Linux Magazine’s Top 20 Companies to Watch in 2007

We pick the companies that are defining the future of Information Technology and will have the most impact on the Open Enterprises of 2007. It's the inaugural edition of our 20 Companies to Watch list and we guarantee that every company here will challenge how you think about Linux and Open Source before the year is out.

IBM

The Democrats now have control of Congress for the first time in over a decade, proving that patience and diligence can pay off. Could the same be true for desktop Linux? If IBM has its way, this could be the year when Linux desktop programs finally take hold, with nary a negative campaign ad in sight.

Big Blue’s own move toward using the Linux desktop turned out to be more of a slow and steady marathon than a jaunty sprint. The company’s Linux migration plan was first unveiled in January 2004, a few months after an internal initiative called the “Open Desktop Project” was created specifically to facilitate the move. IBM CEO Sam Palmisano was certainly gung-ho, issuing a challenge to the company to move the Linux desktop by the end of 2005.

Although that particular deadline didn’t get met, IBM expects that other companies will be able to move to Linux desktops with much more speed, thanks in large part to — who else? IBM. In early 2006, the company announced a new program called “Migrate to the Penguin,” which expanded its “Move2Lotus” initiative. In addition to helping customers move from Microsoft Exchange to IBM Lotus Notes and Domino on Linux, the program rolled together training, certification, and development tools. A few months later, the company unveiled IBM Lotus Notes on Linux, which it claimed as the first business-grade collaboration software to support Linux on the desktop.

For the next year, what’s worth watching is whether the big blue marathoner gets a fresh burst of speed, and fulfills its mission to help Linux surpass Windows as the primary operating system for developing applications. If that happens, it could prove attractive to a range of customers, and a company wouldn’t have to be as big as Blue to make the switch to a Linux desktop.

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