February 23, 2019

IBM's eServer Strategy Strong on Linux and UNIX

A Writer's Note

  • March 10, 2003
  • By Brian Proffitt

What was to be a story on the way IBM has thus far sucessfully managed to offer both an open-source and a proprietary operating system as part of its server product line has quite suddenly turned into the last pre-lawsuit glimpse into what IBM's operating system plan might be.

The lawsuit, of course, is the complaint filed against IBM from The SCO Group on March 6 for alleged violations of intellectual property. The suit, which asks for damages no less than $1 billion, accuses IBM of trying to destroy UNIX with its divulging of UNIX source code (from IBM's own licensed version of UNIX, AIX) to the open-source community. The SCO Group had purchased the source code for UNIX from AT&T back in 1985, and their complaint maintains that IBM, in releasing AIX code to the Linux kernel, is deliberately giving away SCO trade secrets in an effort to kill UNIX from the server marketplace.

The players in this legal battle have now hunkered down, guarding their comments and public statements most carefully, as each side tries to figure out what the other is doing. This is a drama that will play out over the course of the next few months, at least, and it is not the intent of this article to delve into the merits of this contest.

Instead, this article may reveal what operating system strategy IBM did have mere hours before the lawsuit was filed by The SCO Group. Before the battle between those who own source code and those who share was brought to a new level.

This is still a story about the eServer line, but now the comments made by IBM regarding how they were treating AIX and Linux have become much more important.

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