Open Mainframe Project Launches a COBOL Working Group

The Open Mainframe Project (OMP), an open source initiative that enables collaboration across the mainframe community to develop shared tool sets and resources, has launched a COBOL Working Group, four new projects, and added Micro Focus as a new member. The Open Mainframe Project is intended to serve as a focal point for deployment and use of Linux and Open Source in a mainframe computing environment.

The four new projects are CBT Tape, GenevaERS, Software Discovery Tool, and Mainframe Open Education. They join existing projects such as Zowe, COBOL Programming Course, and Mentorship.

COBOL Working Group

With the launch of a COBOL Working Group, OMP expects to address misunderstanding about the technology and promote its continued usage, learning, and discourse. It is estimated that there are more than 200 billion lines of COBOL code in production and it has been a hot topic in recent months as there is a demand for program developers.
“If COBOL code stopped working, so would the global economy,” said Cameron Seay, chair of the COBOL Working Group and an adjunct professor at East Carolina University. “Most people don’t realize that COBOL plays an important role in our digital future. We can build upon the success of the past and its vitality in the present. This group will help raise awareness of this in not only the mainframe world but everywhere.”

New Project: CBT Tape

CBT (Connecticut Bank and Trust) Tape is an open library of free software distribution for the IBM mainframe Multiple Virtual Storage (MVS) and OS/390 operating system environment that dates back to 1975 and continues to grow and get updated. With each iteration of these tapes, new tools and examples became available.

“We were open before open source was a thing,” said Sam Golob, current editor of CBT Tape. “We persevered to showcase our ambitious concept and extensive library. We are excited to learn more from the Open Mainframe community and continue to be available for the next generation of mainframers.”

New Project: GenevaERS

GenevaERS is the single pass optimization engine for extraction and reporting on z/OS. Originally developed by PricewaterhouseCoopers and acquired by IBM, GenevaERS offers businesses a high-level reporting solution uniquely tuned for big data scanning and improved financial transparency for better decision-making. This project assists in the full analytical data supply chain, from efficiently transforming data to updating reporting repositories to creating multiple analytical outputs in a single pass for enhanced high-level, scaled and integrated reporting. It can be an application development platform for high-volume ledger systems for some of the largest businesses in the world.

New Project: Software Discovery Tool

There are so many different open source software programs available on Linux for the mainframe that it is often overwhelming for developers. For those who don’t know where to begin, OMP's Software Discovery Tool will help match developers with the best open source software that meets their needs. Developers can search through open source software for zArchitecture/s390x for any Z operating system from any source, any repo, anywhere, in one place.

New Project: Mainframe Open Education

OMP has helped fill the skills gap with its Mentorship project and plans to go further with the new Mainframe Open Education project. Spearheaded by Broadcom and IBM, it offers a simple platform through which experts share up-to-date materials and foster collaboration with the broader community. The result is a clear learning path that rejuvenates the workforce and drives access to business-critical systems.

New Member: Micro Focus

As  a new OMP member, Micro Focus says that its first priorities will be to continue to drive the effort of the COBOL Working Group.

“COBOL’s success over 6 decades is legendary, and its usage remains significant across thousands of organizations, “said Derek Britton, Application Modernization Group, Micro Focus. “That value is not always fully understood. The new Open Mainframe Project COBOL Working Group aims to clarify and encourage the continued use of COBOL applications on the mainframe and beyond by providing insight, resources and information to help IT decision makers build their application, technology and training plans based on practical, factual input. COBOL’s open and adaptable design makes the OMP working group a perfect platform to lead this discussion and Micro Focus are delighted to be able to lend our support to the group.”

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