osOpinion: The Warped Perspective: May 2000May 29, 2000, 19:59 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Tom Nadeau)
[ Thanks to Kelly McNeill for this link. ]
"While IBM has broadly embraced the poster child of Open Source -- namely, Linux -- it has not been as firmly supportive of 100% Open-Source when it comes to its own operating systems. There are several reasons for this reluctance. For one thing, IBM's operating systems are the result of decades of investment, research, and experience with large systems. Also, IBM has spent the last thirty years incorporating many copyrighted and patented features into their own OS's. It would be unreasonable for them to spend millions of dollars not just in development, but also in legal expenses to seek and protect government sanction for these innovations, and then to freely open the vaults to all comers."
"Most importantly, IBM has shareholders to answer to. Until the pure Open-Source model becomes a stable, long-term profit center for many companies, IBM will have quite a challenge in convincing shareholders that giving away the "crown jewels" is the right thing to do. Small companies and individual innovators like Linus Torvalds have a great deal more freedom to choose their software paradigm -- open or closed. The stakes are not nearly as high, and they have a greater degree of independence."
"However, there are some signs that IBM may be moving toward the Open Source model itself, even with its own products. IBM appears to be taking a "layers of the onion" approach, offering full source for file systems, protocols, and other connectives. Later, IBM will likely open up some of its more common APIs and other features within the software products themselves. Kernel-level code will probably be opened last, if at all."