IBM has further increased its commitment to Linux by announcing plans to invest $300m in creating Linux services, in addition to the $1bn it has set aside for new products for the open source operating system (OS).
The announcement follows industry fears, which emerged in January, that Big Blue is poised to gain a stranglehold over the Linux community.
During his keynote address at the Linuxworld trade show yesterday, IBM president and chief operating officer Sam Palmisano said that Linux is poised to "leap the chasm between merely being a nice modular technology for small business systems to being an integral platform for conducting real ebusiness".
To ensure that Linux is adopted by more enterprises, IBM plans to spend $300m over the next three years boosting its global support services offerings for the OS. This is in addition to the $1bn investment in new products, which the company announced last December.
But speaking exclusively to vnunet.com last month, George Weiss, an analyst at researchers Gartner, warned that Big Blue appears to be trying to take over the Linux momentum and grab what the platform has to offer.
As part of the $300m investment, IBM plans to create services for Linux ebusiness deployment and migration, as well as consultancy services surrounding cluster design and implementation. It has also expanded its services relationships through international technical support agreements with SuSE, Red Hat and LinuxCare.
Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst with researcher IDC, said that service and support are among the key drivers that will help make customers comfortable with running Linux in a business environment.
"By providing services and support, IBM is clearly helping Linux move into the mainstream from its current position as the platform for technical, academic and service provider applications," he said.
IBM also launched Domino Workflow for Linux at the show, and announced that its eServer x430 would be the first system to use its Linux Applications Environment software for expanding businesses.
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