VNU Net: IBM to port Linux to S/390 range

By James Middleton, VNU

IBM has promised that it will port a Linux distribution to its
S/390 mainframe products based on modifications it has made to its
Linux 2.2.13 code base.

According to Big Blue, Linux on S/390 will be the fastest
Linux that exists and will inherit many enterprise-level mainframe

The Linux port, which has been modified to run on S/390, was
initially designed to run natively under M/ESA, avoiding the
system’s non-Unix compliant configuration. The code has
subsequently been rolled into the 2.2.15 level of IBM’s Linux.

However, the announcement was given a cool reception by industry
experts. Robin Bloor, of Bloor Research, said: “Many users could be
forgiven for thinking that there was little point in putting Linux
on an IBM mainframe.

“There is a history of mainframe Unix ports that goes back many
years. IBM’s AIX/390 and AIX/ESA are both now defunct, but Amdahl’s
UTS and Hitachi’s OSIRIS are alive and kicking, and still selling.
Now we will also have Linux 390,” he said.

However, Bloor also predicted that IBM’s enthusiasm for Linux
would lead to further developments of Linux 390. IBM’s Linux for
390 is an open source version that supports the S/390 architecture
and S/390 specific devices.

“As Linux 390 can co-reside with S/390 on the mainframe, it is
possible to envisage IBM mainframes being delivered with a Linux
option, enabling the platforms to support the growing set of Linux
applications,” said Bloor.