The company is making available free access to software and tools through a new localized developerWorks portal, backed with training and outreach programs that will hit Moscow, St Petersburg, and many midsize cities.
According to Cathy Mandelstein, IBM director of developer relations, interest is huge. We began conducting briefings last year and saw turnouts as high as 500 to 750 developers at each session, which was very high, she said.
IBM plans to target 65 cities across Russia and work with 400 universities in curriculum development, focused heavily on open source. It already has an innovation center in Moscow that has worked with roughly a hundred partners to port and localize software.
The program is similar to earlier IBM efforts in India back in the late 1990s, and China in 2001. But there are some important differences, said Mandelstein.