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IBM Switches Linux Desktops, But Isn't Dumping Windows

IBM employees using Linux desktops are switching to Red Hat Inc.'s version of the open-source operating system, but the company denied reports that it's planning to dump Microsoft Corp.'s Windows, a company spokeswoman told TechWeb Wednesday.

The number of Linux users within the Armonk, N.Y., company is about 5 percent of IBM's 329,000 employees, spokeswoman Nancy Kaplan said. The workers include software developers and designers, people configuring software and hardware bundles for customers and others who need to use Linux as part of their jobs.

"The Linux plan is for people who have a need for Linux, as part of their jobs, will use it," Kaplan said. "We have not made Linux available to the general employee population and there are no plans to do that."

IBM started standardizing on Red Hat's Enterprise Linux product last year, after signing a deal in which the Linux distributor would provide support, Kaplan said. IBM does not plan to switch employees currently using Windows to Red Hat.

Andreas Pleschek, head of open source and Linux technical sales across Northeast Europe, was erroneously quoted this week as saying IBM had cancelled its Windows contract with Microsoft as of October, and did not intend to upgrade to Vista, the next major upgrade of the operating system, Kaplan said.

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