IBM invests to develop open source software
By Imran Qureshi, Indo-Asian News Service
Bangalore, May 7 (IANS) IBM India Wednesday formally agreed to set up its
Linux-based centre of excellence in Hubli, 400 km from here, in a bid to
develop talent and technology devoted to open source software.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Karnataka and IBM India
provides the framework for the discussions that IBM chairman and CEO
Sam Palmisano had with Chief Minister S.M. Krishna Monday.
"The Hubli branch of the Indian Institute of Information Technology
(IIIT-Bangalore) is the single largest point of over 100 students working on
open source in India," IIIT-B director S. Sadagopan told IANS.
"IBM would help guide its emergence as a open source hub for not only talent
but also technologies."
The importance that Big Blue attached to the MoU signing ceremony could be
gauged from the presence of Steve Mills, senior vice president and group
executive, software group, IBM Corp.
Frank Luksic, IBM country executive, software group and developer relations,
signed the MoU with Karnataka IT Secretary Vivek Kulkarni in the presence of
Krishna and Abraham Thomas, managing director, IBM India.
"IBM has developed several open source technologies that have been accepted
by the world," Mills told reporters after the ceremony.
"We could, perhaps, look at some of those developed at the centre of
excellence after some time. Our investment spans a whole range of
activities, including developing software skills and financial elements."
However, both Mills and Luksic declined to specify the amount of the
"Investment in education cannot be quantified. We go by building skills and
talent," said Krishna.
The Hubli unit consists of 100 students drawn from seven engineering
colleges of north Karnataka, all of whom are working on open source software
projects. The branch is linked to IIIT on the outskirts of Bangalore through
a virtual private network and the students listen to live lectures daily.
The Hubli branch had already received a donation of Rs.10 million from Sudha
Murthy, chairperson of the Infosys Foundation.
"The setting up of the centre for excellence is a small effort to convert a
downloading nation to an uploading nation," Sadagopan said.
Said Mills: "IBM is committed to education and skill building. We are
excited about this centre of excellence so that we can upload new ideas."
"Customers now expect their technology infrastructure and solutions to work
with hardware, software and solutions from multiple vendors, bringing to an
end the era of proprietary systems.
"Industry and governments will now cooperate closely to create innovative
and reusable solutions through open source software," Mills added.
--Indo-Asian News Service
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