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OS/390 Replaced By z/OS 215

n7lyg writes: "ZDnet reports that IBM is replacing the venerable OS/390 with something called z/OS. What I want to know is if using z/OS is still like 'kicking a dead whale down the beach,' as Ken Thompson once said of one of its predecessors (DOS? OS/360? I forget the exact OS he was complaining about)." Well, z/OS does add 64-bit support and other goodies.
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OS/390 Replaced By z/OS

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's amazing how so many people on this site seem to be ignorant of mainframes. OS/390 has nothing whatsoever to do with DOS or anything like that. OS/390 is the collection of MVS/ESA and associated programs. Before this, there was MVS/XA, MVS/370 and so forth. The news that its name is changing to z/OS is actually quite old, and z/OS 1.0 is basically the same as OS/390 V2R10. As for kicking a dead whale, if you're using ISPF/PDF over TSO, the interface can actually be quite pleasant. It's a different way of doing things though, as you need to forget everything you've ever learned about VT terminals and learn about a TN3270. The main advantage of the new 64-bit technology is that you basically don't have to worry about memory anymore as you can have ungodly amounts. As for programming on a mainframe, I am 18 and I work at Lexis-Nexis (do your legal and other research at, keep me in a job) in the mainframe department, and I recently finished a relatively large program written completely in C. If you don't like C, they have standard compilers for C++, Pascal, COBOL, PL/I, Java, etc. So, don't hate on OS/390 just because you haven't booted into anything other than Linux for the last year.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 27, 2001 @01:29AM (#337910)
    I was under the impression that DOS is on the way out, now that Windows XP has been released. Why is IBM still basing a mainframe OS on it? Are mainframe programs _really_ that hard to port to a modern language like C? All that RPG and Rexx is so hard to maintain it would be cheaper to rewrite in a modern language.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 27, 2001 @01:58AM (#337911)
    All mainframe OSs have historically been based on DOS. It set the standard in 1981, when mainframes were invented, and changing now would break that, and numerous mission critical apps, as well. Ken Thompson doesn't know what he's talking about.
  • Uh yeah, I can think of a few.

    Windows 3.0, 3.1, 3.11, 95, 95OSR2, 98, 98SE, NT3.1, NT3.5, NT4, 2000, ME, XP
  • Or maybe MVS?

  • Sorry, but I beg to differ. You can't beat the IBM laptops with a stick, and for corporate use the IBM desktop machines have stuff in them that make my life a WHOLE lot easier. And, they are bloody fast.

  • ...that is to say, they inform people about products. Now, stop and think for a moment. One of the reasons that corporations suck so much is because they take advantage of uneducated consumers, right? But if you have 15 corporations each educating consumers about the advantages of their product and the disadvantages of their competition... you just covered all the information anyone needs to know with regards to product availability.

    This is a very good thing. Were there no marketing, how would people find out about new products? How would those running stores be convinced to sell them? This applies every bit as much to products created by 100-man shop as a multinational corporation (oops, my 100-man shop /is/ a multinational corporation! does that mean we're evil?)

    Marketroids are genuinely important. They may not create value, but they help those who do by helping connect those who create value with those who have a need for it. Their methods may be sometimes sleazy, but that's not to say there's anything wrong with the profession as a whole.

    I have no problem with marketing when all they do is serve as mouthpieces. When they take control of other organizational functions is when they become a destructive force.

    If you'd like a chance to convince me about the evils of capitalism, btw, my email address is available.
  • So tell me if you don't fight DCMA et al, are you not an evil empire?

    I don't think that follows at all; complacency, while bad, isn't evil... evil is actively engaging in an activity without regard to its harmful effects on non-consenting 3rd parties. So even if we just didn't fight the DMCA, we'd still not be outright evil for it.

    Furthermore, we actively avoid using legal tricks (including those made possible via the DMCA) -- in addition to being bad for the society, they aren't good for the customers, and thus ultimately are bad for us too. Hence, self-interest works where social goodwill won't.

    Personally, I'm inclined to think that (and our policies largely reflect that) companies which try to restrict their customers' rights will ultimately, and rightly, suffer for it. Hence, those who engage in such activities are digging their own graves. I'm not trying to say that laws which permit such abuse shouldn't be abolished -- they most certainly should -- but beyond preventing the government from unfairly intervening on the corporations' behalf, I see little action as being necessary.

  • So what's your solution? Should marketing be illegal? Should "independant reviews" be the sole basis available for buying decisions? Should my (hypothetical) two-man consulting company be unable to buy a spot on local TV to let people know we exist? Or should we just have to pull the ads after our headcount goes over a certain number, or if (on the advice of our lawyer) we organized the company a certain way?

    I assure you -- if you create a governmental "independant review board", they're going to be every bit as bought and paid for as every other marketing firm -- only thing is, it'll be less obvious who's pulling the strings. Furthermore, they'll be required to be expert in hundreds of fields. This same organization will need to be able to review everything from legal services to operating systems to oatmeal. And trust me, they'll suck. People will believe they've had their strong points overlooked and their weak points emphasized -- and maybe it had something to do with this /other/ bank offering the review board's chairman a particularly nice loan.

    Or do you prefer to have "the media" provide these reviews? Little hint: most people don't read them; TV guide far outsells Consumer's Digest, and far more people watch pro wrestling than Investigative Reports. The folks with the holes in their heads, instead of buying the CD player he saw on the TV ad, will buy the CD player his friends have, or the CD player that the people in the store (prompted by particularly nice margins given by the manufacturer) tell him to buy. This doesn't help make the marketplace any more fair -- indeed, it makes it harder for newer firms to enter the market, thus decreasing competition.

    Anyhow, I hear all 'yall talking about how bought out the media is. Why do you trust them to tell people what to buy? Their vested interests and motivations are less clear than those of the marketers; without knowing their bias, one cannot consider their information any more trustworthy than that from the corporations themselves.

    So yeah, marketing sucks. But then, life sucks too. Live with it -- there's no better alternative.

    * - I'm in a small town where a spot on local TV is actually affordable

  • ...and the money that would go to it would go into better products, or our pockets.

    Don't be so sure of that. The economy isn't a zero-sum game -- that is to say, there isn't a fixed supply of money which can be in only one place at a time. The assumption of risk increases the amount of money in the system; banks, for instance, increase the total amount of money available for production when they make loans using money made available to them through savings accounts. Furthermore, what affects the economy isn't the amount of money, but rather its circulation. If marketers increase rampant consumerism, they're increasing the amount of production which gets done, thus increasing the number of jobs available, thus increasing the number of people who have money to buy stuff... etc.

    Furthermore, certain resources are applicable only to certain products -- which is to say, your average marketer would suck as an engineer. There are other fixed constraints, too, in anything but a very-long-term outlook; thus, doubling the amount of money spent on engineering (at the expense of marketing or anything else) will *not* buy products that are twice as good -- or necessarily even 20% better. In fact, due to the law of diminishing returns (as demonstrated wrt engineering applicability in The Mythical Man Month), vastly increasing the engineering budget will frequently make products worse in the short run.

    There's another thing to take into account, as well, which is the value of marketers' feedback into product development. Marketers frequently suggest stupid changes to products to increase sales -- but if these changes really *do* increase sales, then that reflects a true increase in the customer's percieved value of the product, no matter how stupid the changes seem to a rational observer (ooh, a pretty color case!). If consumers are willing to pay more for that pretty colored case, then by definition the case is a valuable to said consumers, and marketing gets the thanks.

    FYI, I'm an engineer -- but one with a business minor, and who's taken more than a few economics classes. Hence, I know that of which I speak.

  • > Marketing should not run the show.

    Ironic way to end a post in a thread about an IBM release . . .

    I don't know how it functions now, but historically, IBM has been a sales force with a staggering research unit. It is sales and marketing that drove the system, with the tech units there to provide what would be sold.

    IF they wanted to sell ice to eskimoes, they'd write the contract for ice stable at 40F, and the tech guys would come up with it . . .

    Then along came competition . . .


  • by hawk ( 1151 ) <> on Tuesday March 27, 2001 @07:19AM (#337920) Journal
    > man, does everyone have to dis marketing people? They serve an
    > important part of any business

    They could also serve as a valuable source of emergency protein during famines.



  • by ninjaz ( 1202 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2001 @02:15AM (#337921)
    It was SC Johnson - ml []

    There are also legends about how TSO sure is hard to use, but it's slow...

  • Just checking, but doesn't Sun provide some of the hardware for the Great Firewall of China?

  • Remember that two of the three ways of running Linux on an S/390 (sorry z/Architecture) is to run it on a VM maintained by OS/390 (sorry, z/OS). Far from being "like kicking a dead whale down a beach", each instance will look and feel just like any other Linux installation you'd tried - Bash, Apache, remote X, you name it... execept for the small difference that you can create a new instance of a Linux system in under a minute, and you can have several THOUSAND such instances running a comparable performance to a PC, on z/Architecture machine.

  • I am aware with some problems with Linux's scheduling algorithm (which assumes it has a whole, physical CPU at its disposal) and VM. You need to reduce the polling interval to accomodate this, until IBM's Linux/390 team sort it. This will make the system feel sluggish in interactive use (shell, X etc.), but is not relevant for most server applications, such as apache servers.

    I certainly have literature that quotes thousands of instances, although I don't have first hand experience in it to match yours.

  • Mostly because marketing renamed the S390 to a z900 following their whole shift to calling everything an 'e-server' they have the z series, the p series...etc. []


  • by Guy Harris ( 3803 ) <> on Tuesday March 27, 2001 @11:07AM (#337926)
    the "full circle of applications"

    ...meaning both number-crunching and business applications; the S/360 instruction set was, at its core, binary, but, in addition to the floating-point instructions, it also included decimal-arithmetic and character-string instructions. (The floating-point and decimal instructions were, I think, extra-cost options on the original S/360 models or, at least, on the lower-end models.)

    The next version was OS/370

    ...because it ran on System/370. I suspect they might've bumped the system number because I think the first S/370's came out in, err, umm, the 1970's; they did make some instruction-set architecture changes, although the big change was the addition of an MMU (which was also in the System 360/67, but that wasn't a "mainstream" S/360). The very first S/370's didn't have the MMU, but later ones had it, and there were add-ons for those other models.

    then came OS/380

    Not as far as I know. The "S/380" machines - which, I think, came out in the '80's - were, I think, given names like "3081" and "4300", i.e. they were sold with just model numbers, rather than as "System/380's", and the OS was probably just being called "MVS" at the time. (I think MVS may originally have been called "OS/370 VS2 with Multiple Virtual Spaces", to distinguish it from the version of VS2 with a Single Virtual Space - I think SVS just ran all processes in the same virtual address space, using the protection keys to keep them from stomping on each other, and using base-register relocation to allow programs to be run from wherever they happened to be loaded, just as was done on the non-virtual-memory OS/360, whereas MVS gave each process its own virtual address space.)

    and finally OS/390

    No prizes for guessing in what decade that came out. It ran on System/390's.

    Unfortunately, that numbering scheme has, err, umm, a bit of a Y2K problem - would this decade's machines be "System/3100"s, or "System/3A0's", or "System/400"s (which would run the risk of confusion with AS/400's), or what?

    So I guess they decided, now that they've introduced a 64-bit version of the architecture (not bad for an instruction set architecture whose design started in the early '60's, assuming it didn't start at the end of the '50's...), to come up with an Exciting New Name; I don't know whether that inspired this whole new "[a-z]Series" naming scheme, or not.

  • by Guy Harris ( 3803 ) <> on Tuesday March 27, 2001 @11:26AM (#337927)
    Depressingly like filling out forms in a web browser...

    About 5-7 years ago, I read some magazine (I forget which one it was) that referred to Web stuff (or, at least, the forms-based version) as "3270 for the '90's". The host sends a form to the terminal, with fields to be filled in. The user at the terminal fills the forms in, and hits Transmit (or whatever it's called; perhaps they even called it "Submit" :-)), and the contents of the fields are sent back to the host. The host then processes the transaction, and sends another screenful back to the terminal. Sounds familiar....

  • > Are there any other OSes that have these properties?

    Well, there are always AIX, HP-UX and the dreaded NetWare. I don't think they hurt your foot or stink, but they do feel heavy to work with.
    People will no doubt tell me that they don't or that solaris fits into that category as well but I'm only basing this on my work experience and it's a highly personal opinion so they might be right from their perspective.

    OS/390 is one of the worst things I've ever worked with. I can only say one thing, anything new is welcome on these machines.

    // yendor

    It could be coffe.... or it could just be some warm brown liquid containing lots of caffeen.
  • I was thinking about terminal screenshots of the admin system.

    The OS/390 I've dealt with was not the most intuitive system and I like to work through terminalmode.
    The IBM page talks about webserver, LDAP and such. It would be nice to se something of the administration.
    Most screenshots are about as informative as a teminalpage so why not!

    // yendor

    It could be coffe.... or it could just be some warm brown liquid containing lots of caffeen.
  • Please do't use the 3 letter word :-)

    I didn't want to start a flamewar and SCO tends to be good fuel for some reason.

    Last time I used a SCO it rebooted and recompiled the kernel worse than a windows 95 but that was an old version.

    // yendor

    It could be coffe.... or it could just be some warm brown liquid containing lots of caffeen.
  • > "Certainly not for apps though."

    Do I need to poit it out?
    Netware itself is not the whale-kicking type of OS, Netware apps and drivers are.

    Oh the long and lonely nights
    in my server room
    kicking on the tape-backup
    screaming for some working drivers
    never ever getting printouts
    the way we want them to.

    (Poem from the Netware 4.xx days)
    // yendor
    It could be coffe.... or it could just be some warm brown liquid containing lots of caffeen.
  • Is it just me?
    I'd like screenshots, there don't seem to be any in the article and it would be interesting to see is there are any changes or even a useable interface.
    If anyone can point out some screenshots please post them!

    // yendor

    It could be coffe.... or it could just be some warm brown liquid containing lots of caffeen.
  • by drw ( 4614 )
    I used to think that the mainframe was a dinosaur (like so many people want you to believe). In my current job where I am supporting a large client/server/batch application on a S/390, and have come to realize that this is simply not the case.

    First, let's take the hardware. There is simply no hardware that is sold where the company will guarentee the uptime level that IBM does. It might not put out the MIP's per dollar that other systems do, but its I/O and redundancy (hot swappable everything)cannot be beat.

    Secondly, the software which is developed now is not all ISPF/CICS/character mode screens. In our shop we have several applications which use GUI windows connecting to DB/2 over TCP/IP (yes, it is a Windows GUI, but that's another story). My application has just over 100 tables and is several hundred gigabytes in size, and is used by a call-center handling hundreds of inquiries a day. I challenge anyone to build a system that can match the performance and realiability that we enjoy with our current setup.

    A good portion of the world's economy/business runs on mainframes, this wasn't some fluke chance.

  • Wasn't the first microprocessor, the Intel 4004, priced at $370 to convey the message that it could do 'anything' one of IBM's big machines could?
  • by Ed Avis ( 5917 ) <> on Tuesday March 27, 2001 @01:34AM (#337935) Homepage
    I don't think IBM's customers will like the new name. It contains one of those commie lowercase letters, and fails to include a dull-sounding number after the slash. How do they expect to get enterprise-class reliability with a name like that?

    OS/380 might have been more appropriate - though even that is a bit racy.
  • D'oh. It really helps if you reply to the right article, doesn't it? Moderators, please nuke...
  • Strange they didn't pick OS/365 as the next release indication the OS would work every day of the year with no downtime.
  • 240Z - ~1972, 2.4 liter inline 6, 4 speed manual, no AC

    260Z - ~1974, 2.6 liter inline 6, 5 speed manual, AC

    280Z - 1975/6, 2.8 liter inline 6, 5 speed, AC

    The 20 was by far the best looking.
  • For many thousands of years, mankind has been feeding plants with plants.

    In recent years, we've taken a real shine to feeding animals to animals... even to those animals that are vegetarian.

    The next logical step is, of course, to start feeding us to each other. Let's let marketing lead the way!

  • SCO Unix is far worse than HP-UX or AIX, IMHO.

  • IIRC there is a 64-bit version of linux running on prototype 64-bit processors at Intel.

  • Duh, I forgot about the 64-bit linux already running on Alphas.

  • Okay, so the System 390 was renamed the "zServer" last year, and now they've renamed OS/390 "z/OS". Got it.

    But at the same time IBM renamed the AS/400 the "iServer". Will they now call OS/400 "i/OS"? I suspect Cisco will have something to say about that.

  • Mainframes are surprisingly CPU-poor by Unix server and PC standards (or at least they were last time I looked) - but they generally make up for this with astonishingly good I/O capabilities.

    Back when I was investigating Ingres on IBM mainframe Unix in the early 90s, I worked out that it could support perhaps 20 users, compared to hundreds with DB2 running on MVS (i.e. native mode not Unix). Ingres, like most Unix-based RDBMSs, assumed that CPU could be spent freely to save I/O (the best approach for mid-range Unix boxes), while DB2 assumed the opposite.

    Anyway, the key point IMO is to choose a suitably I/O-focused application for Linux/390 - serving mostly static web pages would be fine, and CGI might be OK if you are using an efficient technique (e.g. Java with compilation to native code, or just very short CGI scripts in mod_perl), but generally any heavy computation should be avoided.
  • IBM's mainframes weigh between one and two tons apiece.
    What degree of seriousness can you give to a journalist who rates computers by their weitght???


  • Didn't you know that instruction pounds per second is the new standard metric for computing power?
  • by Mike Buddha ( 10734 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2001 @10:22AM (#337947)
    Don't forget object-oriented, net-enabled COBOL to go along with it.

    Ugh, talking about kicking a dead whale down the beach...

  • by jms ( 11418 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2001 @01:51PM (#337948)
    People somehow think that open source was magically invented a few years ago. From the 1960s through the 1990s, IBM supplied the COMPLETE source code to their operating system, compilers, libraries, boot loaders, EVERYTHING, to their customers.

    The reason that a company would spend millions of dollars on a mainframe was not only because the hardware was faster. It was because the software was completely customizable.

    While the Unix community, as it was, was struggling with incompatable binary releases, bugs they couldn't fix, vendors who came and went, leaving object code wreckage in their wake, mainframe programmers had organizations like SHARE, specifically designed to allow people to trade and share mainframe source code.

    It wasn't truly open source, because the source code was only available to those organizations who had purchased IBM hardware, but only IBM hardware would run IBM software, so for all practical purposes, it WAS an open community.

    IBM had a disasterous change of management in the early 1990s, and some idiot made an "executive decision" that IBM would stop releasing their source code. This was a move that effectively destroyed the OS/390 and VM codebase, and caused customers to leave IBM in droves. Because customers were no longer to be trusted to modify their own system source code, IBM threw thousands of programmers at the source code, trying to make it everything to everyone, so that no one would ever need to modify anything. The result is that VM is no longer a lean, mean operating system. Instead, it's a bloated mess, filled with poorly thought out interfaces that very few people even use.

    So, in essence, you have it backwards. One of the main reasons that IBM was so profitable in the 70s-90s was because they DID make the source code available for "geeks" to toy with -- except that the geeks had titles like "Systems Programmer" and "Systems Analyst". And most of the major mainframe applications -- air traffic, banking, insurance, finance, were written in house, by those same "geeks" who were only able to write the software that powered the mainframe generation because they had access to the source code and the ability to modify it.

  • dos is far from the way out, it is n fact used heavily in the embedded systems circles (which is getting replaced with embedded linux faster than one can say woah!) It's just like the fact that a 386 or 486 is commonplace in embedded systems.

    Dos aint dead (no matter what MS tried to tell us.) it does the job nicely for many critical tasks.
  • by finkployd ( 12902 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2001 @05:11AM (#337950) Homepage
    The engineers probably still call it OS/390, and dutifully ignore the marketdroids, as we should too.

    Actually, a lot of us still call it MVS :)

  • like "kicking a dead whale down the beach,"

    Hopefully it's not like "dynamiting a dead whale on the beach" []. That can get messy. A fine mist of whale hanging in the air, medium-sized gibs of whale falling at your feet, human-sized slabs of whale crushing cars, etc.

    [insert references to petunias and Magrathea here]
    How many classes do you have to take

  • by FJ ( 18034 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2001 @04:43AM (#337956)
    This was published by IBM some months ago, but this matches actual release of z/OS. From my reading on this there are a few differences between OS/390 and it's successor z/OS. Nothing earth shattering but some cool stuff.

    1.) Software cost. On traditional mainframes the amount you paid depended upon the size of the machine. The larger the box the more the cost. To combat this most companies run there mainframes at a very high CPU usage. I've been at places where 100% usage on the CPUs are not at all uncommon. I believe with z/OS this will change and you will be able to purchase based upon usage of the software. This makes it a much more affordable for things like internet business where sudden spikes in usage cause problems. No you can buy a huge box but pay for a small CPU usage. If other mainframe software vendors (like CA) follow this lead it could be a huge reduction in software cost for businesses.

    2.) CPU clustering. I believe OS/390 could only have a maximum of 16 CPUs. I've heard that z/OS can have up to 64.

    3.) IBM is going trying to force the n-3 upgrade restriction again. Basically IBM releases a new version of the OS every 6 months. If you keep current on maintenance they will assist in an upgrade from any version 3 levels old. For example, if you are going to OS/390 R10 they will help if your current version is R7 or later. IBM always pushed this but Y2K made them make this a strong recomendation rather than a requirement. This is still going to be a tough sell because most companies don't like doing OS upgrades every 2 years.

    4.) z/OS is designed to work on there zSeries processors to use all of the new features. I believe you can still run it on a later 9672 machine but you can't do all of the new stuff. That means most companies are going to be forced to buy new hardware and with Amdahl & Hitachi no longer selling IBM compatible mainframes, Big Blue is in a nice position. OS/390 R9 is the last release which will run on the old water-cooled bi-polar boxes. Everything now needs CMOS technology.

    6.) 64 bit address spaces have improved. 64 bit was introduced in OS/390 R10 (if you run a new zSeries machine). This really isn't a huge deal to me. The biggest advantage will be DB2 and other databases who will no longer need to use hyperspace to store there data. The average program will probably never need 64 bit addressability (some don't need the current 31 bit addressability). I think the main benefit of the zSeries machine's support of 64 bit is for non-z/OS operating systems (like Linux). The really wierd thing is that you can have one LPAR running 31 bit and another on the same box running 64 bit. It's one line in your LOADxx member to switch back and forth.

    7.) TCP/IP got another overhaul to, among other things, make it faster to communicate across LPARS on the same box.

    8.) In either z/OS or OS/390 R10 Work Load Manager gained the ability to manage resources across different LPARS instead of just managing an individual LPAR. For those of you who don't know what Work Load Manager (WLM) is, it is a cool little tool that allows you to define what your business goals are and it will manage CPU consumption accordingly. For example, if you can say that you want 90% of a specific transaction to complete within 1 second and 99% of them to complete within 5 seconds. WLM will then increase & decrease CPU accordingly to meet your goals. If it can't meet the goals it will report saying that it's time for either a new box of for you to get realistic about your goals. Its a really nice tool.

    There are others, but these struck me as the biggies.

  • It was SC Johnson

    The wax guy?


  • OS/390 is *nothing* like unix or any other OS for that matter...
  • I was thinking of VM
  • OS/390 is certifed [] as Unix 95. That makes it exactly like Unix(tm) by definition.
  • > To show the world that the direction of IBM's mainframe software is making a dramatic turn of 360 degrees.

    Actually, funny as it sounds, this is indeed the real reason for the name: before OS/360, mainframes where mostly special-purpose machines. In order to illustrate the fact that IBM's new mainframes could handle the "full circle of applications", they names it System 360. 360 degrees is a full circle. The next version was OS/370 (version numbers tend to increase), then came OS/380 and finally OS/390.

  • > Strange they didn't pick OS/365 as the next release indication the OS would work every day of the year with no downtime.

    Actually, these machines need (at least) one hour downtime per year, in the fall, when they turn back the clocks... Indeed, the system clock is kept in local time rather than GMT, and thus the double occurrence of that hour when turning back the clock would hopelessly confuse the OS, which might then start some batch jobs twice. Easy solution: turn off the machine for an hour...

  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <> on Tuesday March 27, 2001 @01:30AM (#337977) Homepage Journal
    man, does everyone have to dis marketing people? They serve an important part of any business. If it wasn't for them marketing people who you think do nothing your company would not have any customers and you wouldn't have a job. That said, most the good looking chicks in any tech company are in marketing, another good reason to keep the anti-marketing-ism to a whisper.
  • by 1010011010 ( 53039 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2001 @05:10AM (#337980) Homepage
    If it wasn't for them marketing people who you think do nothing your company would not have any customers and you wouldn't have a job

    Ah, yes, the sales people are useful. But no one ever accuses Marketing of "doing nothing." It's usually accusations of doing too much of the wrong thing. Most of the boneheaded things that a company does seem to come from the marketing department. There seems to be a lot of hubris in most marketing departments.

    It's not as if "Marketing" hasn't earned their reputation over and over again by rushing product, lying about product, spending a zillion dollars on 6-color glossy ads for unfinished products while engineering lacks resources to finish them, calling up competitors and alerting them early to the company's new product, etc.

    But Hey! They're beautiful people making beautiful things, and they know better than the engineers and finance people what should be going on.

    I know of a certain marketing department for an ISP that designed the company website to work only with IE5.5+ and Netscape 6 with flash plugins. The whole thing was basically a powerpoint presentation. Fixed layout, annoying navigation, the whole package. When the engineers pointed out that they were effectively shutting out 20% of the company's customer base, and probably annoying the rest, the response was, simply, "we don't care; the website is for CEOs. They all have Windows with IE and want presentations."

    Engineering produced a version of the website's HTML that was also backwards compatible in an afternoon, and forced marketing to use it.

    Marketing should not run the show.

    - - - - -
  • by Viv ( 54519 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2001 @04:00AM (#337981)
    I just had an IBM full-line presentation at work the other day, and the new 'z/OS' is just an evolutionary difference, kind of like just a new version of OS390.

    Basically, this whole xSeries/zSeries/pSeries/etc is just a new name, it's not a real change in the product.

    xSeries -- 'x' stands for 'x-architecture' which is their name for technology they've migrated from their mainframe line to increase the availability of Intel Servers. An example would be their 'lightpath' technology, which is quite nifty. Press a button, and an LED lights up next to failing components on the motherboard.
    pSeries -- 'p' stands for 'performance.' Just a renamed RS/6000.
    iSeries -- 'i' stands for 'integrated'. Same as the old AS400.
    zSeries -- 'z' stands for 'zero downtime'. Same as the old S/390.

    They're really just changing the naming. Why? Well, a good deal of it is that they want to differentiate the products and start getting some cooperation between server divisions instead of having them compete as much as they have in the past. The nomenclature very specifically positions each product in a specific market segment. x

    Series is for when you need the efficiency of an Intel server but the high availability features of a mainframe. pSeries is when you need performance. Need solutions in a box? Go for the iSeries. Can't stand ANY downtime at all, ever? Go with zSeries.
  • ...could be exactly what is needed to help kick off 64bit computing - can anyone say 'open source'?

    64 bit systems have been around for over a decade, and 64-bit Linux for at least 5 years. Ever heard of the Alpha?
  • I never really had a problem with Solaris/x86. I know that everyone says it sucks, it's insanely slow, it doesn't support any PC hardware, etc... but I had two systems running it quite successfully. One of them was a P233MMX with 64MB RAM and Adaptec Ultra SCSI, and the other was a dual processor 450 MHz Pentium III with 256MB RAM and Symbios Ultra2 Wide SCSI.

    I can honestly say that the P233MMX was usable. I won't pretend that it was a speed demon, of course. My other system is always fast, no matter what operating system is loaded on it (even Win2K Advanced Server ran surprising well).

    I'm planning on upgrading the memory to 512MB or 1GB soon, though. It's sort of sad, but 256MB isn't as much as it used to be.
  • Why don't you just uninstall Shockware support from your browser? Or install a proxy server like WebWasher [] or the Internet JunkBuster []? They both run under Win32 and Linux.
  • I'm not sure what you mean. Are you saying that the world should give in to your desires and reshape itself so that you're never inconvenienced?

    If so, then you're in for a rude awakening.
  • by Pseudonym ( 62607 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2001 @03:54AM (#337990)

    OS/390 was the OS for the IBM/390, and OS/2 was meant to be the OS for the PS/2. So the z/OS name is at least consistent.

  • Actually, it was S.C. Johnson, not Thompson who said -

    Using TSO is like kicking a dead whale down the beach.
  • by Mr. Protocol ( 73424 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2001 @01:55AM (#337995)
    "Using TSO is like kicking a dead whale down the beach," said ... I forget who. It wasn't Ken Thompson, though. It was another member of the lab staff. Anyone remember who it was?
  • Your ignorance is really showing through. The linux usage on mainframes isn't to maintain or increase uptime. It's to increase productivity.

    ok, lets say you're running a 500 node linux hosting service on a mainframe. One of the nodes could crash (linux is less stable than mainframe). If it crashes, your hosting mainframe process quickly restarts the linux node in less than 10 seconds.

    ok. lets say you're running a 499 node linux hosting service and you want to add another 4 nodes for a customer running web/database/other services. it would take about 10 seconds to create all 4 nodes. And the bandwidth in between nodes (say database and web) would be on the order of 10GigaBytes per second. Sorry. Your sun server farm just doesn't do this kind of thing

    Everything you want to know about linux on mainframe. [] Its history, its purpose, its future. All from the horses mouth. The originator of linus on s/390.
  • Well, the machine name is swapped, as well: it's not Architecture/z, it's z/Architecture. That's why it's also z/OS, and not OS/z.

  • ...I was going to install BeOS on my new machine, but if I can have zOs... I mean, that must be 25 versions later, right? Same as my Windows 2000 was 1902 versions better than Windows 98.

  • Anyone remember who it was?

    Why do people even ask questions like this? It's easy enough to look up. Remember, Google makes all computing simple [].

  • VM can run on bare iron. You don't have to have MVS to use it(we don't). z/OS is just OS/390 which is just MVS. IBM just changed the name and not much else. Linux can also run on bare iron but is MUCH more flexible running under VM. IBM is changing names around trying to shake the stodgy mainframe image surrounding the platform. In fact, they call them servers now. Mainframes were the first servers. They were serving before most of us were born. Servers, as we call them, only wish they can pump as much I/O as one z series machine.
  • by supersnail ( 106701 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2001 @02:31AM (#338014)

    DOS ==> Disk Operating System.

    This was released sometime in the late 60s for smaller IBM mainframes.

    The current ancester of DOS is called VMS.

    This is one of several operating systems called DOS, from, several manufacturers and "VMS" is also the name of a completely different OS from DEC (now Compaq).

    Mainframe DOS has/had nothing in common with PC DOS, and, apart from running on the same harware it has nothing in common with "OS" which was the ultimate ancestor of OS/390.

    This is probably the most re-branded OS the world has or will ever see SOME of the names it has had over the years are "OS" "OS/MFT" "OS/MVT" "OS/VS" "OS/VSE" "XA" "OS/390" and now "zOS".

  • Owe Us Ecks, Beeee Owe Us, whats next?

    I propose re revise the Linux name.
    Linux Operating System Extended Revision

    Err, perhaps not.


  • Anyone remember who it was?

    It was Winston Churchill. Most quotes get attributed to him anyway.


  • by MonkeyMagic ( 118319 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2001 @01:24AM (#338023) Homepage
    There's an interesting article [] on Linux Planet interviewing David Boyes (the man who had 41,400 Linux images running on a single mainframe using System/390.

    DILBERT: But what about my poem?
  • Nah. After the code merge with the Windows Millenium Edition code, it'll be called..... Windows: Y/ME *ducks and runs*
  • The first 64 bit OS was that of Commodore 64's, wasn't it?
  • If you don't like C, they have standard compilers for C++, Pascal, COBOL

    Do they have a compiler for object-oriented COBOL, i.e. ADD 1 TO COBOL [] ?

  • How dare you criticize it. Nothing GUI about it, at all. No steenking Windows, no Mice, no Icons, no Pointers, not even any clicking, except for the old tactile-feedback keyboards.

    Seriously, I used TSO for years. Even after VM came along, it was mostly for office or network use. The serious engineering used batch simulation jobs on TSO, and our interactive graphics applications ran on MVS. (though not TSO)

    Today, engineering happens on Unix, and office stuff on Windows. Kind of like the old MVS/VM roles, except that Windows doesn't carry the network role.
  • I don't know why, but OS/380 sounds like a skateboarding game!

    but seriously, it doesn't matter a damn what they call it since the people who will be buying it know what it is underneath and won't be swayed by a name.

    We had OSF/1, Digital UNIX and Tru64... and god knows how many more variants of that!

  • Not really, because then it would be OS/z
  • OS/390 is one of the worst things I've ever worked with. I can only say one thing, anything new is welcome on these machines.

    What's wrong with it? I know the 8 character limitation is ludicrous, but apart from that what?
  • Although this post is utter nonsense I still have to point out that Rexx is a newer language than C.
  • But I doubt he said it recently. But I'm not going to get into another flamewar. I've already been called a moron and a child molester for daring to say that Windows 2000 crashed on me.
  • The thunder was ominous-sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.

    Isn't this a line from a Terry Pratchett book?
  • Just like the US and UK arms industry have sold weapons to some seriously nasty governments: Iraq, Indonesia (used in the largely unreported ethnic cleansing of the East Timorese) and China, and they're still doing it. I have yet, however, to see any real publicity of this but yet I still keep seeing people suing companies for crimes committed nearly 60 years ago by people who are now dead or extremely old. The Holocaust was a terrible thing, but so was the ethnic cleansing in East Timor. Where's the balance here?
  • Upsides:
    1) You can plug an OC-30 into the back of one. No need for routers.
    2) Central administration. You can admin those hundreds of web sites from one VM session.
    3) Far lower power requirements than all those boxes.
    4) Incredibly fast I/O, whipping all contenders out of sight.

    1) A potential single point of failure. However, this is highly unlikely, since mainframe uptimes tend to be measured in years rather than months.
    2) Unix people will keep using the word 'antiquated'.
    3) IBM might screw it up (see MCA, SNA, APPC and OS/2) although they definitely deserve the benefit of the doubt here.

    As to your other questions, if Linux and AIX fit, then there's no reason whatsoever (apart from IBM not being interested or being unable to find a wealthy benefactor) that the BSDs couldn't be ported. zSeries is the same architecture as S/390, therefore VM will run and therefore will be able to run multiple Linux partitions.
  • But that's just a character set. Hating mainframes surely requires a better justification than that. Anyway modern mainframes recognise ASCII quite happily, you just have to tell it to.
  • The firewall is running on old Sun and SGI machines. I don't know whether either of the 2 corps had anything to do with the firewall itself, but it wouldn't surprise me since there are dollars involved.
  • Would you hold Volkswagen responsible for what its executives did in WWII as well? The slave labor and everything? I wouldn't; the current management didn't even know about it until they looked into it and they now have a memorial to their slave workers somewhere on their corporate campus. I could go on, but I don't wish to get modded down because of a rant. /Brian
  • And Trillian?


    ps For those not paying attention, that's Linux for IA64/Itanium...
  • So? It's still 64-bit and therefore relevant. (Actually, UltraSPARC Linux comes to mind as well...)

  • by SteveMu ( 171841 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2001 @02:00AM (#338060)
    z/OS runs on z/Architecture, which is documented in the Princples of Operation manuals at this site. []

    More details on z/OS here. []

    This is what Linux wants to be when it grows up :)

    Good bedtime reading !

  • by SubtleNuance ( 184325 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2001 @06:32AM (#338063) Journal
    man, does everyone have to dis marketing people? They serve an important part of any business. If it wasn't for them marketing people who you think do nothing your company would not have any customers and you wouldn't have a job.

    Lets take all the useless lies, propaganda and VanillaBS(TM)®© spewed by Marketing/Advertising people and liberate their time for more useful efforts. Those useful efforts may be childcare, eldercare, reading to children - or other real value efforts.

    I look around at the human/material waste associated with 'advertising' and am sickened... after 2000 years of recorded history we have to create an entire profession of liars to corrupt reality with lies from capitalists.

    Why not free the marketing people and allow them to become artists and teachers? Why the hell do we need _another_ full page glossy telling us that "brand X is better than Brand Y because it is FJDKJSLKJ" - sheer utter useless crap.

    Why do Marketroids exist? Why are they enslaved to be mouthpieces of undemocratic multinationals? Read .sig - This is going to be the largest RIAA, MPAA, DMCA, WIPO protest since Seattle. The problem is a hollow democracy, instead of community, growth and democratic participation we get marketing - dong like it? See you in Quebec City.

  • ...kicking a dead whale down the beach...

    Surely that would hurt your foot, and by the time you actually moved the damn thing anywhere, it would be pretty smelly too.

    I can't think of any OS that hurts your foot and smells....but I'll admit to never having used OS/390.

    Are there any other OSes that have these properties?


  • First of all, why aren't manufacturers of screwdrivers blamed for the killing of jews in WW2 ? I mean I bet the Germans greatly benefitted from having screwdrivers when they were building concentration camps.

    Secondly, the "evidence" that this book gives is very thin, there are a lot of assumptions made but the writer doen't have any hard evidence. Here in Europe the book wash trashed in newspaper reviews as subjective and badly researched...

    Thirdly, it seems to be a trend that every company that ever had anything to do with WW2 gets bad publicity these days and off course demands for compensations. I know that what happened to the Jews in WW2 was evil beyond comprehension, and I fully agree to the principle of comapnies that profited from that compensate the victims etc. But that doesn't mean that every single company that ever did business with the Nazi regime was evil and can be partly held responsible for the holocaust... If they knew what was going to happen with their stuff, sure then they might be blamed, but how many people expected that 8 million Jews would be killed in concentration camps before say 1942 ?

    I don't like this trend of trying to divide things into good/evil black/white etc. People at that time were the same as now, just doing their jobs, trying to make a living etc. Sure if they knew they were aiding the destruction of 8 million people they would have refused to do their work, but I don't think they did know.

    For all I know Microsoft Access could have been used for aiding the "etnic-cleansing" that has recently been going on on the Balkans, does that give anyone the right to say that Microsoft aided in this process without giving detailed evidence ?

  • The most pervasive of these cheats was to use bit 32 to indicate the last address in a list of addresses.

    Yeah. Some of those old tricks last a lot longer than they have any reason to, like terminating a one dimension array of characters with a null and pretending its a string.
  • As I recall, it was:
    • ES/390 - OS/390
    • AS/400 - OS/400
    • PS/2 - OS/2
    • RS/6000 - AIX
    Oops, guess they didn't quite get that rationalized naming scheme finished.
  • Will they now call OS/400 "i/OS"?
    Following that pattern they'd also have to rename OS/2 as x/OS. Wonder if Apple's OS/X people would have a problem with that?
  • instead of using the letter "z" they should have used the letters "FL" so we would have "FLOS". That way users would have a clean feeling in their mouths at boot-up.

  • Well, yes, of course I'm silent around the marketing chicks.

    (good thing the don't read slashdot. :)
  • by Will The Real Bruce ( 235478 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2001 @01:15AM (#338086) Homepage
    IBM supports their OS for large-scale business rollouts, not for the consumer. This shouldn't make much of a difference in practice.

    Ooo, they call their new version something else. Like, say, Win2k instead of NT5, or "MacOS X" instead of Rhapsody.

    The engineers probably still call it OS/390, and dutifully ignore the marketdroids, as we should too.
  • Analogies You Probably Won't Find in Great Literature:

    The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

    The man fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty Bag filled with vegetable soup.

    From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and "Jeopardy" comes on at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30.

    Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.

    Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center.

    Bob was as perplexed as a hacker who means to access\aaakk/ch@ung but gets T:\flw.quidaaakk/ch@ung by mistake.

    Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

    He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.

    The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

    John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

    The thunder was ominous-sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.

    George Bush was like Albert Einstein at this stage

    ereh kcilc []
  • by deran9ed ( 300694 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2001 @02:39AM (#338095) Homepage
    Operating systems such as z/OS fall in place where others aren't neccessarily useful. The OS is geared mainly (or it seems) for high powered computing, something along the lines like a huge mainframe, which OS' like Linux, or the BSD's cannot be trusted to support.

    Not to start a flamewar of any kind but there isn't a company I can think of who would dish out cash for some huge mainframe-like computer solely to let one of their geeks toy with, and install anything other than something proven (or semi-proven via marketing.)

    Sure it may be biased on the geek level to discriminate against other Unixes but the fact remains money talks, and the companies using this OS and the servers they run on would be insane to let it happen at this point especially when Linux in my opinion is in such a disarray of distro's. there are no standards on many things, etc.

    Take a look at Motorola, they're power computing comes in the form of QNX [], ChorusOS [], Onea OSE [], Integrity [], ThreadX [], for many high powered stuff. Are these less of an OS than Linux or any other open source based OS out there because its not "geek chic?" Hell no.

    AntiSpam Info []
  • Hardward like the Tandem non-stop and Sun E10000
    and any other fault tolerant system does hot swappable anything. Granted they lifted
    the idea from mainframes but they are the new(ish)
    kids on the block who know all the tricks....

  • To show the world that the direction of IBM's mainframe software is making a dramatic turn of 360 degrees.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI