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Consulting Times: Inside IBM

Mar 07, 2002, 00:58 (11 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dan Frye)
"Three and one-half years ago -- in the middle of '98 -- I was part of a corporate technology team that was looking at emerging technologies. I raised my hand and said 'So what's our Linux strategy?' They said we didn't have one, so I got assigned to start working on it. I ended up co-authoring the original Linux and open source strategies, and I've been doing it ever since, in one role or another. In the role I have now -- and this is something we started a while back -- I'm the director of the Linux Technology Center.

Our basic mission is to help make Linux better -- not make Linux better for IBM products, just make Linux better, period. So we have about 250 people in eight countries -- 25 cities -- around the world who work all in open source, as peers in the community. They're working on 50-60 different projects -- all aimed at making Linux better -- and most aimed at making Linux better for the enterprise in particular. So we work on volume management and scalability and security and systems management and networking -- all the various attributes of an operating system that you would normally work on if you were a commercial development shop. And I tell you, we have a great time doing it!

Our folks all work out in the community. Sometimes we bring technology from IBM -- where there is something missing or we think we have technology that's maybe better than what's out there -- we'll open source technology from one of IBM's software products. More often though, we just simply join an existing community in working on, say, ITB sets. We take some of the best programmers we've got -- they join the community, they start at the bottom, and they work their way up and contribute like other people. When we write good code it gets accepted, and when we write bad code it gets rejected, just like everybody else. We really do consider ourselves as peer members within the community."

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