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AsiaBizTech: Linux in Possible Crisis; IBM, NEC, Two Others to Form Promotion Group

Jun 26, 2001, 00:10 (49 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Kenichi Kitagawa)

Behind the provocative headline, there are some rather thought-provoking quotes from Japanese business executives who say that IBM is trying to hijaak Linux for its own ends, and in the process take control of Linux from the core Linux developers and the greater Linux community. The article also blames the "casual" attitude of Linus Torvalds as one reason why investors and corporate customers are losing interest in Linux.

"An executive of one of three Japanese firms talked about the undersurface activities. He said: 'In November 2001, IBM approached us all of a sudden about making this tie-up. I had understood the purpose of IBM as to develop the 'enterprise-use Linux' market so that large-scale corporate users could adopt Linux more easily. To realize it, according to IBM, we have to motivate the community to modify the kernel of Linux; and the cooperative action of four firms will be more effective than suggestions made by IBM alone.'"

"An executive of another affiliated company said that he felt the passion of IBM, which is determined to invest US$1 billion, this year alone, in Linux. 'IBM's passion really dragged us into this movement,' he added."

"He also said: 'I can get a glimpse of the strong will of IBM, which has recently regained its business strength, with an indication that 'there shall be no free ride on Linux to be enhanced by IBM investing a huge amount of money.' In the 1990s, just like IBM, we suffered from the business offensives of Microsoft Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc., Oracle Corp., EMC Corp., and others. However, we hope that we will come back to be a leader in the next round by leveraging our services. This kind of change symbolizes the history of IT industry, where Linux, open-source software, happens to exist as a tactical tool."

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