IBM's Elix: Linux Momentum Is Real


Stresses IBM's support of Linux, new customer deployments


Doug Elix, senior vice president and group executive at IBM Global Services, used his LinuxWorld keynote speech Wednesday to solidify IBM's position as a leader in supporting the open-source operating system that has finally won global acceptance in the enterprise.

Elix wasted no time reminding attendees that IBM was a major Linux proponent before rivals Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems entered the fray, and that IBM Global Services customers are increasingly using Linux in large IT deployments.

Elix noted that IBM Chairman and CEO Sam Palmisano spoke on the LinuxWorld stage in 2001 and committed to a $1 billion investment in the technology. Since then, Elix said, both HP Chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina and Sun Microsystems Chairman, President and CEO Scott McNealy, who keynoted Tuesday here, have come out in support of Linux.

"Today we have to share the stage with a crowd of tree-huggers and self-declared converts," said Elix. "But make no mistake, the Linux momentum is real."

Throughout his talk, Elix referred to videos of IBM customers deploying Linux in large enterprises, namely Boscov department stores and eTrade's online financial services business.

Elix said that the demand for Linux-related services is growing rapidly, citing the growing number of Linux deployments among IBM Global Services customers.

Elix said that in 2001, 14 of 75 of the world's largest companies--all IBM customers--were running Linux pilots. This year, he said 22 of those companies are all running Linux in their enterprise, and all but three of those deployments are large-scale.

Elix also outlined four reasons customers increasingly are adopting Linux in the enterprise: its flexibility, cost-effectiveness, popularity with next-generation developments and critical importance for new computing models, such as grid computing.