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TechWeb: 'Linux Lou' and IBM

Jan 15, 2001, 14:00 (10 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Art Wittman)

"Who are you, and what have you done with Lou Gerstner? The ex-cookie peddler turned high-tech wunderkind has been talking crazy this past month or so. At least you'd think so if you still subscribed to the now-dated IBM product plans of previous decades. Gerstner, as it turns out, is now the most ardent defender of open systems. Gerstner says Linux is the future, and those proprietary systems from Sun Microsystems and Microsoft are the last of a dying breed."

"I saw a headline describing Gerstner's attacks on proprietary systems, and I wondered what he was talking about. Before reading the story, I figured he was going after EMC for its proprietary storage systems. While waiting for the Web to spit forth the text of the story, my brain wandered to Microsoft and middleware. Maybe Gerstner was talking about the evils of COM or the goodness of everything Java. But, no, within a few seconds, there it was in white and black -- he was talking operating systems."

"Before we open-software aficionados get all misty-eyed, I need to point out that Gerstner didn't actually mention Microsoft. He talked very specifically about Sun and "other Unix vendors." I still believe he was clearly taking a swing at Microsoft, but didn't want to mention the company by name. Outside of the Linux platform, Gerstner's IBM has a stable of proprietary operating systems that puts the rest of the industry to shame. So instead of directly chiding Microsoft, he mentioned that "some" estimate Linux could overtake Windows NT/2000 by 2004. Makes ya wonder who "some" might be, huh?"

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