IBM's internal Linux deployment moves slowly

Big Blue is migrating some its internal applications to Linux but is taking its time, according to an IBM executive speaking at the Linux User and Developer show in London

IBM isn't rushing all of its staff onto open-source software but is embracing Linux in places where it provides genuine business benefits, the company said this week.

Surjit Chana, IBM's vice president of marketing strategy and planning, insisted on Wednesday that the deployment of Linux on the desktop "isn't a religious thing".

At the start of this year, an internal IBM memo showing that senior IBM staff were seriously evaluating the adoption of Linux on its internal desktops by the end of 2005 was leaked. IBM then insisted that its actual plans were not so bold, and according to Chana this position hasn't changed.

"We're deploying Linux in areas that make sense," Chana said. This is understood to include some applications developers.

Another position that IBM says is particularly suitable for moving to Linux is computer animator. Other workers, though, should stick with Windows for a bit longer.

"We'd say that Linux is ready for many, but not all, client segments," Adam Jollans, Linux software marketing strategy manager for IBM, told the Linux User and Developer Expo 2004, where Chana was also speaking.

One factor preventing companies such as IBM from embracing Linux more tightly is that they have already bought other software and that investment hasn't yet been written off.

IBM recently opened a fabrication plant in New York that runs completely on Linux. Because it was a new facility, it made more sense to deploy open source -- there was no existing deployment, such as Windows, to replace.