September 15, 2003

Ford move to Linux not true (yet)

- by Joe Barr with additional reporting by Robin 'Roblimo' Miller -
Updated: Joan Witte, Communications Manager for Ford Motor Information Technology, had this statement to make late this afternoon when I called her at her Detroit office about a story being reported that Ford was moving to Linux.

Witte said "Like any other company, Ford Motor is looking at Linux, primarily in the application space. We presently have an enterprise-wide agreement with Microsoft to handle our collaborative solutions. We aren't contemplating using Linux in this area, and don't contemplate doing that in the foreseeable future."

Regarding the source of the rumor, Witte said "I'm not sure where they got the info from, but I'd like to know."

That source might be a story from 2001 when interviewed Richard Thwaite, director of IT for Ford Europe. The only link we can find to that story now is this one from the depths of Google cache.

Or perhaps it's just not true yet. A confidential source within SuSE says a big deal with Ford is in the works, but "We can't talk about it since the client doesn't want us to."

But, he continued, "You can read between the lines."

He would not comment on whether this involved conversion of desktops or merely servers. Either way, if this turns out to be true despite Ford's official denials, it would be a significant win for Linux.

The story has been picked up by two of the best known tech news sites, and The Register.

Joe Barr has been writing about technology for 10 years, and about Linux for five. His work has appeared in IBM Personal Systems Journal, LinuxGazette, LinuxWorld, Newsforge, phrack, SecurityFocus, and He is the founder of The Dweebspeak Primer, the official newsletter of the Linux Liberation Army.

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