All Posts By

John Mertic

Blockchain Hackathon: Unleashing the creativity at LinuxONE scale

By | Blog

Editor’s Note: This post comes from Anna Shugol, Blockchain IT specialist and zChampion from IBM Montpellier Client Center. Last fall, she lead a Blockchain hackathon where students used mainframe for building their applications. Open Mainframe Project sponsored this event, just as it sponsors internships and other education efforts on mainframe around the world. 

Blockchain is a cutting edge technology and has all the potential to change the way how business is done across many industries. The spark that has initially ignited the enterprise world has gone way further.

It is interesting to watch how blockchain technology is being so rapidly adopted not only in the business sector, but also by emerging startups, IT developer communities and students.  The latter bring new fresh ideas, solutions with a combination of different technologies and as a result – projects that have all the potential to revolutionize all industries.

IBM has been always supporting students and all IT developers and enthusiasts in their innovation discovery journey and what can be more fun than exploring emerging technologies through the hackathon? Considering this IBM Montpellier Blockchain Center of Competency and Open Mainframe Project have launched a Blockchain Hackathon for EPSI University in France.

During 5 days approximately 300 students from 9 cities in France were collaborating together under the guidance from worldwide IBM Blockchain specialists to design new creative solutions and projects. We were delighted to see students’ enthusiasm and innovative thinking – their projects were aimed to change the retail, healthcare and public industries.

Students were using Hyperledger Fabric (, an open source blockchain framework developed under the governance of the Linux Foundation to produce their own creative solutions. Hyperledger Composer, also an open source IDE platform ( was used as a tooling for developing blockchain networks.

IBM LinuxONE Community Cloud and Developer Journey ( provide an environment to accelerate solutions’ deployment. Anyone can sign up for free trial access to LinuxONE Community Cloud and follow the Developer Journey scenario to create their own solutions. The combination of open source technologies and LinuxONE -an enterprise Linux sever – allowed students to make the best out of this two worlds.

Open Mainframe Project and IBM decided to invite two winning teams to IBM Montpellier, where the students have spent the full day working with IBM Blockchain specialists, discovering how they can make their solutions even better, and also learnt about IBM Quantum Computing, Cloud and other fast paced technologies.

We hope that this is a start of a great collaboration between IT professionals and students and a foundation for a successful future.

Congratulations to the Blockchain Hackathon winners!

3 winning teams:

1st place (“AlphaBets”): Blockchain platform for keeping & managing online bets (football matches, games, poker etc); EPSI Montpellier

2nd place (CuraChain): Blockchain platform for keeping track of the medical procedures and patient history; EPSI Bordeaux

3rd place (“TrustMotor”): Blockchain platform for used car parts provenance. EPSI Grenoble

IBM Montpellier Blockchain Center of Competency would like to thank Jennifer Foley, Steve LaFalce, Eva Yan, John Mertic and Open Mainframe Project for their outstanding support.

Make mainframe support a new year’s resolution for your open source project for 2018!

By | Blog

Mainframes make an impact on each of us every day – whether we get paid, take a plane, use a bank, or even shop in a store. Increasingly open source software is a key piece of the stack powering these application – over 90% of mainframe user run Linux and a recent Open Mainframe Project survey found that over half of the workloads on mainframe are using open source components.

Are you looking to have your open source project support this architecture? The Open Mainframe Project is a great partner in helping you get the resources you need, such as:

  • Access to mainframe hardware for testing and continuous integration.
  • Connections with experts in mainframe for ideas on best practices and resources for supporting s390x code in your project.
  • Prominence with the top mainframe users worldwide to gain adoption of your project.

Open Mainframe Project has been funding work on open source since it’s inception, supporting platform adoption of open source projects such as OpenStack, Docker, Alpine Linux, Tensorflow, HyperLedger, and others.

Interested in exploring mainframe support for your project? Contact us at for more information.

Want to hack on mainframe next summer? Our Summer 2018 Internship Program is now accepting applications!

By | Blog

Updated 2018/01/14 with link to new community topic on project ideas.

Mainframe skills are in high demand, with the 10 top insurers, 44 of the top 50 banks, 18 of the top 25 retailers, and 90% of the largest airlines, using mainframe as the backbone for computing infrastructure according to IBM. Linux and open source are increasingly used more and more on mainframe; IBM estimates 90% of it’s customer base leverages Linux on mainframe, and a recent Open Mainframe Project survey found that over half of all workloads in these enterprises are ran by Linux on mainframe. This means that there are great opportunities for students looking at a future career in mainframe.

If you are a student reading this – we have a unique opportunity for you. Spend your summer using your open source and Linux skills, learning about and contributing to the future of mainframe in our annual summer internship program. This program pairs a student with a mentor from one of our great member companies, which results in a contribution to driving open source and Linux on mainframe. Past students have built Docker containers, created applications on HyperLedger, and even ported a new Linux distribution to mainframe!

You can be a part of this legacy, learn new skills, and potentially open yourself up to career opportunities coming out of the program. You also get a healthy stipend ( $6,000 USD ), a fully paid trip to a technology conference to showcase your work, and networking opportunities with peers and leaders in the industry.

Kevin Lee, one of our 2017 interns, shares his experience: “As an intern for the Open Mainframe Project by the Linux Foundation, I tested, improved, and created business networks on Hyperledger Fabric on the mainframe. From my internship at the Linux Foundation, I had the opportunity to not only experience blockchain systems in industry, but also become immersed in the process of developing and building a project from start to completion. As the pioneer and developer of IMMUNIchain during the internship, I worked closely with my mentors on brainstorming, coding, debugging, deploying, testing, and finally presenting my project at the conference. Members of my mentoring team, led by Vicom Infinity CTO Leonard J. Santalucia and IBM Transformation Leader Jin VanStee, were all specialized in different industries and helped to cri

tique and improve my project with their diverse perspectives. From my experience working with the Linux Foundation, I not only become more well-versed in reconciling the varying definitions of blockchain in academia and in industry, but I also gained valuable experience and built meaning relationships with my mentors.”

If this sounds interesting to you, you can apply for the program now – please note the application period closes February 16th, 2018. And look for our past interns in the community forums, and look in the coming weeks for more posts from them on their experiences.

Looking for help on putting together your project proposal or have a new idea on a project you would like to work on around mainframe and open source? Check out the new community forums topic where you can connect with former mentors and interns for help!

Open Mainframe Project taking part in a VCU Capstone Project to build a Linux Service Broker

By | Blog

Bringing more students to innovate on the mainframe with Linux and open source has been the hallmark of the Open Mainframe Project, with 15 students participating in our internship programs to date. Building on that success, the Open Mainframe Project is bringing this program right into the classroom, taking part in a project with Virginia Commonwealth University’s Capstone Program.

The project will design and implement an easy-to-use service broker on the mainframe Linux environment. An Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) concept, the service broker is a framework component that allows application(s) to dynamically call micro-services, without code modification to the overall application framework.  Sophisticated service/message brokers have been implemented in products such as MS-SQL and in IBM’s Websphere MQ, but are full product installs and are complicated to implement.

Phase I of this project will develop a simple service broker as a Docker container.  It will have the ability to call micro services dynamically, without having to recreate the Docker container.  Administrators will have the ability to upgrade new versions of a micro services and restore a previous version dynamically as the application runs in real time.  New micro services can also be added as the application in real time.

Phase II of the project will be to add a Docker container to act as a service message bus.  This part of the project will allow the service broker to send messages/parameters to micro services listening on the service bus.  The concept is that the same micro services can have multiple instances listening on the service bus that would enable workload balancing.  Micro services that are taken down or not responding to messages for them on the service bus, will have their transactions stored until the service comes back up.

The goal is to implement generic SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) Docker container components that can be used to build applications that are flexible and resilient, with minimal configuration.  End goal is to begin building a library of usable Docker SOA components to increase application development productivity.

All of this work will be available as open source. You can check out the code and follow the progress these students are making on GitHub:

Open Mainframe Project Adds New Academic Members for Expanded Global Reach

By | Press

Eight new academic members brings total membership over 30 corporate and academic organizations collaborating to advance open-source software for the mainframe

2017 Summer Interns also named with focus on Docker, OpenStack, Blockchain, Linux Monitoring Tools and Anomaly Detection Engine for Linux Logs

SAN FRANCISCO — March 21, 2017 — The Linux Foundation’s Open Mainframe Project announced today an expansion of its university partnerships with eight new academic members joining the project to help develop new talent and open-source innovations for the mainframe.

The new academic partners are: Coburg University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, HTL Donaustadt, Academic Mainframe Consortium, Hogeschool Gent,  EPSI – Academic Institution, European Mainframe Academy, and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Since its inception two years ago, membership for the Open Mainframe Projects has grown to over 30 organizations, including corporate and academic partners. The mainframe is the core IT system handling critical data and applications for major organizations worldwide in finance, retail, insurance, transportation and government. Linux on the mainframe has been rapidly growing since being first introduced on the platform more than 15 years ago.

The Open Mainframe Project was created to increase collaboration across the mainframe community and develop shared tool sets and resources. A core part of the project’s mission is to involve academic institutions to assist in teaching and educating the mainframe Linux engineers and developers of tomorrow.

“The Open Mainframe Project has seen great success in enabling the mainframers of tomorrow through Linux and Open Source,” said John Mertic, Director, Open Mainframe Project. “The growth of the project, particularly with academic institutions, showcases the impacts being made in continuing to expand the mainframe ecosystem and attract the next generation of developers to advance the technology.”

In addition to the new academic members, the Open Mainframe Project also announced students and focus areas for its 2017 internship program. The project welcomes the following students to the internship program:

  • Roy Miner – North Carolina A&T State University
  • Kevin Lee – University of Illinois
  • Octavia Epps – North Carolina A&T State University
  • Isong Uyo Idio Jr – North Carolina A&T State University
  • Artem Minin – Syracuse University
  • Akanksha Srivastava – International Institute of Information Technology at Hyderabad
  • Sakala Venkata Krishna – International Institute of Information Technology at Hyderabad
  • Amit Kumar Jaiswal – UIET CSJM University

These students will be working on projects in one of the following areas: OpenStack, Blockchain, Linux Monitoring Tools and Anomaly Detection Engine for Linux Logs. The mainframe has become an important platform for supporting emerging cloud technologies, such as Blockchain and OpenStack, because of its security capabilities and role as the system of record processing some of the most important transactions and data for major institutions.

About New Academic Members for the Open Mainframe Project

Coburg University of Applied Sciences and Arts is characterized by practice-related teaching and research. The instructors develop and test specific methods that enable computer scientists to independently learn new topics and stay up to date. The bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at Coburg University is one of the 10 best programs at German-speaking universities.

Goethe University is positioned among the top international research universities in the world and provides interdisciplinary approaches to solving complex problems. The Computer Science program offers the students an in depth perspective into:Soft and Hardware development, Robotics, Computer-based Neuroscience and Web-Technology

HTL donaustadt strives to create a positive, high quality educational environment for all of its students and faculty. Guiding principles in the digital space include:

  • Technical computer Science
  • Professional software development
  • Databases and information systems
  • Management, training companies
  • Network systems and distributed systems
  • Project management

Academic Mainframe Consortium was founded January 2016 at the University of Frankfurt. The main focus areas of this consortium consist of:

  • Exchange and sharing of teaching material
  • E-learning content
  • Infrastructures (LMS, computers, etc)
  • Operational Processes
  • Cooperation within the mainframe industry
  • Research / development
  • International cooperation
  • Press / Media work

EPSI provides training for a wide variety professionals within the IT space. Its courses offer essential knowledge in:

  • Steering, organization and management of information system developments
  • Project management
  • Provision and maintenance in operational condition of infrastructures
  • Support and assistance to users:
  • Method, quality and safety support
  • Operational management
  • Application life cycle

European Mainframe Academy, founded in 2007, is geared towards training the younger mainframe generation based on the concept of  “Blended Learning,” involving experienced and competent lecturers and partners. Pillars of guidance include:

  • Continuing further development of subjects and methods
  • Transfer of solid knowledge during the training
  • In-depth knowledge transfer via specialisation modules
  • Accomplishing skills and competence
  • Knowledge acquisition,and hands-on training sessions
  • ThinkTank  access to all virtual class room scripts for repeating and intensifying study
  • Exchange of experiences in regular update workshops
  • Enforcing self-learning competence
  • Intensive supervision by mentors and coaches in the companies

Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Computer Science covers core areas of computer science with a focus on data science and cybersecurity.

Hogeschool Gent Bachelor of Applied Computer Science program helps prepare students for industry with focuses on business, entrepreneurship, and international studies.

Supporting Quotes from New Members

“We consider the membership in the Open Mainframe Project as a good opportunity to provide our students with latest information and resources on Open Source Software in the context of System z Mainframes. We also hope to motivate students to engage in Mainframe-related Open Source Software (OSS) projects and to encourage new research activities in the field of Mainframe Software Engineering using OSS components.“ – Professor Dr.  Philipp Brune, Business Information Systems Engineering Department of Information Management, Goethe University

“Students can choose among several areas of specialization, such as  Software Technology, Business Informatics and Embedded Systems. Accordingly, they are offered a wide range of available subjects, thus topics related to IBM’s mainframe technology are a valuable extension  to Coburg’s CS portfolio.” – Michael Engel, Professor, Coburg University of Applied Sciences and Arts

“The open mainframe project presents an excellent opportunity to our students to get experience within the growing market of Linux on Mainframe through internships and projects.  Furthermore, it is an ideal way of making contact with (international) professionals hence allowing our students to start and/or expand their professional network.” – Noemie Slaats, Voorzitter Vakgroep Informatica, Lector, Hogeschool Gent

“We from the European Mainframe Academy are educating new Mainframers and beside the “classic” Mainframe with z/OS, we also teach the open Mainframe with Linux, Docker, different kinds of virtualization, and other open source technologies. We are excited to be part of the Open Mainframe Project” – Wolfram Greis, European Mainframe Academy, Switzerland

“Today’s mainframe is NOT your father’s mainframe.  The Open Mainframe Project is bringing forth today’s newest technologies, e.g. learning machines, blockchain, cognitive programming, advanced security and sustainable cloud computing, to the world’s fastest, most mature and efficient system.  If you thought you knew mainframes… look again.  membership in the Open Mainframe Project has given us a front row seat, in the new evolution of mainframes.” – Robert Dahlberg, PhD, Adjunct Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Engineering, Computer Science Department

“Especially for all kinds of academic institutions it’s important to get students in touch with mainframes. The Open Mainframe Project offers a lot of opportunities. As contribution to the project, we plan to set up a Docker installation under Linux on z Systems with a gnuCOBOL development environment allowing very easy access to an open COBOL compiler.” – Wolfram Greis, Founding Board Member, Academic Mainframe Consortium

About the Open Mainframe Project

The Open Mainframe Project provides a neutral home for community meetings, events and collaborative development for Linux on the mainframe and involves key academic institutions in order to increase the future talent pool of mainframe practitioners and technical experts. The Open Mainframe Project identifies ways to leverage new software and tools in the Linux environment that are ideal for taking advantage of the mainframe’s speed, security, scalability and availability; seeks to significantly broaden the set of tools and resources that are intended to drive development and collaboration of mainframe Linux; and aims to coordinate mainframe improvements to upstream projects to increase the quality of these code submissions and ease upstream collaboration.


Media Contact

Serena Malkani

The Linux Foundation