After much work I was able to get WebSphere running on the unsupported OS with:
1 - Install OS
2 - remove all versions of java including any gcj packages
3 - Install DB2 8.1.4 (success after some modification to install script and creation of some symlinks to make suse 9 look like suse 8)
4 - Install WAS 4.0 AE (success, starts beautifully and works well with local and remote DBs)
5 - Install fixpack 6 - failure!
By failure i mean that while fixpacks 6 and 7 install successfully, attempting to launch any process after that using the WebSphere JDK which is updated during the fixpack process causes an immediate segmentation fault.
This occurs when you install fix6 or fix7, in any order, together or by themselves, etc. the fixpacks themselves install beautifully.
(it should also be noted that if you do not have any other java present, the fixpack uninstall processes can not launch since it uses java to do so
you will be reinstalling the product from scratch. not that it takes that long, but still.)
running any java program such as 'java -jar <myjar.jar>' causes a seg fault immediately, as does the startupServer.sh which launches websphere. The seg fault immediate in every situation. IBM is pretty clear that running the fix7 update without updating the WAS jdk along with it is not a good idea if you're partial to the features inherent in the product, so.......
i welcome any and all views on the subject.