IBM Power roundup for the year: Inaction, likely due to stupid greed from budget managers



Hi OpenBSD emailing list and others relating to the IBM Power platform.

IBM is on BCC here and I encourage you send a paper copy to your executives
who do have authority to donate i.e. the people who write and sign your
budgets - I guess that would be your CEO and board, however you know this
better than me - to share a third-party impression of a community member in
dealing with your company.

This is neither to fame or de-fame your company, but to share an experience
of asking for a coffee-money-size donation to enable the implementation of
support for a popular open source program for your products.

My experience provides me with nine months of constant hints that, while
members of your staff personally are well intended and would be happy to
work really well with the world, in this respect, your organization as such
is in a state of utter disability.

The really relevant people have been plugged in for about three months.
Nine months have passed and there have been no indication of any intention
of real or proactive steps to make things happen.

Please do make things happen in 2017, or competition will take over and
your community may get more of a "meh" feel about your stuff and attitudes,
leading to possible extensive and essentially-irreversible damage on your
end, which may be what you effectively intend to get in all cases, and if
so in all cases this email helps the community understand that that is what
you want, which is great.


AMD donated ten AMD64 devices in 2003. That you not have done the same
expediently has been a surprise to me, and this email is only to share that
surprise.

At some point soon I will have taken the point that your company is
disabled in those respects.


*Overview*
This email is to provide a summary of

 * Where the conversation has gone this year, with respect to me suggesting
IBM to donate some Power8 hardware for OpenBSD to implement architecture
support for it, and

 * A brief commentary on my experience, which gives me an impression that
the people planning IBM's budgets are struck by blind stupid greed, in a
way that hurts themselves and others, and hence

 * A suggestion to those same people to shape up in 2017, so that their
actually useful tech can come to actual use here and elsewhere.


*The first seven months: Talking to the wrong people, essentially total
ignorance*
I started in March. I emailed their ex-CEO, some sales guys, and their "IBM
Gives" team. None answered.

By some luck, I got to a guy at their Linux Center in Brazil who said he
was authorized to donate one device, he said they probably would be able to
donate a couple more next year but couldn't promise. Me/we clarifying we
needed at the very least four, seemed to put them off, and eventually he
said the device had gone into other use, and after that he pretty much
dropped out, suggesting I should talk to "someone else".

By pure coincidence, I got an introduction to some people a bit higher up
in the food chain, and those people essentially wouldn't give a damn.


*Eighth and ninth month: Finally getting in touch with their highest
management*
However, by continuing to talk to them and getting fairly upset at their
ignorance, I added two people refered to in an out of office email
response, and that just happened to take me to their Director of Global
Power Ecosystems and Alliances who is based in the US.

That was mid October. She was somehow taking a stand, which I found
trust-inspiring.

These people were insisting that we would use their "hosted emulator". I
reasoned that, partially considering their enormous ignorance for the past
six month, them donating is essential, as we're seeing they're extremely
slow and donating could cause a severe lag in making the architecture
support production-grade, which indeed requires real hardware.

This lady asked me to specify which specific devices I would ask to be
donated, and their extremely high up tech contacts I got, including Mr.
Stewart, graciously helped me figure which should be requested.

After about five weeks, she delegated the case to their OpenSource
Technology Development & OpenPower Enablement who is based in Australia.

Which sounded slightly unintuitive to me as I would think hardware donation
authorizations more likely would be made from the US.


*IBM staff seeming to have no authority*
I had an in-depth conversation with their highest-up technology team, and
they suggested that I greatly over-estimate how much actual Power8 hardware
they themselves are having lying around.

The ultimate question seemed to be that for them to donate, "someone needs
to pay" and therefore it needs to be put on some budget. I was suggested a
sense of problem about donating as the devices are "expensive". I find this
an interesting argument for a global corporation with 80 billion USD
turnover.

And then they gave me some nonsensical suggestions about going through some
hoops, that if I-we do this-whatever then they will be impelled to, and so
on. They are perfectly entitled to suggest anyone to go through any hoops
for them to care or maybe care, however, that does not inspire any sense of
material goodwill or reason to care, with me.

They admitted that there is a real lack of organization and structure
within IBM to deal with anything else than selling hardware, as seen by the
total ignorance and cluelessness that I was met by for months on end.

My conclusion up to this point is that all the people in charge of IBM's
Power architecture are strapped in a very hierarchic slow structure that
gives them no mandate or space for anything.

At the same times, they are the very executives and managers who are
supposed to make the architecture fly.

Meaning, technically they are well intended, but they don't have any powers
whatsoever.

Me suggesting these particular people to donate hardware in a situation
like that is obviously like asking a starving child on the savannah to hand
you a sausage and an icecream - torturous.

While admittedly the hardware donation request I presented to them is
unusual, it's by no means extraordinary, and it's important to see that in
a multifactorial world that presents paramount competition, a structure
must provide some flexibility beyond that of ceramic, to really live.

A strict doing-anything-for-profit is not a winner. A café whose policy is
to force people to order before sitting down on their chairs, will not
thrive.


*Impressions of stupid greed from stakeholders*
My conclusion for the time being is that IBM's stakeholders have basically
strapped their organization and hierarchy of everything - a massive love
deprivation - yet expect their child to be singing and performing.

And so currently they cherish themselves as winners in their practice of
"blind greed", and, totally miss slightly more subtle qualities in the
market, such as the power of the influencer role that all people who
actually use their stuff, have.

And in this line of reasoning, they think it's OK to use OpenSSH from
OpenBSD, across the board, and reap benefit of that, while giving
"f**k-you":s to the same people when asked for coffee money.

These are the people who sense entitlement to force a sausage or icecream
from anyone.


I will be glad to follow how IBM handles this situation, and indeed ten
devices might just show up on the mail someday.

They have perfectly free will and are under no obligation to do anything,
and I perfectly respect that.

With that said, I do have a sense of "blind greed" going on among the
people at IBM who do have the authority to donate, and I suggest that the
universal honor system indeed takes careful notice of that, and damages
that are difficult-to-impossible are incurred all over the place, in
various forms such as negative internal marketing at IBM itself (i.e.
waking up to the realization that unnice people live upstream in your
building), bad PR with people for whom IBM matters such as myself who carry
these experiences on everywhere including to those who make buying
decisions, and finally strategically, in the way that the fierce
competition is getting advantages with every day that goes. This is the
very force that makes old business go out of business, and new humble
business thrive.

So, shame on you, people managing IBM's budgets, for being so short-sighted
that you break things for yourselves and others, without need.

"Me-me-me" strategies may have been compatible with business success some
decades ago. You are naturally entitled to run such strategies, but I don't
see the viability as lasting.

Please do improve in 2017.


*Summary*
I do like the Power architecture as a useful alternative or replacement to
crappy AMD64.

I have donated something like 70 emails and 10 hours of time this year to
suggest to them that donating some hardware to get more architecture
support is the very cheapest marketing they'll get ever in perpetuity.

The Power tech is useful. It would be nice to see donations happen. I will
be the happiest to post public thanks to IBM for doing the right thing. As
of yet I have no indication whatsoever that they will do that.

I would be glad to be positively surprised in this respect in 2017. Of
course others can donate too. In either case, the world will go on.

Mikael
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