Betting that the Linux open-source OS will outpace Windows 2000, Windows NT, and proprietary UNIX solutions by 2004, IBM is investing $1 billion in Linux during 2001. In a speech at the eBusiness Conference and Expo in New York, IBM Chairman and CEO Louis Gerstner said, "Some \[people\] estimate \[that Linux\] will become more prevalent than NT by 2004. This \[prevalence\] is a big issue for every server company." But to accomplish this goal, Linux will need to scale up, so IBM will spend money to ensure that the OS will be suitable in clustered environments with tens of thousands of users.

Gerstner stated that open and cross-industry standards such as Linux are the key to success in the next generation of e-business. And IBM surely knows that what's good for Linux is probably bad for its archrival in Redmond, as well as other anti-Linux companies such as Sun Microsystems and storage king EMC. "Sun, Microsoft, and EMC are running the last proprietary plays of this business," Gerstner said.