Feeds

IBM plays favourites with Linux distros

Four get preferred status

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

The head of IBM's Linux business has predicted consolidation among distributors of the open source operating system - and named the handful of players Big Blue is backing for success in the forthcoming shake-out.

Steve Solazzo, IBM's vice president of Linux strategy, said that "the world doesn't need" the 150 plus Linux distribution firms currently in business and he predicted massive consolidation through mergers and acquisitions.

"Rather than working with every Linux distributor we prefer to have four preferred worldwide partners, and work with a number of firms that are strong in particular geographies," said Solazzo. "We can't support all the marketplace."

Speaking at the CeBit conference in Hangover, Germany, Solazzo said that IBM's four preferred distributors are SuSe, TurboLinux, Red Hat and Caldera and that its local partners include MadrakeSoft, which is strong in France as well as distributors who are strong in Latin America and China.

Distributors close to Big Blue are given an entry into IBM's accounts and the opportunity to sell services and supports that are vital for the business of distributors, many of whom have been hit particularly hard by the downturn of the US stock market.

The need to keep a select group of distributors afloat come what may is something IBM is obviously keen to support. Solazzo said IBM would "major on a few relationships so that those distributors will emerge stronger".

One of the main reasons IBM is so keen on Linux, according to Solazzo, is that the OS is popular in the Internet data centre environment where its own AIX operating system is not particularly strong.

It's also worth remembering here that IBM is putting a great deal into the open source community including file systems, printers drivers, systems management and SMP (Symmetric MultiProcessing) support and scalability technology.

Despite doing more to support Linux than any hardware manufacturer, the Linux community is far bigger than Big Blue. In fairness IBM does acknowledge the role application developers, systems integrators and resellers are playing in "expanding the franchise available to Linux" as Solazzo puts it.

What IBM is doing is majoring on distributors who provide the kinds of service and support that would make corporates more comfortable with buying applications, for example, its DB2 database software for a Linux server.

The snag in IBM's "preferred partner" strategy for distributors is that Big Blue might be perceived as taking a paternalistic attitude to the Linux market place and picking favourites that might alienate others in the open source community. ®

Related stories

Red Hat stems Red Ink
The two Ballmers wrestle over 'Toy' Linux
MS to announce Linux.NET
Sony, IBM, Toshiba team on broadband supercomputing CPU
Hacking Linux BIND servers becomes child's play
IBM ads to feature Linux penguin

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
New Facebook phone app allows you to stalk your mates
Nearby Friends feature goes live in a few weeks
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.