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Linux for Big Iron

Archives of linuxvm.org

01/01/2002 - Rob van der Heij reported that he has created a VNC RPM for the Red Hat Linux/390 distribution. He comments "Install at least vnc-3.3.3r2-19.s390.rpm and the vnc-server one to run a vnc server on your Linux for S/390."

01/02/2002 - Ulrich Weigand of IBM reminded everyone that with the new 2.4 kernel, if you choose the "cdl" disk layout for your DASD that you need to run dasdfmt first, then fdasd to create one to three disk partitions, and then run mke2fs.

01/03/2002 - In response to a question about how you would get a secure (encrypted) TN3270 link, several people weighed in with techniques and advice.

01/04/2002 - Mark Post reported a humor column by Dave Barry that gave "...a very truthful, and hence hilarious, look at MS Windows® from a non-techie perspective..."

01/04/2002 - Ed Holder-Vale reported a problem with a SuSE 7.0 (2.2.16 kernel) LPAR installation that went into a CPU loop every time. Lasse Mangen advised him to define only one CPU to the LPAR instead of three, and that corrected the problem.

01/04/2002 - Dincer Ulutas reported a USA Today online article about Microsoft Windows® Division VP Brian Valentine's internal memo about how MS is escalating its "war against Linux." Mark Post reported the URL of the article by The Register that was referenced by USA Today.

01/05/2002 - In response to a question about how to do decimal arithmetic on S/390, Ulrich Weigand of IBM posted a pointer to the online Principles of Operation chapter on decimal instructions.

01/05/2002 - Neale Ferguson posted a pointer to a VM/CMS program and documentation that "...allows a user to enter the name of the Linux guest and the address of the task structure of a specific process and to then be able to scroll through the virtual storage of that process." More details about the program are in the documentation, and in Neale's post.

01/07/2002 - Neale Ferguson reported an IBM press release: IBM Extends Server Lead with 6.5 Point Market Share Gain Year to Year; Sun Plummets 6.3 Points. (Ah, the smell of hyperbole in the air...)

01/08/2002 - Neale Ferguson reported a LinuxToday story about IBM whitepapers on Linux security. Mark Post reported the actual URLs of the papers.

  • Linux Security for the Enterprise: Executive Summary
  • Security Requirements for the Deployment of the Linux Kernel in Enterprise Systems
  • Securing Linux Servers for Service Providers

01/08/2002 - Mark Post reported that the samba.org web site is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Samba, including a link to the original Usenet post by Andrew Tridgell announcing a "0.5 version" of a package that would allow access to Sun disks from Windows®. They're also pointing to the results of a PC Magazine performance test of Samba versus Windows® 2000. In all three cases, Samba "won."

01/10/2002 - In response to a question about a Perl mailing list, Patrick Mason posted a link to an online version of the book "Perl 5 by Example" by David Medinets.

01/10/2002 - Harald Hoyer of Red Hat announced a new preview version of the Red Hat Linux/390 kernel: 2.4.9-20.1. The details of the changes can be found in his posting as it's rather long.

01/12/2002 - In response to a question about Linux/390 application development tools, David Goodenough recommended Eclipse. According to the verbiage at the Eclipse web site,
"Eclipse is a kind of universal tool platform - an open extensible IDE for anything but nothing in particular. The real value comes from tool plug-ins that "teach" eclipse how to work with things - java files, web content, graphics, video - almost anything you can imagine. Eclipse allows you to independently develop tools that integrate with other people's tools so seamlessly you won't know where one tool ends and another starts. The very notion of a tool as we know it... disappears completely..."

01/13/2002 - In a bizarre/convoluted follow-up to the application development tools thread, the existence of "XML databases" was discussed. Neale Ferguson was being a little coy about SoftwareAG's Tamino product, got questioned by Alan Cox, and was backed up by Holger Baxmann who explained that Tamino "is a native (no marshalling, not hierarchical to relational mapping) xml db; and it means xml schma is the db metadata and xslt is performed on db engine level..." If you understand that, you should probably be subjected to random cough syrup testing. Holger also provided URLs to SoftwareAG's web site, and also pointed out xmldb.org.

01/13/2002 - A discussion about the maintenance of Linux/390's system clock led to a discussion of the usual NTP software, and Dave Jones posted this:
"The TIMESERV package, of which I am the author, is an SNTP server for VM/ESA and z/VM. It supports SNTP versions 3 and 4 and uses Ken Clapp's algorithms for converting between the standard S/390 TOD clock value and the "network time" format. It is a multitasking implementation and allows for sub-millisecond time synchronization between the server and clients. It should work with Linux guests to synchronize their clocks with VM's TOD value, but I have not tested this."
The package is available from IBM's VM download site.

01/14/2002 - Lionel Dyck reported that a new version of PuTTY (0.52) had been released.

01/15/2002 - In response to a question about how to create an ext3 file system instead of ext2, Bernhard Rosenkraenzer stated "ext3 is just a newer version of ext2 - to create an ext3 filesystem, use mke2fs -j.

01/15/2002 - In response to a request for an online version of the G6 Overview manual from IBM, Leo Smith of IBM posted two links. The Resource Link site requires a userid and password for access. According to Leo, IBM customers should have no problem getting those. Leo also mentioned that if someone is unable to locate a particular IBM manual, they can use the "Contact OS/390" or "Contact z/OS" forms to ask for help in finding it.

01/15/2002 - Dave Jones reported news story that talks about Intel and BMC Software investing in "...Aduva, a company that seeks to simplify installation and management of Linux systems..."

01/15/2002 - Neale Ferguson posted a pointer to a new article on Linux/390.

01/16/2002 - Rob van der Heij reported that he had put out a new version of his ICKDSF bootstrap loader for Linux/390 due to some offsets in the parameter area changing between kernel releases.

01/16/2002 - In response to a question about disk space needed for installing WebSphere Commerce Suite, Bruce Hayden reported what was used at his site:

  • /usr    - 100,000
  • /opt    - 460,000
  • /home - 100,000

01/17/2002 - Peter Grimm reported a problem with the Red Hat 2.4 kernel. The CP command specified in the VMHALT kernel parameter not being executed when the "shutdown" or "halt" commands were issued from a REXX exec. If the commands were issued from a bash prompt, the VMHALT parameter was being honored. This discrepancy was not being seen with a 2.2.16 kernel, only with the 2.4 series. Florian La Roche commented that the VMHALT parameter is only supported in non-SMP 2.4 kernels, but this doesn't explain why issuing shutdown or halt from a bash prompt produces the desired results.

01/17/2002 - Michael Coffin posted a link to the IBM VM Download page, where the CMSDDR package can be found. This package allows you to create a CMS file that contains a DDR dump of a minidisk or volume. This allows the transmission of the dump to another location, where it can be restored just as though a DDR tape had been shipped.

01/17/2002 - Axel Wirbser of IBM reported some updated OCO modules for Red Hat's Linux/390:
"On the experimental OCOs for RedHat page you will find a tar-file containing updated experimental kernel 2.4.9 OCO-modules, functionally equivalent to the Kernel 2.4.7 recommended 31-bit OCO-modules of 2001-12-12. The accompanying PDF has also been updated with clarifications. Please consider the caveats on using experimental items...
This is (another ;-) one-time effort, definitely not intended to set a precedent, and implies no commitment that this will be maintained..."

01/17/2002 - In response to a question about how a site could have a "root shell" session running on the console, without explicitly logging in, Alan Cox posted this link to the "Autologin Patch for mingetty." Implementing this would be roughly equivalent to Michael Kershaw's bootshell.cc program which "hangs around," listening for interesting things such as a message to shutdown the guest image. As the site says, "Note that there are security implications inherent in this type of scheme. Using this feature means that you're willing to forego normal password authentication for logins at the console. Unless you're very confident in the physical security of your computer console, you shouldn't do this."

Rick Troth had another method, using a script he wrote. He comments "Change your inittab to run this instead of 'sulogin' or a getty."

#         Name: /sbin/suloginv (shell script)
#               console root shell for Linux in a virtual machine
#         Date: 2000-Sep-16 (Sun)

if [ -z "$CONSOLE" ] ; then CONSOLE=/dev/console ; fi
#PS1="$PS1 # "
PS1="$PS1 \\\$ "
export PS1
if [ -x /sbin/sh ] ; then SHELL=/sbin/sh ; fi

01/17/2002 - Neale Ferguson and David Boyes posted some information about an updated version of the Oracle 9i DBMS for Linux/390 and a new, 64-bit version for Linux for zSeries.

01/17/2002 - Gordon Wolfe posted a short description of how to use VM V-disks for Linux/390 swap devices. As he says "This doesn't use any allocated disk, but puts your swap into virtual storage, which means into XSTORE and paging DASD. It requires a little setup, but is much faster than Linux DASD swapping."
Note, however, that it will increase your Linux/390 guest startup time a little, every time the guest is booted. This information has been added to the HOWTO page at the link below.

01/17/2002 - Red Hat did not include the LVM tools with their Linux/390 distribution because of what they consider to be problems with LVM currently. In response to a question about other methods to "aggregate" DASD volumes, Alan Cox talked about md (multidisk) raid 0, and the raidtools that are part of Linux. He also included a brief example of some parameters that could be put into /etc/raidtab. This particular example is a raid 1 setup to mirror two SCSI disks.

      raiddev             /dev/md0
      raid-level                  1
      nr-raid-disks               2
      chunk-size                  64k
      persistent-superblock       1
      nr-spare-disks              0
          device          /dev/sda1
          raid-disk     0
          device          /dev/sdb1
          raid-disk     1 
"The raidstart command binds and sets up the raid volumes (in your case raid 0 which is not truely raid)" For more information on how to use the software RAID capabilities of Linux, read the HOWTO at the link below.

01/18/2002 - Dennis Musselwhite gave this tip for sites running Guest Lans under z/VM:

#cp q nic details
"(...should tell you whether the READ/WRITE/DATA roles have been assigned yet by the interface... and which IP Addresses have been set by this interface). In this case, since qeth.o did not find the device it will probably just show you the initial state (all three devices unassigned)."

01/21/2002 - Dougie Lawson wrote a perl script to help people calculate a number of network-related numbers from an IP address and netmask. The script can be invoked from the command line, or as a CGI on a web server. He has licensed it under the GPL. For a sample input of IP= and netmask=, it generated this output:
IP Addr/Mask:
Base IP Addr:
Broadcast Addr:
Next Base IP Addr:


01/21/2002 - In response to a question about how to easily figure out RPM pre-requisites, Alan Cox had some clarifications about the various parts of Red Hat involved in this. "Anaconda is the initial installer
Up2date handles updating for errata etc
Tools like kpackage and gnorpm handle package installs graphically
My favourite however is apt-rpm, although you'd need to copy your CD set somewhere and index it, and see what was needed for S/390 portability. With that I can simply type

apt-get update [packagename]
and it will do all the needed work for me - fetching files, doing dependancies finding any other package needed, working out which is the newest source of a package and so on.

01/22/2002 - Axel Wirbser of IBM reported the following updates to the DeveloperWorks web site:

  • Recommended patch with bug-fixes for kernel 2.4.7.
  • Updated "on-demand timer" patch with enhanced compatibility.
  • "Order 2 allocation relief" patch (for 64-bit) now recommended and no longer requiring special OCOs.
  • 31-bit and 64-bit OCO-modules lcs, qdio, qeth compiled for kernel 2.4.7 on same source-code-level as 2001-12-12.
  • 31-bit OCO-modules z90crypt now recommended.
  • Experimental 64-bit z90crypt OCO-modules (for the first time).
  • Updated LINUX for S/390 and zSeries Device Drivers and Installation Commands manuals, now describing the cryptographic device driver z90crypt.

01/23/2002 - Florian La Roche of Red Hat announced that he had uploaded a new development version of Red Hat 7.2. According to Florian, "The current version should only have bug-fixes in it, but we might decide to upload more unstable versions anytime. You have been warned."

01/23/2002 - The mailing list got its first confirmed report of a working OSA card running on Red Hat's 7.2 platform. Dave Meyers stated that he needed the IBM OCO modules dated 01/15/2002 to get things to work for him.

01/23/2002 - During a discussion about converting packages from one type of system to another, the "alien" package was mentioned. Stefan Gybas provided the link below and commented "...alien can be used to convert RPMs, Slackware and Stampede packages from and to Debian packages. However, this only works for packages that don't contain distribution-specific installation/removal scripts. As a simple rule of thumb: If a RPM works on all RPM-based distributions then the converted package works on Debian."

The following was taken from the alien home page: "Alien is a program that converts between the rpm, dpkg, stampede slp, and slackware tgz file formats. If you want to use a package from another distribution than the one you have installed on your system, you can use alien to convert it to your preferred package format and install it."

01/23/2002 - Jim Sibley presented some good information on sharing an OSA card between LPARs. This has been added to the Linux/390 HOWTO page.

01/24/2002 - Jason McMullan posted information on how to set up a HyperSocket VM Guest LAN. This also has been added to the Linux/390 HOWTO page.

01/24/2002 - Colman Fink posted the URL to a story on a large increase in the number of Linux installations in Asia. The article quotes a Gartner analyst who says this may be "due to a backlash against Microsoft's new software licensing scheme."

01/24/2002 - In response to a question about why VNC still needed a patch to compile on Linux/390, Ross Patterson pointed out that AT&T Research hasn't produced a release of VNC for anything other than MS Windows® since October 2000. The patch to VNC to get it to compile on Linux/390 was posted to the VNC mailing list in January of 2001, but never integrated. The Tridia version of VNC integrated the patch the following month.

01/24/2002 - Neale Ferguson posted a link to yet another story on Boscov's adoption of Linux/390.

01/25/2002 - Phil Payne posted a pointer to a story on the Register website about IBM's plans to introduce their new processor series at LinuxWorld in New York. Previously code-named "Raptor" the first system in the z800 series was going to be a specially priced Linux-only box with z/VM 4.2 and 3 years of maintenance included, starting at $400,000. Dave Sandey found an article on CNET, and Jim Elliott of IBM contributed the pointer to the official news release.

01/25/2002 - Neale Ferguson provided a pointer to a list of "Handy one-liners for sed."

01/26/2002 - Mark Post published a pointer to a relatively new article about the Sonera Entrum conversion to Linux/390.

01/28/2002 - Axel Wirbser of IBM reported the following updates to the DeveloperWorks web site:

  • Recommended patch with bug-fixes for kernel 2.2.16.
  • Experimental kernel 2.2.20 patch together with OCO-modules for: lcs, qdio, and qeth.

01/28/2002 - Jon Doyle found a CNET article that talks about Red Hat's new Advanced Server product, and the fact that Red Hat will not make .iso images of it available for download. This seems to be a new trend for Red Hat and it's higher-end offerings such as Linux390.

01/28/2002 - Neale Ferguson posted a pointer to a lengthy article on Linux/390 titled "Linux on mainframes enters phase 2" that covers quite a bit of the current state of the platform.

01/29/2002 - IBM finally issued a formal announcement letter for their "zSeries Offering for Linux" on the new z800 platform. Jim Elliott of IBM provided the pointer.

01/29/2002 - Sterling Commerce announced a Linux/390 version of their CONNECT:Direct product. Mark Post provided the pointer.

01/30/2002 - In response to some questions about setting up a HiperSockets VLAN under z/VM, Neale Ferguson posted this sample of a working definition.

hsi0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:00:00:00:00:00
          inet addr:  Mask:
          inet6 addr: fe80::200:ff:fe00:0/10 Scope:Link
          UP RUNNING NOARP MULTICAST  MTU:8192  Metric:1
          RX packets:2 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:5 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:100
          RX bytes:168 (168.0 b)  TX bytes:496 (496.0 b)

Here's the routing:

Kernel IP routing table
Destination  Gateway      Genmask         Flags MSS Window irtt Iface UH     40 0        0  ctc0   U      40 0        0  hsi0         UG     40 0        0  ctc0

01/30/2002 - Neale Ferguson posted a pointer to a CNET article that reports IBM claiming to have nearly recouped its $1 billion investment in Linux that it made in 2001.

01/31/2002 - Carlos Ordonez posted some commands he used to get an OSA card in QDIO mode running manually. Note the trailing blanks on the echo commands. They are necessary due to a bug in the current implementation of the interface.

echo 'noauto ' >/proc/chandev
echo 'qeth0,0x0e30,0x0e31,0x0e32,0,0 '>/proc/chandev
echo 'add_parms,0x10,0x0e30,0x0e32,portname:RPTRFET1 ' >/proc/chandev
insmod qdio
insmod qeth
ifconfig eth0 netmask broadcast up

01/31/2002 - Dennis Wicks spotted an Enterprise Systems Journal article about the new z800 systems that was loaded with inaccuracies. About the only thing the article got right was mentioning z/VM as being important.

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