IBM's Mills touts managed clients

Summary:[Updated 08/15/05] Steve Mills, IBM's top software executive, sent a clear message during his keynote this afternoon at LinuxWorld that IBM's is ready to take on Microsoft with its Workplace managed client. He said the Linux on servers was maturing and that the next frontier for Linux is the client, across desktops, server managed clients and embedded devices.

[Updated 08/15/05] Steve Mills, IBM's top software executive, sent a clear message during his keynote this afternoon at LinuxWorld that IBM's is ready to take on Microsoft with its Workplace managed client. He said the Linux on servers was maturing and that the next frontier for Linux is the client, across desktops, server managed clients and embedded devices. "Clients are becoming increasingly heterogeneous, but the things that drove Linux adoption for servers will not drive it on the client," said Mills. Managing clients from a platform neutral server platform is a more cost effective way for companies with high numbers of routine task workers, who don’t need the same PC experience as knowledge workers, according to Mills. "You don’t gain anything by deploying the same infrastructure you did in the mid-80s," he said.  It's more complex than simply substituting Linux for Unix or Windows.


Next Mills gave a couple of customer case studies that touted the benefits of IBM's Workplace managed client, and then called a colleague on to the stage to demo the software on two screens, one running Red Hat Linux and the other, Windows.  Noteworthy among the plug-ins and functionality was the "Activity Explorer," which changes up the idea of how collaboration is initiated. Rather than centering on e-mail or IM, it puts awareness in context around activities such as shared documents.

Mills concluded that the main driver for Linux on the desktop simply boils down to how it changes the economics of computing and improves work efficiency.  But first, Mills and company will have to overcome confusion about Workplace. [Updated] The software covers a lot of ground which makes it hard to understand by many, such as  a quarter of all Lotus Domino customers, according to Radicati Group. (The validity of Radicati Group's methodology was recently brought to my attention...)

Topics: Operating Systems

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Christopher Jablonski is a freelance technology writer. Previously, he held research analyst positions in the IT industry and was the manager of marketing editorial at CBS Interactive. He's been contributing to ZDNet since 2003. Christopher received a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Illinois at U... Full Bio

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