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IBM Wants Linux

CmdrTaco posted about 13 years ago | from the stuff-to-read dept.

IBM 464

jsse writes "In a news conference IBM's senior vice president Steve Mills said 'the company will gladly drop its version of Unix from servers and replace it with Linux if the software matures so that it can handle the most demanding tasks.' Now the Giant, along with many other companies, jump to Linux bandwagon. The question is wether this bandwagon is capable of carrying a Giant that huge. Or the question is: can Linux beats AIX?"

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This sounds like... (1, Insightful)

CokeBear (16811) | about 13 years ago | (#2196936)

This sounds to me like a challenge to the Open Source Community. Are we up to the challenge?

Re:but it should be more like... (2, Insightful)

Jagin (243283) | about 13 years ago | (#2196973)

If IBM wants Linux instead of AIX then they should assist in the development of the features they feel are missing...... isn't that the point of Open Source? I don't think anyone else will see this as a "challenge".

(Disclaimer: I know IBM is already investing heavily in Linux, so they may already be doing this).

Re:but it should be more like... (2)

baptiste (256004) | about 13 years ago | (#2197114)

They are already porting JFS to Linux and have a bunch of Open Source projects. Check their OSS Website [] So they are actively working to get things ahead.

Re:This sounds like... (5, Informative)

njug (314066) | about 13 years ago | (#2196983)

Perhaps the Open Source Community is up to the challenge, but AIX performs admirably in exactly the machines and situations in which Linux does the worst: multi-processor non-intel boxes with 4+ gigs of RAM. Right now, a person would be nuts to run linux in production on an RS/6000. The package stability on that hardware is sketchy, at best.
IBM's also spent a lot of time doing little things like graphics acceleration for their workstations that Linux can't yet strongly match.

As much as I'd like to see the death of AIX and dance on SMIT's grave, I think we're seeing the same story at the enterprise level as we always have: Operating Systems designed for enterprise hardware tend to be better on that hardware than Operating Systems designed for low-end microcomputers. If IBM dumped a hundred developers into pushing linux on its Power-based hardware, then we might see something to compete with AIX; as it is, there isn't a large enough install base for linux development to acheive critical mass.

IMHO, natch.

Aye (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2197089)

And I doubt there are many people who have RS6000's to play around with at home, in their spare time. Not many people in that category who can even participate in the challenge, let along be up for it.

But perhaps IBM is only refferring to userland apps, rather than kernel stuff. Userland apps
can be portable stuff.

Welcome to my new discussion board.... (-1, Offtopic)

Elbow Macaroni (315256) | about 13 years ago | (#2197063)

If anyone wants to discuss this in more detail, please go there.

Plain and simple (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2196939)

IBM has gone nuts. A 800-pound gorilla wants to ride a child's bike.

Re:Plain and simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2196954)

How is linux a childs bike? Where would NT replace a AS400, nowhere. No bank will run M$ on the backend. It just doesn't make business sence.

Re:Plain and simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2197014)

How is linux a childs bike?

A "Linux versus AIX" comparision would translate into hardware as "PC versus mainframe".

Can you run hundreds if not thousands other operating systems under Linux? Does it support hot-swap CPUs? Is it ready for true high availability services?

The resounding answer to all those questions is NO and given the current speed of kernel development things wouldn't change in five years even if IBM supplied the source code.

Re:Plain and simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2197083)

An RS/6000 is not a mainframe. A mainframe will run Linux in a VM just as readily as it will run AIX, but it runs neither natively.

In short, you talking out your ass and your opinion is worthless on this subject.

Re:Plain and simple (1)

The_Messenger (110966) | about 13 years ago | (#2197018)

And they're supposed to take advice from rapid Open Sores anti-business children on Slashdot who can't spell "sense?" :-) I agree with the AC.

Re:Plain and simple (2)

smagruder (207953) | about 13 years ago | (#2197116)

Methinks you mean "rabid". This misspelling thing must be the result of a brain virus going around. :)

To save you some time... (2, Insightful)

Unknown Bovine Group (462144) | about 13 years ago | (#2197012)

I've used my crystal ball to summarize how this thread will go....

"You're an idiot and there are really good reasons Linux can do it. But I'm only going to mention them, and with no sources."
"Well I too can mention things with no sources. YOU're an idiot"
(degrades to flamewar)
Can you imagine a Beowulf, what does AIX stand for anyway, All your Base, etc posts by our friend Anonymous Coward.
"Wasn't this posted last month?"
"CmdrTaco can't spell"
"BSD is better than Linux or AIX"
"Steve Jobs said that OSX is better than Linux and AIX"
various posts bitching about moderators.
There. I've saved you all that time. Now get back to work.

Re:To save you some time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2197074)

Every thread is like this...

Re:Plain and simple (2, Insightful)

InfoSec (208475) | about 13 years ago | (#2197024)

This seems a bit harsh. IBM did say that they are waiting for Linux to be ready for that task. Personally, I think it is ready for many tasks. Linux is quickly becoming more and more capable. For web server, desktops, and modrate sized deployments. Soon, Linux will be ready for the full enterprise deployments. It already runs several of the worlds most powerful supercomputers, and it is difficult to argue with that.

Jump on the bandwagon? (3, Informative)

anon757 (265661) | about 13 years ago | (#2196943)

IBM has just jumped on the bandwagon?? They've been there for a while buddy. You can already buy most of IBM's software for Linux. They've been investing in Linux like crazy for the last 2 years

Re:Jump on the bandwagon? (1)

Aapje (237149) | about 13 years ago | (#2196974)

IBM has been one of the most prominent supporters of Open Source and Linux. They have released cutting edge software to the community such as SOAP and Xerces.

I've always found their fascination with Linux strange though. I believe they want to destroy windows out of revenge. They've been screwed by Bill Gates with Dos and later with OS/2.

Re:Jump on the bandwagon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2197139)

OTOH, the Linux versions of their software are 2-3 versions behind the Windows versions. And when I ask when updates will be available, they say they're still evaluating the Linux market. They may be saying the words, but their actions don't inspire a lot of confidence in their committment to Linux, IMO.

and the answer is? (2, Interesting)

jaxon6 (104115) | about 13 years ago | (#2196948)

well, will those quite familiar with aix please enlighten us with what linux could be missing? it's got xfs, lvm, ppc support. and that's about the end of what i know aix and linux now share.

Re:and the answer is? (3, Funny)

Aapje (237149) | about 13 years ago | (#2196988)

They tried to write the paper, but...Word crashed.

Linux doesn't have (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2196992)

Useable multithreading.

MT support just plain sucks. No effective debugger, fork() (in 2.4.0, at least) is more MT-death than MT-safe

Re:and the answer is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2197022)

odm for things like 10000 accounts - roughly the
logical equivalent of putting dbm in front
of the password/group/shadow files. Also handles indexing for devices when you have 1000
tty's connected, etc.

smit - though linuxconf isn't far back, it's not quit there yet.

Better (hardware&software) error recording and

-- TWZ

Re:and the answer is? (1)

olesk (211973) | about 13 years ago | (#2197032)

Yes, but lvm and the device handling is much more mature under AIX, linux still has a long way to go. AIX, which I worked on as a comsultant for two years, is much more geared towards large scale application and database servers, and especially lately SANs (storage area networks). Then again AIX have, and have had for many years, HA (high availability) failover sollutions that work very well, and especially in connection with SANs and other storage sollutions. Linux could benefit greatly in the high end area from taking a closer look at these features. A 99,999% stable Linux failover cluster with two nodes sharing an EMC storage sollution over a SAN would be very interesting :)

Re:and the answer is? (1)

xjimhb (234034) | about 13 years ago | (#2197035)

AIX doen't have a heck of a lot that Linux doesn't. Journaling file system is almost ready on Linux. The SMIT tool can probably be replaced by Linuxconf with a little tweaking. I haven't actually seen LVM on Linux, so I don't know how good it is, AIX does use it heavily. And I have not heard of AFS (sort of a super, high-security version of NFS for those unfamiliar with it) for Linux; IBM depends very heavily on AFS and if there isn't one, it would need to be ported (or it could be there and I just haven't heard of it).

And I know we're mostly talking about servers here, but I would just like to state that on the desktop, compared to Linux's Gnome and KDE, AIX just plain sucks!

Just for the record, my last AIX work was last winter on a contract job at IBM, so I am quite familiar with AIX.

Re:and the answer is? (1)

olesk (211973) | about 13 years ago | (#2197050)

AIX has KDE on 5L. The "L" is for Linux btw :)
SMIT works well, linuxconf does, in my experience, not. I don't like SMIT all that much, but it really works, so that puts it far ahead imho.

Re:and the answer is? (1)

Link310 (453668) | about 13 years ago | (#2197076)

AFS for linux exists in both a Transarc [] (read: IBM) version and as OpenAFS [] which is a fork off the transarc client source.

Re:and the answer is? (1)

guacamole (24270) | about 13 years ago | (#2197087)

And the answer is no.

AIX, Solaris, etc are -proven- platforms with a full featured LVM and journaling file systems that work today when which have worked for -years-. Linux LVM has a long way to go to match what AIX or Veritas LVM or even Sun's Disksuite can do. Can I also ask, for how many years have been Linux vendors shipping Linux systems that have journaling file systems? 0, while they did exit and work on other unixen. And there is also a scalability issues. AIX runs and very well on much larger boxen than Linux does or will in any nearby future. As for the Linux PPC support, it is almost worthless as there are almost no commercial applications for it.Why would anyone in their right mind buy an overpriced IBM PPC box to run Linux on? Either AIX on PPC or Linux on x86 would be a much better choice than Linux on PPC (or Linux on about anything but x86)

the question (1, Offtopic)

Wordsmith (183749) | about 13 years ago | (#2196950)

"Or the question is: can Linux beats AIX?"

I don't know. Cans it?

Re:the question (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2197016)

It would take a lot of cans!

Re:the question (1)

great throwdini (118430) | about 13 years ago | (#2197103)

I don't know. Cans it?

Dammit! I wantsted to makes that kinds of funs firsted!

Literacy (3, Funny)

G-funk (22712) | about 13 years ago | (#2196956)

Now the Giant, along with many other companies, jump to Linux bandwagon. The question is wether this bandwagon is capable of carrying a Giant that huge. Or the question is: can Linux beats AIX?"

Um... All your base?

Re:Literacy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2196967)

Don't mind Taco, all the Anime is getting to his grammer...

Spelling (1, Offtopic)

tbone1 (309237) | about 13 years ago | (#2196961)

can Linux beats AIX?

Not in the grammar software ...

Re:Spelling (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2196991)

Good thing we have you around to catch those mistakes. Oh wait, that was intentional. Your bad.

Easy (3, Informative)

blang (450736) | about 13 years ago | (#2196962)

Of all the unixen I have played with AIX is one of the worst. Only Conrol data's unix and NCR was worse. Their smit admin tool is pretty cool, but everything else looks like nothing else, and porting stuff to AIX is no fun.

Re:Easy (4, Insightful)

Garc (133564) | about 13 years ago | (#2197004)

I think when IBM says they'll use linux if it "matures so that it can handle the most demanding tasks," they don't mean "you guys need to build pretty little admin GUIs, and make sure linux is consistent looking." I'm thinking that they're more looking for the ability to scale to a large number of processors, and high amounts of RAM.

On that subject, does anyone know if IBM's Big Iron patches ever made it on to the main kernel tree?


what big iron ? (3, Informative)

johnjones (14274) | about 13 years ago | (#2197115)

SGI + seimens did the over 4GB memory patch

IBM did umm the patch to run on S390
(evil clock ticks evil interupts muhhaha)

so what do you mean ?


john jones

p.s. list of kernel work from SGI looks like big iron in many ways I cant find a IBM page anywhere or heard of any of their work beyond the NGPthreads and s390 patchs
(oh yeah and the PowerPC port which IBM does a good job of helping out)

Linux Scalability []

Kernprof [] (Kernel Profiling)

SGI kGDB [] (Remote host Linux kernel debugger via GDB)

NUMA [] (NUMA support in Linux)

Bigmem [] (Big Memory support for Linux)

Lockmeter [] (Linux kernel lock-metering)

Post/Wait [] (Post/Wait Synchronization)

SGI kdb [] (Linux kernel debugger)

Raw I/O [] (Enhancements to Linux raw I/O capabilities)

POSIX Asynchronous I/O [] (KAIO)

LKCD [] (Linux Kernel Crash Dumps)

STP [] (Scheduled Transfer Protocol)

Re:what big iron ? (2)

johnjones (14274) | about 13 years ago | (#2197136)

damit fscked up + I preveiwed it but didnt test it (-;

Linux Scalability []

Kernprof [] (Kernel Profiling)

SGI kGDB [] (Remote host Linux kernel debugger via GDB)

NUMA [] (NUMA support in Linux)

Bigmem [] (Big Memory support for Linux)

Lockmeter [] (Linux kernel lock-metering)

Post/Wait [] (Post/Wait Synchronization)

SGI kdb [] (Linux kernel debugger)

Raw I/O [] (Enhancements to Linux raw I/O capabilities)

POSIX Asynchronous I/O [] (KAIO)

LKCD [] (Linux Kernel Crash Dumps)

STP [] (Scheduled Transfer Protocol)

Re:Easy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2197006)

That was a very insightful post. Perhaps you should remove your head from your sphincter before speaking and provide some technical information. Troll.

Re:Easy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2197030)

"Of all the unixen I have played with AIX is one of the worst."

So I take it you've never used the flaming pile of shit known as SCO [] ?

It's about time (3, Interesting)

defile (1059) | about 13 years ago | (#2196966)

Now if only all of the other vendors realized that they were selling hardware instead of UNIX, they'd be happy to switch to Linux.

Actually, they probably all have some kind of "ditch-our-crappy-UNIX-for-Linux" roadmap. Some are much further away than others. But it'd be nice if it actually happened.

Re:It's about time (2, Interesting)

Jon Peterson (1443) | about 13 years ago | (#2197090)

They are not selling hardware, or at least not processing power. Intel chips are way ahead of anything from SUN, IBM, whatever. Only Alpha CPUs are better.

Sure, there are marginal improvements in total system performance from things like cache, bus speed and so on. They are marginal.

For anything up to 8 CPU's, Intel hardware will be better most of the time. That covers all small servers, departmental servers, web servers, small/medium database servers and a stack of other stuff. Sure, 8 CPU intel machine's aren't great, but then 4 CPU ones go as fast as 8 CPU Suns.

Look at CPU speed tables. The fasted risc CPU of any kind (UltrasparcIII @ 800Mhz) is less than half the speed of a Pentium III doing 1.2Ghz (for RC5 cracking).

And as for those 16, 32 CPU boxes? Some applications do indeed benefit from that, but increasingly few (latest MS SQL server runs distributed on separate machines very well - no need to SMP (MS flames to /dev/null pease)).

No, what Sun et al. provide is not good hardware. They have operating systems marginally better than linux (better disk stuff (filesystems, software raid and volume management etc), better threading, and a few other things). But, what they do provide is support and service. Lots and lots and lots of it. And they provide guarantees.

But, even that isn't what they really provide.

What they _really_ provide, is the only alternative to Microsoft that your boss will consider.

Re:It's about time (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2197111)

What a lovely steaming pile of feces. I really wish Slashdot had a (Score: -1, Incorrect) for you...or maybe just -1, Retarded. Please think for speaking, perhaps doing some research first.

IBM Wants Linux... (1)

Strangely Unbiased (313686) | about 13 years ago | (#2196968)

If the software matures


What are the weakest parts of Linux? (2, Interesting)

FamousLongAgo (257744) | about 13 years ago | (#2196971)

All I know about Unix-flavored systems comes through Linux. Could someone post a short list of the areas where Linux is most deficient compared to Unices like AIX?

I know that real-time applications are one issue, as well as multi-processor performance. But how much work has to be done, and what are the prospects?

Thanks in advance for not flaming the newbie. :-)

Re:What are the weakest parts of Linux? (2, Informative)

guacamole (24270) | about 13 years ago | (#2197119)

Linux does not have:

1. good scalability on large NUMA and SMP systems
2. A proven, full-featured LVM that works

Also, regarding the journaling file systems. How many vendors are selling Linux with them now? IBM, Sun, Veritas, had it for years. So, if you're looking for a proven, scalable, enterprise platform, with good vendor support, applications, etc consider IBM RS/6000 or Sun.

"Giant smashes Linux" (1)

eMago (267564) | about 13 years ago | (#2196975)

"jump to Linux bandwagon" - I hope the giant won't smash it.
Seriously, I hope IBM will throw developers on Linux without getting too much influence on the course of it's development.

Or like Dell (1)

TrollMan 5000 (454685) | about 13 years ago | (#2197021)

Hop on the bandwagon, only to hop off a sshort time later.

Only tim will tell if this is a "marriage made in heaven".

Re:Or like Dell (1)

Xoro (201854) | about 13 years ago | (#2197077)

only to hop off a sshort time later

Well, at least that's more secure than hopping of an rshort time later.

Re:Or like Dell (1)

onosendai (79294) | about 13 years ago | (#2197140)

>Only tim will tell if this is a "marriage made in heaven".

/me turns around to ask tim if it is ....

If... (2, Informative)

svl (128425) | about 13 years ago | (#2196977)

'if the software matures so that it can handle the most demanding tasks'

Sounds like a sarcasm.

interesting... (1)

Atrophis (103390) | about 13 years ago | (#2196978)

i dont think i have ever really seen any linux -> *nix compairsons... everyone is so interested in the linux -> windows compairson that seeing how it would perform with other unix platforms has not really showed up. (at least i dont think)

Can Linux Beat AIX? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2196981)

I've never seen linux running on IBM hardware, but my guess would be NO WAY IN HELL could linux outperform AIX in terms of stability or speed.

$ is made from HW, not SW (4, Interesting)

c.jaeger (30528) | about 13 years ago | (#2196984)

I'm reminded of the scene in "Pirates of Silicon Valley" where Gates and company were sitting down to negotiate with IBM and it was said, "Everybody knows that the real money is made in hardware, not software".

Well IBM was wrong at the time in that statement but it might finally be the truth.

It also makes sense for IBM from a financial perspective. Instead of having a building full of programmers/managers and other overhead that eats up corporate profits just to support AIX, why not outsource that dependency to the open-source users of the world. Big blue then reduces their expenses, increases their income and the open-source community gets a juggernaut pulling for their team. A win-win situation if I've ever heard one.

p.s. - These are my opinions and not my employers who happens to be discussed in this thread.

Re:$ is made from HW, not SW (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2196998)

This is a bunch of bull. Which company is more successful, Microsoft or Gateway, Oracle or Dell, AOL or Compaq?

Re:$ is made from HW, not SW (2, Informative)

thetman (465742) | about 13 years ago | (#2197044)

Microsoft. Oracle. AOL.

$ is made from support contracts! (3, Interesting)

why-is-it (318134) | about 13 years ago | (#2197058)

It also makes sense for IBM from a financial perspective. Instead of having a building full of programmers/managers and other overhead that eats up corporate profits just to support AIX, why not outsource that dependency to the open-source users of the world. Big blue then reduces their expenses, increases their income and the open-source community gets a juggernaut pulling for their team. A win-win situation if I've ever heard one.

Do you honestly think that if IBM were to ditch AIX for linux that this would happen? The value of running IBM hardware and software is that IBM is there to fix it right away. Find a bug in AIX? IBM gets on it in a timely fashion. If anything, I would wager that IBM will fork their own version of Linux if they decide to forgo AIX. Large corporations like the track history and reputation of IBM and are frightened by the lack of the same for Linux. IMHO that seems to be what stops large-scale deployment of Linux in the corporate world - who is going to take ownership of this problem and provide us with patches?

BTW - from what I have seen, (as an IBM'er) the revenue and profits come from annual support and maintenance contracts, not from hardware and software sales per se.

AIX (1)

lavaforge (245529) | about 13 years ago | (#2196986)

I have to deal with AIX every day at college, and I can already tell you that Linux beats it for most ordinary tasks. However, the AIX method for DFS is excellent. Is there any chance IBM will be releasing AIX under the GPL?

Re:AIX (1)

perky (106880) | about 13 years ago | (#2197081)

AIX isn't for ordinary tasks. That's the whole point. It is there to run on the baddest RS/6000 hardware they make and keep it running with 5 nines.

When Linux can do that then there is no reason to have any other UNIX in the high end since it can be optimised with less effort than supporting an entirely different codebase.

Good move for IBM (3, Insightful)

eric2hill (33085) | about 13 years ago | (#2196993)

I think IBM's doing this for one very good reason. The more linux hackers there are at home running linux on their personal boxes, the more workers there will be in the industry that say "IBM makes this big box that will do all we need for our web and/or accounting needs, and it runs an OS I already know."

Managers like to hear that so they don't buy something their IT people don't know how to run.

But they'd probably want more control (5, Insightful)

Gambit Thirty-Two (4665) | about 13 years ago | (#2196994)

The problem I see with this is that if a company as big as IBM wants to use something like Linux, they're going to want some kind of control of the direction it goes. Companies have been trying to get Linus to loosen his 'control' of the kernel for a while now. No company with smart leadership will drop support for a product that they have complete power over, in favor of an OS where they have little-to-no control over the direction that it takes.

However, we've seen that IBM has put a fairly good amount of time, money, and effort into making Linux compatable with their products, and their products compatable with linux itself. But so far, I just don't seem them dropping AIX for Linux anytime soon. Not until the control over the linux kernel becomes more decentralized.

Re:But they'd probably want more control (1)

jhines (82154) | about 13 years ago | (#2197120)

The nature of Linux and the GPL make this both less and more likely.

Less likely because of the very wide spread nature of Linux, as the RS/6000 version isn't going to impact x86 Linux. The worst that would happen is a code fork, which is what they have now with AIX.

More likely, in that if IBM stopped developing AIX, and transfered the development effort towards Linux, it would make big difference for Linux, IBM has lots of good technology and experience with operating systems.

Re:But they'd probably want more control (5, Interesting)

tjwhaynes (114792) | about 13 years ago | (#2197146)

The problem I see with this is that if a company as big as IBM wants to use something like Linux, they're going to want some kind of control of the direction it goes. Companies have been trying to get Linus to loosen his 'control' of the kernel for a while now. No company with smart leadership will drop support for a product that they have complete power over, in favor of an OS where they have little-to-no control over the direction that it takes.

First a caveat: These are my own views and not those of IBM Canada.

Why do you think that IBM needs control of the Linux kernel? It's not necessary. Because the kernel is open source any features that IBM feels are necessary for running Linux on, for example, a 4-way H50 RS/6000 machine can be provided as a patch to the main kernel tree and pre-compiled binaries can be distributed by IBM from one of the web sites. Yes - someone has to keep the patches sane against the latest kernel but it is unlikely in the long run that useful and proven patches would remain out of the kernel tree forever unless they seriously clash with some design decision.

Patch maintenance is a minor headache against a stable kernel series. It only becomes a major problem if you try and keep patches sync'd against a development kernel and IBM is very very unlikely to request customers use such a kernel in a production environment.

And secondly, why do you think that IBM needs total control over everything they use? That's nonsense. Working in the RDMBS world, we all work to published standards. There is no 'total control' exercised by IBM when submitting proposals for new SQL functionality or DRDA protocols. Total control is not the only option for making money out there - being the best at something still makes better business sense. Making sure that the customer support services are actually helping customers makes good financial sense. We have all got really warped by MS's monopoly position and healthy financial situation that it is too easy to forget that it is possible to make a good income by being good in a competitive marketplace.


Toby Haynes

Sounds great...what's the catch? (2, Insightful)

mystery_bowler (472698) | about 13 years ago | (#2196999)

Something tells me that Linux can be customized in such a way as to handle whatever AIX handles and possible more. But the question I have to ask in this is: Why? Is IBM really looking to cut ties with AIX? How could this be an advantage to IBM? Or their customers who have depended on AIX for a long, long time?

I suppose IBM may make some money upfront convincing their AIX clients to pay for a Linux conversion by convincing said clients that Linux has better support, the client won't be locked in to depending on IBM, stable, fast, blah blah blah. And I suppose IBM might save money in the long-term by having a larger talent pool from which to hire Linux gurus. But, unless someone else can give shed some light on something I just don't understand, this initiative to move AIX customers to Linux, while sounding like a great technical manuever, doesn't sound like a great business manuever.

IBM never drops support (3, Insightful)

firewort (180062) | about 13 years ago | (#2197109)

Remember OS/2? OS/2 is currently making the most money it ever has for IBM, simply because it's in maintenance cycle now... IBM simply does no new development, and continues to make money on support, while encouraging folks to consider other OS options.

IBM never completely drops support, and would never leave profitable AIX shops out in the cold.

IBM needs Linux (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2197001)

like they need a hole in their heads.

"Linux is only free if your time has no value" - Jamie Zawinski

"My crack is full of ass butter" - Taco

"I like to fuck GNU/goats" - Richard Stallman

OK -- so how about a Test suite ? (5, Insightful)

redelm (54142) | about 13 years ago | (#2197005)

IBM is prepared to drop AIX iff Linux can handle the job. Great. My question is: How will they know?

I'm sure IBM does a great deal of validation testing. Why not tell the kernel developers where things come up short? One of the most valuable development prerequisites are good bug reports. IBM could unleash their testing team. Or does politics get in the way -- the testing team manager doesn't approve of the Linux takeover?

Re:OK -- so how about a Test suite ? (3, Interesting)

Garc (133564) | about 13 years ago | (#2197040)

Well, I don't have the time to do a search, but I have some "unvalidated thoughts and memories" on the subject.

I think a while back IBM wanted to submitt some patches to the linux kernel that would allow it to play better with the big boys. The patches would enable scaling up to a large number of processors, and efficiently using large amounts of memory. IIRC (doubtful, someone else wanna help me out here), linus didn't want the patches b/c he cared more about linux running on a normal machine well. I hope that they'd just do something like #ifdef _BIG_IRON_. Instead, IBM just kinda backed off, they didn't want to create any sort of resentment from the community, nor did they want to fork the kernel so they could have a version with their patches. I think the willingness of the company to give, and not get upset if its gifts aren't accepted well is a great testiment to its devotion to linux.

I think insertion of those patches, even if on a #ifdef type basis would be a leap in the right direction for IBM to replace AIX with linux.

I'm not 100% sure of the facts, if someone would like to correct me, please do. Of course if someone wants to back me up with links, that'd be ok too :)


Re:OK -- so how about a Test suite ? (2, Interesting)

MtViewGuy (197597) | about 13 years ago | (#2197082)

You have some very valid points indeed.

My concern is that are the current programmers who are cooperating on writing the Linux kernel know how to write kernel code that will take advantage of IBM mainframe hardware? Programming for multiprocessor x86 server boxes is one thing, but programming for IBM mainframes with their POWER CPU design, massively parallel CPU architecture and high bandwidth I/O everywhere is quite something else, especially if you want it to run with the type of extreme reliability mainframe users demand.

Good Business (4, Insightful)

nevis (124302) | about 13 years ago | (#2197008)

Now the Giant, along with many other companies, jump to Linux bandwagon.

1. As has already been stated IBM has been on the Linux bandwagon for several years now.

2. This makes perfect sense for IBM. They are mainly a service company and secondly a hardware company. Anyone who has done business with IBM knows that they, like most other large computer companies, make their money on installation and support. If they can cut the expense of developing their own OS they can focus on their core business.

This is dumb (3, Insightful)

teknopurge (199509) | about 13 years ago | (#2197011)

Sorry to all the Linux kids out there, but real Unix Operating Systems, such as Solaris and BSD-based systems, are stronger, more stable, and faster, when set up correctly, then linux will ever be. Why? simple: SLC's are there for a reason. The linux kernel may be controlled and coordinated by one person, but imagine a person with the supposed talent of Linus, times 50, working on making the Solaris Kernel better.

Note: I am not a Solaris advocate.


Linux == Communism and now Linux == Naziism too ? (0, Troll)

Flabdabb Hubbard (264583) | about 13 years ago | (#2197019)

You have to wonder whether support from IBM is a Good Thing (tm). Consider that IBM used to be the computing world's most hated corporation (before the advent of Micro$oft).

IBM threw the PC market down the drain by licensing its OS to third parties. Who is to say that they won't do exactly the same thing with Linux ? Suppose they spend all that cash improving Linux, and then some other corporation comes along and takes that work and packages it up in an ISO image and sells it for next to nothing like cheapbytes did to Redhat ?

IBM has also got a somewhat questionable reputation for Naziism, and apparently some of the computers used to facilitate the Holocaust [] were supplied by IBM. Open Source software has enough trouble with Stallman the Communist without people associating it with Naziism as well! Imagine the scene: You try and install Linux on your mom's PC. She looks at you in horror "I don't want any Nazi/Commie operating system on my PC. Re-Install W2k this instant!!!

Yeah. I can see it now. Linux == Nazism == Communism.

Re:Linux == Communism and now Linux == Naziism too (0, Troll)

Flabdabb Hubbard (264583) | about 13 years ago | (#2197038)

Another interesting link on IBM's facilitation of the Holocaust [] is here.

I am somewhat perturbed that slashdot sees fit to sing the praises of IBM, especially considering that many of the nerds and geeks who post here are not white, and would therefore quite likely have been victims of the Holocaust had it happened in America.

I suppose I should be used to it by now. Where Linux and Free Software are concerned Slashdot disengages its brain.

aix. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2197020)

i is not even suprised. a installed aix on my 286 yesterday and it couldnt even work. the internet explorer was all funny and it make my telly smashed.

i think linux should stop using aix and IMB will be happy again. i hope IBM will not steal linux from mr torvads. he is nice man.

Make a list (1)

cansecofan22 (62618) | about 13 years ago | (#2197026)

IBM should make a list of items that i thinks Linux would need to improve in order to be as good as AIX, in there opinion. They could then open up some of the managment tools or port the tools over (not so easy, but I am sure it could be done). Any kernel work could be identified and would be completed in short order (those kernel hackers seem to LOVE a challenge). That way clear objectives could be established and work could begin.

Blue Journallism (1)

devinoni (13244) | about 13 years ago | (#2197029)

Let's analyze this article a little. First off, there is only 3 quotes from IBM officials.

"We are happy and comfortable with the idea that Linux can become the successor not just for AIX but for all Unix operating systems,"
The key words in there is "can become." IBM's Linux strategy is not to be left out of Linux if Linux takes over the world. IBM understands that Linux could be the defacto standard for all hardware, from their own pSeries to Suns, and SGIs.

Linux can be adapted to just about anything out there Isn't this quote just stating a fact about Linux? Given enough time and personpower, AIX can do just about anything out there as well.

"All types of servers can run on a common Unix operating system. What is not clear is if (the OS) will be Linux. It needs to continue to mature and become a more sophisticated system." The first sentence is a statement of fact, that not only includes IBM but nearly every hardware vendor on the planet. The second, is IBM isn't betting the farm on Linux.

You see more and more poorly written articles, which twist the truth. When Linux grows up, won't every commercial Unix gladly boot their commercial OS for Linux? Possibly. Isn't there better things to do right now than worry what a commercial entity may do in 5 years?

A step in the right direction... (1)

Byteme (6617) | about 13 years ago | (#2197036)

Now they should dump DB2 (bleh) for MySQL.

Re:A step in the right direction... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2197065)

Nice try, Larry....

OT: What's up with the Post numbers? (1)

shik0me (235948) | about 13 years ago | (#2197039)

Did I miss something? Why are all the posts numbering into the millions?

It will never happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2197048)

Linux, at least in its current development process, will never get to the scalability of AIX, period. If IBM brought out their own Linux distro that was a massively modified version of the Linus and/or Alan kernel, it would happen. But while Linux is the product of the current developers and not a company with massive resources and a specific goal, it just won't happen.

Face facts, people: Linux is a very good OS for small servers, clustering, and embedded systems. On the mainstream (non-enthusiast) desktop and large server it's a non-starter. Whether that changes has yet to be seen, but I wouldn't bet on it.

IBM should help maturing Linux then.. (1)

dmouritsendk (321667) | about 13 years ago | (#2197049)

You contantly hear about IBM throwing money/man hours into Linux, well, why dont they assign a couple of their AIX gurus to rewrite (for example) the multitreading features for Linux.

I mean, they have AIX coders. They have the AIX code, just HOW hard would it be for them to raise certain features of Linux to AIX standard. Im guessing not THAT hard :O)

Wladawsky-Berger on Linux and open standards (2, Informative)

Big Nothing (229456) | about 13 years ago | (#2197053)

Irving Wladawsky-Berger, vice president of technology strategy, IBM Server Group, addressed the IBM Technical Developer Conference in San Francisco on Linux and open standards.
Link. []

Duh... (2, Informative)

cornice (9801) | about 13 years ago | (#2197059)

IBM wants to spend one tenth as much for development of an OS that isn't tied to Microsoft that it can give away (which got them in trouble before) with its hardware (which is its real business). Why would this surprise anyone?

Two more points.

1 - Linux isn't AIX and has a ways to go. Same with OS/400, etc.

2 - IBM doesn't want to control Linux as long as it can do what they need. They got in trouble for giving their OS away before. Giving away somebody else's OS I assume is OK though.

Re:Duh... (2)

topham (32406) | about 13 years ago | (#2197138)

The problem wasn't IBM giving away their OS. The problem was adding useless instructions to the OS and the hardware so the operating system or applications (from IBM) couldn't run on other hardware.

They were able to do this since they released micro-code patches which included additional low-level instructions. Which is some cases were nothing but NOP (equivilent) instructions.

By dividing the OS group from the Hardware group it becomes difficult to tie two products together to that degree.

Customer-driven (1)

Ratbert42 (452340) | about 13 years ago | (#2197062)

I work in a shop that has a lot of IBM stuff going on. We don't have any customers talking about replacing AIX with Linux on existing hardware. We do have one signed customer doing Linux and others in the sales stage.
I doubt customers will accept Linux as a replacement for AIX until they've got Linux deployed on Intel/AMD boxes.

AIX != linux therefore diversity is good (2)

johnjones (14274) | about 13 years ago | (#2197064)

its a nice thing to say shows IBM is serious and means that they can claim to M$ that they are not trying to market Linux to anyone except people who used unix

(which is a good thing the less the big ape hears about linux the better)

BUT in reality as a solution it wont fit everyone AIX gets most of its power through its custom hardware

and template binarys are something real cool that linux wont get anytime soon the thing that IBM love about linux is that the researchers in the LABs love it and since alot of IBM blue sky stuff turns over their proffits then its a good bet considering hardware is where IBM really shine (buy a harddrive today and you pay IBM one way or another)

the point is horses for courses

the nice thing is that their is a winer overall in a multi disapline event and its nice to that IBM thinks the winner will be linux


joh jones

Can IBM make Linux better than AIX. (2, Insightful)

notext (461158) | about 13 years ago | (#2197067)

That is the real question.

I am sure IBM is not sitting there idling. I would hope they are not leaving it to us(the open source community) to build them the os they want. I assume they are hard at work on this project at hand.

That is nothing but good news. Not only could we benefit from the things they build but more importantly, maybe they could be the leaders of direction. "Where do you want to go today?"

Some people may worry about a big corporation being too heavily involved in their "free os". I personally look forward to the days to come if IBM get truly involved. I first tried linux a few years ago and loved it, and continue to use it today. However, I thought at this point it would be farther ahead in some areas. If it takes a company like IBM to come in and challenge, lead and contribute then fine by me.

Even if it doesn't work for IBM, the advances will benefit all of us who use it now and this is a Good Thing.

The future... (5, Interesting)

The_Messenger (110966) | about 13 years ago | (#2197072)

This is very simple... while GNU/Linux may someday reach the level of stability and scalabilty that is AIX's claim to fame, it isn't there yet. AIX was developed from the group up, by IBM, to kick ass on IBM hardware. GNU/Linux was developed by a diverse group of developers -- each with different goals; some wanted a server OS, some wanted a desktop OS -- for cheapo x86 hardware. GNU/Linux's appearance in enterprise IT and scientific computing was a fluke... but a particularly lucky one.

But assuming that GNU/Linux can evolve to an acceptable level (the level of UNIX, in other words), and assuming that the support from IBM, HP, Sun, and Compaq continues, we'll be in a great position. One of the promises of UNIX was portability; if five commercial UNIXs have a common interface, they should be easy to port between, right?

Wrong... years of corporate specialization and AT&T's rightful protection of the system have created a computing culture which is almost as closed as Microsoft's. Now, porting an application from Solaris to HP-UX can potentially take as long as porting from Solaris to NT.

Enter GNU/Linux. Stallman, Torvalds, and the rest of the usual suspects essentially ripped off AT&T. (It's crucial that you understand this. While those developers can be thanked for the GNU/Linux implementation, the design and archiecture is stolen-- albeit modifed -- IP.) GNU/Linux is UNIX-like, but is also completely open. Thus, if Linux can meet these corporate giants' needs, they should adopt it.

IBM's adoption of Linux for the enterprise will mean many things. It will mean that RS/6000 customers like myself will get new software faster, because Linux is always ahead of AIX on software developers' port lists. And if Linux can also run reasonably on Sun and HP hardware, then we could be talking about UNIX's dream of portability, embodied in GNU/Linux: an open, common interface for hardcore RISC systems. This would be a good thing for everybody expect supporters of inferior x86 servers: x86 hardware vendors and Microsoft.

But while GNU/Linux has brought this uptopia one step closer, it isn't here yet. Talk to any knowledgable, experienced developer or sysadmin, and he will tell you that GNU/Linux simply can't touch UNIX for the majority of serious computing tasks. Linux is cheaper, and in some instances is faster, but just can't deliver the same kind of scalable performance and rock-solid availabilty that are the reasons I'm running AIX right now.

Offtopic Flamebait: Taco hoarding the best posts? (1, Insightful)

zettabyte (165173) | about 13 years ago | (#2197073)

I've been noticing this for a while, and I've got to get it off my chest.

Is it just me or does it sometimes seem like CmdrTaco posts the 'best' stories? I get the feeling that he's pulling the best for himself, not letting anyone else post the 'big' stories...

Is he really a tyrant with a large ego appetite? Where everyone is walking around on eggshells, careful not to upset the big 'T'? Lest he throw a 'hissy fit' and a large dosh of 'shit' their way for posting what was clearly a 'Taco' quality post?

These are the things I think about before I force myself to go to work on Mondays...


Desktop Machines (3, Interesting)

Torulf (214883) | about 13 years ago | (#2197075)

It would really be nice to see someone (IBM) try to build a Linux desktop system. With high quality hardware and Linux with GNOME or KDE we would end up with a machine resembling an Apple G4 + OS X.
Could there be any money in such a move?

Obsessed with Linux (1)

SLOGEN (165834) | about 13 years ago | (#2197088)

Why does everyone (especially in the Open Source community) try to force Gnu/Linux into the dominating place for OS'es?

Unix OS'es have limited application, because of their close relation to POSIX. I.e the usage of Linux (the kernel) in embedded systems is extreme bloat (although the nerd in me would like that linux-wrist-watch).

When will people realize, that an OS is like any other tool, and you should select the right tool for the job, not the same bloated tool all the time.

It's more AS/400 vs RS/6000 (4, Interesting)

Otis_INF (130595) | about 13 years ago | (#2197094)

These machines have the same hardware, but different OS-es. The RS/6000 group ships their systems with AIX, while the AS/400 group ships their systems with OS/400 and if the customer wants a Unix, with Linux, not with AIX.

Rumour has it that the groups don't like eachother that much. What I wonder now is: is IBM axing the complete RS/6000 group in favor of the AS/400 group?

Strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2197097)

Listen, IBM is clearly giving a message, and its an important one, because I've been watching developments in nanoelectronics for about a decade now and IBM has a LOT of basic patents. They are going to a major player in hardware for a long time to come.

It's no secret that IBM would like to give Microsoft its comeuppance, if nothing else than for transforming the term PC from synonymous with IBM computers to synonymous with a M$ operating system(and of course there are tons of ohter political, business-grudge, and economic reasons as well). This statement from IBM seems to be saying they'd be willing to really throw in with Linux (rather than beng nice to and courting Linux users as customers, which is mostly what they're doing now) if someone else will do the dirty work of bringing it up to the task.

What Linux could really use right now is an influx of cash for some serious intensive development. Well, here's a thought: I'm in non-profit development (fundraising) and education is a very hot topic. It is easier to get major funding for supporting education from both government and the private sector than it is for a lot of (arguably) equally important issues. Developing software for education, both administrative and in-classroom, could be a great center for a non-profit Linux development effort. And a lot of the base-level work would be in service of the whole Linux community. IBM's support, both financial and political, could give them a toehold in a computer market where Apple has had a major advantage (sorry Apple). All it needs is some Linux gurus and some seed capital to start it.

Why do they want to phase out AIX...? (1)

frleong (241095) | about 13 years ago | (#2197099)

... when they have Java? Just let AIX perform well on the high-end and Linux perform well on the lower-end and Java be the bridge.

But when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2197101)

So IBM said that it's willing to switch to Linux when its ready, but when is it ready to beat AIX ?

Linux is a great system (I run it), but somehow I can't imagine Linux running on 32 CPU Power3 based servers running an industrial strength journaling filesystem (neither ReiserFS, XFS, ext3, or IBM's JFS are up to par on Linux).

Lets hope that IBM still remembers this when Linux gains these abilities.

AIX has been planned for canning for over 2 years (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2197104)

Anyone that has followed the progress of AIX development would know that AIX was destined to be shelved. Does Monterey ring a bell to anyone? After that project fell apart it would be apparently obvious that Linux would be the direction especially after the HUGE BLUE investement in Linux.

Linux Sucks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2197121)


EVERYONE will do this if it "matures" to likings.. (1)

swordboy (472941) | about 13 years ago | (#2197125)

In other news... Slashdot's "swordboy" announced that he will drop Windows 2000 for Linux if it matures to his liking

So will every other consumer and business in the world (save MS).

This is not news.

kewl (0, Troll)

levinas (516658) | about 13 years ago | (#2197130)

Now I can look forward to kernel hackers incuding support for more high end hardware I've never heard of(S/390 support anyone) Which is only relevaint to a couple of geeks at stanford. Rather then creating ,say, a proper debugger.

Still I spose its better then having them create a text based adventure game to compile a kernel.

beets (2)

Lxy (80823) | about 13 years ago | (#2197132)

Linux beats AIX?

I think it'd be childish to throw beets at AIX. AIX had its day in the sun (and probably on one at some point) and it was a great OS. If linux is truly better it should humble itself and send AIX off with a retirement party, not just throw things at at. Especially beets, they stain clothing.
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