IBM Corp. is continuing its crusade to make Linux the world’s most popular operating system. Its GM for Linux is currently on tour in India, and Big Blue is taking its strategy to China, South Korea, Russia, and Brazil, too.

IBM’s GM for Linux, Jim Stallings, a former marine captain, is currently touring India spreading the gospel — among customers, independent software vendors (ISVs) and various governments — about the compelling value proposition of Linux and how it can create jobs for young Indians.

Along with China, South Korea, Russia, and Brazil, India is a rapidly growing market for IBM and Stallings is meeting ministry of IT officials in New Delhi and several other oficials of India’s various state governments. His visit comes exactly a year after the inaugural visit to India by IBM supremo, Sam Palmisano.

IBM has built a strong force of 3,000 Linux-certified practitioners, while around 12,000 people within the company have some kind of Linux exposure. Its Linux-related business has now passed the US$2 billion mark. Stallings says there’s been traction in systems, software, and services.

“IBM has been committed to Linux for years and supports the ‘opening up’ of software and services,” says R Dhamodaran, Vice-President and Country Executive, IBM Software Group.

As well as working closely in India with 40-odd ISVs who are developing applications in areas of banking, finance, e-governance, retail, and healthcare, IBM has just set up a set up a Linux centre of competency (CoC) in Bangalore with two branches in New Delhi and Mumbai — Big Blue now has 20 such CoCs across the globe, in locations such as Austin (Texas-USA), Beijing (China), Boeblingen (Germany), Moscow (Russia) Sao Paolo (Brazil), and Tokyo (Japan).

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