Bank of America outlines Linux ambitions

Bank of America outlines Linux ambitions

Bank of America has gone public on outline plans to port its proprietary Unix systems to Linux, ignoring the enduring threat of legal action from open source litigant SCO.

Initially established as an exploratory group, Bank of America's internal Linux team has quickly grown to offer full IT support for the West Coast bank's Linux needs.

In an article in Network World, Tim Golden director of Linux design and engineering at Bank of America, says the open source technology provides the bank with a blank sheet of paper.

"We've had applications running a 70% load that we migrated to Linux [servers] in a lab and found that we could put an additional nine applications on [the box] once we were in production," he tells Network World.

Packaged Linux and open source hardware/software bundles are already being rolled out for various business units and offices throughout the company, continues Golden, and the bank is also currently evaluating and testing how to port its proprietary Unix systems to Linux/Intel.

In March this year, the SCO Group filed lawsuits against DaimlerChrysler and AutoZone as part of its crusade to claim copyright infringement against the open source movement. However, hidden metadata tags in SCO's original filings against DaimlerChrysler revealed that the Unix seller's original target had been Bank of America.

In July, the carmaker's lawyers succeeded in squashing SCO's efforts to convince Linux users that they could face legal consequences if they ignored its requests for compliance certifications. The judgement was hailed as a victory for corporate America and a boost for Linux's prospects in Fortune 1000 companies.

Separately, Bank of America has appointed Barbara Desoer as chief technology, service and fulfillment executive. In this role, Desoer will lead strategy development and execution for the bank's technology platforms and fulfillment capabilities. Desoer will retain responsibility for ATMs, customer call centres, consumer risk operations and the bank's business in Latin America. In addition, Desoer will lead the continued development and implementation of the company's payments strategy.

Desoer's changing role is one of a number of management changes at the top of the bank resulting from the sudden departure of Brad Warner, Bank of America's president of premier and small-business banking. Warner is eligible to collect about $20.7 million in severance and other payments from the company, according to SEC filings.

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