[cap-talk] Virtual Machine Based Rootkits

Jed at Webstart donnelley1 at webstart.com
Fri Aug 4 19:17:42 EDT 2006

At 03:15 PM 8/4/2006, David Mercer wrote:
>On 8/4/06, Jed at Webstart <donnelley1 at webstart.com> wrote:
> > Perhaps Norm remembers this technical point.  I seem to recall that
> > some of the IBM 370 computers came with virtual machine assist that
> > deliberately did provide for recursive virtualizability.  Do you recall
> > that Norm?  Does anyone know if there are still VM370 systems
> > running VMMs?
> >
> > --Jed http://www.webstart.com/jed/
>See page 14, upper right column of: http://www.vm.ibm.com/library/zvmref08.pdf
>VM is still recursively hostable!
>-David Mercer

Amazing!  Thanks for sharing that David!  I guess I should connect to my
buds working on IBM systems if I really want to do some work with VMs.
It seems I'm not likely to be able to afford one of those System z servers:


for my home though, even if it does run Linux ;-)  Here's a note on Linux/390:


that points to this VM (like Klenex, no need to say "IBM") paper:

(last updated 11/99)

This quote from the paper is somewhat telling:
IBM has always had an ambivalent attitude towards VM. One of VM's 
problems for IBM has been that it's just too efficient; IBM would 
much rather that customers use a "strategic" platform that just 
happens to require much more expensive iron to run. In later sections 
of this paper I'll discuss IBM's attempts to move customers to 
inappropriate, and often inferior technology.

As a result, IBM has always had an element that wished VM would 
disappear. and predicted VM's imminent demise many times in VM's 
25-year history. These predictions turned out to be foolish, and VM 
has outlived many of its detractors within IBM. This has also had the 
effect of alienating many IBM customers, and reducing IBM's credibility.

Incidents of IBM staff telling customers that "VM is dead" have been 
reported since VM's early days. I don't think IBM realizes that 
insulting parts of its product line damages its entire brand 
reputation. This type of unprofessional behavior does not help 
convince me to buy anything from IBM. Fortunately, this type of 
self-inflicted wound seems to happen less frequently now, though a 
lot of damage was done. If you see an IBM person badmouthing VM, 
report it to the VM management team, and they'll see that it is dealt 
with appropriately.

I guess I was one of those fooled into thinking VM was dead.  This is 
a good one, "...new use of VM, most notably VM web serving...".  I 
can see how it would make some sense.

I love this (from the above), "Some people say VM is dead. Other 
people say MVS is dead, OS/2 is dead, DOS (the mainframe variety) is 
dead, DOS (the PC variety) is dead, Apple is dead, and even Unix is 
dead. Some of these statements may be true. Well, OS/2 is definitely dead."

Heh ;-)     Also, "IBM's lack of marketing support for VM ensured 
that only people who think for themselves would run VM. The result 
was to 'select' VM customers for lack of docility."

Isn't amazing some of the techno/cultural niches we can get into as 
computer people!?!

--Jed http://www.webstart.com/jed/ 

More information about the cap-talk mailing list