Free Stuff for Your Mainframe: 2013 Edition
FREE! That's a word we all like to hear, though maybe "no additional charge" is more truthful since nothing in life is truly free. In the past I've listed many of the mainframe freebies available, and those posts have been popular. This post is an update since there are so many more mainframe freebies now. Please do grab these freebies, explore, and put them to productive use. After all, the price is right.
Free mainframes? Did you say free mainframes? Yes, you can get access to mainframes free of charge with certain caveats. Here are some examples:
- IBM's Master the Mainframe Contest offers free access to z/OS for students (and perhaps others) competing in a series of educational challenges. If you're among the top finishers you might even land a job offer from IBM or from other employers.
- Want to bring your commercial or open source application to z/OS and/or Linux on zEnterprise? No problem! Sign up for IBM's Validation Program for z/OS and/or Linux on System z Test Drive.
Free Mainframe Operating Systems
Linux is an open source operating system licensed per the GNU Public License (GPL). This type of license means that you don't have to pay a license fee to obtain and to use Linux, though Linux distributors (such as Novell and Red Hat) charge fees if you want their optional support services. Here are some examples of Linux distributions and other operating systems available for zEnterprise:
- Novell offers its SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for zEnterprise for download to evaluate. If you like it, you're encouraged to subscribe to Novell's support services.
- Red Hat offers its Enterprise Linux for zEnterprise for evaluation, too.
- Other Linux distributions for zEnterprise include Debian Linux and Fedora Linux.
- An older release of z/VM is available from IBM for evaluation.
- A release of the discontinued OpenSolaris is available for zEnterprise from Sine Nomine Associates.
- ZZSA is not actually an operating system. However, it doesn't need an operating system to run. It's a useful set of tools that can start up on a "bare" LPAR on its own. You can display and edit data on disk, and it's helpful to diagnose IPL problems.
- IBM's Customized Offerings Driver (5751-COD) is a miniature version of z/OS that can help support new z/OS installations.
IBM Freebies for z/OS, z/TPF, z/VSE, and z/VM
- IBM makes its Java Software Development Kit (SDK) releases for z/OS available at no additional charge. JZOS is included which provides Java methods for accessing many z/OS resources along with a batch launcher and toolkit. You may also be interested in the Java technologies available from Dovetailed such as Co:Z and Tomcat for z/OS.
- The DB2 Accessories Suite for z/OS (5697-Q02) includes many useful tools and accessories to make DB2 for z/OS more powerful and more useful. Examples include IBM Data Studio, SPSS Modeler Server Scoring Adapter, Spatial Support, International Components for Unicode, and Text Search.
- Go graphical! You can manage your z/OS system much more easily with graphical interfaces for every major subsystem and component. Grab the z/OS Management Facility and the Explorer for z/OS first. From the Explorer for z/OS you can then use (or directly install) plug-ins for CICS, IMS, IBM's application development tools, IBM's problem determination tools, and other products.
- The XML Toolkit for z/OS (5655-J51) adds to the XML System Services that's already part of z/OS.
- IBM offers many more z/OS-related downloads including the IBM Encryption Facility for z/OS Client, Logrec Viewer, LookAt, z/OS UNIX System Service Tools and Toys, and many others.
- Be sure to install the Alternate Library for REXX to run compiled REXX programs on your z/OS and z/VM systems. Compiled programs won't run as efficiently as when the regular licensed REXX library is installed, but at least they'll run.
- The z/OS Ported Tools (5655-M23) include OpenSSH, IBM HTTP Server, and many other useful products. (Rocket Software also offers several ported tools.)
- Got z/TPF? IBM has you covered. How about z/VSE? Yes, there are freebies for you, too. Or maybe z/VM? Covered.
Other Freebies (Mostly for z/OS)
- You can find oodles of interesting tools, utilities, and applications for z/OS in the CBT Tape collection.
- David Alcock offers some interesting z/OS tools at Planet MVS.
- The recently departed Gilbert Saint-Flour leaves behind some great z/OS freeware.
- Here's Mark Zelden's collection.
- ColeSoft has some handy tools.
- Doug Nadel has lots more. (The latest version of TASID is normally found at IBM's Web site, though.)
- AT&T Research offers a z/OS version of ksh (the KornShell).
- Dignus offers some freebies.
- Stanford University's WYLBUR for MVS (z/OS) is freely available.
- Rizzuto IT has many tools available.
- Lionel Dyck has more.
- Andy Robertson has got a collection.
- Leonard Woren offers lots of free tools.
- Michael Joseph Cleary has a few tools in his catalog.
- Nicholas Sun offers the MVS Workbench and Files Organizer.
- Cardett Associates has a couple free tools for DB2 for z/OS.
- DCMS offers their TBOX Power Tools for z/OS free of charge.
- Nigel Pentland has some RACF-related downloads. (So does IBM.)
- SimoTime Enterprises has lots of sample code for z/OS available.
- "Taltyman" has more freebies, including a version of the game Yahtzee for z/OS.
- Dovetailed Technologies hosts an open source software directory for z/OS. The directory is still in the draft phase but may be useful. Contributors to the directory are welcome.
I'm sure I'm only providing a partial list of mainframe freebies, but it's a start. Have fun!
|by Timothy Sipples||August 29, 2013 in Application Development, Economics, Linux, z/OS |
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Significant Changes in the z/OS Release Schedule
IBM is moving to a biennial release schedule for z/OS, a good move in my view. Here are some highlights:
- IBM plans to introduce new z/OS releases every two years. The idea is that z/OS users will have more time to exploit new z/OS functions and spend less time installing and testing release upgrades.
- IBM is increasing the standard support period for z/OS releases from 3 to 5 years.
- IBM is also increasing the fee-based extended support period from 2 to 3 years.
- The next release of z/OS will also be a new version: z/OS 2.1. This new version will require a System z9 or higher since it will exploit newer processor instructions.
- There are going to be more Web-delivered enhancements between releases, which isn't surprising.
- As another corollary, there will be more enhancements in each new z/OS release.
As long as z/OS users don't simply "slow down," I like this new release schedule. It should make life simpler for software vendors, too.
|by Timothy Sipples||April 11, 2012 in z/OS |
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Learning z/OS the Cloud(y) Way
Marist College is accepting new students for its z/OS professional courses. You can learn z/OS from the comfort of your own home — the courses are conducted online. The deadline for enrollment for the spring term is February 6, 2012. If you miss this term you can enroll for the next term, but why wait?
|by Timothy Sipples||January 24, 2012 in Cloud Computing, z/OS |
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New WebSphere Application Server Liberty Profile
A large and growing percentage of mainframes run JavaTM code. Even when you license only z/OS, you get Java at no additional charge. CICS Transaction Server, IMS, DB2, WebSphere MQ, Linux on zEnterprise — the list goes on and on — all support Java. If you want to write or run Java on the mainframe, there's nothing stopping you. Go for it!
I'm quite pleased to see that IBM has announced its beta program for WebSphere Application Server Version 8.5. One major new innovation is the WAS Liberty Profile which supports both z/OS and Linux on zEnterprise. The Liberty Profile for z/OS is tiny (by today's and yesterday's standards): the download is only 32 MB. It starts quickly and consumes very little memory. And you can download the beta version now to try yourself. Of course, anything that can run on the Liberty Profile can also run on WebSphere Application Server if/when you're ready. That's because the Liberty Profile is WAS, but with as-needed/where-needed function delivery, depending on your application's requirements. And yes, of course, you can access all the helpful JZOS methods from the Liberty Profile for z/OS.
I expect this new WebSphere Liberty Profile will be extremely attractive to mainframe customers and to mainframe software developers. (Did I mention it's tiny?) Please go give it a try today and let IBM know what you think.
|by Timothy Sipples||December 21, 2011 in Application Development, Innovation, Web Technology, z/OS |
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Japan's NTT Data Is Rock Solid with zEnterprise
NTT Data is the largest system integrator in Japan. In this video a couple of NTT Data's professionals discuss the new banking solution they're building for the Bank of Japan and the exceptional attributes of zEnterprise, z/OS, and WebSphere middleware products on z/OS.
|by Timothy Sipples||December 13, 2011 in Financial, Innovation, Web Technology, z/OS |
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Welcome, Senegal Customs!
Congratulations to the Customs Directorate of Senegal's Ministry of Finance which is placing into service a new, real-time customs processing system for their officers at all 30 border checkpoints. CFAO Technologies is implementing the new solution which is expected to enter service later this month. Computing technologies include System z10 mainframes, z/OS, and Parallel Sysplex. Simon Pierre Thiaw, CIO of the Customs Directorate, said this:
Senegal's import and export business plays a key role in the economy of the country. By implementing some of the most advanced and powerful IT systems available, we are able to transform our customs processes and ensure that the work we do is performed as accurately and efficiently as possible. While we considered alternative offerings from other vendors, we were convinced by the price/performance ratio of the IBM system.
Senegal is a growing country in western Africa and home to about 14 million people.
|by Timothy Sipples||February 9, 2011 in Current Affairs, z/OS |
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z - that's a cloud, right? well if a Vblock is.
It's not new to say the "cloud" is like a mainframe reimplemented for distributed IP-based networks, but I was a little surprised at a briefing event from EMC this week, to see it was positioning bundles from VMware, EMC and Cisco (VCE) as the basis for a private cloud. I wrote the post up over here.
I mean if Symmetrix + VMWare + Cisco networks and servers is a pre-tested, pre-integrated building block for a private cloud then, surely a mainframe is too?
It wasn’t clear how enterprise compute purchasing is actually simplified with Vblocks. Frankly an enterprise could buy an IBM System z mainframe and it would be just like a Vblock- a fully-virtualised, pre-tested, pretested solution based on IBM software and gear. IBM doesn’t have a TotalStorage, System p and WebSphere coalition.
My aim here is certainly not to criticize EMC
for making it easy for customers to purchase gear, but the Cloud should
be about purchasing compute, not gear. Vblocks will be sold by VARs and
integrators such as Accenture, CSC, and Capgemini.
If you’re digesting an elephant its not a cloud. I can see Vblocks being a solid channel play. Let hosting companies or SIs offer elastic hosting to their clients. It was notable that EMC’s customer reference for the day was the IT Services arm of Orange, the French telecommunications services company. EMC could perhaps deploy Vblocks to customers, with an agent for billing, and only charge per server image: some mix of local install, agent, and billing as a service. Not so different from IBM used to deploy mainframe to customers back in the day…
What is more - you can deliver z on a pickup, like this: ;-)
disclosure: IBM is a redmonk client.
|by James Governor||December 4, 2009 in z/OS |
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