IBM CEO, Samuel Palmisano, announced at 12:01 am EDT that IBM has completed the purchase of Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds for $4.6 Billion in cash and stock. This unprecedented human purchase by a corporation is being met with shock and surprise within the Linux and IT communities. Palmisano said that IBM was the "highest bidder" in a bitter battle for Torvalds.
Ron Hovespian, Novell CEO, stopped bidding on behalf of Novell, Inc. at $2.6 Billion. "We just couldn't justify a higher price during these already stressful and uncertain times--even for someone as important as Linus Torvalds." Novell and Hovespian made an unsuccessful bid for Richard Stallman earlier this year.
Several closed door negotiations have been held over the past several months with Torvalds, his attorneys and representatives from IBM including Palmisano. Torvalds' attorney, Benjamin Drek of Drek, Kvetcher & Putz, said of the purchase, "We are pleased that an agreement was reached that was beneficial for all parties."
Palmisano said that Torvalds won't be employed by IBM but as his owner, he will be required to appear in IBM commercials and promotional materials. "He will be allowed to continue work on the Linux kernel, which incidentally, was part of IBM's purchase as well", said Palmisano.
Linus Torvalds, his assets and all intellectual property were purchased "in perpetuity" which means that IBM owns Torvalds, everything he creates (or will create) and his remains after his death. Palmisano said that "It's way too early to discuss such things (In response to a question regarding the disposition of Torvalds' remains after his death). Although this was an "as is" purchase, Linus is a young man and in reasonably good health. We hope to have him for a very long time."
Torvalds was not available at press time for comment and, according to Palmisano, is restricted from comment by his new owner, the IBM Corporation.
What do you think of large corporations purchasing people for their own gain? Do you think this is a violation of human rights regardless of price? Write back and let me know.