Taking A New Look at Big Iron I first started working with IBM's mainframes in college in the early 1980s. We had two systems then: MVS for running batch jobs from punch cards and VM for running interactive programs on a terminal. I hated punch cards (everybody did) but I was impressed by what you could do with MVS. The Job Control Language (JCL), though extremely cryptic, was capable of magical things if one only troubled to learn its secrets. I did so, and I think some of the same things I like about Linux are things that I liked about MVS. I don't care how user-friendly something is, but I demand tools that are versatile and efficient. MVS is still with us today, although now it's called OS/390 by IBM. Punch cards have been retired in favor of sequential files, but the basics of JCL are still there. OS/390 is at the core of most of the world's major corporations, and it has evolved more than I would ever have imagined.
Scott Courtney looks at the modern mainframe using Linux in an article for Linux Planet (February 2000). From the article: