Airstud
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Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:17 am

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??!?!
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:42 am

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
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
AirframeAS
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:11 am

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.
 
Klaus
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:51 am

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.
 
L-188
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:59 am

I wouldn't kid around.

You sound like somebody that is trying to load windoews 7 via punch card.
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vikkyvik
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:14 am

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.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
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nighthawk
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:56 am

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.
 
Rj111
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:16 am

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

Good at coding though.
 
MD-90
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:28 am

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

There's a Windows 6?
 
gordonsmall
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:36 am

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.
 
ozglobal
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:54 am

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]
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northstardc4m
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:26 pm

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.
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Klaus
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:59 pm

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]
 
Airstud
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:06 pm

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.
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nighthawk
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:38 pm

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!
 
gordonsmall
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:07 pm

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.
 
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nighthawk
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:15 pm

there's evidence?????
 
gordonsmall
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:33 pm

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.
 
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casinterest
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:41 pm

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.
 
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nighthawk
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:58 pm

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!   
 
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N328KF
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:44 pm

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.' -Theodore Roosevelt
 
gordonsmall
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:51 pm

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.
 
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nighthawk
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 5:29 pm

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...
 
Kiwirob
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 5:40 pm

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.
 
gordonsmall
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 5:46 pm

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.
 
MD-90
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:47 pm

Never mind, I'd never heard anyone refer to Vista as Windows 6.

Quoting N328KF (Reply 20):

What do you think Windows Vista is?

The Vista prototype was referred to as Longhorn, I know that much, but I have never heard of it referred to as Win6. There is a Windows Mobile 6, apparently, but the only thing sixish about Vista is that it was supposed to begin selling in 2006 and reputedly cost $6B to develop.
 
AverageUser
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:49 pm

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 any particular make or OS, although I remember a certain "system x" being prominent on my OS course literature in the 1980s.
 
Ken777
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:11 pm

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.

As for keeping up, slim chance of that for most people. I can remember a while back (in the 80's I think) that I read that HP had their engineers go through a day of training one day each week to try to keep them current.

It's like medicine. A doc goes into one speciality and the others pretty well pass him (or her) by.
 
AirframeAS
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:26 pm

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

Or Windows Vista. You get my point.
A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:41 pm

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 1):
Ask him if he knows Fortran

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.

Quoting N328KF (Reply 20):
What do you think Windows Vista is?

Horrendous.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
pilotsmoe
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:56 pm

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

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, lol)
 
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Revelation
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:12 pm

Folks, you know a thread that has the words "obscure" and "mainframe" would call me out!

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

I would have too, but if you asked "What is MVS?" I would have known.

I could have told you what MFT is too, or HASP, or TSS, or TSO, or MULTICS, or TENEX, or CP/CMS, or ....

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 1):
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.

Funny, when I left college in the mid-80s I did my damndest to not get a job writing FORTRAN or COBOL since I was sure these would be obsolete soon.

On the other hand I did spend a bit too much time trying to understand what the OSI network stack was all about.

Quoting gordonsmall (Reply 9):
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

Hmm... I may have qualified because the first time I used UNIX (it was version 6 written circa 1978!) was to write PDP-11 assembly to be downloaded to LSI-11s.

That's what my university considered to be good preparation for my career in computer science.

If they only knew!  
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.

I spent the late 80s / early 90s working at IBM on its attempts to bring UNIX to the mainframe, first AIX/370 then AIX/ESA.

Folklore: The Intel 80486 chip was laid out on the IBM 3084 running AIX/370, because their VAXen ran out of capacity, more I/O rather than computes. Back then having 2GB disks with a fast I/O path was a huge win over VAXen.

On AIX/ESA we'd typically have 50+ UNIX kernels running as VM guests on top of a 4 way IBM 3090 mainframe.

Since I was doing the TCP/IP stack, I was given pairs of VMs that could talk via IP over an IUCV path!  

Neither AIX/370 or AIX/ESA went anywhere.

Linux for the current mainframes was a totally independent effort done by SUSE in the mid/late 90s.

I've heard some of our code may have helped them, but that's about it.

AIX/ESA was based on the OSF/1 kernel, which is Mach 2.5, which is the same base technology that came to MacOS X via NeXT.

Quoting casInterest (Reply 18):
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.



Well, fewer and fewer do. There's still nice to have for the last mile or so!  
Quoting casInterest (Reply 18):
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.


Hmm I've implemented bits and pieces of MGCP, H.248/MEGACO, and RTP for a well known firm.

We never did ship H.248, not much of a market for it, so it seems.

Vonage used to like us at one point, now, not so much!  
Quoting Klaus (Reply 12):
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.

And many don't realize most of the heavy lifting in virtualization came from IBM's VM in the 1960's.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CP/CMS

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VM_(operating_system)

All the stuff we see in VMWARE, et al, is old hat for many of us.

Many of us back then thought Intel was stupid for doing memory mapped I/O and it seems time is proving us right!

Running VMWARE sucks the life out of a 2GHz two core HT Intel chip mostly because its VGA emulation is sinful.

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 23):
POS network

Now there's a term!  

I've used many a POS network over the years!  

But never a point-of-sales network!  
Quoting AverageUser (Reply 26):
There's an OS/390 emulator running under most modern OSs here: http://www.hercules-390.org/ !

I see your Hercules, and raise you a KLH-10!  http://klh10.trailing-edge.com/

If you are more of an omnivore, I also recommend SIMH:

http://simh.trailing-edge.com/

Quote:

SIMH implements simulators for:

* Data General Nova, Eclipse
* Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-1, PDP-4, PDP-7, PDP-8, PDP-9, PDP-10, PDP-11, PDP-15, VAX
* GRI Corporation GRI-909, GRI-99
* IBM 1401, 1620, 1130, 7090/7094, System 3
* Interdata (Perkin-Elmer) 16b and 32b systems
* Hewlett-Packard 2114, 2115, 2116, 2100, 21MX, 1000
* Honeywell H316/H516
* MITS Altair 8800, with both 8080 and Z80
* Royal-Mcbee LGP-30, LGP-21
* Scientific Data Systems SDS 940

Also available is a collection of tools for manipulating simulator file formats and for cross-assembling code for the PDP-1, PDP-7, PDP-8, and PDP-11.

Comes with many old OSes too: http://simh.trailing-edge.com/software.html

That sucker can run the old Bell Labs v6 UNIX that was written in the late 70s and that I used back in the early 80s!
Inspiration, move me brightly!
 
NoWorries
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:20 pm

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 10):
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.

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 functional VM systems well over 30 years ago, long before VMWare appeared. I might be mistaken, but I think S/370 was the first widely produced system with virtual memory (and it would be tough to implement a virtual machine system without virtual memory).

* * * * * * * *

I work in commercial software development (primarily Java-based servers) and I'd wager than no one on staff under 40 knows what is OS/390. A fair number of them won't use anything but Linux. I'd guess that the 40+ crowd has had some exposure to IBM mainframs -- mostly only us 50+ dinosaurs have done anything with them at the hardware level.

There are numerous legacy apps that have been optimized for the IBM hardware/software environment and hosting them continues to be a source of significant revenue for IBM. I've been out of the IBM mainframe world for about 15 years, but I have friends in the biz who are quite amazed by the continued demand for these systems. Personally, I'm a bit suprised that an emulator running on some ultrafast processor hasn't displaced the actual hardware -- maybe it has and IBM isn't saying as much.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:08 am

Quoting Revelation (Reply 31):
If you are more of an omnivore, I also recommend SIMH:

http://simh.trailing-edge.com/

Quote:

SIMH implements simulators for:

* Data General Nova, Eclipse
* Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-1, PDP-4, PDP-7, PDP-8, PDP-9, PDP-10, PDP-11, PDP-15, VAX
* GRI Corporation GRI-909, GRI-99
* IBM 1401, 1620, 1130, 7090/7094, System 3
* Interdata (Perkin-Elmer) 16b and 32b systems
* Hewlett-Packard 2114, 2115, 2116, 2100, 21MX, 1000
* Honeywell H316/H516
* MITS Altair 8800, with both 8080 and Z80
* Royal-Mcbee LGP-30, LGP-21
* Scientific Data Systems SDS 940

Also available is a collection of tools for manipulating simulator file formats and for cross-assembling code for the PDP-1, PDP-7, PDP-8, and PDP-11.

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 a HP 2114 in this department, as well as a VAX (but i can´t remember which type it was).
I used to fool around a bit with the HP 2114 (which came in a 19" rack including a huge changeable harddisk drive, I still have one of these disks at home) and a teletype for the operator´s station (programming was done in FORTRAN 77).
As a technology nostalgic, I might get myself one of these old computers and just run it at home for fun!

UJan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
ajd1992
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:10 am

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 anymore, which is a shame really.
 
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:47 am

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 29):
We actually learned Fortran our freshman year in college (this was in 2000).

So did I, but my freshman year was 1980!  

OTOH I already knew FORTRAN by then!  
Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 29):
I'll be relatively happy if I never have to use it again.

I haven't used it since 1985 so I think you are probably safe!  
Quoting NoWorries (Reply 32):
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 functional VM systems well over 30 years ago, long before VMWare appeared.

Lord yes, actually far more functional, given that I/O was much easier to virtualize on mainframes, due to channel programming instead of memory mapped I/O.

Quoting NoWorries (Reply 32):
I might be mistaken, but I think S/370 was the first widely produced system with virtual memory (and it would be tough to implement a virtual machine system without virtual memory).

Kinda, sorta.

In the old, old days (1960s) one told each virtual machine it had all of physical memory, and just swapped (not paged) each task out to disk whenever the OS thought it was time to do so.

That worked because disk size was much greater than physical memory.

Then mainframes went to multiple fixed tasks (MFT) in memory, and had one V=R (virtual = real) guest, and just stacked the rest of them up in real memory thereafter.

In this case you really didn't need virtual memory, all you needed was a base register to add to all the physical addresses generated by the virtual machines.

And the same went for all the disk I/O, all you had to do was intercept their channel programs, and add a fixed offset to all the addresses so the virtual machine would scribble to the right part of the physical disk.

Eventually (1970s) virtualization got a lot smarter, and did use virtual memory, and gave the guests ways to tell the host about its memory usage so that we didn't get double swapping (guest misses on a page access then host misses on the same access).

A lot of clever microcoding went into 70s vintage mainframes so running virtual machines had next to no overhead vs real machines.

And here it is in 2010 and x86 is slowly relearning some but not all of these tricks.

Quoting NoWorries (Reply 32):
I work in commercial software development (primarily Java-based servers) and I'd wager than no one on staff under 40 knows what is OS/390. A fair number of them won't use anything but Linux.

That's not a bad outcome. In the early 90s lots of folks were running around thinking they'd have to master Windows NT or be out of a job, till that crazy Finnish teenager came along and unleashed Linux onto the world.

I suppose I'm in denial. I pretend I'm still writing for 4.3BSD whereas most of my code ends up running on Linux these days.

And yes, a lot of it is Java that runs in a JVM that isolates me from the real hardware.

Quoting NoWorries (Reply 32):
I'd guess that the 40+ crowd has had some exposure to IBM mainframs -- mostly only us 50+ dinosaurs have done anything with them at the hardware level.

You haven't lived till you've wrestled bus and tag cables under a raised floor!  

Piss on this SATA stuff!  
Quoting NoWorries (Reply 32):
There are numerous legacy apps that have been optimized for the IBM hardware/software environment and hosting them continues to be a source of significant revenue for IBM. I've been out of the IBM mainframe world for about 15 years, but I have friends in the biz who are quite amazed by the continued demand for these systems.

I was at IBM in the late 80s / early 90s and at DEC for most of the 90s.

The big difference was that IBM knew not to kill the goose laying the golden eggs, whereas DEC told all their customers to migrate to Windows NT.

DEC had brillant engineers, but dumb-ass marketers.

And a big reason why was DEC engineers liked it that way!  
Quoting NoWorries (Reply 32):
Personally, I'm a bit suprised that an emulator running on some ultrafast processor hasn't displaced the actual hardware -- maybe it has and IBM isn't saying as much.

IBM sues the p*ss out of folks who try to undermine their hardware business.

They're the DeBeers of the computing industry.

They sell a commodity as common as sand but pretend it's diamonds...

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 33):
Thanks, nice website!

Between this and the ham radio stuff, it seems we are on the same wavelength!  
Quoting ajd1992 (Reply 34):

Most people my age don't even know what an LP is anymore, which is a shame really.

My company has told us that now every thing we send to a printer will need a personal PIN to recover.

They say it's for security's sake, but the reality is they are trying to make it a pain in the ass to commit ink to paper, and they are succeeding.

[Edited 2010-03-25 00:04:34]
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:15 am

Quoting Revelation (Reply 35):
Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 29):
We actually learned Fortran our freshman year in college (this was in 2000).

So did I, but my freshman year was 1980!

OTOH I already knew FORTRAN by then!
Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 29):
I'll be relatively happy if I never have to use it again.

I haven't used it since 1985 so I think you are probably safe!

The latest version of FORTRAN is from 2009, and it is fully backwards compartible with FORTRAN 77 and FORTRAN 95.

Jan
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:05 am

Quoting Revelation (Reply 35):
My company has told us that now every thing we send to a printer will need a personal PIN to recover.

They say it's for security's sake, but the reality is they are trying to make it a pain in the ass to commit ink to paper, and they are succeeding.

I don't think we're talking about the same thing  . LP = Long Play. 12 inch vinyl you put on record players.  
 
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:34 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 35):
In the old, old days (1960s) one told each virtual machine it had all of physical memory, and just swapped (not paged) each task out to disk whenever the OS thought it was time to do so.

That worked because disk size was much greater than physical memory.

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 virtualization, which you mention a bit later in your post. From what I can recall 360/67s and the S/370 were the first major IBM systems that had DAT. With that, VM/370 virtualized the entire machine, memory, I/O, the whole shebang. The S/370 instruction set lent itself very well to self-virtualization, but the I/O was a little flakey. I/O got a lot cleaner under XA and ESA when they introduced the subchannel architecture. I knew this area very well; I spent 10 years of my career making extension and modifications to VM -- wrote lots of assembler and lots of channel programs. Even after all of these years I suspect I could still pick up a dump and do things like run the sav area chains.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 35):
You haven't lived till you've wrestled bus and tag cables under a raised floor!

You've no doubt heard the joke -- "How can you spot the IBM field engineer in a crowd?" "Hes' the one who washes his hands before he goes to the bathroom."
 
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:12 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 31):
Hmm I've implemented bits and pieces of MGCP, H.248/MEGACO, and RTP for a well known firm.

We never did ship H.248, not much of a market for it, so it seems.

There are some well known Network Equipment Providers that use H.248 for signaling on their core networks. I like SIP much better.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 31):
Quoting casInterest (Reply 18):
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.



Well, fewer and fewer do. There's still nice to have for the last mile or so!

I used to design softwre for the DMS-100 for a now bankrupt company. The code in that thing was at one point over 100 million lines for all the core and peripheral systems. Proprietary Protel, and BNR Pascal. Hard to know now much code now as the next gen networks and CS2K has slowly taken over the core systems, with C, C++, and Java
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:32 pm

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 36):
The latest version of FORTRAN is from 2009, and it is fully backwards compartible with FORTRAN 77 and FORTRAN 95.

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 memory to run in.

Quoting ajd1992 (Reply 37):
I don't think we're talking about the same thing . LP = Long Play. 12 inch vinyl you put on record players.

LOL yes. I was thinking LP = line printer, not long play record!  
Quoting NoWorries (Reply 38):
From what I can recall 360/67s and the S/370 were the first major IBM systems that had DAT. With that, VM/370 virtualized the entire machine, memory, I/O, the whole shebang.

Yep.

At first the 360/67 wasn't generally available - you had to ask IBM for it specially.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_System/360_Model_67

The 370s all had DAT right from the start.

Quoting NoWorries (Reply 38):
The S/370 instruction set lent itself very well to self-virtualization, but the I/O was a little flakey. I/O got a lot cleaner under XA and ESA when they introduced the subchannel architecture. I knew this area very well; I spent 10 years of my career making extension and modifications to VM -- wrote lots of assembler and lots of channel programs. Even after all of these years I suspect I could still pick up a dump and do things like run the sav area chains.

Interesting. Were you with IBM or not? VM was one of the first "open source" projects. I forget if you can still get the source or not.

But when I was with IBM, I remember reading Lynn Wheeler's posts about driving station wagons filled with tapes and/or punch cards back and forth between IBM Cambridge Scientific Center (VM's first home) and KGN and POK.

Quoting casInterest (Reply 39):

There are some well known Network Equipment Providers that use H.248 for signaling on their core networks. I like SIP much better.

In particular, it had a following among the Border Gateway Element application since H.248 was well suited to specifying exactly what kinds of things you wanted to happen in the BGE. Outside of that, it's no better than anything else out there, IMHO.

Oh, I take it back, it was really simple to parse so your "pretty printer" program would make traces easier to read.

Quoting casInterest (Reply 39):
I used to design softwre for the DMS-100 for a now bankrupt company. The code in that thing was at one point over 100 million lines for all the core and peripheral systems. Proprietary Protel, and BNR Pascal. Hard to know now much code now as the next gen networks and CS2K has slowly taken over the core systems, with C, C++, and Java

That sounds like an interesting code base to try to work with.
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:55 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 40):
Interesting. Were you with IBM or not? VM was one of the first "open source" projects. I forget if you can still get the source or not.

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 it cheaper to buy COTS instead of doing their own mods. At about the time of VM/XA they started going OCO gradually -- not sure what's the state of z/VM -- probably OCO or whatever they call that these days.
 
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:14 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 35):

A lot of clever microcoding went into 70s vintage mainframes

Today's mainframes would center around parellelization and scaleablity of of tasks, using standardized hardware, a trend that's hardly going to change for a long time, if ever.
 
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:11 pm

Quoting AverageUser (Reply 42):
Quoting Revelation (Reply 35):

A lot of clever microcoding went into 70s vintage mainframes

Today's mainframes would center around parellelization and scaleablity of of tasks, using standardized hardware, a trend that's hardly going to change for a long time, if ever.

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 alluded to -- rather than a single processor virtualizing itself, a complex with multiple processors suballocates one or more of them to various hosted IBM OSes. The latest "z" processors have dozens of CPUs, so I don't know how prevalent the need is for a "VM" operating system on these processors given that something like PR/SM might be all that they need.

The need for a single processor to virtualize itself really manifested itself in the past with "dumb" terminals -- in these IBM VM systems, a single processor might have served hundreds of users each with it's own VM (and each typically running a single user DOS-like OS called CMS). I don't know if any CMS-intensive shops are still around, but for those types of systems, even with dozens of "real" processor, the need for self-virtualization would still exist.
 
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Fri Mar 26, 2010 3:55 am

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 program in Pascal, so that's just totally weird.)
Pancakes are delicious.
 
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:30 am

Quoting NoWorries (Reply 41):
I was with a major third-party vendor

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.

Quoting AverageUser (Reply 42):
Today's mainframes would center around parellelization and scaleablity of of tasks, using standardized hardware, a trend that's hardly going to change for a long time, if ever.

Not sure which standard you are referring to, Intel or IBM (including various clones).

In any case, with today's low cost, high bandwidth and higly reliable networks we are definitely seeing even more centralization of computing resources, and virtualization is of course a big part of that too.

Quoting NoWorries (Reply 43):
The latest "z" processors have dozens of CPUs, so I don't know how prevalent the need is for a "VM" operating system on these processors given that something like PR/SM might be all that they need.

LPARs and CP are more similar than different.

I've been told that PR/SM is just an implementation of CP done in microcode instead of S/3xx assembly.

Quoting NoWorries (Reply 43):

The need for a single processor to virtualize itself really manifested itself in the past with "dumb" terminals -- in these IBM VM systems, a single processor might have served hundreds of users each with it's own VM (and each typically running a single user DOS-like OS called CMS). I don't know if any CMS-intensive shops are still around, but for those types of systems, even with dozens of "real" processor, the need for self-virtualization would still exist.

I've been told that most shops still like VM for its flexibility/manageability. and will run VM in a LPAR and then run lots of things such as CMS instances or test instances of new mainframe OSes on top of VM.

Quoting Airstud (Reply 44):
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.

Hope that works out well for you.

Quoting Airstud (Reply 44):
(I am also learning how to program in Pascal, so that's just totally weird.)

Certainly unexpected. I haven't used Pascal since the mid 80s and can't really see a good reason for me to pick it up again.

Is this a part of that new job opportunity?
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Fri Mar 26, 2010 12:06 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 45):
LPARs and CP are more similar than different.

I've been told that PR/SM is just an implementation of CP done in microcode instead of S/3xx assembly.

That's what I've heard also. Hmm, there must hardware somewhere under all of those layers.

Quoting NoWorries (Reply 43):
(I am also learning how to program in Pascal, so that's just totally weird.)

Is it mainframe Pascal? IBM did have a Pascal compiler for the mainframe back in the 80's -- I remember running into something back then that was actually implemented in Pascal -- can't remember what it was. When I was in school in the 70's some of the college texts rendered their algorithms in Pascal, though it was somewhat new at the time; other books used Algol.
 
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RE: Are Mainframes Now This Obscure?

Fri Mar 26, 2010 7:32 pm

Quoting NoWorries (Reply 46):
IBM did have a Pascal compiler for the mainframe back in the 80's -- I remember running into something back then that was actually implemented in Pascal -- can't remember what it was.

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 that was an IBM PC AT chassis that had a channel adapter in one slot and an Ethernet board in the other to get to talk to other things on a LAN using TCP/IP.

That stuff was all productized in the late 80s, and I don't know if they kept the Pascal TCP/IP stack or not.

Oh those were the days...
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