"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
"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."