And thus our true colours reveal. IBM made a patent pledge in 2005, promising not to sue open source projects over a list of 500 patents the computer giant holds. Today, however, IBM has threatened to sue TurboHercules, a French open source software house which provides support for the Hercules open source s390 mainframe emulator. Some of the patents in question are on the 500 list.
"The scuttlebutt is that IBM seemed perfectly content to wait until May to launch the Power7-based Power Systems servers, but something changed and compelled the company to move up the announcement of its first machines using the eight-core processor to today. Big Blue is not in a habit of explaining its motives or its timing for product launches, but it seems clear that IBM wanted to get out in front of a whole lot of processor and systems launches that are expected between now and the summer."
"IBM likes to go on and on about the transaction processing power and I/O bandwidth of its System z mainframes, but now there is a new and much bigger kid on the block. Its name is the Power Systems IH supercomputing node, based on the company's forthcoming Power7 processors and a new homegrown switching system that blends optical and copper interconnects. The Power7 IH node was on display at the SC09 supercomputer trade show last week in Portland, Oregon, and El Reg was on hand to get the scoop from the techies who designed the iron. This server node is the heart of the 20 petaflop 'Blue Waters' supercomputer being installed at the University of Illinois."
German website Heise Online has received confirmation that IBM is terminating its Cell processor line. This means that no future development will take place, making the PoweXCell 8i the last Cell processor. Parts of the Cell project will still make it into future processor designs, however.
"With the imminent release of Windows 7, IBM and Canonical are clasping hands to sell an Ubuntu Linux- and Lotus-based desktop package to US businesses targeting low-end PCs and netbooks. The duo initially launched their Ubuntu-powered IBM Client for Smart Work desktop bundle to Africa back in September. But IBM said it decided to swing the offering State-side due to demand from its partners."
What laptop is the most loved, and maybe the most famous laptop in the world? Which laptop went into space? Which laptop won over 300 design awards? I'm sure many of you will be thinking of something made by Apple, but the truth of the matter is that we're talking about something else: IBM's ThinkPad. You might wonder, where does that name come from?
"Quoting an inside source, the German economic newspaper, 'Handelsblatt' reports that staff at IBM have been given ten days to change to Symphony, IBM's in-house Lotus software. The use of Microsoft Office will in future require managerial approval. With immediate affect, the Open Document Format (ODF) will rule at IBM with the file ending .doc soon belonging to the past... IBM's management have obviously decided to practice what they preach. 330,000 IBM workers already use Symphony, reports the newspaper. The motive for the migration appears not to be the saving of license fees, and according to an IBM press officer, the move is a clear statement in appreciation of open source standards."
With every new server processor generation, there is always the possibility that the chip and its associated chipsets and system components are so different that both the chip and the server platform have to change at the same time. This will not be the case for the Power7 processors due next year, says IBM.
"Moore's Law is maxing out. This is an oft-made prediction in the computer industry. The latest to chime in is an IBM fellow, according to a report. Intel co-founder Gordon Moore predicted in 1965 that the number of transistors on a microprocessor would double approximately every two years - a prediction that has proved to be remarkably resilient. But IBM Fellow Carl Anderson, who researches server computer design at IBM, claims the end of the era of Moore's Law is nigh, according to a report in EE Times. Exponential growth in every industry eventually has to come to an end, according Anderson, who cited railroads and speed increases in the aircraft industry, the report said.
The year 2008 will forever be remembered as the year of the off-the-shelf (OTS) supercomputer, thanks to the Los Alamos National Labs (LANL) and IBM team that constructed the world's first machine (Roadrunner) to break the peta-FLOP (1,000,000,000,000,000 floating-point operations per second) barrier. Get an overview of OTS strategies to architect high-performance computing (HPC) systems as well as the methods and concepts behind building HPC systems from OTS components and open source software.
The struggle within companies between their software and hardware business can lead to interesting co-opetition, and sometimes disaster. (A most extreme example being Sony's ignominious fall from the top the portable music device heap as a result of its reluctance to disturb its music production arm's legacy business). IBM, of course, is probably the canonical example, with its various partnerships with Microsoft ending up not only with Microsoft on top, but with its own PC hardware business suffering a long decline into oblivion as a result. Big Blue, presumably trying to avoid a replay, has entered into software licensing agreements with, among others, arch-rival Sun. Now, it seems they're backing off on plans to offer Solaris support for GPFS, their shared disk cluster file system.
IBM Research has uncovered work it is doing to bring the brain's processing power to computers, in an effort to make it easier for PCs to process vast amounts of data in real time. The researchers want to put brain-related senses like perception and interaction into hardware and software so that computers are able to process and understand the data quicker while consuming less power, said Dharmendra Modha, a researcher at IBM. The researchers are bringing the neuroscience, nanotechnology and supercomputing fields together in an effort to create the new computing platform, he said.
IBM has released Lotus Symphony 1.2, with a beta release for Mac OS X. "Lotus Symphony release 1.2 is now available and includes Beta support for the Mac OS X platform in English. I know many of you have been waiting for this new platform and hope you will take the time to try it out and give us your feedback. We expect to have a Generally Available version for Mac in all the languages we support in 1Q09." You can get it from here.
IBM has marked its 10 years of participation in Linux and open source with an open source code contribution focused on supercomputing.
After 10 years of supporting Linux, IBM continues to challenge Microsoft on multiple fronts and aims to push Linux even further into the enterprise. While IBM has competed and partnered with Microsoft over the last two decades, the Microsoft-free PC effort is perhaps its most direct assault yet. "The idea of Microsoft-free personal computing has been in the air for a while," Inna Kuznetsova, director of Linux at IBM, told InternetNews.com. "We're just partnering with Linux distribution vendors and hardware vendors to make it happen."
"IBM has just announced it is Platform Solutions, Inc. (PSI), its small but most significant competitor. PSI is/was a small mainframe manufacturer that had sued IBM over the same anticompetitive practices in Europe and New York. The Computer & Communications Industry Association sees this as a clear attempt by IBM to purchase a company solely to foreclose competition in the mainframe marketplace, protecting IBM's cash cow at the expense of consumers. This acquisition should be a cause of concern for competition authorities throughout the world." Update: more discussion on this story here
IBM is positive about the possibility of bringing out its DB2 under an open source license. While the computing giant has no immediate plans to open source DB2, market conditions may make it unavoidable, according to Chris Livesey, IBM's UK director of information management software. "We have a light version of the product offered for free, which is a step towards exposing our core (DB2) technology," said Livesey. "Looking at IBM's heritage in contributing to the open source market, we've been particularly keen to lead that market. Open source is an interesting space, as a whole. As the future unfolds, and the economics become clearer, there's going to be more commitment to open source by everybody. We've made good steps towards that."
"The rest of the server world can play with their piddling 2-3GHz chips. IBM, meanwhile, is prepared to deal in the 5GHz realm. The hardware maker has unveiled a Power6-based version of its highest-end Unix server - the Power 595. The box runs on 32 dual-core 5GHz Power6 processors, making it a true performance beast. This big box completes a protracted roll out of the Power6 chip across IBM's Unix server line."
IBM is discontinuing the System p and System i server brands and changing the name of the i5/OS operating system to "i" or "i for business." An IT Jungle article notes that "servers developed and manufactured by its newly christened Power Systems division with the name--drum roll please--"Power." As in Power 520, Power 550, Power 570, and Power 595, whether the machine is running AIX, Linux, or the operating system formerly known as i5/OS."
IBM has unveiled its latest mainframe, the System z10. The product is designed to improve performance and reduce power requirements and cooling costs. The new machine, based on quad-core technology, is equivalent, in terms of performance to nearly 1500 x86 servers, according to IBM. The z10 is designed to be up to 50% faster and offers up to 100% performance improvement for CPU-intensive jobs compared with its predecessor, the z9, with up to 70% more capacity, IBM said. IBM said the new mainframe would also consume 85% less energy and have a footprint that is up to 85% smaller.