[Beowulf] Oh.. IBM eats Red Hat

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Mon Oct 29 08:04:30 PDT 2018

On Mon, 29 Oct 2018, Tony Brian Albers wrote:

> I've worked for Big Blue, and I'm not sure the company cultures are
> compatible to say the least.

I think it will be all right (and yes, look, I'm alive, I'm alive!).
IBM has been a long term supporter of Linux -- ever since Microsoft
screwed them as they were supposedly co-developing OS/2.  They were a
primary sponsor of the "Extreme Linux" (beowulf) booth at the Linux Expo
held (damn!) almost twenty years ago in Raleigh that I helped organize,
and literally contributed a ready to run beowulf cluster to run in the
booth in addition to lots of other stuff -- humans to help out, some
money, etc.

IBM's primary outward directed culture is white collar because that's
what sells, but its backroom culture has a strong geek component.  They
are also not completely clueless about the open source world -- if
anything, that is the motivation for the purchase.

My larger concern is for side stuff.  RH is complex (necessarily) and
internally is almost as white collar as IBM on the outside because
again, that's what corporate clients want, and consequently RHEL plods
along with only a tiny fraction of what is out there for Linux in
general.  Fedora is its bleeding edge (and at that, probably a bit
behind e.g. Debian).  If IBM decides Fedora is a waste of money and cuts
support for the enormously complex churn of application development and
maintenance (the latter being a very, very serious issue in open source
software, as sooner or later original developers do stuff like get old
and die, get bored and do something else, or get overtaken by cheeky
youngsters who pointlessly rename something (yum -> dnf, anyone?) and
then yank it around) and somehow manages to block CENTOS -- mixing in
more proprietary stuff, for example so that CENTOS is basically cut off
from the development stream of key new packages -- then the free
software world we live in will get nastier and less stable.

HOPEFULLY they will announce as formal policy their intention to
continue full support for Fedora as their own primary linuxoid
development and debugging line (as it is mostly irrelevant to their
corporate targets and really is key to keeping things "alive" instead of
developmentally frozen) and to continue to at the very least not
obstruct CENTOS and RHEL-derived linuces (Scientific Linux?).

The one thing I'm very hopeful about is that they continue to oppose the
Evil Empire, and don't let them corrupt the OSS world with Microsoft
proprietary hooks that destroy the ability of Linux in general to
function as "the" top to bottom platform supporting everything from
personal devices as Android to cloud servers to beowulfish clusters to
personal laptops and desktops.  IBM has a very long corporate memory,
and I'm quite certain that they'd love to do to M$ what M$ did to them
lo those many years ago.

    rg(I'm not dead yet!)b

> /tony
> -- 
> --?
> Tony Albers
> Systems Architect
> Systems Director, National Cultural Heritage Cluster
> Royal Danish Library, Victor Albecks Vej 1, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.
> Tel: +45 2566 2383 / +45 8946 2316
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Robert G. Brown	                       http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at phy.duke.edu

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