IBM Embraces Linux on the Mainframe

SAN MATEO (05/17/2000) - Further extending an olive branch to the open-source community, IBM Corp. today announced its formal support for the popular Linux operating system on its S/390 line of servers after what Big Blue officials called a groundswell of demand by users of the enterprise-level servers.

After reporting more than 2,100 free downloads of the Linux kernel since it was made available for the S/390 last January, IBM will now step up its support for open-source S/390 Linux through its IBM Global Services and through freshly penned distribution deals with Linux providers SuSE Linux and TurboLinux.

With Wednesday's announcement, two independent software vendors -- Computer Associates and BMC Software -- also committed their support to IBM's Linux push with plans to develop an array of software designed to run on the Linux-powered S/390 servers.

"This is a major step forward for the formalization of support for Linux on S/390," said IBM spokesperson Fernando L. Cruz.

IBM will be offering three ways to run Linux on the S/390 servers, including:

-- native, meaning Linux runs the entire server without the assistance of another operating system;-- in a logical partition (LPAR), where the S/390 server hardware is partitioned to run not only Linux applications but also OS/390 applications as well as VM (virtual machine) applications; and-- VM/ESA guest support, in which Linux runs as a VM, allowing customers to run hundreds of Linux systems running on a single S/390 server.

According to Cruz, customers can expect the SuSE Linux code sometime in late June, with the TurboLinux offering following shortly thereafter.

Java 2 will also be available for Linux on S/390 in the June timeframe.

IBM Corp., based in Armonk, New York, is at www.ibm.com.

Dan Neel is an InfoWorld reporter.

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