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February 23, 2010

No fit for open source in IBM’s Smarter Planet tech

Big Blue wants to keep it in-house

By Steve Evans

IBM is unlikely to open source any of its Smarter Planet technology, despite the potential innovations the open source community can offer, Al Zollar, general manager of IBM Tivoli Software, told CBR.

Zollar was speaking at a press conference during IBM Pulse 2010, the firm’s service management conference held in Las Vegas. Responding to a question from CBR about whether the company would consider open sourcing elements of the technology to open it up to more innovative uses, Zollar said: We don’t look at it that way – we look at it from the perspective of what does it take to drive innovation. There are places in our software portfolio where making capabilities available through open source, we believe, presents an opportunity to drive innovation – for example application server technology or database. These capabilities represent much higher value elements – you’re not dealing with some of the other elements of the system.

Open source is a technique to accelerate adoption and it doesn’t have the same fit [in Smarter Planet] as it does in other parts of the infrastructure, Zollar said.

The company does support over 120 open source projects, including Eclipse, Apache Derby and Apache Geronimo as well as contributing to external projects Apache Tuscany and Harmony. It looks, however, like IBM wants to keep the technology behind Smarter Planet in-house.

Big Blue has high expectations for the technology as we head into what it calls the Decade of Smart, stressing that the technology is ready to be implemented today.

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