Using the headline "IBM goes silent on Linux desktop effort," ComputerWorld has published a report that IBM's strategic initiative to move thousands of its internal users onto Linux-based desktops is missing in action. According to the story, it has been more than a year since IBM's chairman and CEO, Sam Palmisano challenged the company, which has made Linux and open source central to its sales strategy, to migrate to Linux desktops by the end of 2005. Shortly after Palmisano issued the challenge, the report says, IBM CIO Bob Greenberg wrote that "Our chairman has challenged the IT organization, and indeed all of IBM, to move to a Linux-based desktop by the end of 2005....This means replacing productivity, Web access and viewing tools with open standards-based equivalents."
If the project still exists, there doesn't seem to be a lot of enthusiasm for it in the company. The report quotes unnamed sources within the company who claim that key barriers to migration remain. According to one source, because IBM's internal Web applications only work with Microsoft's Internet Explorer, IE is the only browser that's officially supported by the company's support desk. (Relevance: there is no version of IE for Linux.) In another strange twist, there's no Linux-based version of the Lotus Notes client (something the company can fix if it's serious about the move). So, users who have migrated to Linux are using the WINE Windows emulator to run the Windows version of Lotus Notes (an approach that an IBM internal migration document characterizes as a non-strategic, if-all-else-fails solution). >
Here's an idea. Since Sun COO Jonathan Schwartz is so hell bent on getting IBM to port its server applications to Solaris, perhaps he can offer Palmisano a deal. In exchange for IBM porting those applications and getting Lenovo to build AMD-based workstations (for sale) that can certifiably run the x86 Solaris-base version of Sun's Java Desktop System (JDS), Sun gives IBM a free license to use the JDS anywhere within the company. Oh, and for good measure, Schwartz will even pick up the tab for porting the Lotus Notes client to Solaris. Sounds like a good quid pro quo to me. How about to you? TalkBack!