Much ado about IBM's mainframe monopoly

Time to foster clones of proprietary platforms

You could probably get Microsoft to fund a lawsuit to crack open IBM's z/OS and mainframe middleware licenses, and you might even get Neon Enterprise Software, which makes a product called zPrime that allows certain work that normally would work on regular mainframe engines to work on cheaper specialty zIIP and zAAP engines, involved in the fight. (You can read about zPrime here and IBM's reaction to it there. And if you have flashbacks to the old Fast400 governor buster saga on the AS/400s, it ain't just you.) If Neon's software gets any traction in the market, you can bet the lawsuits will start a-flying.

If by some miracle of fair and honest capitalism - now, it ain't healthy to spit coffee out of your nose like that, so be careful - IBM is compelled to allow clone mainframes, the same smarty programmers who created Hercules should get fast to work making a little something I want to call - wait for it - iOlaus, an emulator of the Power Systems-i microcode that would allow the i/OS to run on top of it and on x64 and any other damned kind of iron. (Iolaus was the nephew of Hercules, and his side-kick.) And just for the fun of it, let's call the clone of the DB2/400 database xEna, which would allow RPG applications to run inside this iOlaus environment.

Now wouldn't that be a novel turn of events?

The people who talk incessantly about free markets don't really want any such thing. They don't want freedom, and they sure as hell don't want markets. They do want customers, and they want to keep them - and all to themselves if possible. Anyone who says otherwise is either a fool or a liar - or both.

The truth is, there is no simple way to legislate fairness in business, or else I would be clamoring for a little something I will call fair bazaars. (I think you can start from scratch on a new planet and maybe teach that one, which is more collaborative, more vibrant with lots of competition.)

Still, it is fun to see how this all works. Or doesn't. ®

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