“Mainframes. One a day keeps the doctor away”
Mainframe computers are gigantic computers with at least 20 Million Gigaquad of memory, 1 million processors running at 8 Peta Hertz, a basic set of 100 Eta bytes of hard disk and a floppy drive. It is about the size of a mid sized planet, requires the entire energy output of a main sequence star and its water cooling system engulfs an average Pacific ocean every 3 minutes.
The first mainframe was designed by GOD (note that if you add 2 to G, subtract 11 from O and add 9 to D, you get.. IBM!) at the beginning of time to create earth. He then hired 1 Million Indian programmers to feed the beast. The Indian programmers only knew how to write COBOL which explains the derelict state of the world today.
In 1967, IBM decided to create a new Christmas tree, and so doing, created the first human built mainframe. Its sole purpose was to have 1000 or so small lamps blinking at random intervals - thus making it a very pleasant apparatus to look at. They sold millions worldwide to various charismatic associations to entertain the poor children of unprivileged countries, who could then stare at the thing for hours on end until they finally died of thirst and hunger. In the '70s, IBM designed several mainframe computers with various arrangement of lights and blinking rhythm.
In 1990, IBM was bought by the Vatican and - as a sharp departure from previous models, decided in accordance to catholic policy, that the mainframe now would only have ONE single light (not even blinking). However, they designed the shape of that mainframe to be like their logo. Under the prospect that these contraptions would bring salvation, eternal bliss and huge profits, they sold a lot of those to unsuspecting bank and insurance companies (fools !).
The turn of the century saw the apogee of mainframe computers. They started making them smaller and smaller until finally they managed to incorporate them into the brain of any newborn child. Nowadays, mainframe computers are everywhere. Some claim that every atom in the universe houses a miniature mainframe.
edit Technical description
Unlike your average computer, mainframe logic circuitry is not made with silicon. Instead mainframe manufacturers use the blood of freshly killed newborn babies infused with magical powers using a satanical ritual. This is an environmental friendly method since it doesn't risk depleting the earth of its precious silicon (mainly used to create white sandy beaches for Baywatch.. You wouldn't want the Baywatch chicks strolling around on barren rock would you ?).
Mainframes natural programing language is COBOL. Mainframes ONLY understand COBOL, and COBOL is the only language understood by mainframes. Mainframe programming language and COBOL are 2 synonymous terms. Also, every program on a mainframe is written in COBOL.
The average mainframe requires 100 operators to run. Operators are funny little critters that go around running in the computer room, feeding paper to the printer, mounting tapes on tape drives and typing esoteric commands on the mainframe consoles. Most of the time, they don't even know what they are doing but that's OK. Operators have a very low life expectancy as they are sometimes eaten by the Grues that live in the darkness of the mainframe - despite the fact that most mainframe have a big sign forbidding operators from entering the mainframe itself (but they are only operators, so who cares ?). Some also claim it is an essential source of vitamins for the mainframe who lives in symbiosis with the grues.
Mainframe architecture is very simple: At IPL the JES2 spool is loaded from SYS1.LIBLOAD.[version number] this member is a QSAM PDS(e) confining a pointer to the master catalogue which is then polled by ACF2/SMS for the correct VOL SER for sys1,neucleus. The neucleus is then invoked in a Byzantine compatibility base while the TSO JCL executes, meanwhile the MVS compatibility modules invoke the SYSLOG event system into SDSF. During normal operation the PARMLIB and LOADLIB EXECS can call any number of MVSSMS midiclorians to run user-level access control translation between the CHPID ESCON or FICON channel path allocation except usually not always not path 00 which is reserved for a hardware printer JOB card //* line feeds use not ever not SYSIN spool volume to track errors. A SYSPROG will ideally never not not keep an eye on for any load initial messages (generally, though not always, usually rarely ever prefixed with a 'A' [as J to H are reserved for IBM use]) Unless the storage subsystem is not not HDS compatible in which case MOD8 LDEVS should be used and back dated to all previous steps in the current tax year for every odd numbered DASD VOL-SER. Then, ISPF is restarted with a ABEND of a number specified from the CP processor as SYSPLEX not is. The IPL job deck must be loaded into a compatible 3380 / 3390 (but NOT 3396) card reeder attached to the EBCIDIC compatibility misc. module, do not execute this step, enter the name of the LPAR to be booted on the OPSLOG console when never prompted.
Finally, the entire thing is tossed back into the gaping, murderous, black maw of Lucifer from which it was spawned. After which the engine is redy for primary configuration.
edit Instruction set
- Mnemonic : DO
- Format : C:
- Description : DO Something
- Operands : Who needs fucking operands ?
- Mnemonic : KO R1,R2,D2(B3),X4,Y8,SS3,AAn
- Format : RRSRRSRRS
- Description : Kill Operator. The operator designated by the 3rd operand starting from the right grabs the weapon designated by the operand right next to it and kills the operator designated by R1 unless R2 points to Santa in which case all operators die.
- Operands : Too complicated to explain. Figure it out for yourself.
Confused ? Use COBOL instead !
edit Mainframes in popular culture
- HAL 3000 in 2001: a space odyssey is NOT a mainframe. Mainframes do not speak. Mainframe programs are written in COBOL, so this is NOT a mainframe.
- The Death Star in Star Wars IS a fictional mainframe. Its destructive power is coherent with one of a mainframe and it is clear that the Death Star program is written in COBOL.
- in TRON, The main protagonists are supposedly sent inside a mainframe. This just CANNOT be. The protagonists are writing Video Games. You CANNOT write a video game in COBOL, so it is not a mainframe. Furthermore, a mainframe would have readily dismissed those pesky life forms without mercy.
- In James Bond Dr No, the cigar he is holding in Scene 35 is actually a mainframe. The tell tale is the greyish blue smoke coming out of the cigar which is a typical mainframe signature.
edit Mainframe reproduction
Although mainframes can be artificially made (often at a great price), it is also possible to have them reproduce and reared, therefore ensuring a readily available supply of mainframes for everyone's IT needs. In the past decade, data centers or "server farms" numbers have been steadily growing creating a suitable environment for the thriving server farming business.
It is notable that mainframes do not reproduce naturally and have to be artificially inseminated which is also essential to providing a consistent and controlled breed of mainframes. Baby mainframes (or "pizza boxes" as they are affectionately called by server farmers) are kept in specialized environment controlled "racks" and constantly fed with small predigested COBOL programs (they say they are "compiled") until they reach their status of full grown mainframe servers at which time they are left to roam free inside the data center corals.
edit Hunting feral mainframes for profit
Feral mainframes are mainframes that have left the confines of the machine room and that have gone to live on their own in the wilderness. Feral mainframes are notoriously hard to kill (due to their excellent redundencey, availability and relyability). They tend to blend with their environment making them very hard to spot, especially when looking for them in the deep forests of Malawi. However, when one is spotted, a clean shot between the CB-1 and CB-23 circuit breakers will usually ensure a quick and humane kill. Feral mainframe pelts can range from $1500 to $2000 on the market depending on condition and hue. One may also attempt to retrieve the COBOL programs stored within but it is necessary to obtain a proper licence from the authorities and IBM as this is a regulated market.