Linux and MCA - A Pain?
For a long time, after the Linux-development started in 1992, there was no
support for IBM-Microchannel (MCA)-equipment at all and system-administrators
always reacted with strange comments, when asking for the availability of
Linux for MCA. But, the Slackware-distribution contained patches from a
dedicated development-group, that got Microchannel-machines running with
ESDI-harddisk-interfaces. After a short period, this group has been dissolved
and there was no further Linux-support for MCA-systems, as the PS/2 series
was assumed to be after its sunset and no longer in use. One day, the
development continued and the old code has been taken over, renovated and
extended. The request for Linux and MCA is still quite steady and is obviously
based on the fact, that for desktop usage, the old PS/2 series may not be fast
enough, but those machines work really great as network servers still today.
As Linux is a very cheap and transparent operating-system solution, it is one
of the first choices, when connecting the old PS/2 to a network.
Different patches for Linux on MCA are available, yet and on from Kernel
2.1.30, the MCA support is included within the default Kernel release, so there
is really no need for patching. Kernel 2.2 will contain MCA support by
default. If you like to get a running Linux system, even on PS/2, this
should be no longer impossible. After this, you have a running Microchannel,
but as you need some harddisks, support for harddisks must be given, too.
Most PS/2 machines offer a SCSI-interface, which is called SCSI-subsystem.
This driver has been developed over the last years and should now be in some
useable status. Anyway, as one person cannot own the whole palette of PS/2
machines in his cellar, it is not easy for the programmer to take the
individual problems of each PS/2 model into account. Therefore, it could be
possible, that this driver does not run on your own PS/2. As IBM states, that
the IBM SCSI-subsystem works the same way on every PS/2, these problems
could be caused by the driver, which does not yet take into account
the common prescriptions - in fact, a bug. If you find such bugs, first
remember, that even programers are human beings and that it would be always
the best to send the bugreport as soon as possible to the
programer/maintainer, so he is enabled to look for the problem inside
the code. With this you can help to get MCA-Linux into a nice shape.
Linux ? Who cares for it ?
In the meantime, Linux got more and more popular up to the leading
people, sitting in the headquarters of very important enterprises all over
the world. Currently, the most important partners that officially support
Linux customers, users and developers are:
In addition, I like to personally express my special thanks to the IBM
Deutschland GmbH for their marvellous support via the 'Hallo IBM'
helpline and the help and info from background and subsidiary organisations!
The support is in a splendid shape and since the official support of Linux
I refeel a very intense care for my driver development works here.
- IBM Corp. On 2 March 1999, IBM declared
that they will support Linux. With IBM machines, the Redhat distribution should
be available, if desired by the customer. IBM guarantees full support, also
for the Linux developers. ... We are going to deliver our machines with
the new operating system Linux ... (from an interview between ARD and IBM officials at the CeBit'99).
- SAP AG On 18 March 1999, SAP declares on
the CeBit'99 to build there software products not only for the Windows
environments, but also for Linux.
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Last changes: 18 March 1999
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