Readers of ZDNet have known for months about how IBM is trying to use Linux and open source as a "wedge issue" against Microsoft, especially in rapidly-growing markets like China, India, Russia and Brazil.
Buell Duncan, IBM's general manager of partner and developer relations (developers, developers, developers, developers) whispered the key point into Dow Jones reporter Chris Reiter's telephone. "Customers are demanding choice. They don't want to be locked in to Microsoft."
Seriously, IBM has put down some serious cash on this number. Try $1 billion, said Duncan.
Where does it go? Hardware, software, free online workshops, even an advisory council of venture capitals to direct Big Blue's bucks to the four corners of the developing developer world.
But part of me (the cynical part) wonders how loud and proud IBM should really be here. Open source is all about leaving "The Man" behind, and jumping into the arms of...IBM? Trumpeting the fact you're spending $1 billion trying to develop stuff that competes better with our biggest export market overseas may also not amuse an increasingly-nationalistic U.S. tech sector.
But what does a blogger know? At least Duncan's not dancing.