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Linux on S/390 Gaining Momentum 16

infodragon sent us a link to Open Source IT's story about Linux and the S/390. Not normally considered as sexy as some of the developments as Itanium and such, Linux on the S/390 has garnered a lot of attention from companies and is doing a great job of legitimizing Linux for many large companies.
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Linux on S/390 Gaining Momentum

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    i wouldn't say that, i spent a year as a programmer on a s/390 why people are not reponding is that 390 is not a very common piece of hardware for normal people. Do you have one? people like to read about things they can use not what somebody else can use.
  • This article apparently got lost in the slashdot server. It just appeared a few minutes ago in the "older stuff" column, having never appeared on the main page.

    So it's not just me. I've seen this effect several times, but I was never really sure, and I never went through the trouble of keeping copies for proof.

    - da Lawn

  • The reason this article didn't get much comentary; Most *nix geeks know "jack sh*t... (and jack left town :-)" about mainframes. Some because they don't care. Some because they are *nix zelots. Some probably because they are scared of the big iorn. Hrmmmmm... can we say *ignorant*.
  • This is a good thing. Linux on some really powerfull machines, not little dinky things like I64's and Alphas. Big-time power for Linux systems will help bring it into the coorporate world.

  • Such different ways of working! It is daunting to think about the transition.

    But it definitely would be nice to

    • run emacs on the mainframe instead of these old fashioned (but powerful for their time) editors
    • download files without dealing with proprietary hassles. Just cp it (or the secure version,whatever that is)
    • I think the best advantage is the appeal to a younger generation of programmers who might have otherwise avoided the mainframe now have hope not to hate their fscking jobs.
    • A linux fileserver can serve me my datasets so I can work from home remotely
    Just dreamin' away....I have no idea if these ideas are practical.
  • The reasons that this is important should be obvious. The amount of applications available for S/390 once it is running linux is unspeakable. What do people think the ratio of native S/390 OS developers is compared to the amount of people working on the linux platform? This is the most important thing if S/390 is to survive as a platform.
  • Mainframes are great in many ways, and have improved beyond recognition TCP/IP handling. And it is very tempting to have that many Linux boxes running. But what is the market? Those that already have a mainframe are likely to be conservative and, therefore, unlikely to get the insane glow in their eyes I get when they hear about Linux on the mainframe. At most I would expect them to put websphere or something on one or two Unix partitions. I think it would make sense for someone with an outrageous amount of capital (forget the hardware, think administration) that wanted to do big time hosting. How many of those can there be? Or am I missing some great big potential user base?
  • hey, ISPF kicks ass =-)

    Mainframes are really cool, because they are made to work well with large large loads, not PC sized ones.

    even though I'm a UNIX geek, I'll always have a soft spot for them.

  • Not all geeks are closeminded. I for one am old enough that I learned programming on mainframes. (COBOL, Fortran, PL/I, assembler and more). Linux is easy compared to the mainframe operating systems. And its interactive, compared to the old days of batch processing where you might submit a job, wait 24 hours to get a printout, and find out you'd left out a comma or something and had to submit it again.
  • If it took you 24 hours to find a missing comma, that must have been several internet centuries ago.
  • Not normally considered as sexy as some of the developments as Itanium and such,

    Obviously not considered sext *at all*. Three posts? Seems unlikely...
  • If you want to learn about this architecture and play with the Linux ports, but don't have access to the proper hardware, you're not out of luck. Check out Hercules, a S/390 emulation program for I86 boxen. No, I'm not going to give you the link--RTF articles |threads | etc. If you really want to learn, that is.
  • Well said!

    The nerds who have been conditioned by { COBOL | IBM }-hating professors need to wake up to business IT realities.

    Over a decade ago the demise of the mainframes was supposed to be imminent. The demise that actually occurred was SNA's plan for world domination. With the reduction of the central system to mere server status, lots of people decided "right-sizing" would finish the extinction process. However, that didn't happen.

    Common sense should tell you there's too much money (CEOs and CFOs and COBs favorite word) needed for these platforms for PHBs to justify--there must be something more to them in terms of TCO and price/performance and so forth than was meeting a lot of peoples' eyes.

    Well, 41,400 unique, actively processing, multi-user Linux systems running on a single piece of big iron should give you a clue.

    IBM is serious about Linux. There are going to be God knows how many Linux-only shops in the world that will grow to the point of needing that kind of performance. IBM wants to sell them iron. If potential customers experience MVS and/or VM sticker shock, or aren't interested in funding the huge training budget those operating systems require, do you think that's going to stop IBM's marketing reps from closing hardware sales? Not on your life!

    So find out what you've been missing, expand your horizons, and get ready for the increasing market penetration of the S/390 Linux platform. If you can't get access to a box, install the Hercules S/390 emulator on a fast I86 box and install Linux S/390 on that. If you know nothing about the hardware, you have a monster of a learning curve ahead of you, but as the riddle goes, you eat an elephant one bite at a time. And there are a lot of great people available to help you (provided you RTFM first).

    Come on in, the water's fine!

  • Absolutely! By all means, read that thread if you haven't already. Note, however, this article's story is a different piece, also very much worth reading.
  • Guess again. Or try reading the stories and threads. Better, subscribe to the LINUX-VM mailing list (now renamed to LINUX-390). With over 550 subscribers, active participants include Alan Cox, IBM technical heavies, 3rd party software vendor technical heavies, and customer technical heavies, all of whom are working to make Linux installations on S/390's better in the best Open Source traditions (also according to the original S/360 traditions, before the laywers and bean counters convinced the execs to go the way of OCO). Under the new management, Linux has become a strategic initiative; i.e., IBM "gets" open source. They are committed to getting Linux working on all their hardware.

    In short, you couldn't be more wrong.

  • by jms ( 11418 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @12:33PM (#1162023)
    This article apparently got lost in the slashdot server. It just appeared a few minutes ago in the "older stuff" column, having never appeared on the main page.

    Quoting from the article"

    An S/390 running a light load will not run as quickly as a fast PC server under a light load, according to Courtney. The difference between the two systems will not be apparent until the load is much larger.

    "The PC will begin to degrade and will typically reach a point where it avalanches down in performance as its load limit is exceeded. The mainframe starts out at a lower performance level, from the standpoint of an individual program task, but degrades much more slowly and much more linearly as the load increases," he says.

    I remember, a while ago, reading in another article about a difference of opinion between some IBM programmers and the kernel maintainers. Supposedly, IBM was complaining that Linux performance went south when the number of running tasks became large, and proposed some scheduler changes, but the kernel developers didn't want to change it because the changes would have slowed the kernel down in the "normal" case of only a few active processes. Does anyone have a link to this or remember what I'm talking about?

    Sounds like this article is describing the same known effect.

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard