Company without a name unveils mainframe Solaris

Sine Nomine gets Sirius


The OpenSolaris project and Sine Nomine Associates have announced that Sirius - a Solaris port for IBM mainframes - is ready for action.

The Sirius variant of Solaris runs atop IBM's z/VM operating system, which is also one of the pioneer virtualization environments for servers. The Sirius code is a 64-bit implementation of Solaris that runs on z9 or z10 mainframe processors and requires z/VM 5.3 or later.

z/VM is one of the ways that IBM and its partner commercial Linux distributors - Red Hat and Novell - support Linux on the mainframe. But Linux also runs natively on top of the Processor Resource/Systems Manager (PR/SM) hypervisor that is nearly two decades old and that supports z/OS, Linux, z/VM, z/VSE, and TPF operating systems.

PR/SM is a hybrid hardware-software virtualization hypervisor that is a mix of microcode based largely on earlier versions of the VM platform for mainframes and hardware-assist features that have been part of the mainframe iron since PR/SM was announced in 1989.

Sine Nomine is the mainframe consultancy that has done the bulk of the work on Sirius. Last year, when I talked to the company about the project, it said that porting an operating system to PR/SM is particularly difficult, and that's why Sirius is taking the z/VM route to the mainframe. Moreover, PR/SM tops out at a mere 60 partitions per mainframe, while z/VM can have thousands of partitions and span up to 8 TB of main memory and 32 processor cores in a single partition.

You can get the Sirius binary code through Sine Nomine's Web site and the open source code through the OpenSolaris site, which is where development for OpenSolaris for x64 and Sparc processors as well as the related "Polaris" project for Power-based machines is hosted. A prototype of OpenSolaris running on mainframes was announced a year ago, by the way.

While IBM and Sun announced an OEM agreement in August 2007 that had IBM embrace Solaris and sell support contracts for it on selected models of its System x rack and BladeCenter blade servers and Big Blue gave the nod to the mainframe and Power ports, neither Sun nor IBM have made any big moves to get Polaris and Sirius rolled up into a commercially supported variant of Solaris 10.

Sine Nomine has been at this Solaris-on-the-mainframe thing for a while. The company did a feasibility study looking at moving OpenSolaris to the mainframe in 2005, before Sun even went open source with the code. Right after Sun put out the OpenSolaris source code, Sine Nomine created a project for the mainframe port, but serious development did not begin until November 2006. The company went public with the effort in April 2007, but it really didn't come to anyone's attention in the larger IT space until Sun and IBM inked their OEM agreement last August. ®


Other stories you might like

  • It's the flu season – FluBot, that is: Surge of info-stealing Android malware detected

    And a bunch of bank-account-raiding trojans also identified

    FluBot, a family of Android malware, is circulating again via SMS messaging, according to authorities in Finland.

    The Nordic country's National Cyber Security Center (NCSC-FI) lately warned that scam messages written in Finnish are being sent in the hope that recipients will click the included link to a website that requests permission to install an application that's malicious.

    "The messages are written in Finnish," the NCSC-FI explained. "They are written without Scandinavian letters (å, ä and ö) and include, for example, the characters +, /, &, % and @ in illogical places in the text to make it more difficult for telecommunications operators to filter the messages. The theme of the text may be that the recipient has received a voicemail message or a message from their mobile operator."

    Continue reading
  • AsmREPL: Wing your way through x86-64 assembly language

    Assemblers unite

    Ruby developer and internet japester Aaron Patterson has published a REPL for 64-bit x86 assembly language, enabling interactive coding in the lowest-level language of all.

    REPL stands for "read-evaluate-print loop", and REPLs were first seen in Lisp development environments such as Lisp Machines. They allow incremental development: programmers can write code on the fly, entering expressions or blocks of code, having them evaluated – executed – immediately, and the results printed out. This was viable because of the way Lisp blurred the lines between interpreted and compiled languages; these days, they're a standard feature of most scripting languages.

    Patterson has previously offered ground-breaking developer productivity enhancements such as an analogue terminal bell and performance-enhancing firmware for the Stack Overflow keyboard. This only has Ctrl, C, and V keys for extra-easy copy-pasting, but Patterson's firmware removes the tedious need to hold control.

    Continue reading
  • Microsoft adds Buy Now, Pay Later financing option to Edge – and everyone hates it

    There's always Use Another Browser

    As the festive season approaches, Microsoft has decided to add "Buy Now, Pay Later" financing options to its Edge browser in the US.

    The feature turned up in recent weeks, first in beta and canary before it was made available "by default" to all users of Microsoft Edge version 96.

    The Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) option pops up at the browser level (rather than on checkout at an ecommerce site) and permits users to split any purchase between $35 and $1,000 made via Edge into four instalments spread over six weeks.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021