LXNY General Meeting:

Boas Betzler
of IBM GNU/Linux Technology Center
on GNU/Linux and S/390

Tuesday 5 September 2000

LXNY will have a general meeting Tuesday 5 September 2000.

This meeting is free and open to the public.

In particular, all members of FBUNY, NYLUG, LUNY!, AnyNIX, the Brooklyn Bunch, the Upstate Alliance, and all other Free Software Groups are welcome!

The meeting starts at 6:30 pm and runs until 9:00 pm.
Enter the IBM building, 590 Madison Avenue, on the corner of 57th Street and Madison Avenue and ask at the front desk for the room number.

At exactly 9:00 pm many members will repair to our traditional place of refreshment.

Boas Betzler, technical head of the IBM GNU/Linux Technology Center, will speak on GNU/Linux and the IBM S/390 mainframe.

In 1964 IBM announced a new product line.

Quote from
IBM announced System/360, a family of six mutually compatible computers and 40 peripherals that could work together. The initial investment of $5 billion was quickly returned as orders for the system climbed to 1,000 per month within two years. At the time IBM released the System/360, the company was making a transition from discrete transistors to integrated circuits, and its major source of revenue moved from punched-card equipment to electronic computer systems.

Mankind laid hold of computers, as we know them today, in the Sixties. In 1962 at least one person at MIT played Spacewar. That year, or perhaps the next, ARPA began its subtle decades long campaign of providing precisely those funds, small, but critical, that would otherwise not have been forthcoming, for something already called "the net". 1964 saw the birth of the Semi-Automated Business Research Environment, American Airline's distributed network for flight reservations, and also the deployment of BASIC at Dartmouth. In the middle Sixties many banks and some brokerages began the migration to electronic digital accounting systems. MULTICS, a system aimed at providing universal accessible communication and computation services, began in 1965.


In 1969 Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie began building Unix. In 1983 Richard Stallman began Project GNU. In 1991 Linus Torvalds put his first cut at a Unix like kernel on the net. By 1998 the most popular free operating systems in the world were the free BSDs and the GNU/Linux/XFree/Perl/Ghostcript/Apache/etc. system, in all its many variants. By late 1999, the mass media had become aware of free software, and tulips were bought and sold on NASDAQ at fantastic prices.


And in September 2000, most mainframes in existence are System/360s or the direct offspring of the System/360 project. Mainframes are not like home computers. And the makers and keepers of big iron have their own ways and lays, different from the familiar homely routines and rituals of the free software tribes. But over the past two years, certain diplomatic efforts, some open and some secret, were undertaken. Here is a recent official communique from IBM:

Quote from
Boas Betzler, technical lead at the IBM Linux Technology Center, is enthusiastic about Linux and about working with the Open Source community. "We really liked the [Linux kernel] architecture," he says, referring to the way in which hardware-dependent parts of the kernel are segregated from the common code base. Betzler added that IBM's System/390 hardware happens to have features that map very well to the design model of Linux. The S/390's management of symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) in particular maps very well to the way Linux works, and Betzler says the IBM hardware actually implements a superset of the functions Linux needs.

The free software tribes have no formal diplomatic service, and so we cannot offer any single authoritative statement. But read these articles, and judge for yourself the solidity of the alliance with IBM Big Iron:


LXNY will meet regularly
the first Tuesday of each month at IBM throughout 2000.
LXNY and its supporters thank IBM for the donation of this meeting space.
LXNY also thanks those who,
inside and outside of IBM,
worked in favor of this gift.