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IBM's engagement with Open Source Software:

Benjamin Mako Hill and Gabriella Coleman:

"With over USD 81 billion in yearly revenue deriving in no small part from the companies vast patent and copyright holdings, IBM is an example of global capitalism whose bedrock is intellectual property. With a development methodology that IBM recognizes as more agile and profitable than proprietary models in many situations, IBM was quick to embrace FOSS.

Hiring a cadre of FOSS developers to work in-house on FOSS software, IBM launched the first nationwide advertising campaign promoting the FOSS operating system GNU/Linux. In their first campaign, they highlighted the ideas of openness and freedom in ways that, unsurprisingly, reinforced their corporate goals. Featuring the recognizable Linux mascot Tux the penguin and a message of “Peace, Love, and Linux,” IBM connected using and buying FOSS-based enterprise solutions with 1960’s counter-cultural ideals of sharing, empowerment, and openness.

IBM’s engagement with FOSS is representative of a much larger corporate movement to translate FOSS principles into a neoliberal language of market agility, consumer choice, and an “improved bottom line.” While their position, as the recent SCO and IBM court cases over Linux have demonstrated, is not uniformly shared in the corporate world, IBM is a highly visible example of a larger corporate push toward Free Software as the basis of a service-based business model.

While the money behind IBM’s advertising machine makes their take on FOSS particularly visible, they hold no monopoly on the interpretation of FOSS’s meaning and importance." (

Source: Coleman, Biella & Hill, Mako. "How Free Became Open and Everything Else Under the Sun" M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture [1].