IBM Offers Free Mainframe Access to Linux Developers

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ARMONK, N.Y. - 24 May 2001: A new program from IBM will provide thousands of independent software developers with free access to the ultimate tool for writing Linux software applications -- the IBM eServer zSeries mainframe.

The program, the Linux Community Development System, provides developers with access to their own virtual mainframe running Linux as well as a Shark storage subsystem.

IBM customers, business partners, independent software vendors, consultants, academics and even IBM competitors are invited to register for their free server. The program is aimed at helping Linux developers build new enterprise applications that enable customers to consolidate their distributed servers on a single IBM zSeries mainframe.

The testing stage of the program has already drawn an expanding community of programmers and Linux enthusiasts from around the world. Developers from Korea, Scotland, India, New Zealand, and even a high school student from Brooklyn, are up and running on the mainframe, porting their Linux applications to ``Big Iron'' via the Internet.

``This innovative program offers Linux developers and the open source community access to technology that is otherwise outside their reach,'' said John Morris, vice president, IBM eServer zSeries. ``The program is a testament to the strength, security and scalability of IBM's mainframe, the only server capable of creating thousands of virtual Linux servers at once.''

The unique capabilities of the mainframe allow it to be partitioned or carved up into thousands of virtual stand alone servers. Users are assigned their own individual server to develop, test or port applications with complete autonomy, allowing them to work independently without affecting the thousands of other users on the same physical machine. Developers can even re-boot or recompile programs without interfering with others on the system, a luxury not available to developers working on Sun or HP boxes.

Sean McPherson, director of operations for Kentucky-based Internet service company Xodiax, is an early user. ``I jumped at the chance to try out Linux on the mainframe for myself,'' said McPherson. ``As a manager of data centers, I was curious to see how the mainframe would perform hosting multiple Linux images. I've always thought of the mainframe as invulnerable, but I hadn't fully realized its potential to destroy the capacity of rack-mounted systems, while taking up less space, energy and most importantly, less of my time.''

Developers can enroll in the program via the IBM Linux home page at Participants should go the zSeries and Linux Community Development System links. To ensure quality support, participants are being given access in stages. Users will choose between a SuSE or TurboLinux zSeries distribution of Linux and will be offered access for either 30, 60 or 90 days.

IBM news releases and fact sheets are available at For more information about IBM enterprise servers, go to

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The IBM eServer brand consists of the established IBM e-business logo with the following descriptive term ``server'' following it.

The following are either trademarks or registered of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States or other countries or both: IBM, the IBM e-business logo, zSeries, and Shark.

Linux is registered trademark of Linus Torvalds.

All others are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.