|This site is dedicated to providing news about the Slack/390 Linux distribution, as well as
limited installation help, limited configuration help, and other general information about
|Many people want to try out Linux/390 to see what value it might bring to their company.
Unfortunately, most of them have absolutely no budget to spend on that kind of project, and the
commercial Linux distributions either want to charge for evaluation copies, or they want to limit
the length of the evaluation to a short time period. This makes it difficult, if not impossible to
do a meaningful evaluation when you consider the amount of time it takes companies to make a
decision, and then start the purchasing cycle. That's where Slack/390 comes in.
You can download Slack/390 and use it for as long as you like, and for whatever you like, since it
is covered by the GNU Public License (GPL). We
will not ask you for any money for the software. (If you want to show your gratitude, buy a copy of
Slackware from Patrick, or send vouchers for pizza and beer to us.)
We do intend to keep this distribution maintained by taking what ever patched sources Patrick puts
out and building Linux/390 packages. We will do the same as required for any important fixes that
come from others in the Linux/390 community. In most cases, this will be the IBM developers in
Boeblingen, Germany, since they are the official maintainers for the mainframe architecture.
Since we have day jobs, and you're not paying for support, there is no official support provided.
We (and a bunch of other really smart, highly skilled people) hang out on the Marist College
Linux-390 mailing list. Since that's
where most of the experts are, and where we recommend people subscribe anyway, that's where your
first line of support will be. Please do not send email to Patrick at Slackware about this
platform. He's not in a position to offer free support for something he didn't create, and we'd
rather have him leading the way with his work on the Intel platform anyway.
Just in case anyone was wondering, yes we know that Debian has a Free/Libre and free (no charge)
port of Linux for the mainframe. But we think having a choice is a good thing. Besides, we're
Slackware users, not Debian users, or we would have helped out with the Debian
port! :) All joking aside, Debian/390 is very good platform, and we
encourage you to try them as well. They have a lot more maintainers and a lot more packages. They
might have something you need and we don't, so give them a look.
Mark Post is a Senior Infrastructure Specialist with EDS. He
has been a user of Slackware on Intel for over 5 years, and learned nearly everything he knows
about Linux from that experience. Mark and Mike Kershaw began porting Slackware to the
mainframe early in 2001 because they thought it would be of value to the Linux/390 community,
and fun as well! Mark is currently the sole developer/maintainer of the Slack/390 project.
Mike Kershaw works for Marist College. Mike was the person
who got the Slack/390 project off the ground in February of 2001 by establishing a Slackware
for S/390 development guest on Marist's z/VM system. Mike hasn't been actively involved lately
due to the demands of his job at Marist, but this project owes him a lot of thanks and credit.
Also known to many as The Man. Without Patrick, there would be no Slackware or
Slack/390. Since 1993 he has been the driving force behind this popular and extremely stable
distribution for Intel. For most of that time, he has also been the sole developer, an amazing
feat in and of itself.
Without Pat's generous help and counsel over the years, this project might not ever have
gotten to the point of releasing a usable system. We are also greatly indebted to him for
granting us permission to name this distribution Slack/390, and for acknowledging it as an
official port of Slackware.
Patrick earned his BS in Computer Science from Moorhead State University in 1993.
|Also important are the boxes, and the people who own and run them. Initially the z/VM
system at Marist College was the sole development resource for
this project. As time went on, and the production workload on the system increased, it became
necessary to find someplace else to do the bulk of the work. If it weren't for the willingness of
Harry Williams and Martha McConaghy to let Mike and Mark use Marist resources, it is unlikely this
project would have ever gotten off the ground.
The team supporting the IBM Linux Community Development System
graciously assigned the project a permanent account to continue the development. Along the way,
they were very helpful in adding DASD space to the z/VM guest to hold the growing mound of source
and compiled binary packages. We gratefully want to acknowledge the work and generosity of Richard
Lewis, John Schnitzler, and Jon vonWolfersdorf of IBM (and anyone else who helped out with the LCDS
that we never worked with directly).
The nice people at Sine Nomine Associates were also
helpful in letting us use a z/VM guest on their MP3000 so that we could support both the stable and
-1 versions of the platform. This was very important, since we do plan to maintain multiple
versions of Slack/390, in much the same way Patrick does for Slackware. In particular, our thanks
go out to Dave Jones and Adam Thornton of SNA for all their help in getting things set up and
Early on in the development process, the VM National Support Team at EDS lent a z/VM guest and
spare CPU cycles, etc. for testing. Their help and support was very encouraging when we were just
starting out. In particular, the CLAW driver from UTS Global was able to be tested since there was
an open connection that could be used. Later on, VSWITCH and IEEE VLAN support was tested in the
same way. We would like to especially thank Brian Ferguson, Mike Harding, Bruce Johnson, Jim
Colbert, and Earl Hamilton for all their work and help.
Web hosting, and download services are being provided by Ibiblio. We thank them for hosting this site, and the more important
content: the software. It would have been pointless to go to all this work and not have it
available to everyone. Yes, it's not a mainframe, but being more pragmatic than not, we chose
"available and free of charge" over "not available."