IBM is increasing its use of Linux on its server lines, not as a sop to the open source code movement but to boost its server sales, IBM officials said last week.
"Linux is being used on more and more Web servers. If Linux becomes a common environment in the Internet, — and we believe it will — then applications will need to run in that environment," said Tilack Agerwala, vice president of Unix marketing at IBM (www.ibm.com).
Linux now runs on the IBM mainframe, in a separate partition alongside its MVS operating system, so the mainframe can continue to provide networking and data management facilities, Agerwala said.
IBM is considering bringing out versions of its integrated development environment, VisualAge, for building Linux applications for servers. Visual Age already comes in C, C++ and Java editions, with a version of VisualAge for Java able to run under Linux.
IBM recently named Irving Wladawsky-Berger, one of the "prime architects" of its e-business strategy, as vice president of technology and strategy to oversee Linux efforts throughout the company. He will report to Sam Palmisano, who took over IBM's server unit in September 1999. "What we need to do is get the momentum back into the server business. This is a first step," Palmisano said.
To further that aim, IBM is building a Linux compatibility layer on its version of Unix, AIX, which runs on its RS/6000 servers and workstations. "This will make it much easier for Linux applications to run on AIX," Agerwala said. IBM is also building an interoperability layer between Linux and its AS/400 server line.