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'IBM Is On the Right Side of the Open-Source Wars,' Say Analysts

'IBM Is On the Right Side of the Open-Source Wars,' Say Analysts

In a week that has seen press releases about Dell expanding their Linux usage and Oracle completing major portions of their migration to Linux, the CEO and founding partner of global business-consulting firm Strategos, Peter Skarzynski - together with another founding director of the firm, Pierre Loewe - has written for CNET a compelling analysis of the "SCO vs the Linux world" débacle.

"As a would-be revolutionary named Marx would have appreciated," the two analysts write, "SCO will find itself on the wrong side of history."

"SCO's lawsuit is a little like locking the door on Martin Luther King Jr.'s jail cell and expecting to stop the civil rights movement," they observe, after noting that "Linux isn't as much product as it is movement."

The most insightful part of their analysis concerns not SCO at all, but IBM.

They single out IBM's position in the "open-source wars" they single out as being the most interesting of the whole story."How did Big Blue position itself on the ramparts of the open-source revolution?" they ask rhetorically, before answering: "Unlike SCO, [and] more similar to renegades like Red Hat, IBM is seeking ways to build on Linux instead of bottling it up."

"What’s going on here?" the authors continue, "Simple: knowing it can't stop the movement, IBM is trying to co-opt it. It's a great move, thoroughly consistent with the four steps an established company--or institution--should take to beat a movement: Seize the moral high ground... Compete for the middle ground... Downsize major issues to minor issues--then strike a deal... Finally, when you're up against a movement, find a cause of your own to champion."

"Thanks to SCO," Skarzynski and Loewe write sardonically, "IBM can now muster allies behind its own manifesto: 'Open-source workers of the world, unite!'"

If SCO has positioned itself on what they deem to be the wrong side of history, then it follows that they believe Blue has ensconced itself on the right side.

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SYS-CON's Linux News Desk gathers stories, analysis, and information from around the Linux world and synthesizes them into an easy to digest format for IT/IS managers and other business decision-makers.

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