Open source and the mainframe: The present and the future

December 19, 2019 devadvin

At IBM Z Day in November, John Mertic, Director of Program Management at the Linux Foundation, kicked off the open source track by spotlighting the Open Mainframe Project. After the event, he took some time to share his thoughts with us about misconceptions people have around open source and mainframes, what the Linux Foundation is doing to help change this, and how companies like IBM and individual developers can get involved. He shared the following with us.

Say open source and mainframe in the same sentence and people might look at you strangely. But they shouldn’t. In fact, if you want to trace the history of open source, you would need to go all the way back to the 1950s with SHARE — an event designed specifically to enable mainframers to share code with one another (though on microfiche and tape versus how we do it today). Open collaboration is a key part of the heritage of the mainframe ecosystem, and it’s fitting now that over the last 20 years these worlds have been aligning once more.

How can open source fit in with the mission-critical workloads that only a mainframe can drive? How can organizations trust code developed in the public eye to keep applications crucial to our society going? And is all open source the same?

At the Linux Foundation, we are seeing an increasing focus on sustainability in open source — in other words, projects that are putting the right pieces in place to ensure they can continue to grow and function and outlast any one contributor or supporting organization. Projects are hosted at the Linux Foundation to build this vendor-neutral home, and the Open Mainframe Project specifically focuses on vendor-neutral open source in the mainframe itself.

We invite everyone to join the present of open source in mainframe to help build its future. How do you get started?

  • Check out the Open Mainframe Landscape to see what open source is out there and how to engage.
  • If you are a vendor or customer in mainframe, learn about how to support this effort with membership.
  • Put on your calendar the inaugural Open Mainframe Summit in 2020 to see the vibrancy of open source on the mainframe.

Thanks again to John for taking the time to share this with us! You can view his talk at the IBM Z Day site.

Note: Registration is required to view the presentation. To download the presentation file, click the “SEE MORE” link in the upper-right corner of the video window.

John Mertic

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