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Linux for Big Iron

Archives of linuxvm.org

07/01/2002 - Neale Ferguson posted the URL to an article that showcases two of the successes Linux/390 has had, while at the same time quoting Meta group on how there's not much demand for the platform.

07/01/2002 - Mark Post reported an InfoWorld story about IBM introducing "Linux Virtual Services," a Linux/390 based computing on demand offering.

07/02/2002 - Mark Post reported an InfoWorld story about a security vulnerability in the DNS resolver library. Many packages besides DNS use this library, making the exposure even bigger than it sounds. on demand offering.

07/02/2002 - In response to a question about how to migrate file and directory permissions from Windows® NT to Samba, David Boyes commented "The SLIST command (on the NT Resource Kit) will display the permissions applied to files and directories; I pipe that into a file and then process that with a Perl script on the Linux side. Another method I've seen is to enable NetWare Services and then use the NetWare to NT conversion tool included with NT to extract that info (it produces a nifty report that you can parse with REXX or Perl)."

07/02/2002 - Colman Fink contributed a link to a story about "How three companies are making the most of Linux in their mainframe environments." The companies featured are Boscov's Department Stores, Winnebago Industries, and L. L. Bean.

07/03/2002 - Jay Maynard of the Hercules project announced that version 2.16.3 is now available. What's new in release 2.16.3:

  • CTC fix for TurboLinux bug (Jim Pierson)
  • 3287 printer support via TN3270 (Tomas Masek)
  • S/370 extended memory fixes (Tomas Masek)
  • ctcadpt.c compilation fix for FreeBSD (Mark Szlaga)
  • Fixed 3270 ERASE ALL UNPROTECTED command to not count data read (Tomas Fott)
  • Fixes to ckdtab in dasdtab.c (Greg Smith)
  • Retrofitted cckd chkdsk fixes/enhancements (Greg Smith)
  • FBA fixes contributed by Tomas Masek (Greg Smith)
  • Compatibility fixes for cckd and 2.17 (Greg Smith)
This release fixes several DASD emulation errors, and has toleration in place for an upcoming change in compressed CKD processing in 2.17. It's recommended that all users upgrade to this release.

07/03/2002 - Michael Coffin contributed a REXX exec to "build the network. This has saved my bacon many, many times and is very helpful in reconfiguring the network." You need to have access to Regina (or another REXX interpreter) to run it, and you need to run SuSEConfig when finished.

07/03/2002 - Dave Myers reported that the problems he had been having with Rob van der Heij's program to write a Linux/390 kernel, parmfile, and ramdisk to DASD using ICKDSF was because the INITRD file was in multiple extents.

07/03/2002 - Aurora Emanuela Dell'Anno of Candle announced that OMEGAMON for VM V600 was now generally available.

07/03/2002 - paultz [paultz@ucia.gov] posted the URL to an Enterprise Systems Journal article that claimed that "...the No. 1 skill that IT managers at large enterprises say they'll be looking for: Mainframe management, especially involving Linux on the mainframe".

07/04/2002 - Neale Ferguson posted the URL to a LinuxWorld (Australia) article about IBM signing a four year contract with "Centrelink to provide mainframe capacity and associated software and services and to establish a world-class Linux laboratory."

07/05/2002 - Gerhard Hiller of IBM reported the following update to the DeveloperWorks web site:

  • binutils recommended patch for kernel 2.4.7 and 2.4.17.

07/08/2002 - Jay Maynard of the Hercules project announced that version 2.16.5 is now available. What's new in release 2.16.5:

  • Correct serious CCKD image file corruption error (Greg Smith)
  • Allow tape files to be opened for input if on CD-ROM (Volker Bandke)
If you're using compressed CKD DASD with Hercules 2.16.3 or 2.16.4, drop whatever you're doing and get this release. The toleration fixes in those releases have a bug that can cause destruction of CCKD DASD images, with no recovery possible.

07/08/2002 - Daniel Jarboe reported that Ready to Run Software had announced the availability of FrontPage 2002 Server Extensions for Apache running on Linux/390. There is also a version for Apache running on OS/390 2.7, or z/OS 1.2. The packages are downloadable at no cost. Unfortunately, it turns out that the package replaces the httpd binary, and the version of Apache that it is based on (1.3.19), is vulnerable to the "chunk-encoded HTTP request" security exposure that was recently announced and fixed.

07/09/2002 - Salvador Torres discovered that there is a port of FreeBSD to S/390 in progress. A posting on Slashdot alerted him to it. Apparently it's a one-person effort, so far.

07/10/2002 - Dave Jones reported an article on Yahoo's that talked about IBM releasing version 4.1 of their LDAP directory server software. The software is available for a number of platforms, including Linux, Linux/390, and Windows®, and is free for download. Free registration is required. Each download is very large, and IBM did not publish md5sums for the various packages. Mark Post downloaded six of them twice each, to verify that the md5sums matched. The values for the ones he downloaded are:

b37326175235db78253e5fbb2f7445af  ibmdir410-S390linux-us.iso
fc673e04e888e9266ed7e8ea4ce9f258  ibmdir410-S390linux-us.tar
d443d75a4577a6d17ef49c8e51f50085  ibmdir410-linux-us.iso
584b272ab745c97ba6944309f5ad728f  ibmdir410-linux-us.tar
a35fce6866a96053d686ffee6416e1ce  ibmdir410-windows-us.iso
755fc65f262ad9b145e9a2c2b61876af  ibmdir410-windows-us.zip

07/11/2002 - In response to a question about the existence of Open Source video conferencing software for Linux/390, Mark Earnest replied that Gnomemeeting is H.323 compliant and compatible with NetMeeting. Alan Cox commented that video conferencing is very CPU intensive, but since the S/390 would most likely only be acting as a bridge between the conferencing systems, said that Openh323 would be another choice. David Boyes echoed Alan's comment about CPU utilization, and added that "...efficient hosting of multimedia requires efficient use of IP multicast to reduce network flooding. Most of the IBM supported network interfaces do not handle multicast well at all."

07/11/2002 - paultz [paultz@ucia.gov] posted the URL to an interview with Marcelo Tosatti, who has taken on responsibility for the maintenance of the Linux 2.4 stable kernel.

07/12/2002 - Douglas DeMers of UTS Global announced the "...immediate availability of NED, a 3270-based full screen text editor product for Linux on the mainframe. NED is designed to run on a 3270 terminal or 3270 emulator (e.g. x3270). With NED, mainframe Linux users can edit files with the ease and efficiency enjoyed by OS/390 systems with XEDIT or ISPF Edit. NED can also function as a pager especially suited to 3270 terminals."

In response to questions about being able to try the package before buying, Dennis Andrews of UTS Global said that trial license keys could be requested from the UTS Global web site. Doug DeMers later reported that the NED product information had been updated to include "a screen-shot and the man(1) page entry..."

07/12/2002 - Lionel Dyck forwarded a message from the VMESA-L mailing list that Dave Jones had posted. Dave had been responding to a question on good book covering VM concepts and facilities. The URL points to the full text (in 6 PDF files) of "The Operating Systems Handbook" by Bob DuCharme. The book gives a high-level overview of UNIX, VMS, OS/400, VM/CMS, and MVS.

07/12/2002 - Tuomo Stauffer contributed a link to an Open Magazine article about IBM marketing Linux clusters to the petroleum industry, and the success the companies are having with them.

07/13/2002 - During a discussion about getting diagnostic information from a "crashed" Linux/390 system running under VM, Mark Post recommended using the Linux/390 standalone dump utility, but noted that it is only available for 2.4 systems. Romney White offered an alternative that is built into VM, and hence will work for all guests, regardless of the kernel level:
"One useful alternative to the standalone dump utility is the VMDUMP command. It produces a core image dump as a spool file that can be loaded onto disk using the CMS DUMPLOAD command and examined using the Dump Viewing Facility and (soon) the VM Dump Tool. While there's no Linux-specific support in the dump readers, developing some would not be a huge effort (they both provide macro facilities and control block mapping functions).

"Two of the best advantages of VMDUMP are (1) it's always available, and (2) one command (VMDUMP 0-END) gets the information you need in almost all situations."

07/15/2002 - Lionel Dyck reported "You can download a 2 month free trial of WAS for zSeries Linux, and more from" the WebSphere Developer Domain.

07/16/2002 - Phil Payne reported an article which discusses Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's admission that Linux really is cheaper than Microsoft Windows®

07/16/2002 - There was a report that "Linux data" on an IBM RVA (Ramac Virtual Array) was not being compressed. After a fair amount of discussion, it seems that the observed symptoms were due to residual data on the RVA. That is, a file gets deleted, but the RVA works on track images, and so doesn't know that. Binaries are not very compressible, so it appears that compression is not working. If the files are overwritten with compressible data (such as all zeros) before being deleted (or in the process of being deleted), the RVA unit will compress it, and free up space for other uses.

07/18/2002 - Neale Ferguson posted links to three articles, "Wall Street's Secret Affair With Linux," "How a CTO Faced His Worst Nightmare," and "Russian Government Quiet About its Move Toward Linux."

07/18/2002 - Colman Fink posted a link to an article that talks about the impending "mainframe skills shortage." The first three paragraphs seem particularly clueless, but don't let that put you off.

07/18/2002 - Stefan Gybas gave another pointer to the parsecfg program for someone who was looking to install the patch against 2.4.17 for zipl. He also commented "You can download it from any of the 250 Debian mirrors in the directory /debian/pool/main/s/s390-tools/. The current s390-tools version in Debian is 0.0.20020226".

07/19/2002 - Florian La Roche posted a URL saying that it "has nice information on more recent glibc-2.3 and gcc-3.1 changes going on wrt performance tuning. Also Jakub Jelinek has implemented S/390 support for prelinking some time ago."

07/19/2002 - Jim Sibley donated a writeup on his findings of compression on IBM RVA devices with Linux/390.

07/19/2002 - Matt Zimmerman of the Debian Project announced the general availability of Debian GNU/Linux version 3.0 (woody). He went on to comment "This latest release of Debian is available for a total of 11 hardware architectures, including, for the first time, IBM S/390.

"As many of you already know, Debian GNU/Linux is a Linux distribution composed entirely of free software, maintained by a team of volunteers around the world. This means that all of the software in the Debian distribution can be obtained, used and modified for any purpose, free of charge.

Congratulations to all those who have worked to make Debian S/390 a reality."

Matt also gave pointers to the release notes and installation manual.

07/20/2002 - Terrence W. Zellers posted the URL of an article by Meta Group on Linux/390. Terrence commented that the main thrust of the article was "that applications is the big problem." The article had Meta's usual anti-Linux/390 bias to it. Mark Post commented "Until Meta group can figure out that Linux/390 has nothing to do with z/OS (or OS/390 or whatever they think runs on mainframes), I find it impossible to take seriously anything else they have to say on the topic."

07/22/2002 - Neale Ferguson reported a new IBM Redbook, "S/390 Partners in Development: EFS Systems on a Linux Base," SG24-6834. The abstract states
"A ThinkPad Enabled for S/390 (ThinkPad/EFS) or a Netfinity Enabled for S/390 (Netfinity/EFS) are the smallest S/390-compatible systems currently available that have been tested and approved by IBM. They are based on an IBM ThinkPad or Netfinity running Linux and the S/390 emulation product FLEX-ES. FLEX-ES is a product of Fundamental Software, Incorporated (FSI) of Fremont, California. The resulting system can run current S/390 operating systems, such as z/OS.

"Small systems such as these are attractive for education, development, and less demanding production operations. This IBM Redbook describes the installation and use of these systems, based on usage of a particular z/OS package."

07/22/2002 - Don Mulvey reported that Enterprise Volume Management System (EVMS) version 1.0.1 will allow formatting and partitioning of S/390 DASD from the EVMS user interface. He mentioned that the latest release of Debian only included version 1.0.0, which did not have this feature, and said that the source was available from Sourceforge. Stefan Gybas of the Debian project replied that another way to update the package would be to
"(temporarily) add the unstable distribution to /etc/apt/sourcs.list and then use
apt-get -t unstable install evms evms-cli evms-gui evms-ncurses
to install version 1.0.1. If you've set up apt-pinning [1] you can tell apt to always use the latest versions of some packages while sticking with the stable base system. That's an easy way to install Samba 2.2.5 with ACL support, for example."
[1] http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/apt-howto/ch-apt-get.en.html#s-pin

07/22/2002 - Mark Post reported a security alert for PHP 4.2.0 and 4.2.1. The vulnerability could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code on the web server with the privileges of the web server daemon. The recommendation was to install version 4.2.2, which contains a fix.

07/22/2002 - In response to some requests for more information about Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 for S/390, Stefan Gybas listed the following high points.

"We are shipping the standard Linux kernel 2.4.17 with these patches applied:

  • linux-2.4.17-s390.tar.gz from developerWorks (released on 2002.02.05)
  • linux-2.4.17-s390-1-lcs.tar.gz from developerWorks (released on 2002.03.04)
  • linux-2.4.17-s390-2.tar.gz from developerWorks (released on 2002.04.15)
  • a patch by Gerhard Tonn which adds support for a second initrd (this can be used for OCO modules by the installation system)
  • the cpint-patch by Neal Ferguson which allows to invoke CP commands from Linux
  • the cmsfs-patch by Rick Troth which enables read only access to CMS disks"
Stefan also talked about the LCS module being included, but not the qdio and qeth OCO modules. Also, "LVM, EVMS and the MD tools are included in the distribution but are not supported by the installation system. This means that you can install the Debian base system on a DASD and then use these tools to merge multiple DASDs into a single large volume for application and user data." He included more information. Refer to the following link for the full details.

07/22/2002 - Mark Post forwarded the URL to a series of articles on Linux on the Forbes web site. He said the articles are pretty short, but the fact that Forbes has a total of 13 Linux articles on their site seems significant in and of itself.

  • Special Report - The Cult Of Linux 08/01/2002
  • Biotech's Cut-Rate Supercomputer 07/19/2002
    A flood of gene data means small firms need lots of computer power, cheap. They get it from Linux.
  • Is Linux A Good Bet For Investors? 07/18/2002
    The open-source operating system gains traction, but publicly traded Linux firms are now scarce.
  • Checking E-Mail On Linux 07/18/2002
    Now everyone can find what they want with a much wider range of possibilities than on PCs.
  • Retail Therapy 07/17/2002
    A century-old retailer changes to Linux and cuts not only expenses, but aggravation too.
  • Browsing The Web On Linux 07/17/2002
    There are more options for Web-browsing with Unix than with Windows. Better yet, they're good ones.
  • Red Hat Lives In Microsoft's Crosshair 07/16/2002
    The tiny software firm is part of a group of Linux allies slowly chipping away at Microsoft's dominance.
  • Better Instant Messaging Through Linux 07/16/2002
    How Gaim, a free IM program coded by a college sophomore, became more fun than AOL and Microsoft.
  • Linux Not Just For Geeks Anymore 07/15/2002
    The Linux operating system is here to stay, but it's still got a long way to go.

07/22/2002 - Mark Kliner reported a Washington System Center flash, #10144, that talks about the limits on sharing an OSA-Express card running in QDIO mode. He was interested in knowing if the limit was on the number of IP addresses, which would affect multi-homed TCP/IP stacks, or the number of unique TCP/IP stacks. The answer was not the number of IP address, simply the number of unique TCP/IP stacks.

07/22/2002 - In response to a question about when Debian Linux/390 .iso images would be available, Mark Post responded that they could be found now, and provided a URL. Jason Strnad commented that Matt Zimmerman's 50MB "starter" disk image was a nice way to try out Debian under Hercules. He also gave a pointer to the Debian installation instructions which he described as "excellent."

07/23/2002 - Phil Payne reported a German language article about another Sun to Linux/390 consolidation. This one is being done by the T-Com subsidiary of Deutche Telekom. 25 Sun Solaris boxes are being replaced by an IBM zSeries.

07/24/2002 - In response to a comment about EVMS 1.0.1 (Enterprise Volume Management System) not being included in the recent Debian 3.0 release, Matt Zimmerman stated "Fortunately, there is no need to download and build EVMS 1.0.1 from sources, as EVMS 1.0.1 packages are available from Debian unstable. These packages are just as well tested as the 1.0.0 packages, and will work perfectly on a Debian 3.0 system. They are available for all Debian architectures, including S/390."

07/26/2002 - Gerhard Hiller of IBM reported the following update to the DeveloperWorks web site:

  • binutils recommended patch for kernel 2.4.7 and 2.4.17.
  • gcc 2.95.3 recommended patch each for kernel 2.4.7 and 2.4.17

07/26/2002 - Peter Webb contributed the URL to an article that starts off with "IBM and Linux combined represent a threat and inspiration as Microsoft Corp drives into enterprise computing, top company executives said yesterday." The rest of the article was mostly just a review of what those MS executives say that MS will be doing over the next year or two.

07/26/2002 - During a rather convoluted thread about the original IBM personal computers and the operating systems that were considered for it before DOS was selected, which branched off into comments about CP/M and the UCSD P-system, David Boyes commented "There is a pSystem emulator written in Pascal available..." "Running that through p2c produces a working p-Machine emulator, after hacking some minor filename parsing stuff. The resulting emulator will boot and run the UCSD OS images I have (I bypassed loading BOOT.CODE and BOOT.IMG, which are the system-specific parts)." Jim Melin responded "As long as you're building a new version.... port it to S/390 :)"

07/29/2002 - Adam Thornton reported a problem with the latest (June 17, 2002) version of the IBM OCO qdio module when using a Debian 3.0 kernel. The qeth module required that CONFIG_NET_FASTROUTE be configured, which caused netfilter to be bypassed. Stefan Gybas replied that the qeth and qdio modules from February 18, 2002, qdio-2.4.17-s390-1.tar.gz and qeth-2.4.17-s390-1.tar.gz work fine, and so would be the recommended versions of these modules for Debian 3.0.

07/29/2002 - Carsten Otte of IBM reported a problem: "With our latest 2.4.7 patches there is a problem with CMS reserved minidisk: As soon as you start to do I/O to a CMS reserved minidisk on a system with VM pseudo page fault support, the application doing the I/O hangs forever. The following patch applies on top of the developerworks patches and fixes the problem. Note, that the problem is already fixed on 2.4.17, this is a retrofit of the corresponding patch!"

The patch has been uploaded to the patches directory, since there doesn't seem to be any sign of it on IBM's DeveloperWorks site. There is a later patch file for 2.4.7, but it only seems to address an IUCV problem.

07/29/2002 - Daniel Jarboe reported a problem trying to install util-linux-2.11f-17.7.2.s390.rpm that he had rebuilt from source. RPM complained about a conflict between /sbin/fdisk in that package and the one from s390utils-20011109-6. In response to Daniel's question about the correct way to handle this, Karsten Hopp replied:
"The correct way would be to edit the util-linux.spec file and rebuild the package with the patched spec file.
Search for /sbin/fdisk in the %files section and either comment it out or better surround with ifnarch like this:"

%ifnarch s390 s390x

07/29/2002 - In response to a question about where the .config file for the Debian kernel was stored, Stefan Gybas replied "It's in /boot/config-2.4.17 if you install the kernel-image-2.4.17-s390 package. This package is not installed by default since the kernel and the modules are taken from the installer.
You can also extract the source package (on any architecture) using
apt-get source kernel-image-2.4.17-s390
and get the config from config_deb/default."

07/30/2002 - Richard Hitt of UTS Global reported that UTS Global had figured out what was causing a problem with 3270 console and terminal support on SuSE 7.2 systems. He posted the URL to the replacement packages for the shadow and sysvinit packages. Source RPMs for both packages are available in the same directory if you prefer those. The memo.html file on the server gives all the details on what causes the problem, and checksums for the various files, etc. Richard also provided the URL to UTS Global's "new 3270 FAQ for hints on how to start using 3270 devices on any 2.4 Linux distribution."

07/31/2002 - Gerhard Hiller of IBM reported the following update to the DeveloperWorks web site:

  • kernel 2.4.17 recommended patch and OCO-modules with bug-fixes and enhancements. Note that z90crypt is provided in open-source as part of the kernel patch.
  • binutils recommended patch with bug-fixes (replacing binutils in the "May 2002 stream")
  • glibc 2.2.5 recommended patch with bug-fix
  • s390-tools 1.1.2 with bug-fixes and enhancements (replacing s390-tools 1.1.1 in the "May 2002 stream")
  • gdb 5.2.1 recommended patch with bug-fixes (replacing gdb 5.1.1 in the "May 2002 stream")
  • lkcdutils-4.1 patch with enhancements
  • src_vipa (source VIPA) 1.0.1 update with bug-fix
  • updated manuals
Note that gcc 3.1.1 (and 3.2, when available) replaces gcc 3.1 in the "May 2002 stream"

07/31/2002 - Mark Post sent a note to the list that he had discovered that there was some corruption in Neale Ferguson's "quiesce" patches that are available on the patches page. Neale provided updated versions for the patches, so anyone who might have downloaded them previously should get a new copy to make sure they're correct. Mark also commented that there is no 2.4.7 version for the s390x architecture (64-bit).

07/31/2002 - In response to a problem someone was having with Apache not starting, Mark Post told them that installing mm-1.1.3-35.s390.rpm would correct the problem. Stefan Gybas responded by reminding everyone that "This version has a temporary file vulnerability which can be exploited to gain root access. You should not install this version on a public web server since this race could be used in conjunction with a remote exploit for Apache (e.g. based on OpenSSL or PHP4)."

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