Linux on zSeries

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Linux on System z is the collective term for the Linux operating system compiled to run on IBM mainframes, especially System z machines. Other terms with the same meaning include Linux on zEnterprise 196, Linux on System z10, Linux on System z9, Linux on zSeries, Linux/390, zLinux, z/Linux, etc.


Linux on System z originated as two separate efforts to port Linux to IBM's largest servers. The first effort, the "" project, developed by Linas Vepstas in late 1998 through early 1999, was an independent distribution and has since been abandoned. IBM published a collection of patches and additions to the Linux 2.2.13 kernel on December 18, 1999, to start today's mainline Linux on zSeries. Formal product announcements quickly followed in 2000, including the Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) engines. Think Blue Linux was an early mainframe distribution consisting mainly of Red Hat packages added to the IBM kernel. Commercial Linux distributors introduced mainframe editions very quickly after the initial kernel work, and these mainframe versions have now been available for several years.

At the start of IBM's involvement, Linux patches for zSeries included some object code only (OCO) modules, without source code. However, currently Linux on zSeries is completely free software under the GNU General Public License.

Market outlook

In their 2005 "hype" report, IT industry analyst firm Gartner cited Linux on zSeries as arguably the leading driver of Linux's...
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