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History Online

  • There is no way to have a detailed discussion of zVM and/or zLINUX without frequently mentioning IBM. In 1999, IBM announced its support for Linux, an open source operating system. Since that time IBM, and others have invested considerable financial, technical, and marketing resources in an effort to foster the growth, development, and use of Linux technology, and IBM has made significant contributions to the community on which Linux relies.
  “Virtualization is being used to make the most out of everything from Applications and servers to desktops and storage. But as companies expand their reliance on the technology, challenges mount….” - NetworkWorld, Executive Guide

In 1999, IBM established the Linux Technology Center (LTC) as the primary vehicle to participate in the Linux community. IBM and the LTC have established four goals for participation in the Linux community:

  Make Linux better. 
  Expand Linux’s reach for new workloads. 
  Enable IBM products to operate with Linux. 
  Increase collaboration with customers to innovate in ways IBM cannot do by itself.

In 2000, IBM started its investments and support for the Linux environment. The environment evolved quickly with sustained innovation, continuous refinement and proven technologies, resulting in today’s unique advantages of the Linux on IBM System z environment. In January 2000, Marist College released pre-built files for a simplified installation of Linux on the S/390. In July of that year, IBM hosted an installation party at the Linux development location and in August, announced the Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) and the Virtual Image Facility (VIF) for Linux. In 2001, IBM announced Linux for z-series server consolidation services and in 2002, announced a new z series offering that included zVM, the z800 mainframe, hardware maintenance, and support. By 2003, more than 250 ISV applications were available. In 2005, IBM shipped 1300 IFLs and 57 IFL-only machines and in 2007 delivered their 5000th IFL. By 2009, there were over 1300 clients running Linux on System z with 70% of the top System z clients using Linux. The use of zLinux continues to grow today. As a community-based effort, Linux has been the beneficiary of the hard work of many community organizations. To this effort, IBM actively contributes to many community and industry organizations and conferences, including:

  The Linux Foundation which promotes, protects, and standardizes Linux by providing unified resources and services needed for open source to successfully compete. 
  The Linux Standard Base which works to establish interoperability between applications and the Linux operating system. 
  The Free Software Foundation, whose mission is to preserve, protect, and promote the freedom to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer software. 
  The Open Source Initiative which provides open source education and serves as the standards body maintaining the Open Source Definition and the list of OSI-approved licenses. 
  The Linux Kernel Developers Summit and Ottawa Linux Symposium, which are both annual gatherings of the top Linux kernel developers in the world. LinuxWorld San Francisco which is one of the premier events for Linux and open source companies and customers.

IBM engineers also contribute to other aspects of open source development required to deliver enterprise-level functionality. They develop documentation for open source projects and the IBM Information Center, an online repository for Linux and open source oriented information. Engineers from the LTC actively contribute best practices to IBM developerWorks, and IBM engineers have been involved in developing Linux test suites and methodology, including the Linux Test Project, which IBM maintains. The goal of the Linux Test Project is to deliver test suites to the open source community that validate the reliability and stability of Linux. In addition to IBM-sponsored / hosted efforts, it also contributes to parallel community efforts such as developing autotest as part of test.kernel.org. Additionally, IBM collaborates with the academic community on Linux and Open Source development for higher platforms by contributing System z and System p platforms. The effort is intended to provide learning opportunities to ensure continuity of skills and University-hosted access to these platforms for the broader Open Source development community. While necessarily self-serving, IBM's effort have IBM is consistently among the top commercial contributors of Linux code, with more than 600 IBM developers involved in over 100 open source projects and thousands of dedicated development and support personnel supporting all of IBM’s products and customers on Linux. As a result: Linux is supported on all modern IBM Systems. Over 500 IBM software products run natively on Linux resulting in the facilitation of more than 3,000 migrations to the Linux platform, and over 3,000 applications are available to run in the zLinux m. IBM has completed over 15,000 Linux customer engagements offering the widest range of hardware, middleware, and services products for Linux in the industry.

  • 10 Years of Linux on Mainframes Ten years ago, in January 2000, an amazing thing happened. No, not Y2K. A penguin met a bear and they became fast friends. For, that was the month that the first full Linux image was released that would run on a mainframe. The story since then has been nothing short of amazing. Because, not only did Linux work well running on a mainframe, it worked really, really well. And, you could have lots and lots of them. So, while the penguins multiplied, the "bear", z/VM, also became more and more in demand. As it turned out, bears are really good at carrying lots and lots of penguins around. Now, a decade later, the partnership of Linux, z/VM and the System z is stronger than ever. Given at the SHARE Winter 2010 conference in Seattle, WA in March, 2010.