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IBM

IBM Kernel Hackers Respond 279

Dave Hansen, the IBM programmer who organized this interview (questions were posted on May 28), says, "Perhaps I didn't make this clear enough during the call for questions, but myself and my group are kernel programmers. But, we were able to dredge up some responses for answers that we couldn't do ourselves. We haven't been able to get an answer to the ViaVoice question yet, but if there is real interest, I'll make sure that we do get some kind of answer back to Slashdot.
IBM Kernel Hackers:

A note: we answered these questions individually, but in the interests of Slashdot's disk space, we decided to coalesce the answers into a single, unified one. You might say we "became one voice". (the IBMers in the audience will get that one) These were edited by management, but they mostly corrected our spelling mistakes and cleaned up our dirty language :)

Remember, if you're interested in Linux on large systems or if you have more questions, be sure to check out the LSE site, find us on LKML, or look for us at OLS (we're giving lots of talks).

1) Multi-CPU Scalability
by morbid

Now that Linux has been ported to run on high-end machines under virtualization, when will we see a kernel tuned for (e.g.) scalability to 64-128 processors natively?

IBM Kernel Hackers:

Assuming you're talking about single systems running one instance of Linux, we are focusing on 8 way scalability this year, 16-32 scalability next year. After that, we'll do whatever the hardware people can produce ... there aren't many 64-128 processor systems around.

The open source community is tackling the complexities in getting multi-cpu systems to scale well, and with that understanding also comes a realization that sometimes entire subsystems are bottlenecks. Major rewrites of some of these are underway in 2.5 (not just by IBM people mind you). The scheduler is being wrestled to the ground, the I/O subsystem is being dissected, and virtual memory implementations are creating rhetoric worthy of the Cold War. All of these efforts have had contributions from IBM people in Beaverton and other parts of the Linux Technology Center.

2) OS Blending
by 2names

As Linux developers inside IBM, do you get to see the AIX source code? If you do, are you allowed to "steal" some ideas from AIX and implement them in Linux? If not, why not, and what's the IBM official line?

IBM Kernel Hackers:

First of all, before any of us were allowed to contribute to Linux, we were required to take an "Open Source Developers" class. This class gives us the guidelines we need to participate effectively in the open source community - both IBM guidelines and lessons learned about open source from others in IBM.

We are definitely not allowed to cut and paste proprietary code into any open source projects (or vice versa!). There is an IBM committee who can and do approve the release of IBM proprietary or patented technology, like RCU.

That covers "stealing" code, but what about ideas? We might talk to an AIX programmer and comment we're seeing performance issues in Linux in this area or that area and she tells us they discovered that they really needed to profile the network routines when they saw that. Having solved the problem once, our non-Linux peers can help steer us without spelling it out for us, allowing us to still develop solutions that can then be open sourced.

It's a fine line to walk, especially as an engineer who just wants the answer :)

3) The Open Source model
by larry bagina

IBM will be using linux to help sell their hardware. Other companies have tried this (VA Linux, which owns Slashdot, once had linux hackers on their payroll). Obviously, IBM's hardware is in a different league as an x86 clone, but do you have any thoughts on Open Source business models and their validity? Once the kernel is running smoothly, will you be disposable since the "Open Source community" can continue development for free?

IBM Kernel Hackers:

We think the Open Source business model is more than just valid, it is revolutionary. Linux has become a real "killer app"; the ability to run Linux on IBM hardware is increasingly high on customer's lists. Being able to run it doesn't really hurt AIX or VM, but not being able to run it would cost hardware sales.

As far as our disposability: don't get too concerned on our behalf, Linux will always have bugs and there will always be room for improvement.

4) Getting your changes accepted?
by korpiq

Is Linus accepting your changes well? How directly do you submit patches, and what are your experiences on the overall Linux kernel development style?

IBM Kernel Hackers:

Linus himself is wonderful about accepting patches on technical merit alone. He doesn't "grade" them differently if they come from ibm.com or mit.edu. We submit patches the exact same way that everyone else does: append the patch, mail to Linus and CC linux-kernel. If it's good, it gets in. If it sucks, you get flamed.

However, the submission process can be more complicated than first appears. Often, you need to figure out who is maintaining a particular area of code, followed by talking to them to gauge if someone else is already working on the same thing. Once you submit your code to them and the appropriate list, (isn't always lkml..) you may not get a response. This can be discouraging, but you have to find out why, or just simply resubmit, over and over and over. But, once you have a reputation, it does get easier to get quicker responses.

Sometimes it's frustrating when you've put a lot of effort into something that doesn't get accepted, but there's normally a good reason for it. Even work that doesn't get accepted can influence other people's thinking and development in the future. On the flip side you can also just point out problems and other people fix them for you, so in general you win more than you lose ;-)

5)linux on thinkpads
by Olinator

IMHO, IBM makes some of the best mobile hardware out there -- one of the professors I support raves about his ThinkPad 600, that went with him into the Israeli desert for several months and is still running strong, no service required -- but the linux support for that hardware has been, um, erratic at best. Yes, we've been occasionally been able to purchase the odd model with linux preinstalled (usually it's more expensive than the comparable model with MicroSoft preinstalled, grr) but an awful lot of the hardware (mini-pci modems, etc...) is rather difficult to drive with a penguin behind the wheel. Why does IBM's linux enthusiasm fade so quickly at the small (physical) end of the hardware scale? Is there momentum underway to change this?

IBM Kernel Hackers:

All of the people in our group and most in the LTC have Thinkpads for their daily development and run Linux on them (I'm writing this on one as I sit in my apartment). There may not be as much corporate support there as you want, but there is plenty of grass-roots support. We had to learn all the quirks to get Linux installed and get all of the little things working (just like you). I've always wished that we shared more of this information, but there are usually people who are farther ahead than we are. I've uploaded the meager information that we put together during a meeting once. If you're curious, take a look: http://www.sr71.net/slashdot/thinkpad/linux-desktop

People don't buy many small computers just because they will run Linux (the geek population just isn't that large). People do, however, blow large chunks of cash on big machines just to run Linux. Mom-and-Pop can almost always undercut IBM on prices for small machines, and geeks are thrifty. You don't have to sell many million dollar machines to justify being involved in Linux development.

6) Issues with middle management
by Consul

When you were starting out as a group, did you encounter a lot of friction and resistance from middle and/or upper management about your wanting to work on Open Source projects for IBM? If so, what did you do to overcome the objections and become the team you are now? I think the answer to this would help a lot of other people in other companies get mainstream acceptance of the idea of OSS in corporate environments.

IBM Kernel Hackers:

The management chain from engineer up to VP has been surprisingly a non-issue. We believe this is mostly because of the way the Linux Technology Center was founded. You might think the LTC evolved "up" from renegade engineers, but the truth is that our first Linux corporate strategy in 1998 called for the creation of a team, composed of some our best OS engineers, that would join the community to

  1. Learn from doing,
  2. Grow Linux skills
  3. Give back to the community
  4. Help make Linux better.
The LTC was founded then with full corporate backing already in place. Boring!! The early funding story for the LTC did involve renegade behavior and a table outside the BOFs at LinuxWorld in 1999, but that's a different story. Our director, Dan Frye, is owed much of the praise for the LTC's existence and smooth operation within IBM. The critical thing here is that engineers shouldn't be fighting corporate political battles, you need management that will go to bat for you on those issues (and win ;-)) We have that, and they do a good job of keeping that stuff off our backs. On the whole, our only work in this arena is to inform the management of what we need, and to feed them with the ammunition they need from a technical standpoint to fight these battles for us.

7) When do you estimate Linux can surpass Solaris?
by wytcld

Solaris 9 is getting great reviews. Between the strengths of the traditional open source community and IBM's resources, do you see a point in the next several years where you expect Linux to surpass Solaris in all of its core strengths? Or does Solaris have some unique values which will allow Sun to continue to position itself to advantage, at least for some applications? Please answer this as a technical rather than marketing question.

IBM Kernel Hackers:

We don't have a Solaris machines to back up any claim we may make, nor do we want to stir up another epic Linux on mainframe battle. It is safe to say, however, that today Linux/x86 is able to outperform1 Solaris/Sparc in many areas that Sun has a long history of success. If your core business was threatened, wouldn't you make some serious changes?

1 I know, I know, outperform is a very vague term. Just think price, performance, stability, etc...

8) OS/2 Developers
by reaper20

I'm one of the few people who really enjoyed the OS/2 desktop and its features. Have any of the former OS/2 developers been contributing to Linux?

Specifically, the user interface and accessibility people - OS/2 was very polished - does IBM see a benefit by offering this expertise to the GNOME/KDE projects?

If so, how does this tie into IBM's vision of Linux of the desktop, if you have one? :)

IBM Kernel Hackers:

Yes, there are a number of former OS/2 developers in the LTC including the majority of the teams working on: JFS, EVMS, and Print, as well individuals contributing in the areas of networking, security, RAS, performance and other projects. Remember, OS/2 had JFS support and EVMS supports the OS/2 partitioning scheme.

While IBM is not actively contributing code from the OS/2 user interface, we are supporting and sponsoring both the GNOME and the KDE projects through our involvement in the KDE League and the GNOME Foundation. And as you mentioned, we place a high level of importance on accessibility and so are participating in the community efforts in that area as well.

10) IA64
by sabre ...

Do you think that IPF64 line will see any kind of broad industry adoption? Will it become just like rest of the (non-embedded) processor architectures designed since the x86 -- constantly fighting for 5% of the market? Do you think the AMD Hammer architecture will be a meaningful player in the field?

IBM Kernel Hackers:

Quite possibly, never underestimate the importance of being able to run the huge installed base of ia32 apps natively, and at high speed. But IA64 has lots of industry backing as well. The good news is that Linux runs well on both, so we the community don't have to choose. The market will do that for us.

Additional questions and answers:

What features do you find linux most lacking in? (If we don't examine our weaknesses, we will be crippled)

Linux on the desktop still doesn't really cut it for some of us (though we do use it). Applications are not nearly as robust as they should be, and though we are perfectly capable of configuring X, we'd rather spend the time coding. Though it's fun to throw stones at Windows and the Linux OS is more stable than the Windows OS, as a whole desktop package with the apps, installation, usability and everything rolled together, Linux is not always preferable.

There are thorns in our side daily because of the lack of debugging and profiling ability in the kernel. We're always patching kernels for kernprof or lockmeter and porting them around to new kernel versions. Although Linus has pretty much said that debuggers are for sissies, the built-in facilities are much better than they were during the old days (think readprofile). So, there are advances being made.

...I'm not surprised that your responses have to be vetted by management. But, I'd love to know what guidelines IBM has for hackers' interaction with the rest of the GNU/Linux/Internet community. Are you allowed to criticize IBM management, or other IBM products, for example?

This is the Internet. We are hackers. Our management has been great allowing us to resolve many of our own problems involving certain email systems and desktop OS rules. Working in the kernel group of the LTC we have free reign to do our work on the kernel in the Open Source community.

There's no day-to-day vetting of anything we post or say, they trust us to be sensible. We would not say "IBM product X sucks, and you should buy competitor's product Y instead" in a public forum, but if we don't think something works well, I'm not going to endorse it either. We're engineers who get paid to work on Linux by IBM, not IBM corporate drones ;-)

From the brief bios, and Sequent pedigree, it looks like there is a lot of focus on high-end features like NUMA, async I/O and the like. Other commercial organizations, notably SGI, are also putting forth effort in those areas. There is actually quite a bit of overlap.

Since these are "open source" projects, do you collaborate with your traditional "enemies" such as SGI and Sun on Linux? What is your management's attitude toward that type of collaboration? If not, do you "look" at the work \ the others are doing in comparison to what you are doing?

We have been working smoothly with engineers from HP, Intel, SGI and many other companies through the Linux Scalability Effort Open Source Project. Whatever legal issues there might be within each company, it appears to me that the engineers who are working on open source are allowed to do their work with no problems. Hanna runs the bi-weekly LSE Conference Call and can say the biggest percentage of attendees are from either IBM, SGI or Intel every time. This is nice, but we want more members from the Open Source community to join: (http://lse.sf.net/mtg).

Management doesn't really care too much who actually writes the patch at the end of the day, they want to see Linux work well in their focus areas. Persuading other (external) developers of the correct approach or solution to a problem is just as important a part of our jobs as writing code.

Why isn't IBM making more of an effort to recruit developers directly from the Linux community, as opposed to hiring people who have very little if any working familiarity with the platform?

IBM has hired lots of existing Linux developers such as Rusty Russell, Greg Kroah-Hartman, and Ted Ts'o. There are also others that post to LKML and don't even use their IBM email addresses because they were firmly established community members (with those email addresses) before they were hired. We do have a site where you can view many of our patches, or a list of developers. Keep in mind that there are still developers who don't submit patches here.

What are your opinions regarding the shrinking number of women in the industry? (actually I believe the numbers are rising again in schools)

This is a tough field and many young women are discouraged from sticking it out through all of the math and science classes, as are many young men. Companies, like IBM, help by hiring bright women who move up the technical chain. This shows the less experienced that there is a future for women in engineering.

Shrinking? The numbers seem to be increasing based on what we see at work every day. IBM is active in programs that introduce young women to engineering in an attempt to get them interested in pursing careers in engineering. An example of these programs is Camp EXITE, check this site out for more info: http://www.ibm.com/ibm/ibmgives/grant/education/camp.shtml

An interesting interview regarding the number of women in industry is available at: http://www.nspe.org/etweb/16-02viewpoint.asp

Questions Rick Lindsley liked that didn't make the top 10, plus answers:

Best way into the Professional Linux world?

As many people here, I am a huge Linux fan, but I am so much so that I am trying to figure out how to get into the professional Linux world when I graduate.

I attend Clemson University and am in the Computer Information System (CS + business) program (and doubled in Political Science). My goal is to become a Linux sys admin, or perhaps some other Linux guru type job. The work that IBM is doing with Linux is also very appealing to me.

So, how did you get your job, and what would you recommend as the path to follow for us geeks just getting started in the professional world as to how to get into Linux? How can I become as entrenched with Linux as the professionals at IBM? I have had two internships (not with IBM, nor with Linux, but with other CS stuff), but how can I get an entry-level job in a Linux intensive environment like IBM? How can said job lead me into a career where I can be deeply involved in the Linux world?

Rick:

First: I've done recruiting at a "significant Big 10 university whose mascot's name is Bucky" so let me tell you what I look for in a college candidate.

Knowledgable -- your resume should reflect what you know, but don't puff it. Just because they make me dress up when I'm on campus doesn't mean I can't tell perl from shell scripting. Accentuate your strong points. You gain points for knowledge, but you lose them for lying or "overstating."

Communicative -- a person who cannot talk about what they know might as well know nothing. Seriously consider taking a public speaking course your junior or senior year. Also: it's ok to say "I don't know."

Grade point -- Personally, I really don't care so much about your GPA as you might think. Unfortunately, you will be judged by it by far too many people, right or wrong. So if you're not 3.9 or 4.0, you might be ready to spin it a bit. "Yes, it's 3.2, but I've buckled down and have 3.84 in the last three semesters." "Yes it's 3.1, but you'll note it's 3.6 on courses in my major." Don't get surreal but make that number say something good about you.

Work experience -- you get a big edge for doing something other than a teaching assistant. Internships, co-ops, and summer jobs can help you more than you think in the end.

Second, how did I get my job at IBM? Luck, in part. Right place, right time. Sometimes it really does work for you. Along with that luck, though, was the fact that I'd established a reputation as a smart coder and a fast learner. While I knew far less about Linux then than I know now, that reputation made managers believe that "coming up to speed" would not be a problem, and they judged right. Your reputation, as reported by your colleagues and not yourself, will be your greatest ally (or enemy.) This is never more true than in the Linux community.

Third, advancing? Once you get your foot in the door, work at interacting. Nobody really advances very far without interaction. At first this is with your cubie neighbor or office mate, but pretty soon it's chatting with people down the hall, and then in other projects. Eventually, you have opportunities to help organize informal seminars with the local user's group, and then it's helping out with conferences, and then you're writing papers, and chairing sessions, and before you know it you're standing puzzled in front of a thousand people, wondering how troubled their life must be that they would want to listen to <em>you</em> speak.

Dave Hansen's answer -

Purdue University's Computer Science program. I went to one of the CS job fairs where someone in the large IBM booth saw "Linux" on my resume. I handed my resume off, had a nice chat, and got a sit-down interview a couple of days later. That was followed soon by a plant trip and a job offer. The moral of the story: if you want a Linux job, put Linux on your resume! Make it bold. Make it half the page if that is really want you want to do. Most importantly, you have to learn to walk the walk before you can talk the talk. Engineers usually have better BS detectors than most people and you won't fool them for long.

Advancing - This is probably evident to anyone who has gone through an engineering program at a large school, but the most successful engineers are those who can teach others. You'll notice that there are lots of brilliant engineers and lots of teachers, but those who can do both are a rarity. Learn as much as you can from your colleagues then share as much as you can. The more people who know your name and come to you for help, the more visible you are. There is probably a fine line between getting noticed and being annoying and I have the feeling that a Slashdot interview may be WAY beyond the line :)

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

IBM Kernel Hackers Respond

Comments Filter:
  • AI Kernel (Score:3, Funny)

    by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <[gro.daetsriek] [ta] [todhsals]> on Tuesday June 18, 2002 @01:33PM (#3723088) Homepage

    Dave Hansen, the IBM Kernel who organized this interview...

    Wow, IBM wrote a kernel with embedded AI?? And it was smart enough to conduct an interview??!?! Linux hackers, we have to get cracking, IBM is showing us up!

  • Linus (Score:4, Insightful)

    by glrotate ( 300695 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2002 @01:38PM (#3723132) Homepage
    thorns in our side daily because of the lack of debugging and profiling ability in the kernel


    It really is time for the community to put more pressure on Linus to adopt this.

    • I can actually understand both sides of the argument. Linus sees using a debugger as a crutch for not understanding what is going on in your code. People who want to add/use more debugging facilities are just wanting to use all the tools in thier toolbox to create the best possible code.
      • Re:Linus (Score:2, Informative)

        by scot4875 ( 542869 )
        Linus sees using a debugger as a crutch for not understanding what is going on in your code.

        Which is complete crap. A debugger is a tool like any other. If you've got the option to use a wrench or a ratchet to tighten a nut, the ratchet isn't a "crutch for not understanding what's going on with the nut." Anyone with that attitude is probably looking so far down their nose that *any* tool you offer them is just a crutch for the weak.

        The biggest reason I use Linux so sparingly is the lack of decent debugging tools. I had an excellent debugger in Turbo Pascal when I first started programming in '91. I've yet to find something that's even *that* good for Linux.

        And anyone who believes that inserting printf()'s into your code is any substitute for a real debugger is a fool.

        --Jeremy
        • Linus sees using a debugger as a crutch for not understanding what is going on in your code.
          A debugger is a tool like any other.
          A wrench is a tool like any other. Not very good at hammering nails though.
          A debugger is good for showing state through *one* execution path and makes it easy to catch superficial bugs that show up that way. Something like an operating system needs to stay valid over *all* execution paths and a debugger tends to be more counterproductive. Then you get the fun situations where a program works if it's being debugged and not if it's not.
        • And anyone who believes that inserting printf()'s into your code is any substitute for a real debugger is a fool.


          Or, perhaps, really *really* freaking good.

          Seriously though, I've only tried using a debugger a few times and it didn't help.
          I'm not a great programmer and know absolutely crap about compilers and debuggers.
          What's a good resource for learning more about them?

    • Isn't this what the Hurd is for?
    • Why must Linus adopt this? The community has already done something about this: Linux Kernel State Tracer [sourceforge.net] (LKST) and Linux Kernel Crash Dumps [sourceforge.net] (LKCD) ... When these things have proven themselves to be both generally useful and stable, I'm sure they'll make their way into the mainstream Linux kernel and distributions. -- Dossy
  • ThinkPad support? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by qurob ( 543434 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2002 @01:39PM (#3723142) Homepage

    People don't buy many small computers just because they will run Linux (the geek population just isn't that large). People do, however, blow large chunks of cash on big machines just to run Linux. Mom-and-Pop can almost always undercut IBM on prices for small machines, and geeks are thrifty. You don't have to sell many million dollar machines to justify being involved in Linux development.

    I think they should have given us a better answer than this. IBM should hire 10 guys like me [mailto], pay them $25 an hour, UPS them some equipment, and let them hack ThinkPads all day from home. I use a lot of Dell laptops, most of their machines work great under Linux.

    How do other companies handle their Linux+laptops? Or don't they?

    • Think pads work great ... except for the modem.

      I understand that there may be modem drivers available on the web, but without a modem, I can't get them.

      (Well, that's a slight overstatement. I could, but everytime I changed the OS I'd need to go and get them again [in the appropriate version, unless the same one would work with, say, LibraNet and Red Hat].)

      Actually, I suppose I could just download all of them onto some floppyies, and keep them around. But I've never bothered, not even to verify as to whether or not the modem drivers really existed. (I've sort of assumed that if they were decent then they'd be installed with the next versio of the OS, and they never have been.)
    • > IBM should hire 10 guys like me, pay them
      > $25 an hour, UPS them some equipment, and let them
      > hack ThinkPads all day from home.

      According to a post (this morning!) on the Thinkpad mailing list, IBM's dropping their Thinkpad Linux support project and laying off those employees.

      It looks like you'd be better off staying with those Dells if their Linux compatibility is good...

      Here's an excerpt from the message to the Thinkpad mailing list about Linux support for Thinkpads:

      >> But, after 3 years, IBM has decided to
      >> no longer fund that project, and as of Monday,
      >> June 24th, [the guy who sent the mail] will be
      >> layed-off from IBM as part
      >> of IBM's recent Server Group "resource action."

  • First of all, before any of us were allowed to contribute to Linux, we were required to take an "Open Source Developers" class.

    SIGN.......ME.........UP!
  • by moniker_21 ( 414164 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2002 @01:46PM (#3723196)
    Yes it' a 2.2, but you'll notice that's up from a 0.7!
    *sigh* It's a miracle I'm still in college.
  • dave hansen is a kernel? where can i sign up for this? and do i get a cool mascot?
  • by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2002 @01:49PM (#3723218)
    Hanna runs the bi-weekly LSE Conference Call and can say the biggest percentage of attendees are from either IBM, SGI or Intel every time.
    (emphasis mine)

    IBM Dude: Sure we're getting along... They stick to their events we stick to ours!

    p.s. This is a gross misrepresentation of the facts and his answer (in case you didn't catch on to the bad joke;)
  • Lets play... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sanity ( 1431 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2002 @01:51PM (#3723230) Homepage Journal
    ...spot the PHB contributions! I'll start:
    We think the Open Source business model is more than just valid, it is
    revolutionary.
    Just doesn't sound like something a hacker would say.
    • Re:Lets play... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Zathrus ( 232140 )
      Funny. I seem to recall seeing that exact phrase daily on /.

      Guess there's a lot of PHB's hanging out here then.
    • Re:Lets play... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tswinzig ( 210999 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2002 @02:59PM (#3723645) Journal
      Actually the original sentence was:

      "We think the Open Source business model is more than just valid, it is fucking cool!"

      He wasn't kidding when he said, These were edited by management, but they mostly corrected our spelling mistakes and cleaned up our dirty language :)
    • How about things they _didn't_ catch, like this jewel of marketing speak:

      As far as our disposability: don't get too concerned on our behalf, Linux will always have bugs and there will always be room for improvement. (emphasis mine)

      Any MS marketing execs probably passed out cold when they read this, coming straight from the horses mouth...

      • Linux will always have bugs
        Any MS marketing execs probably passed out cold when they read this


        Yep. Methinks IBM "gets it" and Microsoft can't.
        Reality. Just because a program has bugs does not mean that you can find any or will ever run into one. If you are paying high dollars for a Linux system, you want "other people" to be running into the bugs and fixing them as much as possible. Much cheaper.
    • Believe it or not, this actually came from an engineer. I won't blow their cover, but it wasn't who you think it was :)
  • by peterdaly ( 123554 ) <petedaly&ix,netcom,com> on Tuesday June 18, 2002 @01:52PM (#3723235)
    I work in a shop that has, among other system an AS/400. The guy who usually comes to work on our hardware doesn't know or really understand anything about linux. I have known him professionally for about 5 years now, and for most of that time he has known I work with Linux.

    The past few times I have seen him he has struck up a conversation about all the great stuff about Linux he is hearing at IBM, and how important it may be in the future.

    I have worked with many AS/400 type people, and let me tell you, it is hard to get them on the bandwagon for stuff like this. I don't know what IBM is doing to communicate their Linux vision, but whatever it is they are doing right.

    -Pete
    • IBM is definitely helping in this arena. I had a meeting this morning the the AS/400 group manager for our company. We were discussing FTP connections and my suggestion was to install a Linux OpenSSH server instead of a Winders 2000 machine. When he began to get that face that managers get when you talk about installing a Linux server in their environment, I quickly mentioned IBM's support for Linux. He looked surprised and pretty relieved to hear that IBM is behind the OS. I got my way and we're going with the Linux solution. While this isn't the only Linux box we have, it's a start of a change in the attitude at my company that says Microsoft is the only way to go on a PC considering that getting the first Linux box here was like getting teeth pulled. Having IBM back the OS certainly helps.
    • If you've ever worked with/on an AS/400 you'll know why it is hard to get off "that bandwagon" as you put it.

      To put into perspective my very first "real" O/S was a SysV implentation of Unix, my first "real job" was programming an AS/400.

      Being a PFY and loving how you can hack Unix to do pretty much what you want to do, and then trying to grok AS/400 stuff is something that gave me frequent headaches. Sure theres nice OS/400 Unix command references *now*, but how can you explain what a "Logical File" is to a Linux person, or even a display file...

      Then again the fact that AS/400 treats nearly everything as a "database", is comparable to how unix treats nearly everything as a filesystem object. (Gross over-generalisation there I know)

      A lot of corporate iron out there are racks upon racks of AS/400 kit, and I suspect System/36 kit too... Linux won't replace those beasts in the short to mid term, but may in the long term it will be.

      Those IBM engineers have access to (the brains, if not the code directly) of many, many Man-Years of O/S code - Certainly more than Microsoft will ever have :-)

      Wandering back on topic for a bit, then I'll hit submit, I promise :-) Mainframe programmers also tend not to be too interested in the nuts and bolts of the hardware, "it just works" this is something only a propriatry hardware/software system can do - Forget setting up the machine, just do your work ... Imagine the man-hours you've lost writing code on your M$/Unix machine only to find out that you've just broken the O/S by tickling an obscure bug ? - Just doesnt happen in the mainframe world. :-)

      Would I go back and do AS/400 work ... no - it's just not sexy enough anymore - unless I needed a decent database server of course :-)

      /op

      • >> Being a PFY and [..]

        For those of us who never read the 'net clasic BOFH (basterd operator from hell) PFY stands for "Pimple Faced Youth"

        What am i saying, if you do not know the BOFH, go read it now! http://bofh.ntk.net/
    • There are two good things about AS/400s. One, object files from various languages can be linked together. Or so they told me when I took a class at IBM's campus in Dallas. Two, they have a database and they aren't afraid to use it. So many linux projects in use today would benefit dramatically from the use of a RDBMS, yet nearly none of them do. I know, ReiserFS, blah blah blah. I'm not excited.

      Anyway, other than that... linux has become very stable (unless you're on the bleeding edge, or close to it) and it runs on a lot of nice cheap hardware that you can scale up or down without amazing price jumps. You can even buy pretty good support for it now, right? The one thing the AS/400 still has over other operating systems is that you can build apps with it so quickly, I mean simple database frontends with a little math or generating a print job or what have you. On the other hand, a lot of things are a super big pain in the ass, so it's not a free lunch or anything.

  • by ryanwright ( 450832 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2002 @01:58PM (#3723278)
    Any kernel hackers out there want a job? [monster.com]


    (I know, it's off-topic, mod me down, et cetera, but do you know how hard it is to find qualified Linux kernel hackers?? I'm willing to risk some karma...)
  • IBM and Linux (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ebuck ( 585470 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2002 @02:02PM (#3723311)
    That IBM would validate Linux was a big stamp of approval that even PHBs could recogonize.

    I can't tell how many times before IBM jumped into the ring I heard from the Linux ignorant, "I hear great things about it, but who uses it?" You could then rattle off names all day without effect.
  • Kernel (Score:3, Funny)

    by URoRRuRRR ( 57117 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2002 @02:05PM (#3723327) Journal
    Dave Hansen, the IBM Kernel who organized this interview

    I keep telling people, it's spelled C-O-L-O-N-E-L. I don't know why there isn't an R in it, but it's just spelled that way. I wouldn't be disrespecting any colonels asking why, either.
    • Re:Kernel (Score:2, Funny)

      by meringuoid ( 568297 )
      The military are weird. There's no R in Colonel. There's no F in Lieutenant. And it's a little-known curio of some smaller Welsh regiments that 'Sergeant' is actually pronounced 'Wibble'.
  • by 2Bits ( 167227 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2002 @02:15PM (#3723389)
    Grade point -- Personally, I really don't care so much about your GPA as you might think. Unfortunately, you will be judged by it by far too many people, right or wrong. So if you're not 3.9 or 4.0, you might be ready to spin it a bit. "Yes, it's 3.2, but I've buckled down and have 3.84 in the last three semesters." "Yes it's 3.1, but you'll note it's 3.6 on courses in my major." Don't get surreal but make that number say something good about you.

    If you are still in school, and are thinking about applying for a job at IBM, I'd suggest that you ramp up your GPA right now. The importance of GPA for IBM can't be stressed enough. It's an understatement that you will be judged by it by far too many people. You can be the best and brightest programmer in the world, but your GPA is the only thing that will get you an interview. Only after you got an interview can you show how much you know, right?

    At the time when I was about to graduate (I didn't apply to IBM or any big corporations, coz I wanted to work in small companies), the only people who got an interview from IBM are the straight-A students, regardless of how much they know about computer and programming (not to be pejorative!!!).
    (Notes: at our school, straight-A GPA does not necessary mean you are good programmer, coz our school is very theory-oriented).

    I started working at a small company the day after my last exam, so as two of classmates who were hired by IBM. We bumped into each other one year later. By then, I've developed two drivers already, and theses folks are still in training, and had not written a single line of code yet.

    IBM can hire the "best students" (in terms of GPA) and send them to training for a long time.

    Good for them. This is not sour grape though, as I've never applied to IBM anyways.

    • True -- the importance of GPA to corporations can't be stressed enough. The importance to actual recruiters varies greatly. Many, sadly, will use it as their primary and sole filter. However, when I was hired into my first job, it was with the "pitiful" GPA of 3.4. The person interviewing me fortunately had also come from that University and understood, without even asking, the implications of some of the coursework, course load, and jobs I'd had. He scheduled an interview and, after confirming his theory, fast-tracked me into an on-site interview and so began my career.

      I think that was an excellent example of how to really find good people, and I've tried to return the favor. The GPA doesn't tell the whole story. I've met some 3.97 people with a PhD in CS and a MS in Physics and Astronomy who couldn't handle a simple perl script. (But we did have a fascinating discussion about solar events and their effect on the ionosphere.)

      Yes, I chat up the 3.9+ folks. There's no denying that in today's tougher job market, that GPA will be your best billboard. But I also talk to 3.2 and 3.4 folks if I recognize job experience or coursework in their resumes and transcripts which looks interesting.

      And yes, again sadly, that's unusual. But we do exist.
    • I graduated with a 2.7 GPA and was hired by IBM.

      I fully agree with Rick's comments about spin. Overall GPA is less important than good marks in classes related to the job you are applying for.

      If your worried about being passed over for interviews because of your GPA, don't put it on your resume. Instead, try to emphasize applicable skills/coursework/experience. Do the same thing in your interviews. Try talking about your favorite project rather than explaining why you failed calculus three times. If you can demonstrate that you know your stuff, you will get hired.

    • Doesn't matter how good your resume is, how l337 you are, if you don't have that magic number on there, you won't get an interview.

      When I was campaigning for jobs towards the end of college, I put in a bid for an interview with a company that I won't name but it's the parent company for one of the Big Three TV networks in the US, a company known primarily by its 2 initials. I got called by the interviewer ahead of time, and she said "your GPA is lower than we usually look for, but you worked for us 3 summers, who'd you work for so I can talk to them?" I told her, she made some calls.

      Got the interview even though my GPA wasn't what they were looking for. Did pretty well at the interview, she passed me on to other areas of the company. Someone at corporate HQ called me, and didn't have my resume in hand. She asked me to tell her about myself, then cut me off - "what's your GPA?" I told her, she said "I don't understand why you were even given a resume, you shouldn't have been. Send me your resume." I did, and never heard from that company again.
  • Thinkpads... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Bartab ( 233395 )
    I have three laptops, a Vaio F190, Tecra 8100, and a Thinkpad 600E. Only the 600e works flawlessly in Linux. It's the only working winmodem in the lot, the only one that allows me to configure the hardware from linux, the only one where every bit of the hardware actually functions under linux (at least, the later 2.4 kernels) and the only one to have "How to Open the Case" documents on the web.

    I've had it for awhile, and while it took some time to ramp up the Thinkpad Linux support is far superior to pretty much every other laptop support available. To call the support "sporatic" is inflamatory at best.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 18, 2002 @02:47PM (#3723579)
    There are several business choices that IBM continues to make that when reading between the lines could cause you to wonder if IBM thinks Linux is the future or a present fad. It is true that IBM is putting forth resources to Linux but that was also true of the PC when IBM still considered the PC to be a fad.

    Consider this:

    - While IBM considered the PC to be nothing more than a fad they where slow to release the basics that would make the PC more competive with the mainframe such as networking adapters. It wasn't until ethernet had already come out that IBM got around to releasing Token Ring. They continued to push that mainframe 3270 terminals where a super-set of the PC capablities.

    - While IBM states that Linux will run on several of their systems including the RS/6000, they continually refuse to release the basics. There is no Tivoli Storage Manager to backup Linux PPC and the specifications for writting drivers for their SSA adapters are still unavailable to Linux developers.

    - IBM now promotes AIX to now be a super-set of Linux which is now at the version 5.1"L" (where L stands for Linux personality). In fact, this marketing move seems to clearly indicate that IBM considers Linux to be nothing more than hot-word compliant as AIX 5L does nothing to acknowledge the additional features Linux provides such as /dev/random & ipchains/iptables. Since AIX 5L pritty much does not provide any of the additional features provided by the only thing that is truely Linux (the kernel), it would be more approbate to call it AIX 5G for it's "compatiblity" with GNU libraries/applications. But GNU is not as hot-word compliant as Linux.
  • One of the biggest strengths of Solaris has always been the Sparc hardware. Hot swappable components, beefier IO channels, etc. have contributed much to typical Solaris installations over a typical x86 server running Linux. x86 machines are built with home and business users in mind, not servers. Server lines from most vendors are little more than home machines with a little extra memory and a bigger hard drive.

    Have a look at Solaris on x86, which Sun dropped completely for a while (I don't remember for sure, but I think they brought back some support for it). It has never been used much, because those that need the scalability and stability that Solaris is reputed to provide know that they'll only get it when using Sun's hardware.

    I'm guessing that we'll see an iterative process that will improve matters on the x86/Linux side. As Linux is used more widely for server deployments, more hardware vendors will jump in the game and provide better hardware, and as the hardware becomes available the reputation of Linux on that hardware will improve and the cycle will repeat itself. For now, there are a few small vendors (small marketshare) trying to make x86 server hardware that is actually appropriate for big installations, but most people buy a machine labeled for server use and install Linux on it, and then they blame the shortcomings of the desktop user hardware on Linux.

    - Russ
  • by bluGill ( 862 )

    I've never understood how so many people can look for a 4.0 GPA. 2.0 is average, and in all my classes the professors made sure that most of the students got a C. Now I can accept that the F and D students re-take the class or drop out, but that still doesn't explain how there can possibly be that many people with GPAs of more than 3.5.

    There is one exception to the above: honors class. To stay in Honors you need a 3.0 are better GPA, so a C in honors can easially mean you learned less than a F student in the equivelent non-honors class. Yes I'm bitter, I had friends in honors with a better GPA for this reason alone.

    • 2.0 is the average number between 0.0 and 4.0, but it might not be the average GPA... Quite frankly, there is grade inflation in many colleges or classes... a more honest standard would show your GPA as well as the average GPA for every class you take.

      That said, though, a lot of the 0.0-1.0 GPA crowd drop out or get kicked out, so the students that are left are more serious about their education.
    • It depends where you go to school: At most schools, a C is no longer average, due to grade inflation. Even at Northwestern, [216.239.51.100] which is actually a fairly respectable school, the average GPA is up to 3.3. When you consider that a lot of less-than-driven students drift through large state universities, the average GPA for the real students is actually probably higher still.

  • by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Tuesday June 18, 2002 @04:07PM (#3724161) Homepage Journal

    It seems strange to me that the Linux developers can't lift code or at least ideas directly from AIX. It makes me wonder if someone hasn't thought this through.

    Lifting a snippet of AIX code and putting it into Linux would constitute relicensing that code under the GPL. Doing so would in no way compromise IBM's ability to continue selling that code under the closed-source license as part of AIX; dual-licensing schemes are an established, proven business model.

    The policies described seem very wasteful. Consider: IBM owns the AIX code because they paid the salaries of the engineers who wrote it. In exactly the same way, IBM owns the code written by the IBM kernel hackers, but IBM's management has decided that they'd like to donate this code to the world by releasing it under the GPL. If the IBM kernel team is solving a problem that the AIX team has already solved, then IBM is paying two sets of engineers to solve the same problem twice (IBM does a lot of that, but not usually on purpose). It's likely that both teams will arrive at the same solution (particularly if the AIX team is giving hints), and even to generate highly similar code, but IBM has to pay for it twice!

    Wouldn't it make a lot more sense for IBM's kernel team to save developer hours by copying ideas or even code from AIX? It's IBM code that's being given to the world via GPL either way, right? Or are is the AIX team so much better than the Linux team that their code is too valuable to donate, while the crap the Linux team produces is okay to shovel out the door? ;-)

    Allowing relicensing of snippets of AIX will allow the kernel team to be more productive, getting IBM more of what it wants Linux to be for less money, that's pretty clear. And IBM would in no way lose control of AIX, so what's the downside?

    I can certainly see that it might be a good idea to keep the AIX developers away from Linux code, since succumbing to the temptation to lift a useful routine and drop it into AIX violates the GPL and puts IBM at risk of losing its right to use Linux at all if the misappropriation is discovered. And I can see that there might be certain features or techniques in AIX that IBM prefers not to put in Linux, so it might be good to avoid giving the Linux team free access to the AIX codebase, but I cannot see any reason why, for features/refinements that the Linux team is going to make anyway, they shouldn't save time by getting them from AIX.

    How does this intentional reinvention of the wheel protect IBM's IP?

    • Allowing relicensing of snippets of AIX ... And IBM would in no way lose control of AIX, so what's the downside?

      Even if it's just 'party line / pro-forma'. I can well imagine that some of IBM's customers would be unhappy to think that AIX code were being placed into GPL.

      One of IBM's major motivations for leveraging Linux is not to capture the x/86 servers into IBM's hardware sales (tho I'm sure that happens). Rather, OSS has moved substantially to a place where Linux-isms are the bread and butter and if you want to run OSS software on UNIX, it's more efficient to create AIX-L(inux) to simplify OSS support for the platform.

      *That* (I think) is the driver for investing in linux generally, and IBM recognizes that you don't really get to play in OSS without giving something back. And they are getting to play in the design and understanding in detail which will allow thier AIX5L to interoperate better with linux itself.

      Additionally, just pulling the code from one unix and inserting it to another probably wouldn't play well in terms of reliability. Kernel data structures are going to be different, and I think to generate bug-free code you're better off simply taking the *idea* and writing it from scratch in the different environment.

      Also, note: it's hardly a new phenomenon. I know AIX coders who've consistently provided substantial pieces of code directly to the Linux platform since the mid '90's. And I know of instances where some (not very smart) IBM customers were substantially unhappy about this.


    • IBM very well does not own all of the AIX code. Why didn't Netscape open-source the JVM? Because they had licensed it from Sun.

      Also, I seriously doubt someone could simply cut and paste a "useful routine" from one codebase to another. For a codebase as specific as an operating system kernel, there are too many code dependencies to make cut and paste (from AIX to Linux or vice versa) of much value. Porting JFS to Linux took a long time and that JFS code came from OS/2, not AIX.
      • Also, I seriously doubt someone could simply cut and paste a "useful routine" from one codebase to another.

        Of course not. I didn't want to get into the technical issues around how the reuse/porting would have to be done, particularly since they're obvious to anyone who's written much software.

        The article indicates that the Linux team is not even permitted to see the AIX code, and the AIX team has to be somewhat circumspect about how much they can help. They're restricting and controlling the flow of information. Sure, even if it were unrestricted, a bit of code would at the very least have to be carefully tweaked to fit into its new environment, but they're going far beyond that, making it clear this is for other reasons.

        Porting is a lot of work, but generally *is* less work than reinvention, which is why it's done.

    • by lindsley ( 194412 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2002 @05:21PM (#3724727)
      Since I've already identified myself as an IBM kernel hacker just by participating, this answer will definitely require that I state, for the record, that I do not represent IBM's views on this. These are my personal opinions, and if you sue IBM and make me lose my job, I will find you and get you kicked out of your trailer park.

      Now then ...

      The short story is, the problem is not one of proper licensing. It's one of losing a business advantage. And I think it's fair to suggest this dilemma is not being faced solely by IBM either.

      Let's examine your theoretical snippet of AIX code. It could fall into one of three buckets.
      • Useless. Nobody cares if it's open sourced. The overhead and accompanying fear is unnecessary. (That's almost always discovered in hindsight, unfortunately :)
      • Useful but hardly secret. The main danger here is that while not secret, it still gives some advantage to "the competition". Maybe the breakthrough was to drop the bubblesort and use a B-tree. Hardly revolutionary but sometimes clever code really isn't complex. (Simple example, I know, but you get the point.) If "the competition" hasn't figured this out already, IBM doesn't want to give them any clues.
      • Patent or trade secret. Ok, now IBM has invested real dollars in documenting and protecting this information. Serious scrutiny will happen before it goes out, just because of the dollars already invested.
      And of course, remember through all this that "the competition" is not Linux or even Open Source. It's those companies (who may also be promoting and participating in Open Source) who simply happen to send sales people to the same customers IBM is sending sales people to. If IBM can show AIX is better in some way, it would be karma-good but business-stupid to give that up voluntarily. And by placing advantageous code into Open Source they will both make it available to the community at large (good thing) and make it available to the competition (not a good thing.)

      Determining code that is patented or constitutes a trade secret is relatively easy. Separating useless from useful is hard (read /. moderating flames if you need an example!) and involves even more lawyers and hackers alike. That's what takes most of the time and effort.

      It may comfort you to know there are a host of Linux hackers, only a subset of which participated in the interview, which are hammering at your questions all the time. The engineers hammer, and the lawyers hammer back. In general, the perception is that engineers could care less about IP and lawyers could care less about sharing with the community. Neither is entirely true. Their jobs and goals are very different, and objectively, their ongoing battles -- ahem, I mean dialogues -- do in the end yield a pretty good balance.
      • Since I've already identified myself as an IBM kernel hacker just by participating, this answer will definitely require that I state, for the record, that I do not represent IBM's views on this.

        Well, for the record then, I will also state that I am an IBM employee, although not affiliated with the LTC. And my views are also mine and have nothing to do with IBM's.

        There, now we're both covered ;-)

        The short story is, the problem is not one of proper licensing. It's one of losing a business advantage.

        This appears to make sense, but I don't think it really does. I say this because IBM *also* loses the *same* business advantage if the Linux team re-implements some functionality as if it is ported over from AIX. And this lost advantage costs IBM more money than if the functionality were ported.

        It seems to me that the issues that should be weighed are related to what the Linux team implements, not whether the implementation borrows from AIX. I can clearly see both sides of the issue, but it seems to me that the "contamination-avoidance" approach doesn't really solve the problem, it just pushes it off to where it doesn't have to be addressed directly.

        From the point of view of the IBM kernel hackers, that may actually be the best approach, because you can probably reimplement stuff from AIX with little more than a few hints whereas if you actually had to get permission to adopt AIX ideas you'd never get it done. Plus, writing code is more fun than porting it :-). But that kind of bureacratic end-run, while workable, doesn't seem to be the most efficient way of doing business.

        It may comfort you to know there are a host of Linux hackers, only a subset of which participated in the interview, which are hammering at your questions all the time. The engineers hammer, and the lawyers hammer back.

        This is what I expected, actually. Engineers are smart people who are perfectly capable of understanding the legal and business situation when they want to, and in this case they have ample reason.

        In general, the perception is that engineers could care less about IP and lawyers could care less about sharing with the community.

        I wouldn't expect that at all; at least not the part about the engineers. I'm an engineer and I care quite a lot about IP. I do think it's possible that the lawyers couldn't care less about sharing with the community, though :-) Actually, to be fair, my experience with IBM attorneys is that they usually understand that their goal is to facilitate IBM's business, not impede it, and in this case it's clear that to comply with the terms of the GPL, IBM would at least have to give its changes to customers, who would be free to redistribute them, so it makes sense to participate openly in the community.

        their ongoing battles -- ahem, I mean dialogues -- do in the end yield a pretty good balance.

        Obviously, I'm viewing this from far outside, but I'm not sure I'd agree. The "balance" struck seems not to be a balance at all, but rather a way of avoiding the issue via duplication of effort. IMO, a real balance would be a process for evaluating the business case for and against making particular enhancements to Linux and then approaching the implementation of the selected enhancements in the most efficient way possible.

        Good luck to all of you in finding an appropriate balance, by whatever means. Open source is so radically different from the way business has been done that it's quite understandable that even very forward-thinking companies like IBM are still a long way from settling the issues. At least your part of IBM *understands* the issues. I set up a Linux box running SourceForge a couple years back and I got calls from a raft of "very concerned" executives who were concerned about whether or not we could use the SF code without licensing it from someone. They understood that "IBM is into Linux, so we can use it", but couldn't quite grasp the idea that this other pile of software could be used without sending a check to someone. And the notion that we should publish some of our SourceForge enhancements back to the community was met with unabashed horror.

    • I have a better idea. IBM, Sun, SGI and HP should all release all of their source code, no matter what it's for, under the GPL. Then, these companies should put all of their money, engineers and programmers together into an enormous team that would put the best bits of all their source code into Linux and all components and programs that run under Linux, debug these until there are no bugs at all, and optimize them for maximum possible performance (writing the most time consuming portions in the most tightly optimized assembly language possible for every platform supported by Linux).

      Linux is cool now. But if this takes place, it will be more cool.

    • if they are going to allow snippets, they may as well relicense the entire aix os..
      • That doesn't follow at all. AIX is better than Linux in many ways, and IBM makes money selling AIX. My point is that for features that exist in AIX that IBM is adding to Linux, it makes more sense to port than to reimplement. There will be other features which IBM will not want to add to Linux so as to retain the competitive advantages of AIX.
  • by hyyx ( 447405 ) <cky@snPARISpp.com minus city> on Tuesday June 18, 2002 @04:33PM (#3724377) Homepage
    I thought this was funny. In his response, he gave a link [sr71.net] to "meager information that we put together during a meeting once" regarding getting Linux to run on ThinkPads. I think "Neat-o, I have a ThinkPad and would love some Linux configuration help for it." I follow the link, then I chose Networking [sr71.net]. I see the option for

    "That sounds pretty interesting", I thought. Try it for yourself. No soup for you!
  • As a user/developer/writer who's hands are on the way out. Voice Rec is a beautiful thought. I own ViaVoice Pro 8 for MSWin. It was the only thing holding me near windows.

    I'll happily both pay and code for the newest engine under linux. If it would get it past the 99.9% accuracy point, I'd buy a power5 to run it on.

    I tried to use the contact on the SDK page, but it bounced. Who do I have to bribe?

    If IBM is listening, be aware that people who have hand problems are more than willing to shell out the cash for the top end hardware. A dual Opteron is cheaper than a new pair of hands. The minimum hardware requirements are pointless. Use my CPU power; I'll buy an extra one to run emacs with.

    How about multiple microphones?

    • by Anonymous Coward
      As I work for IBM Voice Systems, I think that I should be qualified enough to extrapolate a tad bit. Yes, there are unix flavors available for ViaVoice core technology components of TTS and recognition engines. These are usually server oriented and aren't delivered as part of the consumer desktop oriented product. However, there is a product that may support desktop needs,
      http://www-3.ibm.com/software/speech/linux/dicta ti on.html

      IBM ViaVoice Dictation for Linux allows you to:

      Say letters and numbers naturally
      Dictate memos and documents using natural voice
      Correct, edit, and format documents using your voice
      ViaVoice Dictation for Linux's Dictation's text-to-speech feature reads text out loud to you
      Multi-users are supported for each system
  • by Anonymous Coward
    http://www3.ibm.com/software/speech/linux/dictatio n.html

    IBM ViaVoice Dictation for Linux allows you to:

    Say letters and numbers naturally
    Dictate memos and documents using natural voice
    Correct, edit, and format documents using your voice
    ViaVoice Dictation for Linux's Dictation's text-to-speech feature reads text out loud to you
    Multi-users are supported for each system
  • hmmph, the whole of bugzilla.gnome.org contains five bugs reported by people with an ibm.com address, of which three are AIX-specific.

    Well they do have one or two articles on GNOME development on their developerworks site. But I'm convinced Sun has contributed countless more manhours to the user interface aspect of GNOME than IBM has.
  • I can't remember the URL and haven't bookmarked it, but some time ago there was a nice explanation for women going into Medicine instead of Engineering or Computing: Medicine pays more and work less.

    Not to mention that there may be a natural or social differentiation in roles and tastes, and that's not bad in itself. I don't see anything in the Natural Law stating each profession must have a 50-50% split on sex lines. We Brasilians tend to like being real men and having our women really different from ourselves.

"Don't tell me I'm burning the candle at both ends -- tell me where to get more wax!!"

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