Friday, April 16

IBM and its Linux contibution

IBM is a big multi-national corporation, yet it was able to learn how to exffectivel;y contribute to the Linux kernel. Here is a good description of how and why IBM was successful in this process, and the lessons learned.

"There is nothing that we can do to control individuals or communities, and if you try, you make thing worse," Frye told the audience. "What you need is influence. It goes back to the most important lesson, which is to give back to the community and develop expertise. You'll find that if your developers are working with a community, that over time they'll develop influence and that influence will allow you to get things done."
"We spent far too much time behind the IBM firewall, discussing things, and we tried to polish our external communications," Frye said. "So we banned internal IBM communication on the Linux kernel. Anyone working on the kernel at IBM was not allowed to talk to anyone else inside the company. All communications had to be external."

That effort led to IBM having more success in dealing with the community. In addition, IBM learned that it doesn't work to make large code donations, either. Frye stated that it's far more effective to start working inside of a community and then deliver incremental pieces of work.

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