To meet expected demand for open source software, IBM Australia has announced plans to double the size of its Canberra-based Linux development lab.
The expansion is expected to boost Canberra's job market as staff numbers in IBM's Linux Technology Centre (LTC) are likely to double in the next couple of years under the vendor's expansion program.
IBM said the ACT Government was backing the plan, which would create new jobs, help to build skills, and strengthen Australia's reputation for innovation in IT.
IBM's announcement was yet another feather in Canberra's open source skill-base cap. Earlier this year, Linux distributor Red Hat opened a Canberra office to address an anticipated demand in the public sector for its platform. In December last year, the nation's capital passed a bill which said that public bodies should, as far as practicable, consider the use of open source software when procuring computer software. The ACT is the first jurisdiction in Australia to pass such a law.
LTC was established in March 2001 by, IBM claimed, 'nine of Australia's -- and the world's -- most respected open source software developers'. LTC's mission was to work with other software developers to increase the functionality of open source software such as Linux.
John Harvey, IBM's director of corporate affairs for Australia and New Zealand, said open source software had grown in popularity among IBM's customers and expansion of the Centre would help to service this demand.
He said that IBM expected the Centre would become a focus for open source skill development in Australia. The Centre planned to expand its existing links with Australian universities to foster open source development skills and 'train the experts of tomorrow,' Harvey said.
In addition, the Centre could attract open source research opportunities to Australia, according to Harvey.
Canberra's LTC in is the largest Linux Technology Centre outside of North America and one of seven such IBM centres around the world.