Solving /

Linux on Power

External developers who create open source packages overwhelmingly focus on Intel, not IBM Power. This is due in great part to history and marketing. It is also due to the fact that much of IBM's content around Linux and Power is invisible to search engine results and that it is difficult to find open source packages that are specifically designed to run on Linux on Power. The result is that the developer community will not consider creating much for the Power platform.

A few STSM engineers that understood the problem, are developers and knowledgable about open source and the benefits of the Power platform wanted to address the discoverability of quality content, finding open source packages that are designed for Power and the ability to easily secure a virtual machine to load and test a package. They approached my design team to collaborate on exploring the problem further, validating their assumptions and building on their ideas to create a portal for Linux on Power. Key was the ability to aggregate hard to find information on the public web that would support "find it", "try it" and "exploit it". 

Methods & Practices

Adam's UX team engaged a small team and ran it as a lean skunk works to reflect, make and then test and observe results which would iterate again to refine our ideas. They interviewed several developers to determine how they currently find searching for packages, virtual machines and running them using web based tools. We observed that developer skills and methods were very diverse and that there were no strong patterns on how they did both. 

They then engaged with content developers for Linux and Power to identify key vetted IBM and non-IBM resources, especially ones that have Power virtual machines to test packages on. It was decided to integrate the Open Source Power Applications Tool (OSPAT) tool that is designed to identify open source Power distributors for Power packages within our concept so developers can quickly search for packages from key open source distributors. The content was presented to a working committee of both zSystems and Power marketing, content and managers on coordinating existing web properties on both and DeveloperWorks to get their perspective.

Using Mural as a key tool to ideate and align stakeholders on scope and proposed content and structure of a Linux on Power Developer Portal, Adam's UX team defined empathy and stakeholder maps as well as page structures. They designed a single web page that used Northstar design patterns and simple content areas so developers could get to free online resources, Power developer communities and social media feeds.

Impact & Outcome

It is interesting working on a skunk works project where a team understands the value, but wider teams do not. Adam's UX team prototyped just enough to get our ideas across and began to socialize it to management, which approved us moving forward and then to middle management that would need to help us or link to the proposed web page. Once the site became posted on DeveloperWorks, there was great interest in it by IBM. The web page will expand over time using DeveloperWorks templates and community guidelines.

Project Downloads

We shared our findings interviewing specific developers that use virtual machines and Linux packages.

Research deck