[TUHS] Zombified SCO comes back from the dead, brings trial back to life against IBM

Adam Thornton athornton at gmail.com
Sun Apr 4 12:46:54 AEST 2021

On Thu, Apr 1, 2021 at 8:54 PM Wesley Parish <wobblygong at gmail.com> wrote:

> So from IBM's POV, they could
> support Linux - which by then had already been ported to the VM/370
> and there was already talk of porting it to the later mainframe
> iterations. I don't think anybody was even thinking of porting any of
> the *BSD to IBM mainframes till much later, am I right?

 This is not how I remember it going down.

There was an external-to-IBM "Bigfoot" port to S/390 (not S/370) that IBM
was ignoring until it got alarmingly close to booting, and then all of a
sudden there was an IBM port to S/390.  Clearly (well, *I* thought it was
clear) they'd had a skunkworks project for some time and Bigfoot forced
their hand.  (Unix v7 *did* run on S/370, and resurrecting that is one of
my hobby projects that hasn't really gotten off the ground).

I was the system administrator of the first publicly-accessible
Linux-on-S/390 machine--penguinvm.princeton.edu--and indeed in the late 90s
I and my mentor David Boyes met with some pretty high-level people at IBM
to advise them how we thought they should proceed.  They seemed to take
much of our advice, but then again I don't think we said anything very
crazy.  (At the time, and for years thereafter, I was with Sine Nomine
Associates.  They're still around.)

I also later managed the port of OpenSolaris to zSeries, which, if IBM had
bought Sun rather than Oracle, would have made my life very different.
Neale Ferguson did most of the heavy lifting on that port, but I did a lot
of the tool porting and wrote a disk driver.  Alas, IBM tightened the
screws a little too far and apparently didn't know that Sun had an offer
from Oracle in its back pocket.

But back to the S/390 port--I went to a Linux conference in Atlanta in the
late 90s ('99, I think) to speak about Linux on S390/Z, and I actually went
by the NetBSD booth to say, "hey, I can maybe hook you guys up with a
development virtual machine," and what I got was an earful about "your
so-called portability" from someone who was clearly much more invested in
hating Linux than in, you know, saying, "wow, OK, I realize you're not
offering me cycles on a super-awesome machine, but, yeah, it's not nothing,
cool, here's who you should talk to if you're interested in getting a port

So I don't think you can lay all the blame on BSD inaction on Linux, is all
I'm saying.  By '99, I think it was, maybe if NetBSD, which already had its
reputation for spectacular portability, hadn't staffed its booth with a
jackass still trying to fight the Unix Wars, that story might have turned
out differently.

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