Today at the mainframe user conference SHARE a tectonic shift in the mainframe was announced…  Open Source is coming to z/OS… Yes you read that right, the poster child for a closed code operating system is embracing a crowd sourced open model… So what happened to make that change and open up the mainframe? There has been Linux on z and LinuxONE making their own contributions to an “open-source” vision. Who convinced who that an open z/OS framework was now the way to go?

Also who’d of guessed that some typically competitive vendors could form a collaboration, and contribute code together openly…

CA Technologies, Rocket Software and IBM together, delivering the starting point of the shift in the use of the mainframe – from proprietary to open and reaching out to the potential of a new wave of users of the mainframe in an open and collaborative community – all ably administered by the Open Mainframe Project. The three contributing members are just the start, the Project is actively encouraging other vendors, academics, students even to join a growing community, committing code and developing for a new mainframe future.

From the keynote announcement and the whispers at SHARE we hear, the Open Mainframe Project plans to set out an innovative path for next gen developers:

Zowe is a framework of software services that offers industry standard REST APIs, API catalog, extensible command line interface and web-based UI framework. Zowe will help IT professionals perform administrative, development, test and operation tasks on z/OS using their preferred applications, both existing and new.

From IBM we have an initial contribution to project Zowe – making available an extensible z/OS framework that provides REST-based services or APIs that will allow you to rapidly use new technology, tools, languages and modern workflows with z/OS.

From CA we have their Brightside technology – A command Line Interface providing an innovative interactive and scriptable interface allowing new ways to seamlessly integrate z/OS in cloud and distributed environments.

From Rocket we have Web User interface –  unifying workspace providing a browser based desktop app container that can host both traditional and modern user experiences and is extensible via the latest web toolkits

All wrapped up in a open community that can contribute and commit to making real changes for the future of the 50+ year platform. The Open Mainframe Project is the perfect place to host this code base and foster collaborative development, given its stewardship by the Linux Foundation the widely heralded home of open source. As Greg Lotko said on the keynote stage at SHARE the Open Mainframe Project is the “day care provider” for this open source community.

Will this make a difference – We reckon it can, lets see how the dynamic combination of the worlds most trusted operating system can embrace a crowd sourced development model! Come one , come all, whether you’re a new or longer term developer – try it for yourself. If you’re an application or a tools vendor, an ISV, an SI – whoever you are you are all invited to join – this is a truly open invitation for everyone to be part of Zowe. You can even show your support on Twitter this week at SHARE St Louis by stopping by the Open Mainframe Project booth #516 anf having your #Zowesupporter selfie taken!

There are conversations already with the developers  on zowe.org and you can join in conversation on Slack and all the other channels via the openmainframeproject.org – the more that join, the faster things will grow.

Editors Note:  Thanks to Jax Shawley for all her help in pulling together this blog post.  Please follow Jax on Twitter here.