IBM recently introduced its first dedicated
Linux mainframe server. Linux on the mainframe seems to be getting
a lot of attention at the moment.
It actually goes back a fair way. It's been around for a year or
so. Now it's really starting to take off with this server
consolidation thing, and IBM has sort of hit the wave with the
blade server people as well. If you can run a thousand copies of
Linux on one machine, what are the savings of not having a room
full of computers? I think they just have been at the right place
at the right time in a sense. They've got hardware which is very
fault-tolerant and they can ship it now while everyone else is very
much -- all the PC style hardware doing this is very new.
IBM is spending a lot of money promoting its Linux
plans. Do you see any problem with IBM integrating Linux into its
There are one or two points of friction for IBM. Certain drivers
for the S/390 (mainframe) are closed source, which has proved
problematic for customers, because they can't upgrade to the
versions of the kernel they want, because they can't get the right
drivers from IBM. On the whole, though, I think it would be fair to
say that IBM have been extremely good citizens of the open source
world, they've contributed a lot of very, very good code. I don't
think that's a big issue, just this one S/390 issue.