Sunday, 20 September 2009

Who said it could never happen?!

Our story starts back in March this year when Novell released SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) 11. Because of Novell’s alliance with Microsoft, this version supported the Mono runtime, which allows applications coded in C# and using the .Net Framework to run on non-Windows platforms without recompilation. Novell got into the open source Mono project by acquiring Ximian. What makes it particularly interesting is that SLE 11 runs on IBM mainframes.

Now let’s change the picture. Let’s pan across to Redmond where we see a rain-soaked figure scuttling out of the nocturnal storm into a brightly-lit building. Elsewhere in the same building, the much-heralded Windows 7 is being promoted ahead of its forthcoming release. Microsoft’s current version of Windows, Vista, was less than stellar in its success in terms of take-up by large organizations. So, we watch the marketing people deciding that a nominalized version of Windows is not going to sell well, and an acronymed version – remember XP and ME – seems like a retrograde step, so they put all their marketing expertise together and decide to call it “7”. Remember that “7” is very lucky in Chinese culture. They smile.

The scene changes again. A slow dissolve to an IBM presentation, where much is being made of System z’s virtualization capabilities. How it has a long and proud history and is just head-and-shoulders above any other virtualization software on any other platform. A tracking shot shows heads nodding in agreement amongst the well-informed audience.

But now, trying hard to ignore the man behind the curtain, we find an unlikely group of friends who want to consolidate their hardware assets. They know the world and his wife use laptops for their daily computing needs, and they want the same virtualization benefits mainframers enjoy to be available to them. Can the wizard help?

An out-of-focus close-up zooms out to reveal Mantissa’s z/Vos. I’ve mentioned this product about six months ago when it was announced. The software runs in z/VM and allows mainframers to run other operating systems under it including Windows.

Let’s cut away to our eager smiling heroes, who now realise that z/Vos, once properly available, offers them a way to run Windows on a mainframe, and SLE 11 Mono Extension gives them a way to run Windows .Net applications on a mainframe, although how easy that will be I’m not quite sure. It seems the big and little ends of computing have finally come together.

Fade to black.

And just to change the tone of things, here’s a haiku:

I Googled myself
and worryingly found that
again I’m not there.

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