Ten Years Ago - Yes, You Really Wanna Do This!

One of the (to me) halls of higher awesomeness is the "VM Technical Steering Committee" at SHARE. This is where z/VM customers and z/VM developers meet before each SHARE gathering and discuss up and coming stuff that affects both sides of the table. I got invited ... once. It was cool.

It was a pivotal point in the industry. Open Source was about to have a major impact on business computing. We were on the threshold of "Peace, Love, and Linux" and some people could see it and (thankfully) some others were listening.

Dave Boyes and I were invited to phone in to the TSC meeting. I think it was the Summer SHARE of 1999, which would have been about September or August. I don't remember what else was on the agenda that day. Linux was the hot topic.

"So ... IF there were Linux for S/390, would there really be any interest? would it really have BUSINESS value?".

Dave and I could hardly contain ourselves. YES, there would be interst. YES, it would have busines value. Linux was already creeping into hundreds of data centers.

Dr. Boyes and I both have a background in academia, so it was obvious to us the value of Linux on the mainframe. But sometimes the connection between what is academically clear and what is has business benefit ... well ... that connection is often missing.

It didn't matter. Dr. Vepstas was doing his thing in Austin. If IBM was doing a Linux port, fine. If not, also fine, because "we" would then use Project Bigfoot and probably have a purer implementation. (None of that nasty commercial interest; it would all be just science!)

But if IBM wanted to keep their precious upscale platform from being marginalized, they better get on the train.

Eventually, sanity prevailed within IBM. They released their work. The downside was that it quashed Bigfoot. It also required newer hardware. Conspiracy theories aside, there WERE some important enhancements in the instruction set.

More intrigue follows tomorrow, same net time, same net channel.