International Business Machines, a.k.a. Big Blue, the biggest computer company in the world with the same consistency as Everything. Is less troubled by corporate inefficiency than some much smaller companies thanks to cores of most excellent hackers here and there, although pointy-haired overpaid managers do their best to kill off the perfectly good fruits of these people's labour like OS/2.

Quick trivia:
What was IBM's original name?

The Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company

They got their present name in 1924 when they aquired the lesser IBM corporation (Another separate company, just to be clear).

Originally called Computing-Tabulating-Recording, because that was what its machines did. It's interesting to think that the things we're communicating with right now started out that way.

The first entity called IBM was the Canadian branch plant: IBM Canada.

Not the last time Canada has been a demonstration case for something American.

IANAL = I = IBM discount


Once upon a time, the computer company most hackers loved to hate; today, the one they are most puzzled to find themselves liking.

From hackerdom's beginnings in the mid-1960s to the early 1990s, IBM was regarded with active loathing. Common expansions of the corporate name included: Inferior But Marketable; It's Better Manually; Insidious Black Magic; It's Been Malfunctioning; Incontinent Bowel Movement; and a near-infinite number of even less complimentary expansions (see also fear and loathing). What galled hackers about most IBM machines above the PC level wasn't so much that they were underpowered and overpriced (though that counted against them), but that the designs were incredibly archaic, crufty, and elephantine ... and you couldn't fix them -- source code was locked up tight, and programming tools were expensive, hard to find, and bletcherous to use once you had found them.

We didn't know how good we had it back then. In the 1990s, Microsoft became more noxious and omnipresent than IBM had ever been. Then, in the 1980s IBM had its own troubles with Microsoft and lost its strategic way, receding from the hacker community's view.

In the late 1990s IBM re-invented itself as a services company, began to release open-source software through its AlphaWorks group, and began shipping Linux systems and building ties to the Linux community. To the astonishment of all parties, IBM emerged as a staunch friend of the hacker community and open source development.

This lexicon includes a number of entries attributed to `IBM'; these derive from some rampantly unofficial jargon lists circulated within IBM's formerly beleaguered hacker underground.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

One interesting tidbit about IBM's past may include how seriously they took the concept of the corporate choir/band. From what I have heard from a few lifers, they used to do very extensive research into a potential employee's background. This would involve inverviewing everyone from his second grade teacher, to his wife's gynecologist. During this process, they would try to find out from people if the potential employee might have played some sort of instrument. They did not care how well. Playing the triangle at Vacation Bible School would have probably counted. Later, if that person came to be employeed, the instrument would appear in his office. He would be told to play in the company band. Refusing to do so was grounds for dismissal.

The company had a song book, with several classic ditties done to the tune of various other songs. One of my personal favorates:

Our IBM Salesmen (to the tune of Jingle Bells)

IBM, Happy men, smiling all the way.
Oh, what fun it is to sell our products night and day.
IBM, Watson men, partners of TJ.
In his service to mankind -- that's why we are so gay!

Many others can be found in this online version of the company song book, however an origional song book would truly be a find:

An interesting article about corporate song's which discusses IBM's songs:

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