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Linux Magazine: IBM's Linux Point Man [Q&A with Irving Wladawksy-Berger]

Oct 01, 2000, 15:19 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Robert McMillan)

"Irving Wladawsky-Berger gets the interesting jobs at IBM. A big blue employee since the 1970s, he has spent his career finding ways to bring what IBM calls "advanced technologies" to the marketplace. In the past, this meant finding ways to make money out of IBM's gee-whiz lab innovations, but of late Wladawsky-Berger has been focusing on innovations in the open world. In 1995 he was tapped to come up with the company's Internet strategy and over the December holidays last year his boss, Sam Palmisano, called Wladawsky-Berger and asked him to take charge of the latest disruptive technology on IBM's radar: Linux."

"Linux Magazine: How did you get the job as IBM's Linux strategist?"

"Wladawsky-Berger: It became clear to me and a number of others that Linux and Open Source in general was the evolution of where we saw the Internet going. It wasn't a separate movement. It was really the evolution of supporting more and more standards, of supporting more and more community development projects, of doing everything possible to facilitate the integration of systems and the portability of applications. And so I began urging Sam Palmisano [now president and COO of IBM] that we should really embrace Linux strongly."

"It's one of those things where sometimes if you are pushing something very hard, people come back to you and say "Irving, that sounds like a very good thing to do, come over to this side of the house. Continue to be involved with the Internet, but help launch the whole Linux initiative with the Enterprise Systems Group." And so that's what I did at the beginning of this year."

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