IBM Taps SourceForge for Internal Linux Group

Wednesday Aug 6th 2003 by Clint Boulton
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With security its main concern, Big Blue chooses VA Software's enterprise edition software for its internal open-source group. IBM also expanded its Linux practice in areas including global services and SMB solutions.

IBM Tuesday said it has agreed to use VA Software's SourceForge Enterprise Edition 3.3 software for to serve the more than 2000 open source developers in its internal open source group.

IBM's internal open source community is an online collaboration resource for developers working to improve the serviceability, security, availability and standards for enterprise-targeted Linux.

As a whole, IBM is trying to write to Linux to improve support for graphical engines, directory, file and print, file systems, and volume management to lure enterprise customers.

VA's Sourceforge is a suite that combines software development tools with metrics tools that can track, measure and report on software project activity in real-time. Released in May, The Enterprise Edition 3.3 lets users install the SourceForge environment behind their firewall for more secure usage.

The benefit of using SourceForge Enterprise Edition is that developers nervous about intruders can develop their software applications or projects without fearing that a malicious user is spying on them, or manipulating their code.

Armonk, N.Y.'s IBM and Fremont, Calif.'s VA Software announced their partnership on this venture in the thick of LinuxWorld Conference and Expo 2003, which is underway in San Francisco this week.

Just as IBM has collaborated with VA, a group of Linux vendors Monday announced that they are teaming to form their own community alliance. Like IBM and VA, the Technical Support Alliance Network (TSANet) is promising higher quality support for enterprise Linux users.

TSANET features initial participation from vendors BEA Systems, Dell, EMC, SuSE Linux, Hewlett-Packard, Unisys, Novell, Network Appliance, Veritas Software and VMware. The group's Linux Open Group Relationship aims to offer collaboration on Linux standards and support issues for enterprise customers.

That move underscores IBM's position in the Linux heartland, where it partners with many companies, but also stays moderately aloof from certain groups or factions with regard to Linux. Since 1999 IBM has pumped billions of dollars into its Linux wares, advertising and deals, but it has been cautious about who it partners with on its broad Linux roadmap.

"It really validates the concept that we've been trying to prove," said VA Software President and CEO Ali Jenab. "More and more companies have grown through acquisitions and they have geographically dispersed developers and they need to find a way to have these developers work together. Sourceforge is a perfect platform to bring them together."

Jenab said SourceForge helps balance problems of disjointedness in another trend — that of work being shipped offshore to developers who will accept less pay than workers based in the United States.

"More and more of these same companies are shipping work offshore," Jenab said. Suppose they want to do software development offshore. How do you monitor that?" Jenab said SourceForge makes this possible.

Jenab cited VA Software's long-standing partnership with IBM as the impetus for the new developer deal. Jenab said that Linux software group, which partnered with VA to integrate SourceForge Enterprise Edition with DB2, had a lot to do with the new agreement.

"IBM basically has what they call the Linux Technology Center. What they're trying to do is both Linux and open source development," Jenab explained. "They wanted to have a mechanism to contribute to both Linux and open source development inside IBM."

While Jenab wouldn't discuss the total value of the deal, he said VA Software sells SourceForge Enterprise Edition 3.3 at a list price of $3,270 per seat. That is accompanied by a 20 percent maintenance fee. A first year maintenance fee is included in the price.

In related news this week, IBM has expanded its Linux practice in areas such as its IBM Global Services (IGS) Linux practice. IBM said several new customers, including NetFlix, Marinalife, NYFIX and Softbank Uway have chosen IBM's Linux solutions over those from rivals such as Oracle.

IBM contends that small and mid-sized business, as well as companies in every industry and throughout the world, are choosing Linux and IBM to save costs, consolidate workloads and integrate their e-business operating environments.

In response to the overwhelming customer demand, IBM is also expanding Linux practice, SMB solutions testing in IBM Linux competency centers and Business Partner and ISV programs for Linux-based solutions. IBM's Linux consultancy practice has expanded to meet customer demand for Linux-related services. More than 3,000 employees in IGS now have skills in open source technologies, a ten-fold increase since 2001.

"In a tough economy, customers need to do more with less," said Jim Stallings, general manager, Linux, IBM. "As customers increasingly move from proprietary solutions, such as those from Sun, HP and Microsoft, IBM will continue to drive Linux adoption by expanding our Linux practices and offering customers and partners the tools they need to integrate their e-business operating environments while realizing improved performance and better return on investment."

Adapted from internetnews.com.

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