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IBM Backs Firefox In-House 296

Posted by Zonk
from the adopt-a-fox dept.
An anonymous reader wrote in with the link to a CNet story describing IBM's adoption of the Firefox browser for internal use. From the article: "Firefox is already used by about 10 percent of IBM's staff, or about 30,000 people. Starting this past Friday, IBM workers could download the browser from internal servers and get support from the company's help desk staff. IBM's commitment to Firefox is among its most prominent votes of confidence from a large corporation."
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IBM Backs Firefox In-House

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  • And (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, 2005 @04:58PM (#12524107)
    It runs great on OS/2! I can format floppies and browse the web... AT THE SAME TIME!!!
  • by Heliologue (883808) on Friday May 13, 2005 @05:00PM (#12524124)
    ...since IBM has tradition been a huge advocate of open source.
    • Sometimes it's better to NOT be surprised...
    • You obviously have not been around very long. 20 years ago IBM would gladly sit at the table and argue why proprietary systems were better. Sure, they are singing the 'open source' and 'open standards' line now, but it IS NOT tradition, nor should it be thought of as anything more than a phase they see as the way to make the most money at the moment.
      • by hbo (62590) * on Friday May 13, 2005 @05:27PM (#12524453) Homepage
        The truth is somewhere between "tradition" and "today's passing greed based fad." IBM believes that the basic technology underlying IT will increasingly become a commodity. They feel that Free/Libre and Open Source Software is a major driver of this trend. They made a huge bet 10 years ago that services layered on top of commodity software would be where the growth would be in IT spending. Because the facts have continued to show they were right about this, they have continued to commit the company to courses of action consistent with this direction in the years since. Support by IBM for F/L OSS is completely consistent with this strategic view. Although this is not the same thing as signing on, for example, to Richard Stallman's ethical code, it isn't a flash in the pan, and it won't go away overnight.

      • > 20 years ago IBM would ... argue why proprietary systems were better.

        I'm sure they would argue that today also, but not in public. "Open source" appears only when it is IBM's clear advantage, and not as part of any doctrinal belief that open source is a good idea.
    • Wasn't it about a year ago that IBM top honcho declared that all of IBM would switch to using linux? Now that would be a impressive feat if they pulled that off.
      10% of IBM employees pales in comparison to that. But the PR spinmeisters hoped you would have forgotten that already, i guess.
  • by nokiator (781573) on Friday May 13, 2005 @05:00PM (#12524126) Journal
    This may be the best possible reference case for the average IT guy trying to convince his/her boss that FireFox is a good solution for a corporate environment.
    • by Glowing Fish (155236) on Friday May 13, 2005 @05:21PM (#12524388) Homepage
      No one ever got fired for imitating IBM.
    • by supabeast! (84658) on Friday May 13, 2005 @06:36PM (#12525140)
      Actually, this isn't a good test case for the average IT guy, because IBM is far from an average corporate environment. IBM is a technical company specializing in high-end server hardware and enterprise network consulting, so it's a safe assumption that the majority of IBMs employees are much more computer literate than the average corporate worker.

      A better test case would be an insurance company, human-resources outsourcing firm, or a large bank. In on of those the employees not likely to be very computer literate, but they are computer-dependent and likely to do a lot of work via a browser, interacting with remote systems via a web interface.
      • by leonbev (111395)
        Ha, are you serious?!? IBM's has thousands of employees that are secretaries, accountants, and upper level managers who haven't done anything technical since green screen terminals were on everyone's desk. Fortunately, the learning curve for Firefox is VERY low, or IBM would have never considered deploying it.

        Besides, most of the IBM techies have already installed Firefox on their own computers, and stopped using IE months ago. This deployment probably geared towards everyone else in the company who can't
  • Good example? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sv-Manowar (772313) on Friday May 13, 2005 @05:00PM (#12524130) Homepage Journal
    Having IBM as a good example to use when pushing for corporate adoption of Firefox is a great thing for people working in this area. Although, it must be said that IBM are less likely to have troublesome components (IE specific webpages, ActiveX components) within any intranet pages than other companies due to their own products in that area (I'm thinking Lotus..).
    • Re:Good example? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Zlorfik (199901) on Friday May 13, 2005 @05:11PM (#12524274) Homepage
      As an IBM employee, I was shocked how virtually every internal app worked with Firefox right from the get go.

      That's when I knew this browser was for real in terms of being an IE replacement.
      • I think the Printer installer only works in IE, but I remember hearing about a FireFox plugin that was developed to do that. I've still only used IE to install a printer, though, Firefox for everything else.
    • you: hey boss let's adopt firefox instead of IE
      boss: fire.. what?
      you: firefox... IBM supports it.
      boss: says who?
      you: uuuh... there is this crappy CNET story...
      etc

      • Your CIO does not know what firefox is, what do you do?

        1) Tell your boss to look for escaped token in the token ring network and cruise slashdot while he is distracted.
        2) Dangle shiny things in front of his face and offer him napkins when he starts to drool.
        3) Sell all your stock.
        4) Quit.

    • How I wish that were the case. I've had to use several tools in the last couple days (expense reimbursement and career development) that are unabashedly IE only. What's even worse is they're simple Java apps, but use some damnable IE-specific launching system.
    • Having IBM as a good example to use when pushing for corporate adoption of Firefox is a great thing for people working in this area. Although, it must be said that IBM are less likely to have troublesome components (IE specific webpages, ActiveX components) within any intranet pages than other companies due to their own products in that area (I'm thinking Lotus..).

      Actually, I've not been able to get Firefox (1.0.current) to work with the Lotus Domino 6.5.3 web mail template - when you add SSL it keeps

  • by JoaoPinheiro (749991) on Friday May 13, 2005 @05:00PM (#12524138) Homepage
    Meaning 20,000 more downloads not counting on the Official Firefox Download Counter.
  • Great Reference (Score:3, Interesting)

    by boeserjavamann (655642) on Friday May 13, 2005 @05:01PM (#12524158) Homepage
    What could be better than Big Blue backing up Firefox? And why not? OS is already a Thing for IBM. Just look at the IBM-sponsored Eclipse Foundation. Congrats Firefox!
  • by xCepheus (687775) <dntn31@NoSPam.yahoo.com> on Friday May 13, 2005 @05:02PM (#12524172) Homepage
    In other news Microsoft countered by saying that after conducting an extensive poll of it's thousands of employees that "tabbed browsing" was not something that internet users wanted.

    They also added that most Softies said that 1 "tab" would be enough for anyone.
    • Bill Gates announced today that IE will now be the only browser officially supported at Microsoft. He explained that since CSS2 is a flawed standard, and Firefox more closely conforms to CSS2 than IE, it therefore follows that Firefox is more flawed than IE. Gates further stated that thousands of good paying systems administration jobs depended on giving virus writers and malware vendors access to personal computers so changing to a browser which did not support ActiveX would cripple the US economy. Finally
  • Support? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Telastyn (206146)
    I know the whole "officially supported" practice, but really, it's a damned web browser. Certainly the biggest software services company can find a few people that know how that works...
    • Re:Support? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by davenpsm (49021) on Friday May 13, 2005 @06:00PM (#12524822)
      According to IBM's site http://www.ibm.com/ibm/us/ [ibm.com] they currently have 329,000 employees. With an organization that large you don't simply install a new application and hope for the best!

      You are correct, it is just a web browser, but when Jack and Jill in accounting cannot figure out where their 'Favorites' list went to and call the help desk, help desk staff need to know the answers. Granted, that is a simple question to answer, but think of the 100 other things that might be different between Firefox and IE (common message text for browser warning dialogs, etc), with 329K employees, even if only a small fraction of them run into questions it can mean time wasted by both the employee asking the question and the help desk person trying to find the answer. That time adds up quickly.

      In any case, I see this as a huge success for Firefox!
  • by SteelV (839704) on Friday May 13, 2005 @05:03PM (#12524180)
    Once these employees are using FireFox at work, there is a good chance that they'll start to use it as home, as well (once they get used to it, and if they like it more than IE which usually seems to be the case). Then they can tell family and friends (I've personally only convinced a few people to switch, but those ten or so have told others, and it spreads).

    Personally, I prefer Safari over FireFox (I don't need too many extensions, just a simple browsing experience) but when I'm on a windows machine I only use FireFox.
  • About time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by M3rk1n_Muffl3y (833866) on Friday May 13, 2005 @05:03PM (#12524185)
    I work at a major investment bank and just yesterday they decided to send a memo around saying that Firefox is not to be used. I wonder why that was? No, really does anyone have any suggestions.
    • Simple workaround: use Mozilla!
    • Re:About time (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hab136 (30884)
      I work at a major investment bank and just yesterday they decided to send a memo around saying that Firefox is not to be used. I wonder why that was? No, really does anyone have any suggestions.

      Support is usually the reason cited. "We support this product, don't use any other ones because our help desk isn't trained on it."

      When the proxy team at the bank I used to work for wanted to use Linux boxes instead of Solaris (self-supporting team) for 2x the speed and 1/3 the cost, we were told no. The decis

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I work at a major investment bank and just yesterday they decided to send a memo around saying that Firefox is not to be used. I wonder why that was? No, really does anyone have any suggestions.

      You are working for Microsoft ?

    • Re:About time (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Saeger (456549)
      MSFT being in the DOW 30, and the bankers being old establishment-types might be a large part of the reason. The recent potential exploits in the news that made Firefox look 2% as bad as IE was enough justification to ban the 'commie' software.
      • Re:About time (Score:3, Interesting)

        by alw53 (702722)
        These organizations probably get a price break from M$FT in exchange for blocking users of anything else.
    • Re:About time (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ch-chuck (9622)
      because they have a seriously long position in M$ft?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, 2005 @05:04PM (#12524193)
    No matter what one thinks of IBM and its products, they are creating the blueprints companies around the world are using to get themselves out from mess they've all put themselves into with costly Microsoft products.

    The headline isn't IBM back Firebox, but IBM shows the commercial world the way out of the quagmire of Microsoft dependance.

    • The headline isn't IBM back Firebox, but IBM shows the commercial world the way out of the quagmire of Microsoft dependance.

      Microsoft partners with IBM to build a new chip for the XBox 360, and IBM thanks Microsoft by trashing Microsoft's flagship browser?

      Man, business relationships used to seem so simple...

      • Well, IBM doesn't need MS, since they don't make personal computers anymore. I'm sure IBM appreciates this XBox business, but they only have a limited capacity to manufacture processors. And they're going to be really busy when they begin mass producing the Cell, the new powerpc, etc.
    • I think the mess that IBM got into with MS is pretty much unique to IBM.

      As for the rest of the world, I don't see much leadership coming from IBM.

      Open source and closed source products are out there for the world to choose from. Why would anyone need to check with IBM to figure out what they want to do?
  • by elecngnr (843285) on Friday May 13, 2005 @05:04PM (#12524200)
    After this past fall semester, the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Nebraska begin setting Firefox as the default browsers in all the teaching labs due to problems with IE. Previously, at the end of each semester, the techs responsible for these labs would spend a lot of time cleaning up the malware coming in via IE. Now that this semester is over, the word is that the switch proved successful in terms of not having much to clean up.
  • by panaceaa (205396) on Friday May 13, 2005 @05:05PM (#12524206) Homepage Journal
    Where are today's articles about Google!? There's 4 articles about Firefox and nothing, NOTHING, about Google!!
  • Its only natural (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FidelCatsro (861135) <fidelcatsro AT gmail DOT com> on Friday May 13, 2005 @05:05PM (#12524211) Journal
    With IBMs large scale support for OSS , and its moves to replace the windows desktops with linux not to mention its sale of the PC business , Its only natural that they would move people on to an open browser.
    What will be intresting to see is if this has a knock on effect to other large corperation as IBM is still very very influential.

    This more than anything could be the break firefox needs toward wide scale acceptance beyond the 10% .Acceptance in the corperate market would mean a great deal of people will be using firefox at work , which would perhaps have the knock on effect of them using it at home .

    When firefox has more than 30% of the market perhaps then we could relax in the knowlidge that most sites would then see fit to not specialise their code for IE .

    • Its only natural that they would move people on to an open browser.

      Except that they could have done this anytime in the past three years or so. While I'm sure that the freeness of the browser is a plus, I suspect that they taken this step for purely pragmatic reasons: lower support costs. Those that disagree are invited to offer a convincing argument that IBM wouldn't switch to a proprietary browser that had significantly lower (read: "zero") support costs than FireFox.
  • Tech Support / Costs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RailGunner (554645) on Friday May 13, 2005 @05:06PM (#12524224) Journal
    I'd personally like to see an estimate on the costs savings of switching to Firefox from IE. It costs IT departments a lot of (wasted) money cleaning up desktops that have been compromised by a malicious ActiveX control.

    Since I'm sure some bean counter had to approve the switching, it seems to me that some cost analysis had to be done, and they realized Firefox would have a lower "TCO".

    I'm sure getting away from being dependent on a rival's product factored into the decision, but I'm pretty sure cost factored as well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, 2005 @05:07PM (#12524246)
    Oracle has Firefox in the base image for over six months. That means its comming on all newly installed and reinstalled machines. In addition to that anybody can install firefox through standard application installer as any other application. Mozilla has been there for almost two years now. You get support for all applications in the base image through the IT support staff.
  • by user_ecs (878826)
    I use Firefox on the eComStation operating system. Best browser on the best OS. www.ecomstation.com
  • We can only hope they'll begin pre-installing it on their Thinkpad products.
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Friday May 13, 2005 @05:10PM (#12524267)
    Will Firefox make it to the computer systems IBM ships as the default browser? That will even be better. Can IBM flex muscles here? I doubt. The surest way of denting IE's share is by governments ordering PCs specifying that the browser installed should meet all W3C standards that the browser supports 100%. I understand that in procurement, specifying a product name is not allowed, so mentioning Firefox as the browser is a non-starter.
  • IBMer here... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Thaidog (235587)
    Firefox now comes with the workstation build for all the L1 monitoring workstaions in ebiz ops. I used Firefox to monitor the NYSE website we host. I get my work done much faster than with IE ;)
  • They've publicly announced they want to put Linux on every desktop. What browser do you think they're going to use? lynx?
  • I don't know if this means that IBM is going to be involved in the direction that Firefox feature development might take, but if they are hopefully it might formalize Firefox more perhaps addressing some of the concerns of Mozilla Suite users (meaning more Firefox users! Yay!).
  • by lazlo (15906) on Friday May 13, 2005 @05:25PM (#12524441) Homepage
    first there's "Internet Explorer's Share Dips Below 90%", and now we learn that "Firefox is already used by about 10 percent of IBM's staff". So, it seems that IBM's employees are a lot like the rest of the internet.
  • by Tyrell Hawthorne (13562) on Friday May 13, 2005 @05:28PM (#12524458) Homepage
    Hopefully, this might lead to IBM helping with developing good tools for remote management of Firefox. It would be very helpful for all the people having big deployments. If Firefox is to be ubiquitous, this is needed.
  • IBM has had employees working with Mozilla and with Firefox for years (the OS/2 ports of those browsers were paid for by IBM for quite some time), and the so-called "IBM Web Browser" that is provided to OS/2 users by IBM is based on Mozilla.
  • News: Friday, June 25, 2004 by -------

    There is a critical flaw in Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser (the thing you visit web sites, or browse, with). There is no patch for it yet, and major commercial web sites are being cracked by bad guys to put code on them that takes advantage of this flaw, without the visitor's knowledge.

    Until there is a patch for this problem, WTC team members MUST do one of the following:

    Disable Internet Explorer's JavaScript (or "Active Scripting," as they c

  • Maybe they'll stop optimising their employment page for IE 6 [ibm.com] then. Or maybe they think you're only supposed to start using Firefox AFTER you get hired on at the company...
  • Okay, I'm not trolling but I am perplexed: it seems IBM wants to use OSS software everywhere, good for them, but why don't they market PC with Linux preloaded with Linux?
  • I use Firefox every day on my computer at work, which is on a US Air Force network. It is approved and I do my best to encourage the users I support to use it. Since I am IT Support, I sure as hell provide support to them.

    Another poster mentioned TCO for using Firefox over IE and while I can't provide numbers, I know I rarely see a system with spyware/adware who's user primarily uses Firefox.
  • FireFox effect in Corporate America
    http://www.funnyfox.org/theoffice.htm [funnyfox.org]

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