IBM to write billion dollar cheque for Linux development

IBM has written a billion dollar cheque to promote Linux development over the next five years.

The move is part of a cunning plan to adapt Power mainframes and servers to handle cloud and big data applications in distributed computing environments.

The investment will be announced at the LinuxCon conference in New Orleans this week, ITWorld reports. Biggish Blue will fund Linux software development programmes for IBM’s Power servers, and it also wants to expand a cloud service where developers can write and test software for Power servers before deployment of IBM’s new Power8 chips.

The Power8 chips should be in the shops next year, and IBM wants shedloads of software waiting when they come out.

IBM is also adding a Power Systems Linux Centre in Montpellier, France, where Linux developers will get access to Power chip and server technologies.  The company already has similar centers in Beijing, New York and Austin, Texas.

Doug Balog, general manager of Power Systems at IBM, said that Linux is the OS of choice for cloud and big data deployments in data centres.

IBM did not elaborate on how the cash will be made available. IBM expects code contributions in applications such as OpenStack.

Biggish Blue hopes that by roping in more Linux developers it will remain competitive against companies such as HP and Dell’s x86 servers, which are widely used in cloud and analytics deployments.

IBM also makes x86 servers, but believes Power chips can evolve from mainframes into general-purpose servers.