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Over the last year or so, we've noticed that every time we speak to our friends at IBM, they start talking about how Linux-friendly they are. That's won them a lot of friends in the open source community but the friendliness is likely to be prompted more by head than heart. That's according to Malcolm Macsween, who works for Red Hat partner Enterprise Management Consuling (EMC) UK. He said today that while IBM draws something like 15 per cent of its revenue from software and around 35 per cent from services, there's a lot of benefit in Big Blue taking Microsoft head on. That's what we hear from our insider at IBM too, who was suggesting to us at last week's Network Show in Birmingham that there are very strong business reasons for supporting Linux. Macsween said: "If you spend £10,000 on [Microsoft] software, that means you have less time and resources to spend on a project." He said that this goes some way to explain why large corporations are interested in companies, such as Compaq, IBM, HP and Sun, which have Unix backgrounds. Compaq is Linux-friendly too (see Secret CompaQ memo shows depth of Unix commitment). The memorandum from the office of the Compaq triumvirate to all of its staff last week also underlines a similar approach. While Compaq appears to have a dual Intel-Alpha strategy on selling servers to large corporations, in reality the situation is a little more complex than that. By proliferating Tru64 Unix in large corporations, and simultaneously selling Alpha servers for both Tru64 and Linux operating system platforms, Compaq hopes to make a large dent in its competitors' market share. Compaq is also, at the same time, managing to keep the Wintel axis happy by, on on the one hand supporting Win64 on the Alpha platform, and on the other still appearing to support Intel's IA-64, whether it successfully appears as Merced or McKinley. On the other hand, Compaq already has its own eight-way Alpha server technology, and one which Intel admitted earlier this year was a threat to its own technology. In such circumstances, it doesn't really matter what the OS is, as long as the high-end, the medium-end, and the low-end tin continues to sell, and sell well. ® See alsoIntel anxious about Compaq Alpha threat Intel's Otellini on Alpha

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