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Open Mainframe Summit 2023

Back in September of 2022 the first major in-person Open Mainframe Summit was held, I wrote about it here: Open Mainframe Summit 2022. After a year, it was a delight to get back together this year for an Open Mainframe Summit in Las Vegas with project participants and see how much progress had been made across projects.

The event was co-located with the 2023 IBM TechXchange Conference, which provided a venue and platform for the event.

The day began with a series of keynotes, led off by a welcome from IBM’s Jason Gartner, directly followed by the Open Mainframe Project Executive Director, John Mertic, who shared various stats and updates about the project.

From there, Joe Winchester showcased a series of clients, personas, and use cases for Zowe, which makes everything from critical operations to training easier on z/OS.

A diversity panel followed Joe, where several women from various aspects of the mainframe ecosystem offered up their experiences, and an ally on the panel shared how you can help support minorities in tech by elevating their voice and offering a seat at the table. The final keynote was on mentorship, and it was mine!

I was really thrilled to be asked to give this keynote session. I was wrapping up our summer session with a pair of great mentees when I pulled together this session, so it was especially nice to have that fresh experience as I put together an overview of the program, along with suggestions for both mentors and mentees. I have uploaded a PDF of my slides here: Open_Mainframe_Summit_-_Illuminating_Pathways_for_Our_Future_Innovators.pdf

Thanks to Sudharsana Srinivasan for taking a photo during my talk!

While I was there, I also was able to meet up with John Mertic who signed my copy of his book, Open Source Projects – Beyond Code. He also signed another copy of the book that another participant brought, and told us then that these were the first two he had signed, exciting!

Later in the day, I teamed up with my co-lead of the Linux Distributions Working Group, Sarah Julia Kriesch, to give a talk on the progress the group had made over the past year. Of particular note, we’ve continued on the path of collaborating on bug fixes and were excited about the launch of openQA for several of the distributions that includes the health of s390x too. It was also a nice time to showcase the new listing of Developer Resources available to open source projects for development on s390x. A PDF of slides from our talk are here: Open_Mainframe_Summit_-_Linux_Distributions_WG_2023.pdf

Throughout the day I spent a bit of time in COBOL sessions, learning about the latest with the COBOL Programming Course and how COBOL Check has been incorporated into the latest installment of their course. COBOL Check itself had a dedicated session, where we learned about how they were influenced by JUnit to support test-driven development for COBOL.

I also attended a couple sessions about work being done around z/OS Open Tools, which includes a sort of software “package” manager, and an example of how one organization is managing program versions and environment in production. I also enjoyed a session around hybrid cloud where IBM Z is being incorporated into environments that also include the cloud, with a strong focus on the use of OpenShift. In another sessions, they went deep into how they maintain air-gapped OpenShift deployments on IBM Z, an important topic that doesn’t just impact IBM Z, but is important to keep active for other environments that are more sensitive to network connections inside their environments.

In all, it was a very rewarding event for me. There were some great conversations and I have some new ideas of things to work on in the coming months. I had a debriefing meeting with the rest of the program committee this week about ways we can improve things for attendees, especially around making sure people know where/when the sessions are in such a big venue! I’m happy to chat with anyone who has further feedback though, so please do reach out.

In case you missed it, there will be a second Open Mainframe Summit coming up on November 1st in New York City, and co-located with Open Source in Finance Forum. I won’t be at that one, so I’ll need people to tell me how it went!