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Re: Errors in your WWW-page (fwd)

On Wed, Aug 16, 2000 at 06:54:28PM +0300, Juhapekka Tolvanen wrote:
> Would you please create www-page of your Debian-port?
> Juhapekka "naula" Tolvanen * * * U of Jyväskylä * * juhtolv@st.jyu.fi
> http://www.cc.jyu.fi/~juhtolv/index.html * "STRAIGHT BUT NOT NARROW!" 
> Cc: webmaster@debian.org
> Subject: Re: Errors in your WWW-page
> > Project to port Debian GNU/Linux for IBM Mainframes is also going on, but it
> > not mentioned here: 
> > http://www.debian.org/ports/
> It's not mentioned because the porters haven't created any pages.
> Ask on the debian-s390 mailing list, debian-s390@lists.debian.org
I'd prefer to offer this list a 'status' report, rather than publish on the web
at the moment - unless there somebody knowledgeable around who also knows how to do 

There's nothing there because I haven't yet written anything
worthy of going into the debian web. 
I'm a strong believer in the "show me the code" philosophy ... 
However, there not being much code at the moment,
there's not much to show to the outside world (yet).

I have made some progress though.

I now have 2 IBM P/390 machines at home.
These are not powerful machines by any count, but they work,
and they will give us enough "computing power" to prove that
the builddaemon/autobuilder idea actually works for s390.
As a "planned enhancement" I expect to do the "heavy computing" 
on S/390 boxes behind corporate firewalls. They will pick up their 
orders from the P/390's, and return the results back there.
There are issues of trust involved on both sides of the firewalls,
so this might take quite a while to implement.

What is a P390 ?
Basically it's an overgrown 5-year old Microchannel OS/2 with a 
Pentium-90 and a SCSI-Raid-controller. It also has a two-board device on 
the bus which looks like a "4-MB shared-memory, single IRQ" device to OS/2.
This 'device' is actually a complete S/390 CPU (or Engine, as they like 
to call it). As far as the S/390-CPU is concerned, it has its own 128 MB
Memory, and it sees its I/O Bus (called Channels) and Peripherals (as 
defined and emulated by the OS/2 subsystem). It has no idea that the
Full-Pack 3390 Disk it's booting from is actually an OS/2 Flat-File.

These wonderful contraptions are capable of (slowly) booting any IBM S/390
Operating system, such as VM, VSE, MVS (now called OS/390), and of course
"Linux for S/390".

What is VM ?
VM stands for Virtual Mashine, and provides what IBM calls a 
"Hypervisor" to emulate a full CPU and Peripherals to (almost) any
number of "guest" operating systems. Products like "VMware" are very
similar, in that VMware presents ist 'guests' with an i386 environment
with peripherals which each guest thinks it owns.

The neat thing about VM is that I can run several Linux Images 
simultaneously on the same hardware; thus it is no great challenge to
boot the 'Marist S/390' distribution in one guest mashine and SuSE 
for S/390 in another. They both talk TCP/IP, and can mount disks via
NFS as needed.

At the moment, I am in the process of transfering enough debianisms to the
marist box that I can (re)start building *-s390.deb's. 
One big problem at the moment is sorting out the source-dependancies.
You can see the work I've done previously at

What are my plans ?
1) Connectivity.
I've moved, and so no longer have the 28,8K leased line that I used to 
have. However, I have a Telephone contract which allows me to telephone
"for free" on sundays, so that'll give me an up-to-date source mirror
once a week at ISDN speed ;-)
2) understanding dpkg-*, apt-*, build-daemons, quinn-diff and autobuilders.
3) I'll be uploading to source.rfc822.org when I get the build-daemon(s) running.
Once we have enough .debs to be able to install from there, I'll go to the
ftp-maintainers and we'll start talking about how to integrate with the rest of debian proper.
4) I still need to write down my plans for the "install method" - at the moment
I'm thinking of setting up a CDROM with debian-i386 and debian-s390; and letting
the S/390 work with a (large) initrd and NFS from the i386. There's a few non-trivial 
items in that scenario though, primarily because of the networking device drivers on S/390.
Basically they will have to prepare a customised boot-image on tape and boot it from
there. These problems are not new to those of you who read the Linux-390 list at vm.marist.edu ;-)

On a more personal note, We've finished the house-moving excercise, and are now 
at the stage where we can find almost everything, (or at least know which boxes
we should be looking into;-) My wife was hit by a hit-and-run car driver while I
was away in America - This broke her hip, but she's up and around again, although
she can't do any lifting. We've almost finished building the garden-shed ; just needs
a roof, and weather-proofing and we'll be done.
My new contract, which started in July is 40 hrs/week, as usual.

And in the rest of my copious free time, I've been playing with 'Hercules', a S/390 
emulator which runs on Linux (any flavour) and runs real S/390 code.
You can find out more about it from http://www.conmicro.cx/hercules
I have 'H390' on my (new) laptop - but you wouldn't want to run it on anything much slower than a
P233. What this means, is that we can now develop and test S/390 code without having access
to a real S/390 mashine! I think that H390 is the first Architecture that can be built and
emulated without access to the target-arch. I'd like to set it up on a very fast dual-CPU
box to see what kind of performance it has there. I did find it amusing to run an xclock on H390
displaying on the same screen as the xclock running on native i386 which was hosting the H390.

I had stated before that I'd be keeping a low profile at least until the potatoes hit the fan, 
but if anybody's not happy with the speed of progress - please feel free to overtake me.

"Whatever you do will be insignificant,  
but it is very important that you do it."  == Mahatma Gandhi ==
Have a nice day ;-) Richard Higson mailto:richard.higson@gt.owl.de

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