CRN: Interest in Linux on System 390 catches IBM off guard

“IBM Corp. executives said the computer maker, based
here, has been caught off guard by interest in Linux for its
System 390 mainframe servers and is scrambling to develop and
implement a strategy to leverage Linux’s potential.
December 1999, when IBM began offering free versions of the
open-source Linux operating system for its S/390s, more than 1,100
copies have been downloaded. … IBM has been allowing free
downloads of the software from its Web site; the company still has
not figured out how to offer it as a salable product.”

“Here is how Linux on the S/390 works: Once downloaded from
IBM’s Web site, Linux is set to operate on a hardware partition on
the S/390. Once set up, the Linux partition on the mainframe can
operate as its own server. It can work as a Web server, perform
some file-and-print functions or other functions that run on a
standard Linux server. “

“For some users, however, the idea of old-line, mainframe
hardware running new-line, free Linux, which is usually associated
with Web development, might seem contradictory. Not so, said David
Boyes, principal engineer at Dimension Technologies Inc., a
Herndon, Va.-based consultant for service providers and large-scale
IP and data centers. …”