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Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?  
User currently offlineAirstud From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2562 posts, RR: 1
Posted (4 years 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 2383 times:

There is an person in my workgroup who, I'm told by reliable sources, has a degree in Computer Science.

Today I, discussing someone I know who works on mainframes (our group doesn't (nice going)), mentioned OS/390.

The person who I'm told has the computer science degree said, "What's OS/390?"

I can imagine the supermarket checker asking a question like that, but a compu-sci DEGREE HOLDER??!?!


Pancakes are delicious.
47 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13804 posts, RR: 63
Reply 1, posted (4 years 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 2348 times:

Ask him if he knows Fortran or COBOL, both programming languages were first developed in the late 1950s, but are, in their current version, still being used today.

Jan


User currently offlineAirframeAS From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 14150 posts, RR: 25
Reply 2, posted (4 years 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 2298 times:

Quoting Airstud (Thread starter):
The person who I'm told has the computer science degree said, "What's OS/390?"

I would give the guy some slack. He may be asking what is in the OS/390.

Its like trying to compare the Blackberry 8320 to the 8520. Another example is Windows 6 vs Windows 7. (IE: Whats the differences between the two, etc etc....)

Quoting Airstud (Thread starter):
but a compu-sci DEGREE HOLDER??!?!

Give the guy a break! No need for the melodramatics.



A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21353 posts, RR: 54
Reply 3, posted (4 years 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 2268 times:

Quoting Airstud (Thread starter):
The person who I'm told has the computer science degree said, "What's OS/390?"

I can imagine the supermarket checker asking a question like that, but a compu-sci DEGREE HOLDER??!?!

Totally irrelevant by itself and entirely unrelated to his level of actual qualification.

Especially since it involves a legacy system and doubly so if it has no connection to his concrete work.

Qualification is obviously important. But it is not expressed in knowledge of individual facts alone or even primarily.


User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29705 posts, RR: 59
Reply 4, posted (4 years 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 2256 times:

I wouldn't kid around.

You sound like somebody that is trying to load windoews 7 via punch card.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 9400 posts, RR: 27
Reply 5, posted (4 years 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 2238 times:
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Quoting Airstud (Thread starter):
The person who I'm told has the computer science degree said, "What's OS/390?"

I can imagine the supermarket checker asking a question like that, but a compu-sci DEGREE HOLDER??!?!


You don't learn anywhere near everything there is to learn about your field while you're in college. It's just simply not possible.

I'm an aerospace engineer by schooling, but I couldn't tell you the difference between a Cessna 152 and 172. I also don't know a whole lot about the inner workings of jet engines.

Point being, it's entirely possible not to know certain things that relate to your field. Especially if, in your day job, you're not exposed to them at all.



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently offlinenighthawk From UK - Scotland, joined Sep 2001, 5093 posts, RR: 35
Reply 6, posted (4 years 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 2112 times:

I have a degree in Computer Science, but have never heard of OS/390. I guess that makes me a bad person too then?

Given that there are hundreds of operating systems out there, I am pretty sure there are many that even you have never heard of. I dont know what uni you went to, but I am not aware of any universities here in the UK that have a module built around memorising OS names.

The purpose of a CS course is to teach you the basics of computing, allowing you to work in a comp sci role on any system, whether its Windows 7 or OS/390. Once you have been hired you learn the particular system you need to deal with, either by learning on the job or attending a training course.



That'll teach you
User currently offlineRJ111 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (4 years 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 2096 times:

I have a CS degree. And i am clueless with hardware.

Good at coding though.


User currently offlineMD-90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 8494 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (4 years 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 2086 times:

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 2):
Another example is Windows 6 vs Windows 7

There's a Windows 6?


User currently offlinegordonsmall From UK - Scotland, joined Jun 2001, 2003 posts, RR: 22
Reply 9, posted (4 years 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 2080 times:

Quoting nighthawk (Reply 6):
I have a degree in Computer Science, but have never heard of OS/390. I guess that makes me a bad person too then?

No, that doesn't make you a bad person. Your questionable Scottish roots, dangerous taste in women and current home town do that for you!  
Quoting nighthawk (Reply 6):
The purpose of a CS course is to teach you the basics of computing, allowing you to work in a comp sci role on any system, whether its Windows 7 or OS/390. Once you have been hired you learn the particular system you need to deal with, either by learning on the job or attending a training course.

Exactly. It's not meant to teach you specific knowledge on how to do a specific job, it's more about providing you with the generic set of skills you will need in order to learn the specifics of whatever role you find yourself doing. People who do "IT" jobs fall into so many broad areas from the total uber geek who spends his day in front of a Unix box writing assembly language, to the systems or business analyst who gets no more 'techie' than writing a specification document in word or excel!

I'm a consultant specialising in infrastructure and I can honestlysay that 98% of what I do in my day to day work was taught to me 'on the job', and if I forgot absoloutely everything I was taught about IT/computers in an academic environment it would make very little difference to my work! Personally I think a qualification in IT is simply a licence to learn about the real world of IT ....


Quoting RJ111 (Reply 7):
I have a CS degree. And i am clueless with hardware.

Good at coding though.

Nighthawk is useless at all of it, hence why he's stuck in Aberdeen stacking oil drums for a living ......   



Statistically, people who have had the most birthdays tend to live the longest.
User currently offlineOzGlobal From France, joined Nov 2004, 2701 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (4 years 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 2070 times:

Almost all very large companies run a significant share of their application portfolio on "mainframe" for a number of reasons. 90%+ of the market segment referred to as "Mainframe" is occupied by the IBM large systems platform. The name of this platform and its integral features have evolved dramatically, starting with System / 360 in 1964 and currently known as System z and running z/OS. Between 1995 and 2000, the platform was know as System/390, running OS/390. Oh, and if you think the platform is dead or should be, note that approx 30% of the System z capacity currently installed runs Linux today with the benefits of a highly centrlalized, vitualized, scalable and secure environment.

So, not to recognize OS/390 as "mainframe" is forgivable. Not to know anything about mainframe architecture after completing a computer science degree seems unfortunate.

And for those who think that mainframe is some how a backward server platform would do well to look at the security, virutatlization and workload management capabilities it has offered for 30years which far exceed anything offered today by the likes of VM Ware and others even today.

[Edited 2010-03-24 05:07:43]

[Edited 2010-03-24 05:34:50]


When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
User currently offlineNorthStarDC4M From Canada, joined Apr 2000, 2951 posts, RR: 37
Reply 11, posted (4 years 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 2061 times:
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Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 10):
So, not to recognize OS/390 as "mainframe" is forgivable. Know to know anything about mainframe architecture after completing a computer science degree seems unfortunate.

"Mainframe Architecture" is badly misrepresented in many classrooms also... I've seen professors indicate that ALL central server setups are called mainframes... I laughed at that out loud.



Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21353 posts, RR: 54
Reply 12, posted (4 years 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 2042 times:

Quoting NorthStarDC4M (Reply 11):
"Mainframe Architecture" is badly misrepresented in many classrooms also... I've seen professors indicate that ALL central server setups are called mainframes... I laughed at that out loud.

It is actually increasingly difficult to draw a clear line there, with server-side virtualization increasingly abstracting the logical machine away from the actual hardware it is running on.

The same service could be running in one of many VM partitions on a rack-mounted multi-CPU server in a climatized data center or it could be running on a little box on a shelf next to a potted plant in a home office.

Knowing intimate details of the physical implementation below certain logical services is increasingly irrelevant for most developers except for a few specialists dealing with the actual plumbing.

Of course it doesn't hurt (and can sometimes be helpful) to know things about the wider environment, but it isn't remotely as important as it once was.

And "mainframe" is primarily a term from the era of magnetic core memory and discrete transistor CPUs – it is rapidly losing its former significance and meaning.

[Edited 2010-03-24 06:19:29]

User currently offlineAirstud From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2562 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (4 years 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 2034 times:

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 10):
Oh, and if you think the platform is dead or should be, note that approx 30% of the System z capacity currently installed runs Linux today with the benefits of a highly centrlalized, vitualized, scalable and secure environment.

So, not to recognize OS/390 as "mainframe" is forgivable. Not to know anything about mainframe architecture after completing a computer science degree seems unfortunate.

Which, is what I said basically.



Pancakes are delicious.
User currently offlinenighthawk From UK - Scotland, joined Sep 2001, 5093 posts, RR: 35
Reply 14, posted (4 years 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 2003 times:

Quoting gordonsmall (Reply 9):
Nighthawk is useless at all of it, hence why he's stuck in Aberdeen stacking oil drums for a living ......

I get paid hansomely for it though!

... and there is nothing "dangerous" about my taste in women!



That'll teach you
User currently offlinegordonsmall From UK - Scotland, joined Jun 2001, 2003 posts, RR: 22
Reply 15, posted (4 years 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 1943 times:

Quoting nighthawk (Reply 14):
... and there is nothing "dangerous" about my taste in women!

Hmmmmm ........ *contemplates digging up the evidence*  



Statistically, people who have had the most birthdays tend to live the longest.
User currently offlinenighthawk From UK - Scotland, joined Sep 2001, 5093 posts, RR: 35
Reply 16, posted (4 years 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 1935 times:

there's evidence?????


That'll teach you
User currently offlinegordonsmall From UK - Scotland, joined Jun 2001, 2003 posts, RR: 22
Reply 17, posted (4 years 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 1923 times:

Quoting nighthawk (Reply 16):
there's evidence?????

Indeed, Kirkie is faxing it over as we speak ......  



Statistically, people who have had the most birthdays tend to live the longest.
User currently offlinecasInterest From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4158 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (4 years 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 1922 times:

Quoting Airstud (Thread starter):
The person who I'm told has the computer science degree said, "What's OS/390?"

I find it completely normal. I could ask if anyone knows what a DMS-100 /250 or 5ESS is, and most people would drop and stare. yet most everyone's phone calls traverse them daily.
Or I could go into Proxy Server's Call Agents. Gateway Controllers, SIP, MEGACO, SS7, ISDN, VOIP, RTP, MGCP, and folks would stare blankly, but then go pick up their business line, or vonage gateway.


Computer Science and Engineering is all about learning how computers are designed and the logical thinking that goes into the architecture. I used to design software for web servers, then I designed for Telecommunications. Now I support huge companies as they continue rolloing out the next generation VOIP networks.



Older than I just was ,and younger than I will soo be.
User currently offlinenighthawk From UK - Scotland, joined Sep 2001, 5093 posts, RR: 35
Reply 19, posted (4 years 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 1911 times:

Quoting gordonsmall (Reply 17):
Indeed, Kirkie is faxing it over as we speak ......

FAX?? are those things still around?

Kirky has no right to talk, last "girlfriend" he had ended up getting a puncture!   



That'll teach you
User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6482 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (4 years 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 1882 times:

Quoting MD-90 (Reply 8):
There's a Windows 6?

What do you think Windows Vista is?



When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' T.Roosevelt
User currently offlinegordonsmall From UK - Scotland, joined Jun 2001, 2003 posts, RR: 22
Reply 21, posted (4 years 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 1861 times:

Quoting nighthawk (Reply 19):
FAX?? are those things still around?

Indeed, I had cause to use one only yesterday! For some reason the idea of scanning a document and e-mailing it still isn't considered 'secure' by certain corners of the business world.  
Quoting nighthawk (Reply 19):
Kirky has no right to talk, last "girlfriend" he had ended up getting a puncture!

Where is Kirkie these days out of interest? I haven't heard from him for many moons, he even shirked our traditional xmas shopping beer drinking last year!

And where is that foolish posh Scouser from manchester these days, is he still chasing sailors around the ports of the uk, looking for a 'mate'?



Statistically, people who have had the most birthdays tend to live the longest.
User currently offlinenighthawk From UK - Scotland, joined Sep 2001, 5093 posts, RR: 35
Reply 22, posted (4 years 4 weeks ago) and read 1841 times:

Quoting gordonsmall (Reply 21):
Where is Kirkie these days out of interest? I haven't heard from him for many moons, he even shirked our traditional xmas shopping beer drinking last year!

I thought it was you that shirked beer drinkings? At least it has been every time we have tried to organise one...

Quoting gordonsmall (Reply 21):
And where is that foolish posh Scouser from manchester these days, is he still chasing sailors around the ports of the uk, looking for a 'mate'?

Funny you should mention him, its his birthday today (not sure if he wants that to be public knowledge, so dont tell anybody...    ). He has been spending a lot of time in ports recently now you mention it. He seems to have shunned air travel in exchange for ferry travel. I guess it is his scouse roots poking through...



That'll teach you
User currently onlineKiwiRob From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 6678 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (4 years 4 weeks ago) and read 1835 times:

The only reason why I know what OS/390 is (I have no computer degree at all) was when I was an account manager for NCR one of my customers used OS/390 for part of there POS network, it was a supermarket chain, we had to hire an OS/390 tech, the guys was veryt expensive, then we lost the maintenance contract the following year to IBM who supported the equipment for free whilst matching our support price for the rest of the POS system which was all NCR. We got them back thought, we made a killing selling highly inflated spare parts to IBM, made the buggers bleed blue.

User currently offlinegordonsmall From UK - Scotland, joined Jun 2001, 2003 posts, RR: 22
Reply 24, posted (4 years 4 weeks ago) and read 1832 times:

Quoting nighthawk (Reply 22):
I thought it was you that shirked beer drinkings? At least it has been every time we have tried to organise one...

I can't help it if I used to be a very busy man who was incapable of planning any more than 2 hours ahead! It's wot comes wif importance!   

Quoting nighthawk (Reply 22):
Funny you should mention him, its his birthday today (not sure if he wants that to be public knowledge, so dont tell anybody... ). He has been spending a lot of time in ports recently now you mention it. He seems to have shunned air travel in exchange for ferry travel. I guess it is his scouse roots poking through...

Ferry travel! Has he gone mad!? I always knew he was a strange fish, but I didn't think he would go that far!

Where, pray tell, does he travel to on these 'ferries' ?



Statistically, people who have had the most birthdays tend to live the longest.
25 MD-90 : Never mind, I'd never heard anyone refer to Vista as Windows 6. The Vista prototype was referred to as Longhorn, I know that much, but I have never he
26 Post contains links AverageUser : There's an OS/390 emulator running under most modern OSs here: http://www.hercules-390.org/ ! College computer science typically will not go deep into
27 Ken777 : Geez. I can remember 360, programming FORTRAN using punch cards, and waiting a day before the computer dept at Uni gave you a printout of your efforts
28 AirframeAS : Or Windows Vista. You get my point.
29 vikkyvik : We actually learned Fortran our freshman year in college (this was in 2000). I'll be relatively happy if I never have to use it again. Horrendous.
30 pilotsmoe : Yes, vista (6.0) and windows 7(version 6.1) windows 7 wasn't considered a major release , that's why it's version 6.1(the way Microsoft does things,
31 Post contains links and images Revelation : Folks, you know a thread that has the words "obscure" and "mainframe" would call me out! I would have too, but if you asked "What is MVS?" I would hav
32 NoWorries : I don't know if IBM was the first to commercialize VM computing, but their involvement goes back quite a ways -- CP/67 and VM/370 were fully function
33 MD11Engineer : Thanks, nice website! When i was a teenager, I used to hang around the physics research department of a university in Berlin. We had both a PDP-7 and
34 ajd1992 : I know what a mainframe is. I don't know what it does, but I know they exist and I'm a teenager. Most people my age don't even know what an LP is anym
35 Post contains images Revelation : So did I, but my freshman year was 1980! OTOH I already knew FORTRAN by then! I haven't used it since 1985 so I think you are probably safe! Lord yes
36 MD11Engineer : The latest version of FORTRAN is from 2009, and it is fully backwards compartible with FORTRAN 77 and FORTRAN 95. Jan
37 Post contains images ajd1992 : I don't think we're talking about the same thing . LP = Long Play. 12 inch vinyl you put on record players.
38 NoWorries : The good ole days -- the virtual machine in this case is really just an OS partition -- I was thinking of actual DAT hardware doing the address virtu
39 casInterest : There are some well known Network Equipment Providers that use H.248 for signaling on their core networks. I like SIP much better. I used to design s
40 Post contains links and images Revelation : Ahh all that newfangled stuff. We were taught FORTRAN IV in the late 70s and early 80s because the new compiler cost a lot and needed a lot more memo
41 NoWorries : I was with a major third-party vendor -- VM was open source, in fact a lot of customers used to do their own mods as well. But eventually they found
42 AverageUser : Today's mainframes would center around parellelization and scaleablity of of tasks, using standardized hardware, a trend that's hardly going to chang
43 NoWorries : Even back in the 90's IBM offered a mainframe facility called PR/SM -- for all I know they still do. But the idea is somewhat similar to what you've
44 Airstud : Well I just did well in an interview for an job at Mainframe Ops. And all of those boxes run z/OS. So, umm.... I'm special. (I am also learning how to
45 Revelation : Very interesting. When I was at IBM VM/ESA had just shipped, and lots of folks I was working with had moved over from VM to work on mainframe UNIX. N
46 NoWorries : That's what I've heard also. Hmm, there must hardware somewhere under all of those layers. Is it mainframe Pascal? IBM did have a Pascal compiler for
47 Revelation : IBM's TCP/IP stack that you could get via an RPQ was written in Pascal. I think it all came from U of Illinois. You also had to buy a specialized box
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