Please help me unsubscribe

Robert G. Brown rgb at
Fri Jun 9 11:39:36 PDT 2000

On Fri, 9 Jun 2000, W Bauske wrote:

> "Robert G. Brown" wrote:
> > 
> > 
> > <chortle>
> > I would have written this as "IBM was once a great company in a lot of
> > ways, and adopting linux across the board will help."
> > </chortle>
> > 
> I guess the fact businesses spend $60-70 billion on them each year makes
> them a has been and Linux will add huge amounts more revenue to their
> pitiful bottom line. Get real...

Whoa, I was just kidding, in a wry sort of way.  That'll teach ME to be

To explain my remark further, I really do think that Linux is an
essential part of IBM's strategy for maintaining those huge revenues.
OS/2 tanked after they were basically betrayed by Microsoft, and it is
difficult and expensive for IBM to maintain their own "private" systems
group with non-mainstream operating systems that are not compatible or
portable across all their various platforms, however lucrative the fish
they have shot in these particular barrels have been in the past.  Ask
DEC, Honeywell, etc (long list) just how long a multibillion dollar
mostly-hardware company lasts when their software is too nonstandard or
their price point too non-competitive.

I love IBM.  I bought IBM stock back when I was nine or ten.  Learned to
type on an IBM Selectric typewriter.  Learned to program on IBM
mainframes with IBM fortran IV and HASP on IBM card punches and IBM card
readers, programmed mastermind in APL on an IBM 5100 (still have to
program on an archaic tape somewhere), owned a 64K motherboard IBM PC
(and am still kicking myself for donating the aged husk of a chassis to
a school as it would have been a kick to refill it with modern
motherboards and use it as a desktop).  I think of them as the huge,
immensely rich and powerful, multinational monopoly with a heart (just
kidding again!).  Seriously, IBM has succeded in reinventing themselves
a number of times where their competitors have failed and fallen by
various waysides.

I'm very pleased that they've overwhelmingly adopted linux and that the
adoption appears to be migrating quite agressively from their small
computer and netfinity business into their other small mainframe and
supercomputing operations. I live not far from their Research Triangle
operation, which used to be home to OS/2 development -- folks out there
are often militant about linux, these days (as is a lot of their
netfinity group).  

On the other hand, IBM does nothing except in the hope of making money
(while providing good services, of course) and aren't moving to linux
out of dreams of revenge on Microsoft or because their other OS's aren't
currently profitable.  They're betting on the horse they think will win
the race and preserve those lovely revenues, while (I'm sure)
anticipating that in the long run they can eventually save a lot of
moneyby NOT having a multiple competing incompatible mainline software
operations.  IBM's hardware has always been excellent, but their
software over the years has not infrequently left something to be
desired and some of it would never have sold at all if their hardware
customers had had a choice.


Robert G. Brown	             
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at

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