Open source and I

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open source and I go quite a way back. All the way back to 1995 when I uploaded "WFDOS" to a Compuserve area or forum or whatever they were called. WFDOS is a utility for integrating DOS-tools for use within IBMs Workframe/2, part of the VisualAge C++ suite of tools. If you google it, you'll quite likely come across references or maybe even a download. I know I have seen it listed on sites that collect OS/2 tools and utilities.

Going even further back to the 80s, I suspect my first encounter with "open" source was MVS 3.8 on microfiche or tape and later on JES/328X, an RJE spooler for MVS, on paper. I think I might even still have the JES328X source code somewhere up in the attic.

I was probably a little late getting on the Linux bandwagon, perhaps because I was a keen OS/2 developer at home, and writing IBM mainframe system software in the office. My focus was first turned towards Unix (HP-UX, AIX) in the mid-90s. I purchased my first copy of SuSE Linux, version 4.4.1, around 1996 I think. I remember Linux kernel 1.3 and that 2.0 was a big step forward. One of my significant achievements around 1998/1999 was getting an ancient 486DX2 office desktop set up in cupboard, running our home internet gateway/firewall, kernel 2.0.36.

The following is a list of my open source contributions, in no particular order:

  • dosemu

This goes back to 2001/2002 or thereabouts - I honestly cannot remember what I wrote for dosemu, but I suspect you'll find my name in the code somewhere.

In 2005, I wrote a patch to make the freshclam daemon more resilient with respect to poorly written OnError and OnUpdate scripts. Later, I wrote a 2nd patch to introduce the OnOutdatedExecute option.

  • bwclamd: a reworked clamd. work in progress. Locally in production, but not yet published.

To be honest, I think I only wrote one, maybe two patches, certainly nothing major. Something about the driver(s) for 3c509 or 3c515 comes to mind, but it's really not very significant.

  • hercules-390

I contributed support for several IEEE-754 floating point instructions, primarily to enable running a Java virtual machine on Linux-390. I was working for BEA systems at the time, and running/demoing BEA Weblogic (and associated products) on Linux-390 was one of my key responsibilities.


I honestly cannot remember how I got involved in this, but SAPDB was released as open source by SAP AG in 2000 or thereabouts. I can't remember why, but I knew that SAPDB used to be called Adabas, and used to run on MVS. The challenge of getting it build and run on Linux-390 (using Hercules-390) was just too much of a temptation.

  • linux kernel

A two line change to provide AHCI support for 88se9125. Back in 2002 or 2003, I also wrote a driver for flashing some AMD serial EEPROM, but I never published it.

  • nasm

Whilst writing some assembler code for Linux, I spotted a bug in the 64-bit stack generation code, and wrote a patch. Later on I upgraded the openSUSE nasm package.

I added support for XML output.

  • PMMail

PMMail used to be my email client on OS/2, and wrote a couple of scripts for miscellaneous PMMail maintenance.

  • openSUSE stuff

Apart from bug reports and mailing lists, I don't actually contribute a lot to openSUSE, but since mid-2011, I have started fixing or upgrading the odd package:

    • nasm - upgrade to latest version.
    • jfsutils - upgrade to latest version.
    • lilo - upgrade to latest version.
    • Yast2::iSCSI - a fix of a very minor problem that nonetheless prevented iSCSI from working in openSUSE.