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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 Slack/390 Linux.

The Slack/390 Philosophy
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.

The People
Mark Post
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
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.
Patrick Volkerding
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.

The Boxes
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 working well.

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."

Slackware® is a registered trademark of Slackware Linux, Inc.

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