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Archives of linuxvm.org

05/01/2002 - In response to a question about recommendations for Linux/390 under VM configuration sizing, David Boyes gave some guidelines that he uses. He talked about the amount of real and expanded storage he thinks is needed for VM, as well as the amount of paging volumes. He also covers Linux/390 guest sizes. There are too many good items to include here, so you really should read his complete post in the archives.

05/01/2002 - Neale Ferguson posted the URL of the IBM announcement about the new "turbo" models of the z900. He also commented "The FCP stuff is quite interesting."

05/01/2002 - A question about converting ASCII text files to PDF drew several reponses. Harry Williams recommended using txt2pdf, which is Perl-based shareware. Alan Cox suggested using the mpage command in conjunction with ps2pdf from the ghostview package:

cat /etc/hosts | mpage -1 | ps2pdf - -  > hosts.pdf
Alan also commented "For viewing pdf files multiple viewers exist - eg xpdf and gv. If you are outputting to a web page then you simply need the mime type correct and the web browser will fire up the relevant plug-in or helper."

05/02/2002 - Mark Post reported that IBM's DeveloperWorks site had a number of new Linux tutorials. "They're intended to help people prepare for the Linux Professional Institute (LPI) 101 and 102 certification exams, but that means that they cover exactly the kinds of things that every Linux system administrator ought to know. I took a quick look at the first two, and they seem to be pretty good. They start out with the basics (experienced people will be able to skip past these parts) and move into more in-depth topics. You will need to 'register' (no charge) to get access, if you haven't already. You can either view the tutorial online, or there are buttons on the top right of the page to download the files in various formats:
PDF - 'US letter' format
PDF - A4 format
ZIP - Contains the individual HTML and image files for local browsing"
http://www6.software.ibm.com/developerworks/education/l-lpi1/ 101 exam prep, Part 1: Linux fundamentals
http://www6.software.ibm.com/developerworks/education/l-lpi2/ 101 exam prep, Part 2: Basic administration
http://www6.software.ibm.com/developerworks/education/l-lpi3/ 101 exam prep, Part 3: Intermediate administration
http://www6.software.ibm.com/developerworks/education/l-lpi4/ 101 exam prep, Part 4: Advanced administration
http://www6.software.ibm.com/developerworks/education/l-lpi5/ 102 exam prep, Part 1: Compiling sources and managing packages
http://www6.software.ibm.com/developerworks/education/l-lpi6/ 102 exam prep, Part 2: Configuring and compiling the kernel
http://www6.software.ibm.com/developerworks/education/l-lpi7/ 102 exam prep, Part 3: Networking
http://www6.software.ibm.com/developerworks/education/l-lpi8/ 102 exam prep, Part 4: Secure shell and file sharing

05/02/2002 - Mark Post reported an InfoWorld article that said OpenOffice 1.0 was now GA. It also said that StarOffice 6.0 would not be free, as StarOffice 5.2 was, but would cost "under $100.00."

05/02/2002 - In response to a request for a list of VM's DIAG codes, Rob van der Heij pointed to IBM's "CP Programming Services" manual. Chapter 2 lists all of them. The hcse5a20 was already listed on the links page, but this one is more current, so it will be replacing the old one.

05/02/2002 - paultz (paultz@ucia.gov) reported an Enterprise Systems Journal article on the "resurgence" of mainframes.

05/02/2002 - Mike MacIsaac contributed a HOWTO on applying patches to a 2.4 kernel.

05/03/2002 - In response to a question about what system configuration files need to be modified when cloning a Red Hat 7.2 Linux/390 system, Tung-Sing Chong replied that he modifies the following files when cloning either Red Hat 7.2, or Turbolinux 6.5 systems:


05/03/2002 - In response to a question about people's experiences with Intrusion Detection System (IDS) software, Mark Post forwarded a list of references from one of his colleagues. Craig Kittendorf added that "If you need high security and have money, check out www.onesecure.com."
http://www.silicondefense.com/techsupport/supportpacks.htm - Silicon Defense (commercial support for SNORT)
http://online.securityfocus.com/ids/ - SecurityFocus Online IDS library
http://downloads.securityfocus.com/library/snort4-latest.pdf - Building an IDS solution using SNORT
http://online.securityfocus.com/infocus/1564 - Managing Intrusion Detection Systems in Large Organizations, Part One
http://online.securityfocus.com/infocus/1567 - Managing Intrusion Detection Systems in Large Organizations, Part Two
http://www.counterpane.com/crypto-gram-0103.html#9 - The "death" of IDSs (by Bruce Schneier)
http://www.securityhorizon.com/whitepapers/technical/IDSplace.html - Network IDS Sensor Placement
http://www.packetnexus.com/docs/packetnexus/NIDS_Placement.pdf - NIDS placement in the real world
http://www.robertgraham.com/mirror/Ptacek-Newsham-Evasion-98.html - Insertion, Evasion, and Denial of Service: Eluding Network Intrusion Detection

05/04/2002 - Jay Maynard of the Hercules project announced that version 2.16.1 is now available. What's new in release 2.16.1:

  • fthreads locking fixes (David "Fish" Trout)
  • dasdload bug fix (Greg Smith)
  • FBA dasd devices allow any size disk (Jay Maynard)
  • Control panel attach command bug fix (Kris Van Hees)
  • Windows® versions (finally) accessible from main page (Jay Maynard)
There was some commentary that the fthreads fix was for Win9x systems only. If you run Win9x, or are affected by one of the other bugs, you should upgrade.

05/06/2002 - Gordon Wolfe reported that thanks to Jay Brenneman and Rob van der Heij, his problem with getting command rejects on a read-only volume was solved. The problem initially presented showed up with error messages in the system log. The minidisk was linked read only by VM, and the /etc/fstab entry for the volume specified read only as well. Rob recommended mounting the volume read only on the creating system before taking it down for copying. Jay recommended using the (ro) parameter in the kernel parmfile for the disks that are to be used read only, e.g., dasd=addr1,addr2(ro),addr3-addr4 as documented in the "Device Drivers and Installation Commands" manual.

05/07/2002 - Mark Post forwarded a URL that a co-worker sent him to the Firewall Builder site. According to the site, "Firewall Builder consists of an object-oriented GUI and a set of policy compilers for various firewall platforms. In Firewall Builder, a firewall policy is a set of rules; each rule consists of abstract objects that represent real network objects and services (hosts, routers, firewalls, networks, protocols). Firewall Builder helps users maintain a database of objects and allows policy editing using simple drag-and-drop operations. Preferences and object databases are stored in XML format."

05/08/2002 - Werner Puschitz found a META group analysis of Linux/390. It wasn't very optimistic, to say the least.

05/08/2002 - In another important posting, Gerhard Hiller of IBM reported the following updates to the DeveloperWorks web site:
  • the previously experimental kernel 2.4.17 patches and OCO-modules as recommended. These patches are functionally equivalent to the recommended kernel 2.4.7 patches.
  • a new kernel 2.4.17 experimental patch with OCO-modules and "On-demand timer" patch, introducing new functionality. This new experimental 2.4.17 is another patch against vanilla 2.4.17, introducing a parallel path to the above recommended 2.4.17.
    • qdio provided in open-source form
    • "order-2 allocation relief" patch integrated into kernel-patch
    • support for hardware features of the new z900 Turbo models
    • new 3590 tape device driver
    • miscellaneous other enhancements and bug-fixes
  • patches with bug-fixes for binutils and glibc 2.2.5
  • s390 tools 1.1 with enhancements matching the new support and integrated bug-fixes
  • documentation-DRAFTs describing the new functionality

05/10/2002 - David Boyes posted the URL to a press release from Legato Systems announcing their "intention to deliver the industry's most comprehensive information protection and recovery solution for Linux on IBM eServer zSeries systems." The product is named NetWorker. David also commented " Perhaps this will motivate our friends at Tivoli to upgrade the TSM/VM server. Maybe."

05/10/2002 - Alan Cox posted a pointer to a compiler for an APL derivative named A+. The company that created it, Morgan Stanley, released it under the GPL, and has Linux/390 packages for it.

05/13/2002 - In response to a question about any fixes that might be needed to run Linux/390 under VM/ESA 2.3, Robert Matthews replied that he had installed VM61762, as well as VM62555. He commented that other fixes needed for Linux/390 support are listed in Info APAR II12444, which can be found by using IBM's APAR database search page, and that TCP/IP service is also tracked at the second URL below.

05/13/2002 - During a discussion about various methods of backup, Vic Cross commented that "In the ISP/ASP Redbook, we mentioned the idea of using NBD (Network Block Device) and software RAID or LVM to produce a disk mirroring facility (sort-of a poor man's PPRC)." Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo replied "This idea was explored long ago by Marcelo Tosatti, but this has problems with resync after one node goes offline for some reason, etc, since then we switched to Phillip Reisner's DRBD, that takes care of the resync case very well."

05/14/2002 - Marcel Foortjes reported an article that covered the public discussion over a proposed law in the Peruvian legislature to mandate government use of "free" software, that is Open Source software. Microsoft's Peruvian General Manager, Juan Alberto González, had published an open letter condemning the proposed law. The article prints the full text of Peruvian Congressman David Villanueva Nuñez's response. The lead-in to the letter states "The letter provides the most thoughtful and thorough rebuttal we've ever seen to Microsoft's standard open-source terror boilerplate."

05/15/2002 - Neale Ferguson reported a ZDNet article that talked about the disparity in predictions of the future of Linux/390 from Giga Information Group, and META Group. David Mastrobattista of Giga was quoted as saying Linux/390 has a good future, META was quoted as saying it will be all but dead in a few years.

05/16/2002 - In response to a request for recommended reading on the Linux kernel, Malcolm Beattie and Neale Ferguson recommended the following:

  • "Linux Device Drivers" by Rubini
  • "Understanding the Linux Kernel" by Bovet & Cesati
  • "The Linux Kernel Book" by Card, Dumas, & Mevel
  • "Linux" by Michael Kofler
Dwight Tuinstra commented that the GNU "global" system makes for an "easy web-based navigation of the kernel sources."

05/16/2002 - Mark Post forwarded the URL to an article about Linux, written from the VAR channel perspective. He commented "It seems to be an advocacy piece, as it's not particularly balanced, but there's still good information in there." He also noted that the article mentioned CitiGroup deciding to consolidate its servers on Linux/390, but didn't remember hearing about that previously. Jim Elliott gave an alternate URL for the story that has fewer ads and such wrapped around it.

05/16/2002 - In response to a question about host to transfer LVM volumes from one system to another, Mark Perry pointed to a section of the Sistina LVM HOWTO page that discusses that task. Mark Post discovered that the HOWTO is also available in PDF format. The same is true for GFS.

05/16/2002 - Mark Post reported that IBM's Linux Software Evaluation Kit had been updated. The SEK is for Intel Linux only, but is free of charge.

05/16/2002 - Tung-Sing Chong of IBM announced that his Linux/390 cloning demo is now available for free download. This is the demo that is run at just about every industry show where a zSeries machine is shown. "I packaged all the execs, cgi, html, files, etc into a package (VMARC file). This package and the install/setup instructions are now available on my home page... Please read the setup instructions before you proceed to experiment with my demo package."

05/16/2002 - Mark Post reported a Yahoo article that talked about Reuters moving its financial information software to Linux.

05/17/2002 - In the process of telling Rudy de Haas why IBM doesn't publish benchmark information for S/390 hardware, Jim Elliott of IBM gave the URL to IBM's Large Systems Peformance Reference. According to the header at the site, "The IBM Large System Performance Reference (LSPR) ratios represent IBM's assessment of relative processor capacity in an unconstrained environment for the specific benchmark workloads and system control programs specified in the tables. Ratios are based on measurements and analysis. The amount of analysis as compared to measurement varies with each processor. The data that follows is based solely on IBM's measurements and analysis of the processors in the tables."

05/17/2002 - Gerhard Hiller of IBM reported the following updates to the DeveloperWorks web site:

  • linux-2.4.9-37 experimental OCO-modules (31-bit) for Red Hat
  • linux-2.4.9-37 experimental OCO-modules (64-bit) for Red Hat

05/17/2002 - Jim Elliott of IBM reported that the SAP application server for Linux for zSeries was now available. He also commented quot;This is the first 64-bit version of the SAP application server and runs on the current SuSE SLES for zSeries. Shipments should start next Tuesday."

05/17/2002 - During a discussion about consoles and console controllers, Dougie Lawson recommended an IBM Redbook about the 2074 controller.

05/17/2002 - Dave Jones forwarded the URL to an article about the uptake of Linux in businesses, and the overall market for Linux.

05/17/2002 - In response to a question about whether it was possible to connect a Sun StorEdge 9960 to Linux/390 running on a z800, Jim Elliott of IBM replied "You really need to ask Sun about this, but...

"On April 30 IBM announced limited availability of Fibre Channel Protocol (FCP) for Linux on z800 and z900 (ship is June 15). Look at the z900 announcement letter for more detailed information.

"You still must have 3390 format disk for the z/VM operating system and the Linux operating system." Carlos Bodra recommended looking at the MAS product from BusTech, but Jim stated that this was for Virtual Tape support.

05/18/2002 - Neale Ferguson found another article that talks about Total Cost of Ownership of Linux, featuring Boscov's Department Stores. Mark Post noted that the write gaffed when he referred to IFLs as software.

05/20/2002 - Scott Ledbetter recommended checking out the FAQ for the zSeries April 2002 Announcement, which included the Fibre Channel Protocol limited availability.

05/20/2002 - Jay Maynard of the Hercules project announced that version 2.16.2 is now available. What's new in release 2.16.2:

  • Fixed 3350 dasdtab entry (Greg Smith)
  • Fixed 370 interval timer error (Valery Pogonchenko)
  • Control panel attach command bug fix (David "Fish" Trout)
Jay also commented "All users should install this version at their convenience; the attach command bug causes Hercules to crash when issued. The other two bug fixes affect 370-mode OS users. (I don't think there's an ESA-mode OS that supports 3350s, is there?)

05/21/2002 - Florian La Roche of Red Hat announced that a new beta version (post 7.2 GA) was in the rawhide directories on the Red Hat FTP server. He also commented "Please test and let us know about any problems left. Please also note that the latest OCO modules from IBM for the Red Hat Linux kernel 2.4.9-37 contain a special 'ocord.img' which allows installation of Red Hat Linux via OCO drivers. Details in our docs.

"For the real adventurous here who want to look at gcc-3.1: We have slightly tested binutils- and gcc3-3.1-1. You can compile these and test them on S/390 and zSeries. This should really be done by more advanced users and only on Linux guests you can delete if things go really wrong."

05/21/2002 - Mark Post reported yet another salvo in the Sun vs. IBM war of words. This one was from Mark Cathcart (again).

05/22/2002 - In response to a request for recommendations for backup products, Paul Williamson recommended Arkeia. David Boyes pointed out that it's a good product, but for Intel Linux only, for now.

05/22/2002 - Doug DeMers of UTS Global announced the availability of UTS's Tape Services Suite for Mainframe Linux. According to the publicity blurb, TSS is "a comprehensive suite of tape and tape management service utilities for Linux® on the mainframe. With the TSS Tape Management Subsystem (TSS-TMS), mainframe Linux® users can utilize 34x0/3590 tapes with the same levels of simplicity, security and efficiency enjoyed by OS/390® systems. TSS-TMS handles device allocation, media access and disposition processing, and fully supports standard tape label processing, including expiration date handling."

05/22/2002 - Jason McMullan reported a problem with mprotect() not working on Linux/390 2.4.17. Martin Schwidefsky of IBM determined that it was a bug "from the very beginning" and was surprised it hadn't shown up before now. He produced patches for s390 and s390x to correct the problem and also for 2.4.7 when Neale Ferguson pointed out that the bug existed there, also.

05/22/2002 - In response to a question about documentation on using RAM disks, Mark Post pointed to the /usr/src/linux/Documentation/ramdisk.txt file in the kernel source tree. Rob van der Heij took a more pragmatic approach and contributed these instructions:

mke2fs /dev/ram0
mkdir /mnt/mini
mount /dev/ram0 /mnt/mini

05/23/2002 - In response to a number of people reporting that their web application servers weren't starting after a reboot, Sergey Korzhevsky pointed out that Apache has a parameter to specify how long for the startup script to wait before it checks to see if httpd has started properly, or not. Unfortunately, he didn't say what distribution he was using, but it appears to be SuSE. He said "Look at:


# timeout during server startup (seconds)
# after this time, the start script decides wether the httpd process
started without error
# increase it if you use mod_ssl and your certificate is passphrase
I increased this time."

05/23/2002 - Maggie Dunbar discovered an article talked about Sherwin-Williams deciding to implement Intel Linux in 2,500 of its stores.

05/23/2002 - paultz [paultz@ucia.gov] reported and Enterprise Systems Journal article about Sun offering a 10% credit for customers who "trade in" a mainframe for a Sun enterprise server. "Chris Kruell, group marketing manager for enterprise systems products at Sun, says Sun then resells the mainframes or otherwise disposes of the hardware." Can I get one of those for my house? Or maybe they'll list them on eBay.

05/23/2002 - Jon Doyle reported that the third part of three in Rudy de Haas/Paul Murphy's series on Linux/390 was now available. Once again, he was very critical of the platform and IBM, as well as the members of the mailing list, likening them to a gullible religious cult in one sidebar.

05/24/2002 - Florian La Roche shared the method he uses when upgrading a system with all the "errata" packages:
"To update all errata rpms, I personally do:

"The last command can fail as rpm is not yet smart enough to resolve newly added dependencies, then I use some
rpm -Uvh blah
and try again with
rpm -Fvh *.rpm

"For updating only glibc, you can do rpm -Fvh glibc*.rpm nscd*.rpm and it should also work fine."

05/24/2002 - In response to someone commenting that they can't install SSH or alternate X Window server on their desktop, Alan Cox once again demonstrated his voluminous knowledge of available software when he recommended "If you grab a copy of weirdmind it provides an in browser ssh and X server without anything being needed but the java in the web browser. X11 connections are encrypted via the encrypted ssh session."

05/24/2002 - Dennis Musselwhite shared a neat method of determining if a z/VM 4.2 system has a particular APAR installed or not.
"So on a 4.2.0 system you need to display the HOST storage at symbol HCPLANML:

(to get the host storage address of HCPLANML)
CP DISPLAY Hxxxxxxxx
Hxxxxxxxx  00062938
(where the low-order 5 digits represent the APAR number)."

05/24/2002 - Ken Hall contributed a patch to mingetty-0.9.4b which implements the autologin patch for SuSE SLES7. The source as it came from SuSE would not accept the patch from the author at http://users.jagunet.com/~kodis/autologin/autologin.html.

05/24/2002 - Lionel Dyck contributed the URL to a white paper on "The Financial Impact of Migrating to Linux." from CIOView. There is also an online preview of their "TCOnow! for Linux Migration" tool. The results almost always come out in favor of Linux/390 on a z900 box, which does make one wonder, a bit...

05/28/2002 - Steven Oswald reported a press release announcing that "GeCAD Software and Bynari, Inc. Announce Strategic Partnership to Provide Comprehensive Virus Protection for Linux on zSeries and S/390."

05/28/2002 - Mark Post reported a ZDNet article that compared Sun's integration of a number of middleware products into Solaris to Microsoft's similar strategy. The author also talked about how server consolidation on this platform might compare to IBM's Linux/390 consolidation strategy.

05/29/2002 - In response to a query as to how to reduce the size of the log for snmpd, Scott Koos gave this suggestion:
"If you edit the snmpd script in /etc/init.d and change the line that reads:

snmpd -a -d -V $DEBUGFLAG
then snmpd's log seems to stay at a polite 23 bytes and it doesn't seem to affect snmp's performance. At least the monitor from Velocity software seems to still work for us."

05/30/2002 - Mark Post forwarded the announcement of "UnitedLinux" from one of his co-workers. SuSE, Turbolinux, Conectiva, and Caldera are combining their development teams to produce a Linux Standard Base platform as the basis for each of their business-oriented distributions. The UnitedLinux web site has a number of documents to answer questions, present their goals, etc.

05/30/2002 - In response to a query about the availability of IBM's Transaction Server (aka CICS) on Linux/390, Jim Elliott of IBM replied that it is not, only on AIX and Windows® NT/2000. Alan Cox commented that the "traditional choice right now" is BEA's Tuxedo package.

05/30/2002 - Mark Post reported an InfoWorld article on Linux firewalls, with references to look up for more information. Mark commented "Nothing really new for any experienced people, but a nice start for someone unfamiliar with ipchains/iptables."

05/30/2002 - paultz [paultz@ucia.gov] reported an article about IBM, and Landmark Graphics signing a deal for IBM to provide "the global petroleum industry" Linux-based desktops, servers, and mobile products.

05/30/2002 - In response to someone having a problem getting Oracle on Linux/390 to work, Jim Rich posted this:
"Oracle uses the wrong linker command. For SuSE SLES7 Linux/390 substitute this:"
SYSLIBS=`cat ${ORACLE_HOME}/lib/sysliblist`" -ldl -lm -lc -lgcc -L/usr/lib/gcc-lib/s390-suse-linux/2.95.3/"

05/31/2002 - Uwe Zumpe of IBM reported the following updates to the DeveloperWorks web site:
  • We are releasing recommended kernel 2.4.17 patches and OCO-modules, as well as patches for the "new" gcc 3.1-based tool-chain and the other packages required to build the base for a Linux for zSeries and S/390 distribution.
  • Hopefully, the "System Build Cross Reference" for the "May 2002 stream" satisfies your requirements - or at least makes your work a little easier.
  • We are calling this the "May 2002 stream" to differentiate it from the already recommended kernel 2.4.7 and 2.4.17 streams (which were tested with the "old" gcc 2.95.3-based tool-chain, and do not have the new functionality - like z900 hardware support) and also from the 2002-04-30 experimental 2.4.17-nf (which is replaced by today's drop).
  • We are providing documentation for the "May 2002 stream" where the new functions are described. The previously separate versions (S/390 31-bit and zSeries 64-bit) of the manuals are available in merged form for the "May 2002 stream."
  • On the new Experimental "May 2002 stream" page you will find the still experimental z90crypt OCO-module.
  • Furthermore, several kernel 2.4.7 and kernel 2.4.17 pages have been reworked, updated, and/or corrected.

05/31/2002 - Neale Ferguson submitted a patch against 2.4.7 that will allow Linux/390 to gracefully shut down when one of these situations are encountered:

  1. CP SHUTDOWN (z/VM 4.3)
  3. LPAR shutdown
"It uses the SERVC facility to tell VM/LPAR that it is interested in being informed when the system is going down. At such a time an external interrupt is received (0x2401 - same as used by hwc) with an indicator of how long the system has got before the underlying hypervisor and/or hardware will "vanish." The code, as I've written it, will invoke the ctrl-alt-del processing. If you have the following entry in /etc/inittab You should be in business."
# Powerdown
ca:12345:ctrlaltdel:/sbin/shutdown -t1 -h now
The version that is on this web site was updated as of June 7th, 2002. Romney White responded by saying that "There's a new contribution to the VM Download library called SHUTTRAP. It provides a mechanism for exploiting the automated shutdown facility from CMS. Enjoy!"

05/31/2002 - In response to a question about what IBM's CICS Transaction Gateway "does for you," Jim Elliott of IBM replied "The CICS Transaction Gateway provides a web interface to CICS. But it is a LOT more than just 'screen scraping' in that it provides a Java environment for enhancing the CICS transaction environment. Check out the web site at:"

05/31/2002 - During a discussion about FTP servers and their relative security, Alan Cox strongly recommended vsftpd, especially for internet facing anonymous FTP servers. He also commmented "That was written from scratch in the modern era of security awareness both to be secure and highly scalable. It will happily handle 3000 parallel sessions on an x86 class system."

05/31/2002 - Mark Perry disclosed the secret location where many of the IBM Linux/390 developers are located:
O'Donovan's Irish Pub
Breite Gasse 5
71032 Boblingen

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