to buy cheap services from other labor groups that experience a lot more competition than the coders.

Re:All of it to be spent hiring the cheapest talen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44890943)

Being a Scientologist and driving past an accident is not like being anyone else.

Re:All of it to be spent hiring the cheapest talen (1)

chriscappuccio (80696) | about 7 months ago | (#44899489)

I'm not sure if I'm grasping the full significance of this post. But, I like it.

WOW! I must've hit a real nerve . . . (1)

mmell (832646) | about 7 months ago | (#44888295)

It's okay. Yes, they've made some fairly incredible contributions to the LINUX ecosystem (LVM comes screaming to mind), but as recent as that was it was still a very different IBM from the one that's doing this now. I have seen the GDF and IBM's current business model up close and personal; I'm just saying I don't trust 'em anymore and I don't perceive that this is going to be nearly as important an event as people here seem to think.

Microsoft Response (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44886655)

"or vagina" ...

STG (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44886701)

Why pay your own employees in the server group, you can just ask them all to take a week's leave so you can donate money to Linux....

On a serious note (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44886733)

IBM should use that 1 billion to offer better hardware support and "desktop" linux, moving marketshare into linux is sure to be the best investment if you can gain marketshare which you wont without desktop linux

Re:On a serious note (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 7 months ago | (#44887495)

You say this as desktops outside the corporate environment are dieing... I even see corporate environments turning to SASS terminal stations in the future. The future of Linux is the architecture all those terminals connect to.

Re:On a serious note (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 7 months ago | (#44887869)

You say this as desktops outside the corporate environment are dieing...

Desktops outside corporate are *not* dieing, PC sales are *slowing down* because people are not replacing the ones that *work*, opting to buy toys like tablets.

There is a difference.

Re:On a serious note (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 7 months ago | (#44889469)

Exactly. Virtually everyone I know with a tablet already has a PC in the household.

"Smart Phones" are another story -- I know a lot of people who's only internet access device is a smart phone. But they're also all young people who haven't built up a home and a house, and who don't have room for a computer in the room that they rent. I've no doubt that when they're older and in a home of their own, they'll have a computer like everyone else.

Re:On a serious note (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44898117)

Desktops in corporate seem to have little utility as well in many cases. I work at a decently large company, and as far as I can tell, the desktop to laptop ratio is about 1 to 50.

Re:On a serious note (1)

Dega704 (1454673) | about 7 months ago | (#44887835)

As much as I also want to see this kind of effort put into desktop Linux, I have to respectfully disagree. IBM's angle here is obviously a long term investment to protect their mainframes and other Power based servers from the encroaching x86 systems. You could even say that it is BECAUSE Linux is so successful on the server side that IBM must do this. That is how it has always been for Linux. The bulk of the development will continue to go into everything but desktops because that is where the money is; hence why IBM shed their PC division years ago. IBM has survived for so long because of their ability to see where the tech industry is headed and adjust course preemptively. I'm not worried at all because the desktop is the only area left that Linux does not already dominate; Microsoft's last stand, so to speak. And it won't be IBM that takes that final bastion down. It will be companies like Google and Valve. Just look at how much development effort has gone into Linux graphics drivers in the last year, thanks to Valve's Steam strategy. It's only a matter of time.

Re:On a serious note (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44887955)

IBM doesn't make desktops anymore. They sold all that off to Lenovo. Desktop Linux means nothing to them.

Re: On a serious note (1)

TheGreatDonkey (779189) | about 7 months ago | (#44889137)

Actually, IBM does invest in desktop Linux and in a company of about 400,000 employees, has a sizable chunk running on an internally built standard and continuing to consolidate onto it. It wouldn't be a stretch for them to give this away given the efforts are already undertaken. The fact that they don't suggests they don't see a return worth it.

Re:On a serious note (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44907899)

IBM put plenty of money into desktop OS/2. There's no need for IBM to repeat such an effort with Linux.

Why Linux? The cloud is now the OS. (2)

Animats (122034) | about 7 months ago | (#44887321)

The way data centers are going, the "operating system" is migrating off the server farm. The trend is toward servers with a minimal OS that run a single application, probably in a VM. File systems are on other machines on a storage area network. Control of the server farm is on machines separate from the servers. Control machines tell server VMs what to run, what they can connect to (part of "software defined networking"), and their identity for security purposes. Logging, monitoring, and problem reporting is handled by machines other than the workers. Development takes place in a different environment than production. That's what Amazon AWS is like right now. That's what IBM needs to provide to their corporate customers.

Data center computing may not need Linux at all on the production machines. The more specialized machines which run the support systems of the cloud may use it, but they aren't the performance-critical machines. They're the security-critical machines. What we may need is a high-security OS for cloud support machines, accepting some loss in performance.

Re:Why Linux? The cloud is now the OS. (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 7 months ago | (#44887441)

VMs still present the resources in form of (virtual) hardware. You still need drivers. You still need some kernel code on top of those drivers to hold the whole thing together. Your libc or JVM is not going to parse TCP packets or file system structures.

Re:Why Linux? The cloud is now the OS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44889091)

remember the sun spot ?

Re:Why Linux? The cloud is now the OS. (1)

steelfood (895457) | about 7 months ago | (#44888501)

Well, for starters, Linux is but a kernel. The development efforts of software around the kernel, be it embedded microcontrollers or whole desktop OSes, still count as investing in it. Android runs atop Linux. I would imagine that the thin OS for cloud applications could use the Linux kernel too.

Second, the Snowden revelations is making foreign organizations wary of U.S.-centric software. Linux, being Europe-centric, is ripe for growing in the enterprise workstation market in the long term as more international organizations leave Microsoft and Apple in favor of an OS that's managed more openly.

Third, the Snowden revelations is also slowly reversing the trend of consolidation everywhere. There will be more individual machines both on the consumer side and the enterprise side, rather than dumb terminals hooked into a VM. It also will mean more geographically diverse data centers (see what's going on in Brazil), and less-direct connections between them for the sake of security. That means fewer things done at the hardware level and more at the application level.

Transcription ... NOT (1)

Aguazul2 (2591049) | about 7 months ago | (#44887445)

Sorry I don't have enough bandwidth to even watch the adverts on the front without it stopping and starting all the time. I guess it looks fine on the CEOs desk, though, so that's all that matters.

What? (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 7 months ago | (#44887953)

when a company has more than $200 billion in market capitalization, there are lots of ways to spread it around.

What does this even mean? Does Timothy actually think market cap is money that IBM has on hand? How exactly would IBM "spread around" their market cap value?

Re:What? (1)

tqk (413719) | about 7 months ago | (#44888591)

when a company has more than $200 billion in market capitalization, there are lots of ways to spread it around.

What does this even mean? Does Timothy actually think market cap is money that IBM has on hand? How exactly would IBM "spread around" their market cap value?

Try a thought experiment. IBM walks into a bank and announces they've $200 billion in market capitalization to spread around. How many bank officers do you envision falling all over themselves trying to find a way to satisfy the request?

Re:What? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 7 months ago | (#44888667)

Zero, since the phrase is meaningless.

IBM does have about 12 billion in cash, however I expect this billion will be spent over many years. Note that it will be spent mainly on powerPC linux development

He means $1B in corp acquisitions (1)

gelfling (6534) | about 7 months ago | (#44889539)

IBM stopped making stuff years ago. It buys companies that make stuff. When Brad talks about spending a billion on Linux he means purchasing a billion dollars worth of companies that do stuff in or for Linux.

IBM should just scale Power series to the desktop. (1)

RamiKro (3019255) | about 7 months ago | (#44889989)

IBM should just scale back the Power series to the desktop. Just give us some nice RISCs. Now that their AMD acquisitions aren't panning out, they can use AMD's personal to get it done. They can even use the ATI patents to integrate graphics so they really are well positioned for the project.

Or maybe they can get their hands on MIPS. ImgTech doesn't seem to be doing anything useful with them. And coming around from both the low and the high-end will be quite devastating for Intel. Even pick up ImgTech along the ride.

Seriously, just spend it on desktop and mobile R&D. Linux is moving along fine right now and marketing your current line of 30000$ servers won't change anything.

Re:IBM should just scale Power series to the deskt (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 7 months ago | (#44890037)

desktop margins are way too low, which is why IBM sold off all that business.

Re:IBM should just scale Power series to the deskt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44890655)

IBM should just scale back the Power series to the desktop.

Apple tried that already, with the PowerPC 970/970MP (which were POWER cores shoved into a desktop chip.) It didn't work. POWER is just too, well, POWER-hungry for the desktop; Apple had to resort to an unreliable liquid cooling system and still couldn't keep pace.

Re:IBM should just scale Power series to the deskt (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 7 months ago | (#44895747)

They've exited desktops, but they could bring back Power workstations. But they do have to have a range of CPUs, with power consumption low enough for a tablet right up to the POWER8 line. If they can populate the low end, they could bring back some interesting workstation designs.

Make Youtube Work On Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44890809)

The best thing that IBM could do is make it possible to view Youtube (and other) video under Linux. Adobe ceased support of Flash on Linux quite awhile back. The Linux community responded by saying "Flash will die with Windows!" which, of course, will never, never happen.

Anyway, Linux limps along w/o YouTube/Flash video and sucks, sucks, sucks. Using Linux today is like being a blind man with a white cane. Is this the freedom that the Internet was supposed to give us?

There are people who apparently live in an alternate universe who claim that Linux runs Flash and that they can watch all YouTube videos, but they are full of donkey doo. Until Linux users can view Youtube, life sucks.

Re:Make Youtube Work On Linux (1)

pr100 (653298) | about 7 months ago | (#44891143)

There's a problem watching videos on linux? Can't say I've ever noticed a problem...

Re:Make Youtube Work On Linux (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about 7 months ago | (#44891381)

"Until Linux users can view YouTube, life sucks."

If that's the worst you're getting from life, you're riding high. The again, whatever you're high on is doing you a gross disservice for you to state Linux users can't view YouTube and other videos. Heck, I can watch stuff on Netflix on Linux also.

Anyway, 'grats and all for the trolling. Boring evening chez Mom's basement?

Ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44891065)

Seriously, two minutes of ads before screening the video? Fuck off

The $1Billion COBOL compiler? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44892125)

How hard would it be for IBM to port its AIX and OS/2 COBOL compiler to Linux and open source it? A complete, robust, mature COBOL compiler is the one missing piece in Linux. If companies could port legacy code to Linux using an IBM COBOL compiler, they would be able to leave legacy UNIX behind. There are expensive commercial COBOL compilers out there (MicroFocus, Fujitsu) but the cost of these is "enterprise" nutty expensive. A true open-source COBOL compiler would be the final, missing piece. For $1B, IBM could port their COBOL parser to Linux and integrate it into LLVM, and still have a few hundred thousand left over for other things. Could not be all that hard to port their COBOL parser and have it generate LLVM intermediate code - I mean, someone actually implemented C++ 2011, right? Porting a front-end to LLVM couldn't be as hard as writing C++ 2011 from scratch?

Anyhow, people have asked IBM for a Linux COBOL compiler since the 1990s and IBM has ignored them.

Worthless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44893683)

Thjis money is dedicated to liniux on power (pSeries hardware) which nobody with half a brain would use. This is just self-aggrandizement and will not benefit the linux community at all. Just another worthless sound byte from a dying dinosaur.

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