Farewell IBM!


Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.

Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road

After more than a decade at IBM, time has come to bid farewell.


Approaching the IBM office at 590 Madison Avenue, New York, during my stay there as part of the Leadership programme. There’s a unique feeling in walking around a place which is so familiar due to popular culture which is hard to explain , but it’s impactful.

I joined IBM when I was around 30 years old, coming from a background of programming (first) and Unix system administration (later), which evolved into more general “solution design” skills. In the 90s, when I more seriously immersed myself in technology, there were some big names for those in the Unix side of things: Sun Microsystems was one, Digital Equipment Company another, and IBM a perennial reference.

This to say that I still remember feeling extremely proud when I joined IBM, and I remained proud to the last day.

It’s always easier to look back and point out things that were not ideal, and this happens in every place. I will, instead, focus on what was the vast majority of my life there

IBM has defined a path that is around Cloud, AI, and Quantum, and which will no doubt leverage the Red Hat acquisition. I can only say that I can only agree with the approach, if nothing else because those were the areas which I also defined as priorities for myself, which is why I was actively participating in all three in different ways.


Talking about Quantum computing at the Physics Engineering Journeys (IST)

As for the Red Hat acquisition, I was one of those that fully supported the move, even considering the numbers involved: here, too, my background in the free software community (and, later, open source) put me in a different position, and I often (and publicly) corrected misrepresentations of what IBM was and did for open source, and even more so when others were actively fighting it.

The other side of this equation is that IBM has decided that GTS, the services unit, is no longer a part of that plan. This necessarily leads to changes and the need to rethink the future – and when this happens, it’s also an opportunity to rethink one’s place in the world career-wise – although, IBM was a bit more than just a career for me, right or wrong.

I’m not the same person I was when I joined IBM. In most regards, I am certainly a better person now, thanks to everything that I have already shared. It’s time to take the “long brown path before me leading wherever I choose”, with a heavy hearth, but also strong and content.

This document was generated on December 29, 2023 using texi2any.