March 23, 2001, 2:04 PM —
Nearly a billion dollars. That's the amount that IBM CEO Lou Gerstner says IBM will spend on Linux next year. Gerstner made his announcement in a speech at the mid-December eBusiness Conference Expo in New York City, during which he mentioned the L-word a dozen times -- underscoring the importance that Big Blue is placing on Linux in its overall strategy. (See Jack Vaughan's article, "What's behind IBM's Linux Plans," for a news analysis of IBM's monetary commitment.)
Vaughan, the senior news editor at ITworld.com, and I had the opportunity recently to discuss the plans for that money with Daniel Frye, director of IBM's Linux Technology Center. For those of you who might have been wondering: no, the billion dollars does not include funds for purchasing or creating a Linux distribution of IBM's own. Frye says the company has no interest in having a distribution.
We did learn that the money represents the budget allocations earmarked for Linux for all IBM divisions next year. It includes things like training, programmer salaries, research, marketing, support of open source projects, and funding. The funding is for things like the Open Source Development Lab announced in August by IBM, HP, Intel, and NEC, which will give Linux developers the opportunity to test their code on top-end equipment.