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The Full Potential of Linux

“I’ve felt strongly that the advantage of Linux* is that it doesn’t have a niche or any special market, but that different individuals and companies end up pushing it in the direction they want,” says Linus Torvalds, Linux creator.

The wisdom of Torvalds and the magic of the Linux experience he created more than 20 years ago is rooted in a visionary commitment to openness and collaboration that has pushed the boundaries of innovation and transformed whole industries. That transformation was in full display in Seattle recently where I joined more than 1,500 other IT professionals and technicians for the sixth annual LinuxCon conference.

For two decades, Linux has played a major role in transforming IT. It has taken us to the brink of a new era driven by three major disruptors: big data, cloud and analytics. Perhaps the greatest impact is the way Linux has spurred so much innovation through building strong, open ecosystems.

Linux and the growing open-source community are demonstrating the value of the collaborative business model. It’s clear that no one company alone can spark the magnitude or diversity of the type of innovation we are going to need to keep pace with the rapid changes occurring in the digital and mobile era.

IBM and Linux are leading the way. Through a commitment to open-source technology and an expansive ecosystem of partners, Linux has become an engine of community innovation and is quickly moving into the core of the enterprise for businesses worldwide. As a result, the total Linux market for software, hardware and services has doubled since 2010 to more than $50 billion and it continues to be the fastest growing OS in the market.

For more than 50 years the IBM mainframe has served as the backbone of the global economy. More than half of the world’s transactions run on the mainframe due to its reliability and ultra-secure environment. It now powers 92 of the top 100 banks and 23 of the top 25 airlines around the world. Since being introduced to the mainframe 15 years ago, demand for Linux on the mainframe has grown dramatically, with 40 percent of all mainframe clients now using Linux.

At LinuxCon, we introduced IBM LinuxONE*, a new family of enterprise-grade Linux systems and solutions that combines the flexibility and agility of the open-source revolution with the most advanced high-performance engine that underpins enterprise IT. The line of systems provides the capabilities companies need to quickly react to market demands and customer requirements even as volumes increase. It provides unmatched availability to ensure critical systems continue running under any situation. And it provides the most secure Linux system, giving consumers the protection they expect for their data and transactions.

We’ve also dramatically expanded the set of open-source software and tools that run on the mainframe. This eliminates barriers to integrate the platform within an IT network and enables the development of applications with new levels of speed, scale and security. And, because we know that open collaboration across academic, government and corporate partners is key to the advancement of technology, we are taking additional steps to bolster our already strong commitment to open-source innovation. Taken together, all of this represents a quantum leap in open-source innovation and a game changer for the industry.

The growing successes of Linux and the introduction of the IBM LinuxONE systems portfolio prove that when we marry business model innovation with technology innovation, we can deliver unparalleled choice, freedom and superior performance demanded by clients around the world.