/I-B-M/ 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, including `International Business Machines'. See TLA
. These abbreviations illustrate the considerable antipathy most hackers long felt toward the `industry leader' (see 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 does count against them), but that the designs are incredibly archaic, crufty
, and elephantine
... and you can't _fix_ them -- source code is locked up tight, and programming tools are expensive, hard to find, and bletcherous to use once you've found them. For many years, before Microsoft, IBM was the company hackers loved to hate.
But everything changes. In the 1980s IBM had its own troubles with Microsoft. 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 friend of the hacker community
This lexicon includes a number of entries attributed to `IBM'; these derive from some rampantly unofficial jargon lists circulated within IBM's own beleaguered hacker underground.