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IBM Businesses Apple

IBM's Pilot Program For Internal Use of Macs 257

Posted by kdawson
from the thinking-different-than-blue dept.
geoffrobinson writes "Roughly Drafted has obtained internal IBM documents detailing the results of a small pilot program for internal use of Macs. Positive and negative results were detailed, but overall most participants were happy with their Mac experience. The pilot will be expanded this year. One advantage cited: less reliance on Windows. So it seems a mix of Macs, PCs, and Linux boxes are in IBM's future. Given the history between IBM and Microsoft, this is quite interesting."
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IBM's Pilot Program For Internal Use of Macs

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  • This is News? (Score:2, Informative)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Friday April 18, 2008 @01:26PM (#23119860)

    The article says IBM is running a very small program to let some employees run OS X. Is that news?

    IBM is a giant corporation that has been slowly moving more and more away from Windows internally and has a large scale move to Linux underway. It is an engineering organization, in the computing field. OS X has been rapidly gaining market share in the US and undoubtedly many of IBMs customers use it to some degree.

    It would be news if IBM was not running a small program to see how well OS X works internally, especially since they use their own company as a proving ground for things they sell elsewhere. This clearly helps them create better solutions for customers that have OS X in their mixed deployments.

    The article says their employees have have a very positive response to OS X, the vast majority of them preferring it over Windows. Is this news?

    OS X has been positively reviewed by most users for a long, long time and compared very favorably to Windows by, well, a lot of different people and members of the press. It has been gaining install share in the US (and slowly worldwide) compared to Windows. It has been gaining market share very quickly among geeks, like here on Slashdot and in scientific fields. It would be news if most IBM users did not prefer it.

    In short, this article is "news" mostly in that it just confirms what we already know, but which many Mac users are still a bit insecure. Is there any article about IBM and OS X that won't make Slashdot?

  • by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Friday April 18, 2008 @01:28PM (#23119894)
    The numbers of testers may be insignificant compared to the IBMs whole workforce, but IBM is seeing the front line, and is adjusting itself.
    Think about it, they have a lot of IT savvy folks, who know a thing or two about operating systems. And especially Unix/Linux. Why would those folks be pushing for their competitor's platform (Microsoft) as opposed to staying truly cross platform compatible.

    The OS is becoming more irrelevant nowdays. Some folks at IBM are seeing that and adjusting accordingly.
    (And saving money on CALs to boot...)
  • Warning! (Score:3, Informative)

    by jdc180 (125863) on Friday April 18, 2008 @01:33PM (#23119980)
    In case you didn't know: RoughlyDrafted = Apple Fanboy Site.
  • Re:What?!! (Score:3, Informative)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Friday April 18, 2008 @01:37PM (#23120028)

    If the problem is reliance on Windows, then Linux is the solution, not an even tighter software and hardware lock-in.

    The problem for IBM is being locked into Windows... or any other single solution. The answer is flexibility and making sure their software and services are cross platform so if they need to they can deploy Linux or OpenSolaris or NetBSD based appliances, or (more likely) a combination of all of the above. I seriously doubt IBM is going to become Apple's biggest customer, but it certainly makes sense for them to make sure they interoperate with OS X such that they can sell solutions to customers that include OS X systems when they make sense. It also makes sense for IBM to consider OS X for some internal uses where making Linux work might be too expensive (like running Adobe InDesign). In general IBM seems committed to moving towards Linux, but they need to keep their options open and where Linux is not appropriate, it makes sense for them to have a choice of OS X or Windows. You'll note, these were all Windows users that were comparing OS X to Windows, not to Linux.

  • Powerbook 2400c (Score:5, Informative)

    by argent (18001) <peterNO@SPAMslashdot.2006.taronga.com> on Friday April 18, 2008 @01:38PM (#23120048) Homepage Journal
    IBM has built Mac laptops before.

    The Powerbook 2400c was made for Apple by IBM Japan.

    I would assume that the group responsible ended up on the Lenovo side of the line, and I would love to see an Apple branded Thinkpad.
  • by Dekortage (697532) on Friday April 18, 2008 @01:41PM (#23120100) Homepage

    In 1991, I was friends with a girl whose father worked at IBM's Armonk facility. He and several other researchers had Mac systems for some kind of graphic/visual analysis research, mostly IIci [wikipedia.org] and IIfx [wikipedia.org] systems. He had problems with System 7 [wikipedia.org], I was a Mac guy, and I had reason to impress the girl. So when I said I could fix his Mac, he invited me up to Armonk, and I fixed it.

    Didn't help much with the girl, but at least I got to visit a major IBM facility.

  • Macs have a lot more commercial offerings than Linux.

    Linux has a lot more up-to-date/less bug-ridden FOSS offerings than Macs.

    Both have SSH and other unixy goodness that make them working together pretty nice. Then again OSX does not follow all the rules Linux does.

    Both are easier to manage than Windows (system wise and license wise)
  • Linux more up to date FOSS:

    Many FOSS projects I am interested in (Open Office, Scribus being two big ones) are really lagging behind in the OSX ports, either more bugs or are a version behind. I understand that is partly because of Aqua or some other binding issue with OSX. It is truly not the seamless experience you get with running a Linux version on Linux.

    Macs don't always follow the Linux rules:

    I've had to do some on my SAMBA server to get Macs to properly use permissions. Usually when I find a problem, I do a bunch of googleing and end up with some obscure note that SMB was mis-configured in OS X and to get it to work with Linux add: xxx into your servers conf file, etc. (I plug in the lines and usually it works, but many times it doesn't 'just work')

    Other times it's a case of "Oh yeah, Apple fixed that - but only in the [insert latest version of OS] just buy upgrades" - that seems to happen a lot in Apple's support of Java Libraries.
  • by malevolentjelly (1057140) on Friday April 18, 2008 @02:21PM (#23120644) Journal

    Poke around the site for a few minutes and it will be come really clear that Roughly Drafted is just some moron running a Microsoft hate blog. Chances are these "documents" are either made up or exaggerated.

    Let's stick to numbers and press releases when we start talking about market share and company's official positions on operating systems, not the musings of some apple-phile.

    Besides, we know that IBM quite plainly supports linux and unix. They're a top linux contributor:

    https://www.linux-foundation.org/publications/linuxkerneldevelopment.php [linux-foundation.org]

    Chances are much greater they'll be using linux internally more and more as time goes on, not relying on yet another proprietary OS vendor they have no influence over. They probably use about as many macs internally as microsoft does- and that's not an ironic statement.

  • Unfortunately, you fail at making a car analogy.

    Ford owns 33% of Mazda, and many Mazdas (the Mazda6, Mazda Tribute, and the B-series truck, among others) are built on Ford assembly lines, by Ford workers. And, EVERY current-production Mazda except for possibly the RX-8 has at least one Ford part in it.

    No... this is different.

    This would be like... Volvo (the truck company) using Saabs to shuttle executives around. A former competitor, but Volvo (the truck company) got out of the car business (selling their car manufacturing division to Ford.) But, still blasphemy.
  • by 4g1vn (840279) on Friday April 18, 2008 @02:36PM (#23120836)
    More and more companies are starting to realize the Microsoft conundrum.
    1) How do we properly license upcoming products (Server 2008, SQL 2008, etc...)? Spend an eight hour session and you MAY figure it out.
    2) Let's standardize on a document format (.doc). OK, here comes Office 2007 with (.docx). WTF is that, and it's the default when saving a new document. Shame on you Microsoft.
    3) Vista promotion. It's better than XP, blah, blah, blah. No, it sucks, and was rushed to market. I use it (I'm forced) and very few of my network utilities work properly.
    Hats off to IBM for making a bold but, intelligent decision.
  • by Zashi (992673) on Friday April 18, 2008 @03:41PM (#23121612) Homepage Journal
    You have no idea how true this is.

    I work at IBM in the super lab testing those Big Iron servers.

    I *have* to use a windows workstation. They used to allow RHEL based workstations but stopped a short while before I started working here. I test predominantly Linux (RHEL and SLES) and occasionally Windows. We had to test Windows Server 2008 aka Longhorn (which amusingly is identified as Vista in virtually every piece of software).

    Regarding the Unix vs. windows workstations: Apparently the developers here use windows workstations because when I tried to install a Linux utility all the shell scripts wouldn't run. Being the savy linux user I am I quickly realized that all the shell scripts were in windows format (with CRLF for line terminators instead of just LF). They were getting ready to SHIP this software out to enterprise level customers, but luckily we caught it.
  • Re:Upgrade cycle (Score:3, Informative)

    by geekoid (135745) <(dadinportland) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Friday April 18, 2008 @03:49PM (#23121722) Homepage Journal
    "can equal a $2000 Mac with $500 of hardware "

    No, you can't.
  • Many FOSS projects I am interested in (Open Office, Scribus being two big ones) are really lagging behind in the OSX ports,

    However those projects that run in X on Linux also run in X on OS X. For RPM packages, there's RPM for Darwin (Mac OS X) [sourceforge.net] and Macports [macports.org]. Debian packages dpkg and apt-get can be installed with Fink [finkproject.org]. So any, well some as I don't know if they all will, Linux packages that use either of these can be installed in OS X as well.

    Falcon
  • by Smurf (7981) on Friday April 18, 2008 @06:57PM (#23123642)

    There is no reason to purchase Parallels and Mac/AD integration tools so someone can run email and Powerpoint on a differnt OS. Those work pretty well on a PC with Windows.
    Hmmm, I'll have to agree with you on that one. There is no reason to purchase Parallels for those reasons since any competent IT administrator should know that Entourage and PowerPoint work pretty well on a Mac with MS Office for Mac. In fact Apple Mail will also work without a hitch if your Outlook server is half-decently configured.

    Now that I think about it, you can simply turn on the IMAP service in the Outlook server and allow the people to use any mail client they want.

    Anyway, the fact that you overlooked the existence of PowerPoint for the Mac (newsflash: PowePoint was originally developed for Macs [wikipedia.org]) suggests that you have quite a knowledge gap to be a decent IT administrator, specially since you "started your IT career on Macs". I'm sorry for making a personal attack, but that comment was just outrageous.
  • by pix (139973) on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:00PM (#23123666)
    Err....wrong...IBM owns 20% of Lenovo
  • by pix (139973) on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:03PM (#23123714)
    Not true. There are a rapidly increasing number of IBM employees running Linux. There is an official, supported Linux implementation of the internal desktop running on Red Hat, and a fast-growing usage of an unofficial desktop based on Ubuntu.

    I can't see it ever being made compulsory, especially as there is still some software used internally that required Windows, but it is really a very viable option now.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:17PM (#23123818)
    Yes, Apple is just taking over this place. Not.

    I am looking at the internal IBM Linux migration page right now. More people converted to Linux in 2007 inside of IBM than there are employees at Apple (almost 20,000 users). 50,000 users in about 3 years may not cover the entire IBM employee base as our CEO may have hoped, but this is FAR from a "failure".

    - Anonymous Linux using IBM'er
  • by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000 AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday April 18, 2008 @11:09PM (#23125034)

    Or, you can just order them with the 'educational discount'. It isn't like they check up on that one very carefully....

    Apple's educational discount hasn't been much for years, years ago it was 50%. The normal price for the Mac Pro is $2800 and with the educational discount is $2600. That's not even 10%. Through ADC the Mac Pro is $2240. Oh and when I checked the educational price I had to select a the type of school, then picking college I had to select the college. The first one I picked said the college had a store where Macs could be bought, and colleges do check for student ID. I went ahead and selected another college but didn't place an order. I didn't go through and check all the other options though.

    Falcon
  • by MojoStan (776183) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @01:02AM (#23125480)

    Poke around the site for a few minutes and it will be come really clear that Roughly Drafted is just some moron running a Microsoft hate blog. Chances are these "documents" are either made up or exaggerated.
    Can you cite a specific instance of Roughly Drafted posting fabricated documents in the past, or is this just an ad hominem attack?
    I wouldn't go so far as saying RoughlyDrafted "made up" the "documents" like the GP did, but I don't think it's unreasonable for the GP to opine "chances are" Daniel Eran (RoughlyDrafted's writer) "exaggerated."

    Daniel Eran, who comments on Slashdot (in the third person) as DECS [slashdot.org], often submits his own RoughlyDrafted articles (in the third person) using pseudonyms like "peter deacon" [slashdot.org], "Redrum" [slashdot.org], and "rdmreader" [slashdot.org].

    Daniel Eran is also somewhat infamous for being banned from Digg because he tried to game their system by using multiple accounts to "digg" his stories and get them on their front page:

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