IBM is porting the open source operating system Linux to its venerable S/390 mainframe systems.
However, the OS will only run on a partitioned system that is also running OS/390. Linux applications will rely on the OS/390 for disk and network access.
In order to allow Linux to run on the mainframe some changes in the S/390 architecture had to be made, so that the architecture more resembles a standard Unix server. The intelligent I/O processors will now be attached directly to the system bus, thereby making the control programs simpler.
Senior Specialist Svend Erik Bach, IBM Technical Support S/390 Nordic Region, confirmed the plans for putting Linux on the S/390. The first hardware to use the new architecture is a Gigabit LAN controller already on the market, but more products will follow.