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IBM Gives a Nod to Linux

January 10, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ IBM today announced that all of its powerful network computers will be able to run on the Linux operating system, embracing the fast-growing rival to other Unix formats and Microsoft’s Windows as the best platform for Internet commerce.

The leading manufacturer of computer servers said all four of its product lines will now be compatible with Linux, a Unix-based operating system that has grown hugely popular among independent software developers since its Finnish creator started giving it away for free.

Coming from IBM, the announcement essentially finalizes the mainstreaming of Linux _ elevating it from the ranks of grass-root upstart to the same playing field as the Solaris system that Sun Microsystems sells with its Unix servers, the Windows NT system, and AIX, which is IBM’s version of the Unix platform.

IBM has been tiptoeing into the Linux world over the past two years through alliances with Red Hat, Caldera and TurboLinux, all of which sell their own versions of the operating system, and LinuxCare, a company that provides Linux support services.

``Linux is evolving to an industry standard,″ IBM said in a statement, emphasizing the ``public″ ownership of Linux as a key selling point in the company’s decision to throw its influence and more of resources behind the movement.

In an internal memo sent to top IBM executives on Friday, senior vice president Sam Palmisano said IBM will be ``engaging closely with the Linux community to help Linux evolve″ by making IBM technology available to the Linux and open source communities.

The memo emphasized the importance for e-business of having open standards to allow systems to work across different platforms. ``Linux _ a community-developed version of Unix _ will play a pivotal role in this,″ the memo said.

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