Support and Contributing to Development

Submitted by Syscrusher on Tue, 2005/06/07 - 07:31.

There is an extremely active Internet community surrounding the Linux on S/390 ports (plural), and the Marist College e-mail list is a central part of that community. Most of the development effort is focused on IBM's port right now, but Linas Vepstas is a "regular" on the Marist College list and a good deal of the discussion applies to either port. There are some extremely smart people, and some damned fine hackers, on that e-mail list. My degree is in Computer Engineering, and I thought I knew hardware pretty well until I started chatting with these folks. There are some IBM engineers from Germany and USA as well as some third-party mainframe administrators with long years of experience in the field. Yet I have found these folks to be exceedingly patient with new people, myself included, as we each try to understand whichever end of this two-worlds bridge we didn't yet know.

Contributions to the development effort are most welcome, and this project is still young enough to have lots of work remaining. There is an active effort underway to get as many packages ported as possible, and to post the working-and-tested binaries and source (patched if needed) on a web site. I am unfortunately not mainframe-literate enough to make any real contribution to the code itself, but writing this article to bring more awareness to the project is my own way of trying to "give something back."

There is a fair-to-middling chance that IBM will eventually make their Linux for S/390 port an officially supported product, but of course I can't speak for IBM and I don't have any inside tips on that. Right now it's strictly volunteer, but the volunteers are doing fabulously.

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