"Rick Carey has staked his reputation and his job on a project
that he concedes is risky--but with potentially huge returns. He is
the person in charge of a top-down implementation of Linux software
at Merrill Lynch.
"Merrill (nyse: MER - news - people ) is one of many Wall Street
brokerages doing a large-scale Linux deployment in an effort to cut
their costs and boost revenue. Indeed, these banks have had a very
tough year: Merrill's sales declined more than 10%, to $38.7
billion last year, and profits dried up to 56 cents per share, from
$4.06 in 2000. The company laid off 9,000 employees last year to
reduce compensation expenses.
"Merrill and others talked about their Linux plans at an event
hosted by Red Hat Software (nasdaq: RHAT - news - people ) in New
York Tuesday night. Red Hat is a leading Linux distributor but is
experiencing no shortage of pain itself. Sales for fiscal 2002
ended Feb. 28 fell to $86.8 million, from $103 million. Analysts
polled by First Call/Thomson Financial are expecting the company to
break even in the May and August quarters..."