​Open Mainframe Project: IBM and friends recommit to mainframe Linux

Linux continues to give the mainframe the new blood it needs to stay alive in the 21st century.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

SEATTLE --IBM and The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to speeding up the growth of Linux and collaborative software, announced the Open Mainframe Project (OMP) at LinuxCon. IBM is betting big on enterprise Linux by unveiling what it calls most secure Linux servers in the industry.

The mainframe is alive and well with Linux running through its circuits.
The founding Platinum members of OMP include ADP, CA Technologies, IBM and SUSE.

This news comes as no surprise. IBM has powered its zSeries mainframe with Linux since the year 2000. Indeed, Linux is what has enabled the mainframe to continue to be a living force in computing long after its critics had written its obituary.

That's because together big iron and Linux excel at delivering the services enterprises need today. These include: Big Data, mobile processing, cloud computing and virtualization. To make sure Linux and the mainframe continue to thrive, vendors, users and academia needed a neutral forum to work together to advance Linux tools and technologies and increase enterprise innovation. That forum is the OMP.

The OMP members will focus on leveraging new Linux software and tools that can take advantage of the mainframe's speed, security, scalability and availability. The Project will seek to significantly broaden the set of tools and resources that are intended to drive development and collaboration of mainframe Linux. The OCP will also aim to coordinate mainframe improvements to upstream projects to increase the quality of these code submissions and ease upstream collaboration.

Specifically, IBM will enable programs such as Apache Spark, Node.js, MongoDB, MariaDB, PostgreSQL and Chef on z Systems to provide clients with open-source choice and flexibility for hybrid cloud deployments. IBM will also be contributing a great deal of formerly proprietary mainframe code to the open-source community.

In addition, SUSE, which is the top mainframe Linux distributor, will now support the KVM hypervisor. Michael Miller, SUSE vice president of global alliances and marketing, said "SUSE has been the No. 1 Linux on the mainframe for 15 years by working together with this ecosystem. The Open Mainframe Project provides an ideal environment to expand that collaboration in a way that increases choice and brings benefits to customers and developers alike."

"Fifteen years ago IBM surprised the industry by putting Linux on the mainframe, and today more than a third of IBM mainframe clients are running Linux," said Tom Rosamilia, IBM's senior of IBM Systems in a statement. "We are deepening our commitment to the open-source community by combining the best of the open world with the most advanced system in the world in order to help clients embrace new mobile and hybrid cloud workloads. Building on the success of Linux on the mainframe, we continue to push the limits beyond the capabilities of commodity servers that are not designed for security and performance at extreme scale."

Jim Zemlin, The Linux Foundation's executive director, added, "Linux today is the fastest growing operating system in the world. As mobile and cloud computing become globally pervasive, new levels of speed and efficiency are required in the enterprise and Linux on the mainframe is poised to deliver. The Open Mainframe Project will bring the best technology leaders together to work on Linux and advanced technologies from across the IT industry and academia to advance the most complex enterprise operations of our time."

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