IBM: Linux is the 'logical successor'

The day is approaching when Linux will likely replace IBM's version of Unix, the company's top software executive said, an indication that the upstart operating system's stature is rising within Big Blue.

While IBM doesn't expect Linux to replace its own AIX version of Unix any time soon, Big Blue is pushing the open-source OS in the that direction, Steve Mills, senior vice president of IBM's Software Group, told CNET at last week's LinuxWorld trade show.

A replacement "won't happen overnight," Mills said, but years of experience designing operating systems at IBM and other companies means developers know just where Linux needs to go. "The road map is clear. It's an eight-lane highway."

Linux is in many ways a clone of Unix, but it has several major differences. For one thing, Linux is an open-source project, meaning that any company or person may see, modify and redistribute the software. Additionally, it works on many processors, most notably Intel's widely used products. Various versions of Unix are typically tied to a particular processor--for example, AIX to IBM's Power chips.

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