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Sun Bashes Linux on (IBM) Mainframes

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the these-aren't-the-servers-you're-looking-for dept.

Linux 519

dagbrown writes: "An article linked from Sun's front page, entitled "Linux on the mainframe: Not a good idea" by Shahin Khan, Sun's chief competitive officer, has the interesting theory that Linux on mainframes makes no sense because, among other things, the VM/Linux combo isn't a very good match. What do the folks on Slashdot think?"

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fp, sissies (-1)

real_b0fh (557599) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054394)

lick it

Re:fp, sissies (-1)

SweetAndSourJesus (555410) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054409)

(licks it)


Re:fp, sissies (-1)

GoatTroll (556420) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054424)

Did it taste sweet, or did it taste sour?

Re:fp, sissies (-1)

SweetAndSourJesus (555410) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054482)

Little from column a, little from column b.

Re:fp, sissies (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054460)

In fact, you are the first idiot to post here.

Well I think Linux SUCKS MY ASS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054395)

so there

Re:Well I think Linux SUCKS MY ASS! (-1)

Carp Flounderson (542291) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054594)

In a related story today, Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda released a press announcement where he publicly modded Sun Microsystems -1 (off-topic). Sun's stock price plumeted sharply.


GoatTroll (556420) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054399)

In light of the new URL convention for slashdot ( where SECTION can be apple, ask, ..., etc.) which looks suspiciously MS IIS-like, I just queried Netcraft to find out what type of server the site is running. The results were astonishing!

The site is running Microsoft-IIS/5.0 on Windows 2000.

... same with,,,, and CmdrTaco and company have SOLD THEIR SOULS to the EVIL EMPIRE!! MICROSOFT HAS WON!! It is entirely likely that they have been bought by Mr. Gates and company. This end result was predicted here [] .

Propz to all crapflooders........

It makes sense... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054401)

Like Solaris on pc

this isnt about linux its about IBMs success (2, Insightful)

mAIsE (548) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054546)

sounds like they have more of a problem with IBM than with linux.

Interesting read. (1, Redundant)

gmplague (412185) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054403)

Looks like an interesting read to me. But it seems like it is logical for sun to do this. They're still trying with their fledgling solaris, I'm sure this kind of bashing goes on at every company.

Really? (2, Funny)

TheReverand (95620) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054415)

Actually, I thought Sun would be saying lots of nice things about their arch-rival, and complimenting them on their excellent choice of operating system.

Re:Interesting read. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054428)

Moderators wake up! The article is an interesting read, not the parent post!

Re:Interesting read. (-1)

l33t j03 (222209) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054602)

Except at VA, because there aren't any employees since the last round of layoffs.

first post (-1, Redundant)

iNiTiUM (315622) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054404)

:-P couldnt resist

What the hell.... FP (-1, Redundant)

drkich (305460) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054405)


Maybe not, (2, Informative)

Cardhore (216574) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054411)

But free software on a mainframe isn't bad. Remeber, we also have such things as "FreeBSD", "OpenBSD"; also "NetBSD." Yes, they're new to me too.

Re:Maybe not, (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054581)

Stop toting the BSD bandwagon you fucking idiot. Each flavour has their strengths and weaknesses, and only an amateur or novice would blatantly group them all together as good for the mainframe (TM). Please. Do yourself a favour. In the words of obnoxious teenagers your age, "Shut the fuck up, `n00b'(sic)".

Re:Maybe not, (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054595)


Of Course not! (1, Informative)

Dragonshed (206590) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054417)

Why would it be a good idea when you can buy Sun machines with Solaris, and get much more quality computing power for your dollar!

All this is is Sun actively protecting their brand.

my 0.025$

Re:Of Course not! (2, Funny)

JWW (79176) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054498)

Yeah I love their talk about utilization. Oh no i f you buy one of these IBM boxes you have to plan out what your peak utilization is!!!

And if you buy some sun machines to do the same thing you have to .... ummmm ... plan out what your peak utilization is!!

The add that the server can't dynamically create more utilization capacity (extra hardware) dynamically. If anyone out there were selling a box that could do that, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. First we'd need some good nanobots, or maybe a replicator.....

Sun is not Linux's friend (3, Insightful)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054421)

From a Linux advocates point of view, there isn't much difference between Sun and Microsoft. Don't be fooled by the saying "My enemy's enemy is my friend", because it doesn't apply here.

Besides, Sun will attack IBM at any chance it gets.

Re:Sun is not Linux's friend (3, Insightful)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054454)

Yes it does - as long as the tactics that made MS "our" "enemy" aren't shared by the enemies enemy.

In other words, FUD is bad, even if it's pro-Linux or pro-BSD. Embrace and Extend into open source is debatable. Closed source isn't so much the enemy, imo, as the crap that a few companies have pulled with it.


Linux on anything is good. (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054423)

Because the more machine types it's used on, the better it will become, and the more people will use it.

Beautiful in principle, but we will see how the sheeple react.

btw, what do you think the majority of /.ers are gonna say? Linux sucks? Come on ;)

I disagree (4, Interesting)

Starship Trooper (523907) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054425)

Running Linux on a mainframe doesn't change the fact that you must still maintain an expensive, proprietary system, defeating the whole purpose of introducing open standards like Linux.

Running Linux on an IBM mainframe doesn't defeat the entire purpose of using open standards like Linux. You still get the man years of free testing, free software, interoperability, and speed. Or rather, IBM gets them. And by tying software you can't charge for to hardware you can, IBM will have come up with a business model for selling Linux systems for incredible sums of money. Quite an ingenious plan - selling Free Software.

Sun's just pissed they didn't think of it first.

Re:I disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054465)

"an expensive, proprietary system"

Like a Sun workstation?

Re:I disagree (2)

Starship Trooper (523907) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054508)

"an expensive, proprietary system" Like a Sun workstation?

Kind of, but orders of magnitude more expensive. So expensive they come with a repairman, know what I mean?

Re:I disagree (2, Informative)

sbuckhopper (12316) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054561)

Say, like an Sun E10000 or Sun E15000 which costs a ton more than that IBM server quoted (for about the same power)...oh yeah, and Sun won't let you buy one unless you order a service contract...meaning, they come with a repair man.

Re:I disagree (1)

bigmouth_strikes (224629) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054532)

"...standards like Linux."

I'm sure you mean "the single standardized Linux distribution."

I actually worked on Linux on a Mainframe... (4, Informative)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054426)

And it was a serious pain in the ass. There were problems with the virtual machine suddenly giving up the ghost from underneath us, and we'd see Samba processes go wild for no reason whatsoever. We had load averages spike well into the hundreds, and it was like we were always scrambling to keep it running, as opposed to setting it up and just having it work. We used to tell the students that the machine had caught on fire and had (literally) fallen over. We were even thinking of doing up artwork.

All those impressive demos where they have 32 hojillion instances of linux running on a mainframe are meaningless. Sure, you can do it, but it doesn't do anything. If you try actually working with the setup, you'll be rebooting your machine 10 times a day, and those mothers take forever to freakin' reboot.

Re:I actually worked on Linux on a Mainframe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054511)

Nice try. What is your job title at Sun? Anyone who has tried to use Linux on a Mainframe knows it works suite.

Re:He's the CFO (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054536)

Chief FUD Officer

Re:I actually worked on Linux on a Mainframe... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054562)

You're every so fucking clever. I know, accuse him of working at Microsoft!! Great idea!

Re:I actually worked on Linux on a Mainframe... (2)

Spamuel (246002) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054619)

So if he works at Sun his opinion is automatically suspect, is that what your saying? Wouldn't that also make your opinion suspect because you're a Linux user?

Re:I actually worked on Linux on a Mainframe... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054573)

I smell a StUNnned employee. Linux on everything "OH YEA MACHO MAN RANDY SAVAGE!"

Hey - me too! (5, Funny)

SubtleNuance (184325) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054613)

And it was a seriously easy. There were never a problem with the virtual machine suddenly giving up the ghost from underneath us, and we'd never loose a Samba process for any reason whatsoever. We had load averages that were very normal, and it was like we were always scrambling to find new reasons to use it, as opposed to setting it up and just having forgetting about it. We used to tell the students that the machine was seriously hot, and it would never fall-over. We were even thinking of doing up artwork -- AND STARTING A RELIGION!

All those impressive demos where they have 32 hojillion instances of linux running on a mainframe are so meaningfull. Sure, you can do without it, but it will do everything. If you try actually working with the setup, you never have to reboot your machine -- instead of doing it 10 times a day, and those other take forever to freakin' reboot.

But who are you going to believe, ummm, me or ummmmm, that other guy.


Who cares... (-1)

SkullRape (96773) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054429)

...what people on slashdot think. Maybee one percent of slashdot's visitors actualy have a *CLUE* about corporate or even just general computing enviorments beyond their home PC. Most of them are windowz posers who boot into RedHad to be 1337. Some of the questions posted in the comment sections prove this.
"I just read about ARP poisoning. How do I disable arp to be more secure?"
Clueless fucking idiots.

...troll (0, Troll)

Drunken_Jackass (325938) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054430)

Too bad you can't moderate a whole story...this is a troll if ever saw one!

No, it's marketing (2)

TheReverand (95620) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054459)

There is actually a difference, apparently. You see, trolling involves making up facts to support an argument, whereas marketing involves, erm...

Are you kidding?! (0, Troll)

Neck_of_the_Woods (305788) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054431)

Sometimes I think your just baiting people. This should be interesting.

The next one will be, "Microsoft Claims it can server webpages 2x Faster on IIS3.0 than Apache!".

Stand back, even water will not save you from the flames!

Re:Are you kidding?! (2)

nomadic (141991) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054456)

Why do /. posters insist that everything they don't agree with MUST be a troll? You know, maybe he really believes what he's saying, and isn't just writing it in order to get a response from you personally.

Re:Are you kidding?! (1)

Neck_of_the_Woods (305788) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054497)

No I did not take this personally I was just saying stand back, people here are not going to like this. Honestly I could really care less as it has no effect on my world, I am just a gimp that has to run in my wheel of Microsoft to pay for my jeep, boat, and surfboards. I smile while I do also.

My point, ahhhh well it was this whole story is going to look like one big troll. That was all, enjoy.

Re:Are you kidding?! (-1)

SumDeusExMachina (318037) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054501)

That's not really what he's talking about. What he means is that the Slashdot editors are trolling by deliberately posting an article which they know will get an avalanche of poorly-written, angry responses refuting it. But, hey, they need the banner hits to stay afloat, so it's justified, right?

I don't agree with you. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054571)

You must be a troll!

What about independent testing (2, Insightful)

javacodewarrior (315863) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054433)

Like the man said, this sounds like the normal responce from sun, I'm sure Microsoft should have simular arguments for why MS is better. Unless we get a complete third party to analysis with no aligence to any OS. And maybe on that day pigs will fly.

Activity and mud throwing may be a good thing. (3, Interesting)

suso (153703) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054438)

This may sound a bit odd, but it could be that the mud throwing that Sun is doing could end up being A Good Thing(tm) for all Un*xes just because it bring s more media attention to our community. Sun isn't directly saying that Linux sucks or that it's worse than NT or whatever, they are drawling attention to the use of Linux on mainframes of all things. So the drawn out fact that Linux is being used on Mainframes and being acknowledged by two major companies could result in good juju.

New title? (2, Interesting)

Ded Bob (67043) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054441)

Chief Competitive Officer? I have never heard this title before. Is it new?

Re:New title? (2, Funny)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054535)

Yeah, his job is to sling FUD at the competition.

Re:New title? (2)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054586)


For those not familiar with Terry Pratchett, that would be something like a 'spin doctor'.

For those familiar with Terry Pratchett; that would presumably be Sun speak for 'head liar'. ;-)

Every company should have one. Actually, come to think of it, every company probably does have one ;-)

Re:New title? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054591)

I believe this is a pretty common position, at least in tech companies. I know Palm has one for keeping track of Pocket PC.

I think... (1, Offtopic)

sterno (16320) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054443)

...that to really make a fair comparison, I'll need access to a mainframe running Linux. So, if Sun would be so kind, please send me a mainframe so that I can check your conclusions. I promise that I'll write a very thorough article in exchange.

Solaris (1)

Ashcrow (469400) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054444)

It seems that Sun is a bit scared about Solaris losing out to Linux. They are both Unix(-like), both solve the same problems but Linux does it cheaper and allows you to look ath the source code. While Sun has used Linux to gain money and new friends (penguin computing) they would rather do their own controlling from Solaris.

Sun is selling Solaris (1)

npietraniec (519210) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054445)

...Plain and simple. Sun wants to sell solaris, and IBM is competing with them. This shouldn't suprise anybody... Plus, they have a point about the VM. 2.4 VM still needs work if you want to run it on a mainframe. Not taking $$ into account, Solaris would probably be a better choice.

Re:Sun is selling Solaris (1)

Ded Bob (67043) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054551)

How much does Sun charge for Solaris on their mainframes (or are they called Enterprise Servers)?

Nope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054583)

Sun sells hardware and service/support contracts. They give the OS away for free. My guess is that they bash linux here because either it actually doesn't run as well on their hardware, or they don't feel like spending time/money training their support people to troubleshoot a foreign OS.

More info here: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054447)

Link []

And how many Solaris VM's can I run? (1)

Halo- (175936) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054450)

Perhaps the point is that the user might not want to have to buy a seperate box for each of their customers. Maybe Sun wouldn't be so upset if they had a similiar technology. (Which they don't, to my knowledge... at least not to the same level of scalability)

Can't blame em... (5, Interesting)

iNiTiUM (315622) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054451)

For a company that is planning on dropping all support for x86 in the first place, does this really surprise you? as a sun tech myself i totally see there point. Especially when the mainframes they refer to require another proprietary OS to run on top Linux. The article makes some good points, but this is also standard sun marketing.

Sun: A solution looking for a problem

Re:Can't blame em... (4, Informative)

sxpert (139117) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054541)

ok, I have to answer this bull alltoguether

I'm an IBM tech (not speaking for IBM, of course) and can tell all that the "proprietary Operating system" they are talking about is not really an OS, more like a virtual machine that handles all other oses. This virtual machine is n implementation of the S390 architecture that will handle several "virtual computers" at the same time by the use of multiple "virtual processors", each one used for a "virtual computer", with each having it's own PC, virtual memory handling and all.

Re:Can't blame em... (1)

yesthatguy (69509) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054609)

Can you essentially/actually/theoretically run different OSes on each of those "virtual computers"? This is, of course, assuming the OS was written and compiled to work on the architecture. That could be pretty neat, having one machine that masquerades as a bunch of different types of computers.

Is this a suprise? (2, Insightful)

re-Verse (121709) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054453)

Microsoft says the same thing. Does this make it true? No

If anything, this is a really good sign for the ever maturing linux operating system. Of Course sun would want to move people away from an open source, free operating system, over to their 'paid for' one. And if they can't do that by simply saing "don't use linux, use solaris", it makes a lot of sense for their marketers to simply say "don't use linux, its bad... and scary". It still cuts out a potential threat to them.

I figure if IBM says that IBM is ready for linux, i will trust that a lot more than solaris saying IMB isn't ready for linux.

Not that i have anything agasint sun, or solaris.. i respect sun and what its doen, and been through.. i just question the reasoning for this 'article'.

Sun says our product is better that other product (1)

Penrod Pooch (466103) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054455)

News at 11.

It would go better on SatireWire (2)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054462)

You know, like this [] .

That was the original idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054467)

running linux on x86 was the original idea of linus
back in 1991.
linux has come a long way from it. if linux can
run on sparc, alpha , x86, PPC
why cant it run and scale in a VM environment ??
say what u may mainframes are mainframes, and
add linux to them u have a win win situation.

sun would be better off showing strengths of
its own product line than try something like this.

reminds me of the M$ FUD about Embeded Linux and
Embede Win XP.

sun un (1)

nikkatsu (522113) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054473)

yawn. yaaaawwwwnn. wouldn't it like be funny if they said the exact opposite, hunh, wouldn't it? wouldn't it be funny?

IBM milking mainframe monopoly (5, Informative)

ChrisRijk (1818) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054474)

Just a little FYI:

With Amdahl checking out of the mainframe business it seems IBM has decided to raise mainframe prices significantly - it's actually charged more for the same performance in 2001 than in 2000! This is why IBM's mainframe revenues increased by a fair bit between 2000 and 2001 (while it's PC and Unix revenue dropped). Mainframe revenue accounts for about half of IBM's total server revenue...

Obvious (0)

johnhyland (187827) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054475)

What do the folks on Slashdot think?

Come on. What do you think the folks on Slashdot think? I don't know the first thing about mainframes, but I assure you that the folks on Slashdot think that any suggestion that Linux is not the best solution to everything is pure FUD, Linux r0x0rs, rah rah, the unstoppable might of open source will surely roll over any puny opposition unwise enough to stand in their way.

That may or may not be true in this case - like I said, I don't know the first thing about mainframes and I haven't even read the article. I'm just saying it's pretty silly to ask slashdot if anyone should use Linux.

Yea Right, what ever!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054478)

Sun's bull shit. Just trying to make Solaris look good. But we don't buy it for one moment, do we!

CCO? (4, Insightful)

selan (234261) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054483)

I'm not sure what to think about the fact that Sun has a "Chief Competitive Officer." Please tell me that there's more to the guy's job than spreading FUD about the competition.

Misrepresented article.. (5, Insightful)

XaXXon (202882) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054485)

This article is misrepresented as bashing Linux. It doesn't say that Linux isn't up to the job of running on a mainframe as much as it says that many of the benefits Linux offers are lost when running it on such a system -- basically bashing IBM's solution, not Linux.

Finding mainframe staffing is an obstacle in many organizations(6); combining mainframe and Linux staffing further complicates the matter. Running multiple Linux images still requires administration that needs to grow with the number of images being run.

This statement applies no matter what operating system you choose, you still have to find people who know the hardware. And as with all VM systems, you have to actively administrate each image. This statement is Linux agnostic.

Although z/VM can start and stop Linux images, it cannot dynamically add resources to match demand. As a result, a mainframe would need to size for peak demand just as the Linux farm would; high utilization is a myth.

Again.. Linux isn't repsonsible for the machine not being able to dynamically allocate resources to over-utilized images, it's a hardware/underlying OS issue.

Applications that run on Linux for Intel need to be recompiled and recertified for each new platform; thus the application portfolio to run Linux on a mainframe is small

Duh. It's a different architecture.

So, SUN isn't really bashing Linux, they're bashing their competitor, IBM. No real news here. SUN is very careful not to say "Linux sucks", because they have Linux offerings, they're just saying that customers should buy the SUN/Solaris solution for their high-end systems, not the IBM/Linux solution. I'm sure we'll see something from IBM soon.


Re:Misrepresented article.. (1)

mozkill (58658) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054526)

good analysis of the article. :-) i agree with you.

Re:Misrepresented article.. (4, Informative)

sxpert (139117) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054554)

Although z/VM can start and stop Linux images, it cannot dynamically add resources to match demand. As a result, a mainframe would need to size for peak demand just as the Linux farm would; high utilization is a myth.

This is total bullshit, check the IBM RedBooks on z/VM

You know when it's a good idea ... (1)

linuxdoctor (126962) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054500)

... when you have detractors.

Well, they said that man could never fly and that he would never make it to the moon. Linux on mainframes IS a good idea, especially when someone says that it isn't.

So what if those who have a vested interest cook up reasons that say it can't or shouldn't be done? The more they rail against it, the more someone will find a good reason that it could and that it should.

Let them fume and sputter all they want. Linux has already changed the world, and for the better too. Sun's self interested objections leave me unmoved.

Yann yllaa leeten ya! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054502)

This is shit! No one WANTS a beowulf cluster of these.

How do you get this job? (1)

JordanH (75307) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054504)

  • ...Shahin Khan, Sun's chief competitive officer...

Is there an MBA with a concentration in Competition?

Do you have to be veteran of an Olympic team?

Is a qualification for the chief competitive officer that he/she be loud and has to interrupt a lot?

Doing a quick Google Search, I see that Palm has one of these. The Sun guy didn't turn up there. Must be a new thing.

Linux isn't the target of the bashing? (1)

jone1941 (516270) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054510)

This story isn't about bashing linux and it's place on a mainframe. It's on the use of a propriotary os to provide a virtual machine for any os not designed to be run in a virtual maching in the first place.

No need to start flame wars about how sun is trying to knock Linux (mostly because there isn't anything to knock).

It should be noted though, the fact that they compare pricing of a 1 cpu mainframe to a 1U rackmount is insane. What they don't talk about is the fact that
  • NO ONE
buys a single cpu room sized mainframe (at least now that venture capitol has dried up).

Benefits of the mainframe (1, Informative)

kick_in_the_eye (539123) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054512)

The benefits of the mainframe are plenty. Awsome uptime, its in years, not months. Amazing I/O and storage capabilities. ESCON is unbelievable in the way it works, sharing I/O through timeslicing it. Time slicing CPUs. What you can do on the new Sunfires (Ex800 and E15K) are pretty minimal compared to the slicing and dicing of mainframe. Its more a story of hardware than software. The best solution would be Solaris on the mainframe :-)

cough, cough (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054513)

I can hear an auditorium full of geeks coughing into their hands:


"That's it, you are all on double-plus probation!

What about AIX? (0)

YourMissionForToday (556292) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054523)

I've worked with Solaris, AIX, and Linux, and AIX is my favorite OS of the three (my company's inventory database runs on AIX). I love SMIT, it's lean, text-based, yet very user friendly.

I admit that I don't have any experience running Linux on Big Iron, but it seems that these custom, proprietary Unices always work great on their hardware.

Linux was originally intended to be a cheap way to get that UNIX-type functionality (running it on commodity hardware). Putting it on big iron seems backwards to me.

FUDnews.. (3, Insightful)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054530)

This sounds like FUD news.. actually it sounds like something Microsoft would spread. I guess Sun see Linux as competition. The question then becomes which is really more powerful on a cost basis: Linux/MF or Sun/Solaris. Now one would have to look at the actual cost of the MF running Linux and how it performs vs a Sun comparaible hardware running Solaris 8-9 or whatever. Yes Sun does have MF sized servers.

Next thing to do would be to ask someone that recently switched to linux on the mainframe, like ebay... hope one of the links below still works... l ml inux000517.html ess/ecommerce/stories/45234.html

Makes sense to me (2, Insightful)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054533)

People these days seem to forget about the overhead of interpretters and virtual machines. If the article is correct, then the z800's running zVM emulate Intel x86 architecture in order to run Linux. Heck, even poorly written native compiled code generally has advantages over such a set up.

There are however, notable exceptions, given the nature of mainframe processors, if all of your apps are written unoptimized for such a system, then you would want to unify them in a familiar abstraction, given a close enough match, this makes Linux a natural choice. Of course, why would you buy an expensive mainframe and not optimize for it?

To the naysayers slamming Sun as merely trying to boost SunOS, well, yeah, they are, but lets look at the situation.

1) Sun still has SunFire servers, which are QUITE powerful.
2) Solaris is no longer competing with HP-UX, since HP-UX is no more. Sun sells windows and linux based solutions. In other words, Sun has no reason to just blindly nay-say against Linux. As far as exploiting Linux for being a hot technology, well, they're doing that too. That's business for you, you gotta do what you gotta do.

In otherwords, the z800 isn't exactly slaughtering Sun's business, but you gotta have whitepapers to back up your statements when you're bidding to large customers. Saying "just cuz" isn't good enough. Sun's scoring one for the people who want to buy their products. It's not "slamming linux."

Hands-on experience with Linux on a mainframe (5, Informative)

ciurana (2603) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054534)

I agree mostly with the article because I recently evaluated an IBM mainframe against an AIX SP2 and a Solaris 4-processor server. Most of the issues in the article, particularly performance, are right on.

The application we were testing was extremely processor and memory intensive. While there was a web component, the biggest problem was moving a large number of bitmaps in one format into the server, convert them from base 64 to a binary representation, rasterize them, and convert them to a "browser friendly" format such as JPEG, GIF, or PNG. We had to complete hundreds (> 200) of these operations per second.

I really wanted to use Linux because most of my staff is familiar with it and our customer felt warm and fuzzy about using IBM equipment. At the end of the day, however, the Linux mainframe only gave us 25% of the minimum speed that we needed for our process to be successful. IBM and a certain German Linux company tweaked everything they could but the performance wasn't there. The AIX vs. Solaris match was more evenly paired. My customer decided on Solaris because they offered a few advantages in Java tools that AIX didn't have. All vendor's boxes had equivalent processor and memory configurations.

I would like to spread the Linux credo as far and wide as possible. What we must understand is that, in order to make Linux a viable option in mission-critical applications (the kind of thing sitting on a mainframe), the performance and "hardening" of something like MVS must be present. Linux just isn't there yet.

Disclaimer: I'm under NDA so that's why some aspects of this posting are a bit vague. Drop me an email if you want more details regarding our experience but our conversation will be "off the record."

Have a nice wknd,


ACES (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054539)


Yes, I own all of you. You wish you had my l33t first posting skills.

The FUD heard round the world... (4, Interesting)

Duderstadt (549997) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054544)

As the infamous Halloween Documents stated, Linux is primarily a threat to proprietary *NIX setups.

Now, Sun offers up the ultimate proof: Linux is just fine as long as it impacts the x86 world - but don't dare put it on a platform that affects us.

To be fair, IBM's offering is not perfect - yet. What Sun is preparing for is a future Linux and Big Iron combo that will be. They are afraid, and this FUD is the proof.

Sounds like the same thing I'd say if... (1)

neilb78 (557698) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054545)

I were in his shoes....

Pure crap (3, Insightful)

swagr (244747) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054549)

And Linux isn't designed to run in a virtual machine; implementation decisions that make sense on PC hardware don't fit well in a virtual machine(4). This is Linux. It's designed for Intel. It's not tuned for the mainframe hardware in which it's running.
  • Contradiction: If it's running on the VM, why should it be tuned for the hardware??? Shouldn't the VM worry about hardware tuning?
  • Does he know that the low level stuff in linux/arch was written at IBM, not some open source hacker?
  • Does he know that Linus' point in making the kernel more modular is so that it's NOT designed for intel???

What about validity of their aguments. (1)

Petrus (17053) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054550)

All seem to be rather moot points.
It's free layer on proprietery z/VM, no problem.
Linux is not as optimized as z/OS, well, it has other values.
VM and Linux engineers are different sorts - well, anynone can learn.

But what about this one.
Would it be true that disk cashing would be
What about the cost issue: what is cheaper, faster, smaller, less power hungry and services more users: server farm with 100 servers or one mainframe?

They are not really saying much against IBM,

What is it with these Sun guys? (2, Funny)

lhand (30548) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054553)

They keep shooting themselves in the foot wrt the Open Source crowd. Now the've reloaded and started shooting again. You'd think they would have run out of ammo by now.

One of the beauties of Linux is that it can be ported to so many different platforms easily. Sun uses it and then goes on to say IBM shouldn't? wtf? There are valid reasons to run Linux in multiple virtual machines. I even do it here on my PC.

Note to self: Must drink less coffee....

Like You Didn't know the answer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054563)

"VM/Linux combo isn't a very good match. What do the folks on Slashdot think?"

GEE I WONDER???? It's like walking into a church and telling all the people "My friend said Jesus doesn't love you. Do you all agree with that statement?" PLEEEEEZE!

Linux not ready for Mainframes (2, Informative)

rlangis (534366) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054567)

Wasn't there a story not too long ago that mentioned how Sun was going to support Linux on lower-end machines, but NOT on the high-end Enterprise [] systems? (bah, I can't find the link) Anyway, people were saying "Well, Linux isn't ready for Enterprise-type systems yet, so keeping the proprietary *nices on these systems isn't a big deal."

Now, Sun comes right out and says this, and people start complaining? Sure, perhaps Sun is trolling for /. Yeah, right.

You may think I'm biased: I work for Sun, after all. Don't get me wrong - I'd absolutely *love* to take one of the *THIRTY* E10k's I have sitting around me at the moment and install Linux on it. Or, rather - I'd love to TRY. But I don't have any real notion that any version of Linux, AS IT STANDS RIGHT NOW, will work as well as Solaris on that box.

Sure, Solaris isn't very user-friendly. GNU/Solaris (Solaris with GNU Tools) is better, but still not anywhere near what most Linux folks are used to when it comes to command-line fun. However, Solaris is *made* to work with Sun hardware. And it does, very well.

I doubt it highly that someone is going to go buy a US$4M E10k/E15k box and start porting Solaris tools and system utilities *just* so people can run Linux on those systems. Right now, the only reason people have installed Linux at ALL on those systems is for bragging rights.

If you want to outlay the cash and start-a-porting, I applaud you. I really do. But I won't hold my breath.

Sour Grapes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054568)

I think this is just sour grapes - Sun didn't think of doing this on their Starfires or whatever they call their big(ish) iron, so they're bashing IBM.


They're probably right. (1)

Rebel Patriot (540101) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054569)

Linux on the mainframe just doesn't compute. Linux isn't designed to run in a virtual machine; implementation decisions that make sense on PC hardware don't fit well in a virtual machine.

Hate to say it but they're probably right. Linux is 32 bit code made to run on a 32 bit processor. Remember when the 386 came out? DOS ran slower on most 386's, but the new windows ran much faster on a 386 than a 286. While I haven't personally ported linux to a 64-bit processor, it seems likely that you would have more performance issues with the "upgrade." Take for example these benchmarks from tomshardware [] .

These dual proccessor motherboards both scored worse in kernel compilations with both processors active! It was faster to run the kernel compilation on a single processor. While two 32-bit CPUs != 1 64-bit CPU, it does illustrate how a major hardware change can make linux (or indeed any OS) flounder around.

Sun should go to hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054580)

Sun is worse than even Microsoft when it comes to this kind of thing. They claim to be embracing Linux but make it very clear that its use is to be limited to end of network solutions and "real systems" such as those based on Solaris should be used for the real work. At least Microsoft's stance on Linux is consistent. Linux on the IBM mainframe is clearly an enormous danger to Sun, whose enterprise servers will be competing in the same space.
Right now I can see some reasons why people would want Solaris as opposed to Linux for various reasons especially in larger "enterprise" systems. Unfortunately for Sun, those reasons are decreasing on an almost daily basis. At its current rate of progress is would be quite reasonable to assume that the feature set offered by the Linux kernel will surpass that of the Solaris kernel within the next few years. I would love to see Sun either edged out of the market or forced to compete by doing something innovative besides talking trash and suing their competitors.

Legitimate concerns (1)

pamdirac (184338) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054582)

On the one hand, Sun appears to be lashing out at a competitor.

On the other hand, this article raises some legitimate concerns that IBM will have to address. But they don't have to convince me. They only need to convince their customers.

As far as I'm concerned, good business or not, running Linux in every possible context makes it stronger.

Their strategy (2)

percey (217659) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054588)

There's an article here on cnet [] news that explains the whole thing. They don't want you to go after the much more powerful and robust linux system that IBM has and go for their version of Linux for smaller systems. The alarming thing is that they are producing their OWN version of Linux, not using Redhat or another company. And also IBM I understand is doing this too. This can't be a good thing for linux at all. Proprietary versions of linux? Or perhaps some people think it'd be okay if its just branded, I just don't think its a good idea at all.
I think they want to utilize the benefits of linux however they do not want to allow Linux to creep into the larger servers where Sun dominates. And IBM which has AIX 5L (AIX w/linux compatibility) and now a special Linux for the mainframe it directly challenges their most valuable property, solaris which is valuable because all that software is made for it which makes people buy sun systems.
You find the program you need to run and then look at the systems running it, and unless you're already running AIX or HP-UX your first choice is probably Sun (and sun is usually always a choice). Now Linux comes in, becomes this pervasive server software and Solaris doesn't really look as hot as it did anymore.

screw Them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054589)

Is that how it goes? The one minute they support linux and the other they bash it?
I think it is time to start learning C#. Java is slower than a mule anyways.

Bashing is pointless. (1)

wo1verin3 (473094) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054603)

Like all the other alternatives. Linux is a solution. It's not the solution for everything, it's not the answer to lifes problems, but it's a solution in some cases.

I think Sun's is WAY out of line making such a broad and unqualified statement.

Ok... (1)

Warthog9 (100768) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054605)

So if sun doesn't think that the VM in the Linux kernel isn't for Mainframes, I don't see them making a good suggestion for how to improve it, but just bashing the current philosophy. If you are going to crticize, at least make it constructive Sun.

As for my thoughts on the issue directly and against Sun, if linux runs on a mainframe people will find the problems that exsist for linux on the platform and begin striding towards correcting those, the same way with any problem (I'll take the StrongARM processor that my linux iPAQ runs) it's not perfect but it's being worked on and thats why linux keeps going because people go "hey lets try and make this work on here because it would make job X easier" and they do it..... now if only I could re-program my toaster.

Slashdotters read this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3054614)


Good. Now the mainframe propblem, if there is a problem, is gone.

Sun is just mad.. (1)

gh0ul (71352) | more than 12 years ago | (#3054624)

Sun Microsystems is just mad because IBM made it there before they did?
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