[TUHS] UNIX on S/370

Kevin Bowling kevin.bowling at kev009.com
Tue Nov 28 10:13:43 AEST 2017

My interpretation from the BTSJ port was that it was a cheater port
more analogous to Cygwin that ran on top of MVS rather than a "real"
VM guest but it's been several years since I read the paper.

I have some private correspondence from Dick Johnson who worked on a
port of OSF/1 that was marketed as AIX/ESA:
"I'll give you a little AIX/ESA history and try to answer your
questions. I currently volunteer at the Computer History Museum, so I
am a bit of a computer history buff myself.

Starting in the late 1980s I was working at IBM SSD in San Jose. The
IBM Palo Alto Scientific Center had developed AIX/370 (my neighbor
Wally Iimura was one of the developers) to compete with Amdahl UTS,
and the decision was made to create a major UNIX offering for the IBM
mainframe based on the OSF/1 kernel from CMU. I was the leader of a
group in San Jose that did the AIX/ESA device support for all the
storage devices (DASD and tape). The bulk of AIX/ESA development was
carried out by a large group of several hundred in Kingston, NY.

The AIX/ESA code base was almost completely different from that of
AIX/370 and AIX for the RS/6000 (there had been an effort to port the
RS/6000 AIX to the mainframe that was abandoned).

When it was released, the product did not sell well, and never
exceeded 35 customer licenses. This was for many reasons. Marketing
did not push it, and the MVS people created Open MVS that allowed UNIX
to run in MVS. However the AIX/ESA OS itself was very solid and we
routinely handed a workload of over 1000 logged on users on a single
IBM mainframe. All the usual UNIX environment was provided. My group
did the device drivers that supported DASD up to the 3390 and also the
tape drives and tape library then selling. AIX/370 multi-processor
support was fairly primitive (there was only a single kernel lock),
but AIX/ESA had complete multi-processor and multi-threading support.

There was a complete of manuals that went with the AIX/ESA product.
There was the usual Operators Guide, User's Guide, etc. They had Navy
blue covers, but I did not keep any of them myself. I do not know of
any place to find soft copy of any of them. I believe the product was
shipped only on tape. As a developer I installed AIX/ESA many times,
but I was always using VM for this. The combination of being able to
run it in a virtual machine along with the PER hardware of the
mainframe made it pretty easy to debug problems.

Even though the product was not a success, I was proud of our work on
it and really enjoyed the work."


On Wed, Nov 22, 2017 at 8:38 AM, Noel Chiappa <jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu> wrote:
>     > From: Kevin Bowling
>     > The earliest stuff may be covered by Novell's grant of early code.
>     > ...
>     > Would be fun to run *ix on any of them.
> Alas, the Bell port of Unix to the /370 needs that underlying layer of code
> from IBM, and that's probably not going to escape. Too bad, it would be pretty
> cool.
>        Noel

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