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03.07.14

IBM Not the Only ‘Sugar Daddy’ of GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Servers at 7:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: As IBM declines it is worth remembering that GNU/Linux no longer rests on the shoulders of few giants

LAST month we wrote about IBM's not-so-secret NSA relationships causing massive issues for IBM in China (mostly because the NSA’s secrets have leaked), resulting perhaps in some of the latest layoffs, which now include “up to 25 percent of ‘hardware’ division” [1]. IBM recently sold yet more of its hardware business to China (after it had sold some to Lenovo) and it remains one of the most dominant GNU/Linux players. Its commitment is very real [2] even if self-serving, e.g. for “Watson” PR [3,4] and use of Free/libre/gratis software to sell super-expensive hardware. We oughtn’t treat IBM as an enemy, even if it often lobbies for software patents and spreads proprietary software [5] while looking for volunteers [6]. Famed journalist Cringely, who wrote many damning posts about IBM around 2012 (a series which predicted much of what’s happening to IBM right now), has just published somewhat of a strong-worded criticism of IBM [7] in relation to GNU/Linux.

With or without IBM’s support, GNU/Linux is going to do just fine on servers. OpenStack is massive [8], DigitalOcean (GNU/Linux servers) has just bagged a lot of venture capital money [9], banks and stock markets around the world depend on GNU/Linux servers [10], and the Internet as a whole is predominantly GNU/Linux-based [11] (at all levels, including back-end computational servers [12]). The fiction that IBM is synonymous with Linux or that Linux depends on IBM is about 14 years old and it’s out of date. IDC claims that the servers business is in decline [13] (maybe just better use of virtualisation and GNU/Linux efficiency for automation and provisioning [14]) and the days of UNIX are quickly ebbing away [15], taking away the lustre from UNIX giants like IBM.

The mobile (phone/tablet) interaction with servers will continue to be a top trend — one that IBM failed to forecast or at least capitalise on. What remains of IBM may not be much a decade down the line (it looks somewhat grim), but that oughtn’t be much of a factor as far as GNU/Linux is concerned. Google and Android (with servers and phones) make much of IBM with its mainframes, laptops and office suites/collaboration tools obsolete. Google is far from the only player using GNU/Linux to that effect.

GNU/Linux is the tool of no single company. It’s the foundation of many platforms and the unifying system that becomes ubiquitous (universal).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. IBM laying off up to 25 percent of ‘hardware’ division

    Big Blue confirms it’s commencing workforce cuts, but declines to put a number on the job losses. A source tells CNET the layoffs entail up to 25 percent in the Systems and Technology group.

  2. IBM’s Mike Day: KVM More Visible Through Collaboration

    About a year ago IBM doubled down on its commitment to the open source cloud, announcing that all of its cloud offerings would be built on OpenStack and renewing its investments in KVM, the Linux-based kernel virtual machine. Since then, both projects have undergone major changes, including the move last fall of KVM and the Open Virtualization Alliance (OVA) to become a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project.

  3. IBM’s megabrain Watson to make mobe, slab apps smarter? Not so fast
  4. IBM courts mobile developers for Watson platform
  5. IBM Announces BlueMix – The IBM PaaS
  6. Free cloud access to IBM Power servers for Linux Developers

    Free IBM Cloud Platform for developers…yeah, that’s a big deal. That platform being based on the latest IBM POWER7 and POWER7+ processor-based servers running Linux, AIX and IBM i operating systems…very big deal indeed!

  7. pCell is only as good as the Linux it runs on

    Typically with new technologies like this the inventors haven’t thought much about security or they rely on a small installed base to keep the product or service under the radar of the bad guys. But pCell, for all it’s high tech loveliness, is a Software Defined Network proudly running in a data center on plain old Linux servers.

  8. Ubuntu is the most used OS for production OpenStack deployments

    According to an official OpenStack User Survey Ubuntu is the most used Operating System for production deployment of OpenStack. OpenStack is an Open Source project to build a framework for the creation of cloud platforms, predominately Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platforms. The survey found that Ubuntu accounts for 55% of the host Operating Systems used for OpenStack deployments, CentOS accounts for 24% and Red Hat for 10%. These results are not completely surprising as Canonical invests heavily in Ubuntu’s OpenStack development, it was one of the founding members of The OpenStack Foundation and is a Platinum Sponsor of the foundation.

  9. Linux cloud world’s best kept secret DigitalOcean just bagged $37m

    Cut-price virtual-server hosting biz DigitalOcean has banked a whopping $37.2m from Andreessen Horowitz and other valley investors.

    The mammoth series-A funding round was announced on Thursday and will give the 50-person company the funds it needs to aggressively hire talented developers and expand globally, while keeping its Linux cloud server prices as low as $5 a month.

  10. Three events that moved Linux forward

    Friday evening can be a very busy time in Citibank’s Changi Business Park office in Singapore. Hundreds of mission-critical applications hit the production servers, security patches are applied, hundreds of professionals including developers, systems engineers, Linux gurus, and management professionals spend the whole night on the conference calls ensuring the smooth functioning of servers at this financial giant. The applications that get life over the weekend have monetary value and therefore require robust servers to host them. These servers need to maximize the utilization of the applications and should have the stability to run for a longer period of time without a reboot. These servers should also have the capability to be scaled up as the infrastructure grows. The bottom line: these enterprise level boxes need to be tough.

  11. eWEEK at 30: The Lamp Stack Switches on Large-Scale Web Development

    Linux is the foundational bare-metal operating system on which the stack runs. The Apache web server first came on the scene in 1995 just as global Web use was starting to grow explosively, tracing its roots back to the very first NSCA HTTPd webserver. From April 1996 to the present day, the open-source Apache HTTP Server has held the enviable distinction of being the most widely deployed Web server on the planet.

  12. Big data, cloud boost Linux adoption

    The rise of big data, cloud computing, mobility and social media — what IDC dubs the ‘third platform’ — represents a big opportunity for Linux and open source more broadly, analyst Sally Parker this morning told the SUSE Open Forum in Sydney.

  13. 2013 Global Server Market Continues to Decline

    The server business had a mixed 2013. According to IDC’s fourth quarter 2013 Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, global revenue came in at $14.2 billion, which is a 4.4 percent year-over-year decline. In contrast, analyst firm Gartner reported that fourth quarter server revenues declined by 6.6 percent.

  14. Are your servers pets or cattle?

    Under the old-fashioned “enterprise computing” infrastructure model, servers were given cutesy names like “Cookie,” “Dakota,” “Reagan,” or “Aardvark.” Each server was procured individually and configured by hand (often by several different people). Because each server was configured manually, no two servers were exactly like. Each machine was like a special snowflake.

  15. Watch people explain UNIX in 1982

    If your knowledge of the UNIX operating system is basically the line from the 1993 movie “Jurassic Park” (where Lexie goes, “It’s a UNIX system! I know this!), you might want to brush up a bit more on the subject. Sure, there’s Wikipedia, but if you’re a video fan, you’ll want to check out this film, published today on YouTube by the folks from the AT&T Tech Channel.

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