We had a great meeting this morning at the LF Collaboration Summit with the Linux.com Gurus and community members. Here’s a fun picture that includes (from left to right): Masen Marshall, Andrea Benini, David Ames (LF staff) and Matthew Fillpot.

There was interesting discussion during Day 1 at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit about virtualization and cloud computing as it relates to Linux. Former Red Hat executive and rPath Founder and CTO Erik Troan took a few minutes to share his perspective on how Linux is supporting virtual computing environments and cloud computing initiatives.

rPath recently joined The Linux Foundation. Can you tell us about how you’re using Linux today to advance your business?

Troan: Linux has always been an integral part of rPath’s focus as a company. We provide automation solutions to help deploy and manage large numbers of Linux systems, and we’re being used on deployments in the range of 15 or 20,000 Linux servers. The success Linux has had in scale-out infrastructures has created new management costs that we work to reduce.

You work with system administrators every day. How are they using Linux to support new cloud computing initiatives at their companies?

Troan: Linux is very popular in cloud initiatives. It functions very well in a

headless environment, and the licensing model means that customers don’t

have to count how many machines are running. Commercial licenses can be

very hard to use in a dynamic cloud environment. If you have twenty

machines running for three days, five hundred for twenty minutes, and then

you have ten running for the rest of the month, how many Windows licenses

do you need? How do you count those to make sure you stay within your

license bounds? These questions are hard for commercial vendors to answer,

and ”just use Linux” has become a very simple and fast way to get cloud

projects up-and-running.

Your company has said that it sees increasing Linux deployments to support virtual computing environments? What’s driving this?

Troan: Virtual environments are about two things: Cost and management.

The first phase of virtualization was all about reducing the number of physical boxes a company had to purchase — in other words, server consolidation. Not only did this mean buying fewer machines, it dramatically reduced expenditures

on related expenses like floor space, power and cooling. The cumulative savings were so great that virtualization delivered a positive return very, very quickly.

Once consolidation was underway, the management benefits of virtualization

became apparent. Running images can move off of a piece of hardware,

allowing zero downtime maintenance and replacement. Systems can be

snapshot or suspended, freeing up RAM while preserving the systems. These

features are a little harder to benefit from on day one, but they are an

even larger financial benefit in the medium term.

Linux has been part of this in a couple of ways. First of all, significant

numbers of compute workloads in enterprises run on Linux, and those workloads are being moved into virtual environments rapidly. Second, Linux itself is being used as a virtualization platform. Amazon uses Xen for EC2, which

is by far the largest virtualized infrastructure in existence, and interest

in KVM has started to move into the prototyping phase. Linux’s ability to deliver stable virtualization at a low price point is very interesting for corporate users.

It’s also worth mentioning that the licensing challenges commercial software

has in cloud environments also apply in virtual environments. It can be hard to know how much of a product is running, and nobody likes to count things.

With budgets and headcount down, how are administrators continuing to scale system counts?

Troan: The answer, very simply, is automation. In order to handle scale you have

to automate everything you possibly can. Mark Burgess, who developed cfengine, said in Login magazine, “Always let your tool do the work.” The only way we can cope with complexity is by having tools do the heavy lifting. In

deployment, provisioning, and configuration, automated tools are how you manage more and more boxes without adding people. Large organizations

like Google and Yahoo! have been doing this for years using home grown tools.

Now that even midsized companies have thousands of servers, we’re seeing a lot

of interest in off-the-shelf solutions for automation across the server lifecycle.

Automation not only reduces the time it takes to deploy and manage servers; it

also reduces the errors that occur when things are being done by hand. Putting

systems into place that do things the right way every time is the only way to grow server counts.

 

 

 

There was interesting discussion during Day 1 at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit about virtualization and cloud computing as it relates to Linux. Former Red Hat executive and rPath Founder and CTO Erik Troan took a few minutes to share his perspective on how Linux is supporting virtual computing environments and cloud computing initiatives.

rPath recently joined The Linux Foundation. Can you tell us about how you’re using Linux today to advance your business?

Troan: Linux has always been an integral part of rPath’s focus as a company. We provide automation solutions to help deploy and manage large numbers of Linux systems, and we’re being used on deployments in the range of 15 or 20,000 Linux servers. The success Linux has had in scale-out infrastructures has created new management costs that we work to reduce.

You work with system administrators every day. How are they using Linux to support new cloud computing initiatives at their companies?

Troan: Linux is very popular in cloud initiatives. It functions very well in a

headless environment, and the licensing model means that customers don’t

have to count how many machines are running. Commercial licenses can be

very hard to use in a dynamic cloud environment. If you have twenty

machines running for three days, five hundred for twenty minutes, and then

you have ten running for the rest of the month, how many Windows licenses

do you need? How do you count those to make sure you stay within your

license bounds? These questions are hard for commercial vendors to answer,

and ”just use Linux” has become a very simple and fast way to get cloud

projects up-and-running.

Your company has said that it sees increasing Linux deployments to support virtual computing environments? What’s driving this?

Troan: Virtual environments are about two things: Cost and management.

The first phase of virtualization was all about reducing the number of physical boxes a company had to purchase — in other words, server consolidation. Not only did this mean buying fewer machines, it dramatically reduced expenditures

on related expenses like floor space, power and cooling. The cumulative savings were so great that virtualization delivered a positive return very, very quickly.

Once consolidation was underway, the management benefits of virtualization

became apparent. Running images can move off of a piece of hardware,

allowing zero downtime maintenance and replacement. Systems can be

snapshot or suspended, freeing up RAM while preserving the systems. These

features are a little harder to benefit from on day one, but they are an

even larger financial benefit in the medium term.

Linux has been part of this in a couple of ways. First of all, significant

numbers of compute workloads in enterprises run on Linux, and those workloads are being moved into virtual environments rapidly. Second, Linux itself is being used as a virtualization platform. Amazon uses Xen for EC2, which

is by far the largest virtualized infrastructure in existence, and interest

in KVM has started to move into the prototyping phase. Linux’s ability to deliver stable virtualization at a low price point is very interesting for corporate users.

It’s also worth mentioning that the licensing challenges commercial software

has in cloud environments also apply in virtual environments. It can be hard to know how much of a product is running, and nobody likes to count things.

With budgets and headcount down, how are administrators continuing to scale system counts?

Troan: The answer, very simply, is automation. In order to handle scale you have

to automate everything you possibly can. Mark Burgess, who developed cfengine, said in Login magazine, “Always let your tool do the work.” The only way we can cope with complexity is by having tools do the heavy lifting. In

deployment, provisioning, and configuration, automated tools are how you manage more and more boxes without adding people. Large organizations

like Google and Yahoo! have been doing this for years using home grown tools.

Now that even midsized companies have thousands of servers, we’re seeing a lot

of interest in off-the-shelf solutions for automation across the server lifecycle.

Automation not only reduces the time it takes to deploy and manage servers; it

also reduces the errors that occur when things are being done by hand. Putting

systems into place that do things the right way every time is the only way to grow server counts.

 

 

 

 

Nokia’s Vice President of MeeGo Devices, Ari Jaaksi, will kick off the afternoon at today’s Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit with his keynote at 1:15 p.m. PT. He took a few minutes with us this morning to share what he’ll be speaking about and how the MeeGo project is going.

Today you are keynoting at the Linux Foundation’s Collaboration Summit. Can you give us a preview of what you’re going to be sharing with the audience?

Jaaksi: My keynote will share a bit of history, including Nokia’s experiences with Linux and Maemo, and how we take that forward. I’ll also share why Intel and Nokia chose to create this project, some recent milestones, and how developers can get involved.
 
How is the “big merge” going and are things on track to deliver MeeGo v1.0 in Q2?

Jaaksi: We’re moving right along and making great progress. Following the initial announcement at Mobile World Congress, we’ve released the MeeGo core operating system repositories – anyone can go to meego.com and download this package for free. And just yesterday, a number of leading companies spanning chipset designers, device manufacturers, software vendors and more announced their support for MeeGo
 
We’re well on our way toward the MeeGo 1.0 release – – I invite readers to come to my presentation or visit meego.com to learn about what’s next.
 
How do Maemo and Moblin developer communities complement each other?

Jaaksi: Moblin brings in a group of very talented developers. They have a world-class build infrastructure and experience working with upstream projects. They know how to work with different products and architectures.
 
Maemo is one of the largest open source communities in the mobile space. Maemo brings in the expertise of mobile devices, ARM based technologies and consumer products. The Maemo community also knows what it takes to build a consumer product — to the end — with quality and finish.
 
By bringing together developers from the Maemo and Moblin communities together, we’re broadening the base for innovative ideas to transpire.
 
Can you tell us more about Qt and what it brings to the MeeGo project?

Jaaksi: Qt is a cross-platform application and UI framework used by hundreds of thousands of developers worldwide looking to create amazing user experiences on Windows, Mac, Linux, Windows Mobile, Symbian and Maemo devices. Qt will be the primary application framework for MeeGo and both Intel and Nokia are committing their investment in it.  For developers interested in MeeGo, Qt helps increase the scope for their applications and services across multiple platforms, all using consistent application APIs.
 
How will the open development model and working so closely with upstream partners help to position MeeGo for success?

Jaaksi: MeeGo is a full open source project hosted by the Linux Foundation and governed according to best practices of open source development. As in other true open source projects, technical decisions are made based on technical merit of the code contributions being made.
 
In the end, Nokia, Intel and our upstream partners share a vision of mobile computing devices and the increasing importance of wireless connectivity – together, through the open MeeGo project, we will help to drive rapid innovation, adoption and consumer choice.
 
And already now, anybody can participate and see what we are doing. Code is developed in the open and decisions are made openly in meetings.
 
How are you bringing new contributors to the project? Do you see momentum?

Jaaksi: The beauty of the MeeGo project is that anyone can join and contribute. We’ve seen lots of interest in the project to-date, as evidenced by yesterday’s ecosystem release.
 
It’s only been two months since we announced MeeGo, and we’re seeing the momentum every day. With the first MeeGo devices due to market in the second half of this year, the project has no plans of slowing down anytime soon!

 

We’re preparing for this Friday’s Linux.com Planning Meeting at the Linux Foundation’s Collaboration Summit. The session begins at 9 a.m. PT and will take place in room Osaka. We’re expecting this year’s Linux.com Gurus to join us and we want to invite other Linux.com members to attend the meeting as we look toward the year ahead. If you’re not at Hotel Kabuki for the Collaboration Summit and want to call in for the meeting, email me at
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
and I’ll share the phone conference details and logistics.

I arrived at Hotel Kabuki this afternoon. The sun is out in San Francisco and the meeting space is ready for what I expect to be great collaboration this week!

 

 

For those of us that have worked for years in open source, rumors in the press of IBM “breaking its open source patent pledge” were met with a bit of dismay. IBM is one of the top contributors to the Linux kernel and dozens of critical open source projects. For more than a decade IBM has been a good citizen in the open source community.

To get to the bottom of things I contacted Dan Frye, VP of Open Systems Development at IBM and member of the Linux Foundations board of directors, to “say it wasn’t so.” Fortunately all of us can breathe easy – IBM remains true to their word. Here is the note I received from Dan which is very clear:

Jim,

There’s been recent interest in IBM’s “500 patent” pledge made in 2005 and how it applies today. It’s always important to get the facts, and the words of the pledge itself are the facts we need.

“The pledge will benefit any Open Source Software. Open Source Software is any computer software program whose source code is published and available for inspection and use by anyone, and is made available under a license agreement that permits recipients to copy, modify and distribute the program’s source code without payment of fees or royalties. All licenses certified by opensource.org and listed on their website as of 01/11/2005 are Open Source Software licenses for the purpose of this pledge.

“IBM hereby commits not to assert any of the 500 U.S. patents listed below, as well as all counterparts of these patents issued in other countries, against the development, use or distribution of Open Source Software.”

IBM stands by this 2005 Non-Assertion Pledge today as strongly as it did then. IBM will not sue for the infringement of any of those 500 patents by any Open Source Software.

Thanks.

Daniel Frye
VP, Open Systems Development
IBM Linux Technology Center

With more than a decade under its belt, Parallels ranks among the most active corporate contributors to the Linux kernel and says that is serves 10 million users in 125 countries. The company today is joining The Linux Foundation and is preparing to speak at the annual Collaboration Summit taking place next week. Chairman and CEO and Serguei Beloussov shares with us why the increasing investment in Linux, what’s required to collaborate and the state of virtualization and cloud computing.

Parallels is joining The Linux Foundation today and speaking at the Collaboration Summit next week. Why are you investing in these activities?

Beloussov: Since Parallels was founded in 2000, we have been a strong contributor and supporter of Linux – in fact we did not support any other platforms until 2005.

Parallels enables its partners to become profitable providers of cloud services. This space – of traditional hosting and cloud services providers for small businesses – has always been dominated by Linux and it’s not a coincidence. Delivering profitable cloud service requires a number of capabilities where Linux and Open Source have traditionally been strong – cost structure, flexibility, scale, etc.

Now we are formalizing years of our efforts and contributions by joining The Linux Foundation and we definitely look forward to continuing to contribute to Linux at technical, business and leadership levels. 

You’ve mentioned cloud services. What can you tell us about the cloud and virtualization?

Beloussov: Well, while the buzz around cloud computing services is a recent phenomenon, virtualized cloud services such as Virtual Private Servers have been popular and successful for some time. In fact, at the lower-end of the spectrum they are fairly commoditized by now: one can get themselves a Linux virtual server powered by our Parallels Container technology for as low as $20-$30/month from companies like GoDaddy, MediaTemple, 1and1, Hostway, and many hundreds of other Parallels Partners.

One aspect of cloud services is often being omitted though: Service Automation Software is effectively a set of “management tools” for virtualization for the cloud – management of services portfolios, self-service tools for customers, billing and provisioning, etc.

To this end, Parallels is focused on enabling service providers that help small businesses purchase, use and consume cloud services by making them easy to acquire, providing full service offerings and enabling profitability.

Parallels ranks in the top 10 of corporate contributors to the Linux kernel according to “Who Writes Linux,” the study published by The Linux Foundation. What does this level of community collaboration require from a company?

Beloussov: First, I think it is important to note that the other companies in the top 10 are ten times the size of Parallels – so, proportionally to size, we are a huge contributor to the Linux kernel.

That being said, this level of community collaboration requires a number of things. First and foremost, it requires expertise – not just development and engineering expertise but also expertise in working, developing and successfully contributing as a part of the Open Source development process. It also obviously takes time, money, and most importantly, a commitment to collaborate well with the Linux community. I have committed to at least double our Linux contribution efforts over the next six months because we want Parallels Containers to become fully part of the mainstream Linux kernel sooner; this is important for the community, for cloud partners and works with our business model. It is important for us.

Can you give us an update on the OpenVZ project?

Beloussov: One of our recent advances is porting the OpenVZ patch set to kernel 2.6.32. This is an important step because this kernel will be used in some major distributions including Ubuntu 10.4, Debian 6, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. This has been a long-term maintained kernel.

Features recently added into OpenVZ kernel include ext4 support, NFS server in container and bridges. New features we are working on include journaled quota and a new memory management model, in which primary parameters will be memory (RAM) and swap space, while all other resource management parameters will become secondary.

What should sysadmins know about enterprise virtualization in 2010 and how are containers impacting the enterprise?

Beloussov: Enterprise admins should know that in 2010 the reality of elastic IT is possible. They have to break their assumptions of traditional methods and look at alternatives that simplify and automate the delivery of IT services.  For example, we are seeing our enterprise customers take advantage of Parallels containers to make elastic IT a reality for their businesses in a time of constrained budgets and resources.  Containers have unique advantages in situations where scalability, low latency, high density and very quick management operations are important, and we are starting to see that.

What challenges and opportunities do you see for Linux? 

Beloussov: The fundamental challenges Linux has faced over the years have increased. The market of operating systems has never been as competitive as it is today. This includes competition from the big players with lots of resources around their operating systems, and the challenges of maintaining the momentum behind any community driven project. What has changed is the opportunity around the Linux platform. Today’s economic environment requires the benefits of Linux – including that Linux is cost-effective, easy to deploy and maintain.

For example, I think Solaris now has a good new home, and it is much less likely to be an easy target, especially after Oracle integration is completed. VMware is a new comer to the Datacenter OS space and is aggressively expanding its footprint beyond virtualization. Google is aggressively offering its infrastructure as a datacenter platform and starting to get some traction. Even Mac OS X is starting to be visible in the server space – look at GoDaddy’s announcement!   And finally, Microsoft is getting its act together in the light of all those challenges.

 

 

IBM is celebrating more than a decade working with Linux, and Dan Frye was the co-author of the original IBM corporate strategies for Linux and open source. Dan today is vice president of Open Systems Development and will be keynoting at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit in just two weeks. He shares with us today some of the insights he has gained over the years and how they relate to the opportunity for Linux in the decade ahead.

You’re keynoting at the upcoming Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit and are a board member of the organization. How has the Collaboration Summit evolved over the last few years and what are you looking forward to at the event this year?

Frye: The collaboration summit has evolved along with Linux itself — Linux use continues to expand and the Collaboration Summit has broadened its scope to address this wider constituency. This event brings together active representatives from throughout the Linux ecosystem: leading users from a variety of industries, key Linux developers, system vendors, software/application vendors, and more. The Collaboration Summit has become my favorite annual business meeting. It is a refreshingly down-to-earth, yet effective, forum for that diverse set of communities to interact.  What we learn at the Summit is often a driver of change in IBM priorities around our Linux technical strategy. The Linux technical leadership and the user community, in particular, can always be counted on at the Summit to provide us with cogent advice on what’s next and where we can help accelerate progress.

You will be talking about 10+ years of Linux at IBM. What has changed about Linux in a decade? What hasn’t?

Frye: Whoa. Everything has changed. Nothing is the same, with the possible exception of the “can do” philosophy of the global Linux development team. Everything has evolved – the technology, the market, customer adoption, the development process (yes, Linux community does have processes, even if they’re frequently loathe to admit it….). And all for the better. One of the most amazing things about the Linux market has been unbroken chain of success over the past decade – not once did the Linux pause or even briefly decline. The rise of the Internet ushered in the age of open standard computing with customers demanding freedom from relying upon any single, closed operating system provider. As a result, today, Linux is an unstoppable force in the industry, changing the economics of information technology, driving open standards in a way never before possible, and advancing customer innovation.

Secure, reliable, flexible Linux and open source software are rapidly complementing commercial software in customer engagements that include standards-based hardware platforms, software, and services. Additionally, open source technologies have spawned an ecosystem of developers building applications based on open architectures enabling IT systems to be truly interoperable.

We have seen tremendous momentum since IBM joined the Linux community over ten years ago. Linux has become the platform of choice for customers who value flexibility and portability in heterogeneous environments. Not only is Linux successful in x86 servers, it is often the right choice for other architectures, including RISC and mainframes. For example, IBM’s latest supercomputer partnership will use Linux to harness a huge number of IBM Power processors.  These successes illustrate Linux’s flexibility and capability.

How has your advice to customers who are just starting to implement Linux in their enterprise environments changed from the year 2000 to the year 2010?

Frye: Today, we are confident in Linux being used throughout our clients’ enterprises. Back in 2000, Linux was mostly found at the edge of the IT infrastructure and we were careful to advise clients to utilize it appropriately. Today we advise our clients to use Linux confidently in the most demanding enterprise environments. Linux continues to be the world’s fastest growing operating system worldwide and is used across the entire IT infrastructure including in application and data serving, business critical workloads and as the foundation for emerging delivery models such as cloud computing. IBM estimates we have surpassed 15,000 Linux-related customer engagements worldwide in key industries like government, retail, health care and financial services. These engagements span both the traditional markets and the emerging global markets Brazil, Russia, India and China.   

Over the past 10 years, Linux’s capabilities and the ecosystems around it have grown significantly to the point where we can work with clients on Linux deployments from the edge of the enterprise to the heart of it.  

Can you tell us more about IBM’s smarter planet story and how Linux is enabling the future of smarter IT?

Frye: Linux plays a significant role in IBM’s smarter planet initiative. As the world becomes more instrumented, interconnected and intelligent, Linux will be a fundamental element of most cloud infrastructures in the future because of the same characteristics that have drawn customers to Linux over the last decade. The open nature of Linux and its ability to run on a wide variety of platforms is ideal for spanning an enterprise and virtualizing the aggregated computing resources. This capability makes it an ideal building block for a smarter planet.

IBM has been and will continue to be a leader in advancing the Linux ecosystem going forward, which is an important element of the smarter planet story. We will continue to support the ongoing development of the Linux kernel.  With over 500 developers across the world actively contributing, we remain in the top 2-3 commercial vendors who support kernel refinement.

IBM recently announced its plans to go online with its commercial cloud service for software development and testing. How does Linux fit into this strategy?

Frye: We recently announced plans to go online with our commercial cloud service for software development and testing. We already deliver a test and development cloud and are now allowing enterprise and government clients to test and develop on an IBM Cloud. Following a successful beta program, IBM is working with partners in cloud management, cloud security, and software development and testing support to provide businesses with a unique mix of flexibility, scalability, enterprise-grade security and control for development and test on the IBM Cloud.     

The new open cloud environment includes support for Linux — through Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise from Novell — and Java. Smart Business Development and Test on the IBM Cloud is powered by Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, the Red Hat branded and supported KVM offering. The enterprise cloud allows clients to work with their own images as well as images from IBM Mashup Center, Lotus Forms Turbo, WebSphere Portal Server, Lotus Web Content Management, and IBM Information Management and WebSphere brands that can be configured per their selection.

Where is the growth opportunity for Linux in 2010? Is it on the desktop? In the enterprise? With data-intensive workloads? What about the mid-market?

Frye: There are many growth opportunities as we continue to see Linux advance areas that are aligned to client needs. In the short term, this includes areas such as virtualization, server consolidation and cloud computing, data intensive work loads such as high performance computing, Linux on the desktop and in the midmarket where it can reduce complexity and cost. Today, Linux is excelling in areas that people didn’t even consider ten years ago and in products and services that didn’t exist 10 years ago such as powering smart phones.

We’re seeing a tremendous interest in Linux on the desktop. A recent global survey showed that Linux desktops were easier to implement than IT staff expected if they targeted the right groups of users, such as those who have moderate and predictable use of e-mail and office tools. IBM and Canonical have introduced a cloud- and Linux-based desktop package designed for use on low-cost netbooks such as Simmtronics Simmbook. The IBM Client for Smart Work helps organizations save up to 50 percent per seat on software costs versus a Microsoft-based desktop, in addition to avoiding requisite hardware upgrades.

Netbooks with Linux can provide low-cost computing to small businesses and emerging markets around the globe.  CIO’s, IT directors and IT architects from all type of organizations — even those that typically cannot afford new, expensive personal computers — can now legitimately consider netbooks instead of PCs for business use.   

Moving forward, a smarter planet framework will provide solutions to problems that we can’t even imagine yet.  Linux, with its open and flexible nature, will continue to play an important role in helping to solve these problems.

IBM is celebrating more than a decade working with Linux, and Dan Frye was the co-author of the original IBM corporate strategies for Linux and open source. Dan today is vice president of Open Systems Development and will be keynoting at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit in just two weeks. He shares with us today some of the insights he has gained over the years and how they relate to the opportunity for Linux in the decade ahead.

You’re keynoting at the upcoming Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit and are a board member of the organization. How has the Collaboration Summit evolved over the last few years and what are you looking forward to at the event this year?

Frye: The collaboration summit has evolved along with Linux itself — Linux use continues to expand and the Collaboration Summit has broadened its scope to address this wider constituency. This event brings together active representatives from throughout the Linux ecosystem: leading users from a variety of industries, key Linux developers, system vendors, software/application vendors, and more. The Collaboration Summit has become my favorite annual business meeting. It is a refreshingly down-to-earth, yet effective, forum for that diverse set of communities to interact.  What we learn at the Summit is often a driver of change in IBM priorities around our Linux technical strategy. The Linux technical leadership and the user community, in particular, can always be counted on at the Summit to provide us with cogent advice on what’s next and where we can help accelerate progress.

You will be talking about 10+ years of Linux at IBM. What has changed about Linux in a decade? What hasn’t?

Frye: Whoa. Everything has changed. Nothing is the same, with the possible exception of the “can do” philosophy of the global Linux development team. Everything has evolved – the technology, the market, customer adoption, the development process (yes, Linux community does have processes, even if they’re frequently loathe to admit it….). And all for the better. One of the most amazing things about the Linux market has been unbroken chain of success over the past decade – not once did the Linux pause or even briefly decline. The rise of the Internet ushered in the age of open standard computing with customers demanding freedom from relying upon any single, closed operating system provider. As a result, today, Linux is an unstoppable force in the industry, changing the economics of information technology, driving open standards in a way never before possible, and advancing customer innovation.

Secure, reliable, flexible Linux and open source software are rapidly complementing commercial software in customer engagements that include standards-based hardware platforms, software, and services. Additionally, open source technologies have spawned an ecosystem of developers building applications based on open architectures enabling IT systems to be truly interoperable.

We have seen tremendous momentum since IBM joined the Linux community over ten years ago. Linux has become the platform of choice for customers who value flexibility and portability in heterogeneous environments. Not only is Linux successful in x86 servers, it is often the right choice for other architectures, including RISC and mainframes. For example, IBM’s latest supercomputer partnership will use Linux to harness a huge number of IBM Power processors.  These successes illustrate Linux’s flexibility and capability.

How has your advice to customers who are just starting to implement Linux in their enterprise environments changed from the year 2000 to the year 2010?

Frye: Today, we are confident in Linux being used throughout our clients’ enterprises. Back in 2000, Linux was mostly found at the edge of the IT infrastructure and we were careful to advise clients to utilize it appropriately. Today we advise our clients to use Linux confidently in the most demanding enterprise environments. Linux continues to be the world’s fastest growing operating system worldwide and is used across the entire IT infrastructure including in application and data serving, business critical workloads and as the foundation for emerging delivery models such as cloud computing. IBM estimates we have surpassed 15,000 Linux-related customer engagements worldwide in key industries like government, retail, health care and financial services. These engagements span both the traditional markets and the emerging global markets Brazil, Russia, India and China.   

Over the past 10 years, Linux’s capabilities and the ecosystems around it have grown significantly to the point where we can work with clients on Linux deployments from the edge of the enterprise to the heart of it.  

Can you tell us more about IBM’s smarter planet story and how Linux is enabling the future of smarter IT?

Frye: Linux plays a significant role in IBM’s smarter planet initiative. As the world becomes more instrumented, interconnected and intelligent, Linux will be a fundamental element of most cloud infrastructures in the future because of the same characteristics that have drawn customers to Linux over the last decade. The open nature of Linux and its ability to run on a wide variety of platforms is ideal for spanning an enterprise and virtualizing the aggregated computing resources. This capability makes it an ideal building block for a smarter planet.

IBM has been and will continue to be a leader in advancing the Linux ecosystem going forward, which is an important element of the smarter planet story. We will continue to support the ongoing development of the Linux kernel.  With over 500 developers across the world actively contributing, we remain in the top 2-3 commercial vendors who support kernel refinement.

IBM recently announced its plans to go online with its commercial cloud service for software development and testing. How does Linux fit into this strategy?

Frye: We recently announced plans to go online with our commercial cloud service for software development and testing. We already deliver a test and development cloud and are now allowing enterprise and government clients to test and develop on an IBM Cloud. Following a successful beta program, IBM is working with partners in cloud management, cloud security, and software development and testing support to provide businesses with a unique mix of flexibility, scalability, enterprise-grade security and control for development and test on the IBM Cloud.     

The new open cloud environment includes support for Linux — through Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise from Novell — and Java. Smart Business Development and Test on the IBM Cloud is powered by Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, the Red Hat branded and supported KVM offering. The enterprise cloud allows clients to work with their own images as well as images from IBM Mashup Center, Lotus Forms Turbo, WebSphere Portal Server, Lotus Web Content Management, and IBM Information Management and WebSphere brands that can be configured per their selection.

Where is the growth opportunity for Linux in 2010? Is it on the desktop? In the enterprise? With data-intensive workloads? What about the mid-market?

Frye: There are many growth opportunities as we continue to see Linux advance areas that are aligned to client needs. In the short term, this includes areas such as virtualization, server consolidation and cloud computing, data intensive work loads such as high performance computing, Linux on the desktop and in the midmarket where it can reduce complexity and cost. Today, Linux is excelling in areas that people didn’t even consider ten years ago and in products and services that didn’t exist 10 years ago such as powering smart phones.

We’re seeing a tremendous interest in Linux on the desktop. A recent global survey showed that Linux desktops were easier to implement than IT staff expected if they targeted the right groups of users, such as those who have moderate and predictable use of e-mail and office tools. IBM and Canonical have introduced a cloud- and Linux-based desktop package designed for use on low-cost netbooks such as Simmtronics Simmbook. The IBM Client for Smart Work helps organizations save up to 50 percent per seat on software costs versus a Microsoft-based desktop, in addition to avoiding requisite hardware upgrades.

Netbooks with Linux can provide low-cost computing to small businesses and emerging markets around the globe.  CIO’s, IT directors and IT architects from all type of organizations — even those that typically cannot afford new, expensive personal computers — can now legitimately consider netbooks instead of PCs for business use.   

Moving forward, a smarter planet framework will provide solutions to problems that we can’t even imagine yet.  Linux, with its open and flexible nature, will continue to play an important role in helping to solve these problems.

This is actually from last year (LCA in Tasmania), but Oscar, who took the picture, was diving around the world for many months and only made the pictures he took available to me the other day. I thought I had a good life, but Oscar and Annemarie clearly has this whole life thing figured out.

Those weedy sea-dragons are pretty cool. And they weren’t the only cool thing there, if you get my meaning. Brrr. I prefer warm water diving.

Read more/see the pic here: Linus Torvalds’s Blog