Feeds

IBM plays favourites with Linux distros

Four get preferred status

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.