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Yellow Dog for RS/6000 60

An anonymous coward wrote in with this gem: "Terra Soft Solutions, makers of Yellow Dog Linux, today announced that they are working with IBM to bring Yellow Dog to selected IBM RS/6000 servers and workstations. Champion Server 1.1 will be the first version to support RS/6000 and will begin shipping next week. " I'm glad to see Yellow Dog becoming more prolific, and that Linux is running on some very nice machines these days.
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YDL for RS/6000

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  • Did you even use LVM?

    It's probably the biggest feature of AIX as compared to any other Unix, and you leave it out.

    AIX's implementation of LVM is one of the best IMO. Granted, you can't shrink lvs or fs's, but you can increase their size while in full multiuser mode.

    AIX can also perform many kernel reconfig tasks without rebooting, as it has a dynamic kernel. The ODM is necessary to support this.

    The reason you run AIX is because you absolutely never want to _have_ to reboot for anything, and AIX is closest to that ideal among all the unices I've had admin privs on (AIX, Solaris, SunOS, HPUX, Digital Unix 4, Linux). From what I hear, only DGUX is more serious about uptime and availability, and they're not as well supported as AIX in terms of free software (Solaris/Linux/*BSD #1, HPUX/AIX/SGI/DEC #2, DGUX/Sequent/et al. #3)

    Remember... 'Use the right tool for the job'... Platform-agnosticism is a feature, not a bug... As in other areas of life, bigotry reveals ignorance...

    (And please don't consider this a flame, merely a counterpoint. Work on whatever you love, just be careful about other people's loves..... ;)
  • Yep, sounds like an S70 to me..

    I do like RS6ks quite a bit, but not at the prices IBM is asking.. Though the situation was different when I was an IBM internal: we got new stuff for 40 cents on the dollar.. Used stuff we inherited, cobbled together, or got for almost nuthin..

    AIX is more plug-and-playable than any M$ crud, is relatively stable (don't forget fixdist!), and has lots of cool features. It's price/performance sucks, yes, but many corps place uptime and features above price/performance on the tasks they buy RS6ks for...

    'Use the best tool for the job'...
  • AIX's implementation of LVM is one of the best IMO. Granted, you can't shrink lvs or fs's, but you can increase their size while in full multiuser mode.

    Indeed. The Logical Volume Manager is AIX's best feature. It's really good.

    AIX can also perform many kernel reconfig tasks without rebooting, as it has a dynamic kernel. The ODM is necessary to support this.

    I've found that Linux's kernel has as many, if not more, dynamic features. Installing a newer device driver under AIX does a "bosboot" (which rebuilds the kernel and the boot area) and requires a reboot to take effect. Under Linux, if your kernel is modular, you can recompile a device driver module and then unload and reinsert it without rebooting. Solaris has a similar feature. Also, Linux has a /proc file system (assuming your kernel was compiled with it -- it's the default) which permits on-the-fly parameter reading and writing. AIX does a lot of nifty magic for you, but it's all behind the scenes -- you can't get status information from the kernel through any normal, documented procedures as far as I know.

    I don't understand why you think the ODM is necessary for the kernel to do things dynamically. Linux and Solaris have no registry (which is what ODM is -- a binary database of system parameters) and they're just as dynamic as AIX.

    'Use the right tool for the job'


  • Sorry, you won't see VMWare or WINE working on an RS/6000. Both require an x86 processor.
  • Have you ever used AIX on an RS/6000? I did--as an app developer for a Wall Street firm--and let me tell you that thing was hanging more often than my Winblows 3.1 machine did at home. Granted, this wasn't a production machine, but we were just app writers. It wasn't like we were doing anything funky, just building Motif apps for PHBs (pointy-haired brokers). At least the thing booted up pretty quickly (quicker than my Winblows box did!).

    Actually, IIRC, the production machines crashed quite often as well...

  • The guy never said anything about NT. Just because Linux is not suited (perfectly) to enterprise servers now --doesn't mean that NT is either. Jeez, it's not nessasarily a linux or NT fight here.
  • The RS/6000 line has been around for a number of years but new models with enhanced features and faster chips continue to come out each year.

    For a list of IBM's current offerings go to:
  • The PS/2 lines of systems (IBM's idea of where PCs should have gone back in the late 80s early 90s) were almost all "Micro Channel" systems. The fact that they were MCA is one of the main reason credited for them being pretty much a flop.
  • I'll second that! I have a 250 I'd like to run Linux on as well.
  • Heh, you would like to think that nuclear power plants update hardware / software. The one I consulted for had a P100 running BSDI/2.1 for a mail server.
  • I realize that this is essentially a "me too", but I just wanted to add my voice to the call for a port to the older RS/6000 models--like the 300 series box we have that might as well be a boat anchor for all the good it's doing us now!
  • 486's was (and is) run by single individuals and maybe small companies - and not heavy industries.

    This is demonstrably false. I've administered 486-based Unix systems at major corporations in the past. At one site, they had a Sequent with 12 486DX2-50 processors in it. Yes, twelve. At another site, they had a dual-processor 486 NCR system (but I don't know the clock speed).

    These were LARGE manufacturing/distrubtion companies. If you live in the USA, I guarantee you've heard of both of them; in one case, their influence is global. But I can't name them due to privacy considerations, contractual issues, professional courtesy, etc.

    Of course, I also realize you're only talking about the server side (even though you didn't explicitly say so). If you count desktop, then I can pretty much guarantee that 95% or more of ALL corporations who have been in business for the last 5 years have, or had, some 80486 processors in house. Most of them probably still have them in service in desktop systems. Where I'm currently working, there are a whole truckload of IBM PS/2 486SX systems still in service. They've got the "Y2K OK" stickers with the black magic marker "X" over top of them to indicate that they're on death row -- but they're still in use! (And a worse piece of desktop equipment you've not seen in many a year, I promise you.... But that's what you get when you're a contractor -- the leftover trash.)

  • This topic is interesting. At Motorola Computer Group, we offer AIX on a variety of our PPC machines. However, people want a migration path away from AIX since it is an inflexible closed source UNIX...that path is Linux. Linux runs circles around AIX on the same hardware (lmbench, etc.), applications are plentiful and easily ported to Linux/PPC. I run Debian/PowerPC on most of our systems and it provides 3000+ packages right at my fingertips.

    Matt Porter
    Motorola Computer Group
  • Hmmm... I went to the site and did some checking. If you go to:

    You will find information on a port to the powerpc but from the bit I did read it looks like it pertains only to the newer systems.
  • Sheepshaver, I kind of doubt because it's closed source, although I guess somebody could send the SheepShaver team a RS/6000, although that's kind of unlikely since RS/6000's aren't cheap. At any rate I want to see a final version of SheepShaver running on LinuxPPC before we jump to conclusions.

    Mac-on-Linux according to the ReadMe file (see ftp server at: inux/) says a port to non-Power Macintosh, PowerPC's (like the RS/6000 or BeBox, etc.) wouldn't be too difficult, since they do run the same exact kernel. A few Macintosh-spefic things would need to be patched, but besides that it could be done with relative ease.
  • You might try the shareware open-source program boches (, which costs $25 bucks, compiles on virtually every Linux (including PowerPC).

    Obviously, since this program emulates an entire x86 you can run your favorite OS's on it, including Windows NT, DOS, BeOS x86, Linux, etc.

    At this point the preformance kind of stinks for any kind of long term usage, but it certainly okay for a once and a while usage of Microsoft Excel for Windows 95 or some great DOS program.
  • Indeed, a port to Power2 would be incredibly useful. I've been offered an old 365 with AIX 3.2.5 for the cost of shipping. I'd love to have it, but AIX 3.2.5 isn't terribly useful to me, and may be even less so after Dec 31st.

    Actually, can anyone confirm the rumour I've heard that 3.2.5 has some Y2K issues?
  • by gwolf ( 26339 )
    There are a good couple of reasons to run Linux instead of AIX on those machines... Examples? Sure!
    - You run mainly Linux on your machines, but want to have that RS/6000 (my case - A SparcStation 5, a Pentium and a RS/6000 model 570) - I know that Yellow Dog doesn't run on that model, but I wish some day a flavor of Linux will...
    - You prefer free software to propietary solutions, even if the cost is the same (as you say, the license travels with the hardware)
    - You like Gnome. You like WindowMaker. You like linuxconf. You hate CDE. You hate the AIX admin utils.
  • Well... You can forget about it :)

    vmware uses some features found in the i386 and higher chips to create virtual machines, and it emulates the shortcomings of the virtual machines. It doesn't emulate the CPU inner instruction set, so it won't run under non-Intel architectures... Maybe it will under Alpha, that somehow implements Intel emulation at hardware level - but remember, it is not free software, and you are not free to port it. I heard of a GPL project trying to do the same, but have no further information.

    Same thing goes for the wine project - You need an i386-compatible system for it to work. Even with the fastest Sparc, you won't be able to boot a Windows app with it.
  • Well... I run Linux on my Sun. It works MUCH better than Solaris. And as soon as I can get it running on my RS/6000 (pity, an older model :( ) I won't think twice about doing so!

    (and I'm not the only one thinking this way...)
  • Yeah, they make a Mac distro of LinuxPPC. IBM RS6000's also run on PowerPC processors and can run LinuxPPC too.
  • Quick note: LinuxPPC [] also runs on PPC based RS/6000 machines. Check this. []
  • Think of all the RS6000 servers out there that are sitting idle and out of date. By supporting Linux, these old machines can be given a new lease as a stable mail/news/ftp/nfs/samba/web server.

    Think of how handy all those 486's have become with the use of Linux and FreeBSD. The same theory applies to the RS6000. However because these are enterprise server orientated systems, it will give Linux the opportunity to "sneak" into the enterprise market.

    It's a good tactic for World Domination! Even if it was not even considered :

  • by sql*kitten ( 1359 ) on Monday July 26, 1999 @11:13PM (#1782343)
    From the article:

    The RS/6000 family of computers feature IBM RISC-based microprocessors and run AIX, IBM's UNIX operating system. RS/6000 delivers the industry's most complete UNIX offerings by combining applications with hardware, software, service and support for unmatched high availability, scalability, system management, and performance.

    If you can afford RS/6000 in the first place (and they're not cheap) then it's presumably because you need these facilities - and the AIX license (IIRC) travels with the hardware, like SunOS or NeXTStep. Now, I agree that linux has a lot going for it on x86 hardware (it makes a great cheap desktop X terminal for example), but what compelling advantage does it offer that makes it superior to AIX?

    IMHO, the linux community needs to guard itself against bandwagonneering. (is that a word?!) Porting to a new platform for it's own sake is cool, but when corporates see linux on RS/6000 and realise how inferior it is to AIX, it will long-term reinforce the view held by many that linux is just a toy.

    Now, why is sql*kitten, known anti-open-source advocate saying these things? Simply because strength comes from conflict and competition - nothing would make me happier than for linux to be a serious threat to NT, because the only outcome of that situation is a better NT (or a better AIX or whatever). Linux's push towards the enterprise is premature.

  • 486's was (and is) run by single individuals and maybe small companies - and not heavy industries. IBM's computers are mostly run by larger companies.

    I do think heavy industries, for example a Nuclear Powerplant prefer to update the hardware and not only the software while they're still at it.

  • Haven't ya ever heard of a Yellow Lab? And of course there are yellow Golden Retrievers...
  • Old? Methinks not. I saw a very attractive one yesterday in a computer room - a tall rack, encased in black metal mesh standing on a purplish pedestal. At first I thought it was a big SGI machine. It's a recent installation.

  • > Now, I agree that linux has a lot going for it on x86 hardware ..., but what compelling advantage does it offer that makes it superior to AIX?

    I don't object to what you say, but I thought I'd point out that one possible reason a company might want to run Linux on an expensive machine is that it's getting to be dirt easy to find people with Linux experience. The "everybody uses it" argument that has helped NT spread to places it wouldn't have otherwise, is likely to come in to play for Linux as well.

  • by gdon ( 27012 )
    Well, I used to be an AIX sysadmin and I wonder how you can expect Linux to be inferior. AIX is rather fat and offers a lot of non standard "features" such as the ODM (Object Data Manager) which makes me think of the Windoze registry, or the way you build shared libs which seems prehistorical to me compared to what we do under Linux. OTOH, AIX seemed rather stable despite its bloat, and may be superior (at the beginnning) thanks to its optimization to the platform.

    Please don't consider this as an anti IBM flame, it's just that I really enjoy working with Linux and Free Software.

    Have a nice day
  • I think that the machine has to have a PCI bus at least to run linuxppc or yellow dog. The ones with the MCA bus won't work, well... until someone ports it. (Side note: Wasn't there an effort to get the MCA bus working on those PS/2s?)
  • by Freed ( 2178 )

    Linux's push towards the enterprise is premature.

    That's quite amusing. And NT's push is not premature, I guess?

  • Actually, can anyone confirm the rumour I've heard that 3.2.5 has some Y2K issues?

    Out of the box, yes. I don't know whether there are a full set of Y2K patches for it -- but if so, the list will be pretty damned huge. Here's the y2k_fixcheck output for our last AIX 3.2 system. (We just replaced this box with a larger box running 4.3.2 this weekend, so this 3.2 box is no longer in production. We're keeping it around for a little while though, mostly for reference, as the last production switchover problems are being mopped up.)

    ******** AIX Year 2000 Update Search Tool ******
    (v2.2 April 1999)

    Starting check. Getting version information.
    AIX Version 3 Release 2
    Searching update database..........
    PTF U444180 for bos.obj not yet applied.
    PTF U444250 for bos.obj not yet applied.
    PTF U447667 for bos.obj not yet applied.
    PTF U447694 for bos.obj not yet applied.
    PTF U447704 for bos.obj not yet applied.
    PTF U450430 for bos.obj not yet applied.
    PTF U450434 for bos.obj not yet applied.
    PTF U450435 for bos.obj not yet applied.
    PTF U450441 for bos.obj not yet applied.
    PTF U450472 for bos.obj not yet applied.
    PTF U457945 for bos.obj not yet applied.
    PTF U457979 for bos.obj not yet applied.
    PTF U458039 for bos.obj not yet applied.
    PTF U458063 for bos.obj not yet applied.
    PTF U447712 for bosadt.bosadt.obj not yet applied.
    PTF U458000 for not yet applied.
    PTF U450447 for bosext1.csh.obj not yet applied.
    PTF U458047 for not yet applied.
    PTF U445954 for bosnet.snmpd.obj not yet applied.
    PTF U447709 for bosnet.tcpip.obj not yet applied.
    PTF U450464 for bosnet.tcpip.obj not yet applied.
    PTF U447683 for bsmEn_US.msg not yet applied.
    PTF U457956 for bosext2.acct.obj not yet applied.

    *********** RESULTS OF UPDATE SEARCH **********
    This tool examines the update levels of all installed AIX
    filesets for a level the same as or newer than any known
    Year 2000 update.


    This installation contains filesets which require one
    or more of the Year 2000 APAR update packages for this release.
    IBM recommends that you obtain and read the AIX Year 2000
    Workbook from your IBM representative or from the World Wide Web at .html
    for information on the latest updates for your release.

    You may then choose which updates to order and apply
    for this installation.

    IBM recommends that you regularly check its AIX Year 2000
    Workbook for status and information at .html .
    and the IBM Year 2000 information center for updated status
    at .
  • It seems to me that a prime reason for putting Linux onto an RS/6000 is access to the emerging market for PPC Linux apps - while there are nowhere near as many as Intel Linux, they are coming along (even games, as recently announced). And porting from Linux/x86 to Linux/PPC should be pretty easy if the code's been written properly.

    Probably the biggest advantage is access to skills - administrators, developers, etc.
  • Why aren't they using the standard Linux operating system, then? Why use this YellowDog thing instead of RedHat?
    There is no such thing as a standard Linux OS, unless you're defining OS==kernel, as many of us do. The geek-to-luser [] translation table notes that When I say operating system, I mean what you would call kernel, but for you operating system means what I would call kernel + libraries + daemons + tools + GUI. I assume that you mean the latter definition. If so, there is no such "standard Linux operating system". As for the geek definition, yes, there are standard kernels with standard version numbers. But you'll find that many folks who bundle and sell Linux solutions have their own additional drivers and config tools, etc. And these include people whom nearly anyone would consider "the good guys", such as VA. Special kernel patches and/or drivers are not at all uncommon. But that's still a pretty standard kernel.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson