IBM bets big on Linux

IBM Corp. this week affirmed its commitment to Linux with a pledge to spend over $1 billion in the next year on the operating system.

IBM CEO Lou Gerstner in a keynote at the eBusiness Conference and Expo in New York said that the company would spread its Linux investment over all product areas from mainframes to low-end personal computers.

“We’re convinced Linux can do for business applications what the Internet did for enterprise applications,” said Gerstner.

IBM has had several big wins for Linux in the past month.

It announced that Shell would install a cluster of 1,024 eServer 300s running Red Hat Linux to collect seismic data. In addition, IBM last week announced that telecom company Telia and Lawson, a chain of convenience stores, would install Linux.

Recently, IBM announced that DB2 Universal Database will be available for Linux on Intel-based clusters and that its application server software, WebSphere, would run on IBM mainframes.

IBM has 1,500 employees working on Linux development and marketing and Gerstner estimated that Linux could grow much faster than Windows NT, eventually supplanting it.

IDC says that Linux became the number two operating system in 1999 in new server shipments and anticipates that it will remain the fastest growing server operating system through 2004. The market for relational database servers running Linux is expected to increase from US$30 million in 2000 to $3.4 billion in 2004.