[TUHS] UNIX on S/370

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Tue Nov 21 01:23:56 AEST 2017

On Sun, Nov 19, 2017 at 10:50 PM, <arnold at skeeve.com> wrote:

> Nemo <cym224 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Recent commentary on porting led me to read the article on porting
> > UNIX to S/370 (https://www.bell-labs.com/usr/dmr/www/otherports/ibm.pdf)
> > to support 5ESS development because the existing PDP11s were being
> > overwhelmed.  I confess to not having this read this before and find
> > it interesting.  Any recollections from anyone on the matter.  And
> > whatever happened to it?
> >
> > N
> ​.

​Since a number of the UNIX folks (​tjk, wnj, myself to name three) were
old MTS and TSS hackers, a couple of us were always fascinated with this
port but I never knew much about it.   As I've said before, fsck was
modeled about a program that was originally for TSS and MTS.    There were
definite lesson's learned from those systems by some of us when we came to
UNIX and I think when some of the TSS folks in NY left CMU or UMich they
took some UNIX lessons with them.

Anyway in reading that paper,  I've wondered how much help the TSS group in
NY gave the AT&T team and who @ IBM it was.   If I had a to bet, Dean
Hiller had to be mixed up in it.  Dean was Mr. TSS and had been my boss at
CMU computer center.   I remember showing Dean UNIX running on 11/34 @ EE
and he being pretty impressed at how much we could do on such a small

As for other 370 ports, IIRC Tom Lyons started a 370 port at Princeton and
finished it at Amdahl.   But I think that was using VM, although it may
have had the access to the BTL compiler to start.

When I was at Locus, where we did the AIX/370 and AIX/386 stuff Ron
mentions we started over.  Charlie can correct me, but IIRC the compiler
was IBM's and as Ron said, AIX/370 too lived as a VM 'service.'  I think I
have mention on this list previously, it was targeted for the IBM
University customers and was not marketed widely; which was a darned shame
because it was a excellent product (and TCF was ahead of its time).    Some
one on this lost mentioned needing tons of floppies to install AIX/386
which is was so wrong.   You needed only one, if you had another system
(386 or 370 on the network), you just booted the new 'node' and let TCF
take over.  You 'joined' the cluster, disk replication would start to fill
your disk in. It was extremely fast and easy.  Oh yes - AIX/TCF supported
mixed instruction sets between the 370 and x86! (TCF looked for the proper
node that had the correct HW provisioning to execute any specific
process).  We used to show it off at trade shows, including migrating
people's vi sessions 'around' the world when we had a cluster that spanned
different physical sites [great fun].    Interesting security flaw -- root
on any node in the cluster (like a local 386 node) was the same as root on
the 370 nodes.
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