• June 25, 2022

Rocket and Open Source: A Brief History on the Open Mainframe Movement

Do you remember OpenEdition MVS? This technology was IBM’s first foray into “opening” the mainframe up to a new community of developers—over 25 years ago! IBM began shipping this feature as part of the base of the new OS/390 operating system, which dramatically reduced the cost and skills needed for new workload development on the mainframe. 

Since then, IBM has supported emerging communities, contributed to the development of open source licenses, and advocated for open governance and open standards. This included helping establish the Linux Foundation in 2000, which provides support for open source communities through financial and intellectual resources, infrastructure, services, events, and training. Through the years, IBM has partnered with the Linux Foundation to deliver more than 80 collaborative projects. 

As proud IBM partners, Rocket has also been supporting the open source movement and developing new tools. For many years, Rocket had been using open source tools internally for their own z/OS development team. It was only natural then for IBM and Rocket to partner together in advancing the open mainframe movement. Our first release was the source modifications and z/OS binaries that we had been using internally. We originally provided five free ported tools as a trial, but with the success of the project, we ended up delivering over four times that number of tools. We also developed Application Lifecycle Management for Linux on System Z, with the goal of providing greater management of Linux applications that are natively developed and managed on and from the mainframe.

Since then, our mission has only grown stronger. In 2018, Rocket once again partnered with IBM to further the open mainframe mission, this time including CA (now Broadcom/CA). These companies built the foundation for the Open Mainframe Project with the goal of enabling mainframe developers to use a broad array of modern tools and DevOps practices in their day-to-day work. 

Rocket also helped establish Zowe alongside IBM and Broadcom/CA. This was a game-changer for mainframe enterprises that wanted to modernize their existing mainframe systems. The platform found a home within the Linux Foundation’s Open Mainframe Project and was released in February 2019. With Zowe, organizations relying on the mainframe could attract and retain top developer talent to help them modernize and bring their business to the next level. 

In the past month, Rocket has announced an additional update to their open mainframe offerings, Rocket® BlueZone® Web for Zowe. This is the market’s first terminal emulator available for Zowe. With this latest development, users will finally have a secure, browser-based terminal emulator that lives within the Zowe desktop environment

In every instance of Rocket’s developments, it’s been about how to integrate open source software with existing applications and databases to create something new. And we know that we’re not done adding to this list of programs. Our commitment to open mainframe projects is just beginning. Inspired through years of innovation that IBM has provided, we try to infuse the open movement into all that we do: our projects, our values, the way we lead our teams, and the community we’ve built with our customers. 

If you’re interested in learning more about our commitment to open source and how we’re working with the Open Mainframe Project, join us at the Open Mainframe Summit. Today and tomorrow, from September 16 to 17, industry leaders will be discussing where we are, and where we hope to go, with open source for the mainframe.

Jim Porell 9 Posts

I am a Solutions Architect at Rocket Software, focusing on pre and post sales technical assistance for Rocket developed products from IBM. Prior to joining Rocket, I was an independent consultant and retired IBM Distinguished Engineer. I held various roles as Chief Architect of IBM’s mainframe software and led Business Development and marketing of Security and Application Development for the mainframe. My last IBM role was Chief Business Architect for Federal Sales. I held a TS/SCI clearance for the US Government, was a member of the US Secret Service Electronic Crimes Taskforce in Chicago and co-authored several security books. I've done cybersecurity forensic work at a number of Retail, Financial and Government agencies and created a methodology for interviewing customers to avoid security breaches for large enterprises. I have over 40 years working with Information Technology.


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