CBT Tape: A heartfelt letter of thanks

By April 16, 2021April 30th, 2021Blog, CBT Tape

 

By Sam Golob, current editor of CBT Tape

The purpose of this blog is to show our gratitude to the Open Mainframe Project and to the management and support people in the Vicom Infinity Data Center.

The CBT Project has been hosted on the Vicom Infinity Data Center since October 1, 2020. In the past 6 months (in summary), more than 50 new, or improved, program packages have been developed on this system. Additionally, at least 5 people have (in that time) either resumed their careers, or have had their interest in the mainframe rescued. All because of this support.

PURPOSE OF THE CBT PROJECT

The CBT Project has existed for over 45 years. Its purpose is to distribute user-written tools for the z/OS mainframe system, and for all the MVS-related IBM operating system, for free.

The CBT Tools collection contains over 1300 “tape files”, which are, in essence, subdirectories of programs, covering many of the problem situations that can occur in maintaining and supporting the MVS-related operating systems (MVS, MVS/XA, MVS/ESA, OS/390, and z/OS).
We are actively trying to keep as many of these programs viable and operating on current systems, the best we can. There are no guarantees
for this, however, because all of the active members who help with this project are volunteers.

I must point out, that most of the people we have working for us, have around 40-or-so years of experience in the field. That’s
more than 1000 years, total. We have about 25 or more such people working for us now. This experience has been hard-won. These people have “been through the wars.” They are battle-tested veterans.

It must also be pointed out, that all this experience can ONLY be used on IBM mainframes, and NOT on PC’s. IBM tries to make sure of
that. So when someone in this field retires, he/she can’t just buy a PC and continue working. IN EFFECT, THEY ARE CUT OFF….

So here are these talented people, with so much experience, being forced to do nothing to use all their battle-hardened experience. Most
of them have already contributed their tools, which they’ve developed, to the CBT collection, while they were still working at big corporations and for governments and government agencies all over the world. But the operating systems change sometimes, and the tools have to be updated or
enhanced accordingly. The skills of these fine people can be put to very good use, if only they would have a machine to work on.

Open Mainframe Project and Vicom Infinity have come to the rescue. By providing a z/OS machine, at the highest maintenance level, for this skilled crew of people to work on, you have enabled them to keep many of these tools, used by systems programmers in companies all over the world, in fine working shape, and to enhance them as well, beyond their former capabilities.

HELPING SOME OF THEM GET EMPLOYMENT

As is well-known, personnel people in big companies look at a person’s experience. For systems programmers, they somehow want a new
hire to have worked at the latest operating system level. This is very difficult, when someone has been out of work for several years.

We’ve been at this for a long time. We know the facts.

The fact is, that someone who has worked as a system programmer for an MVS-related operating system for a long time, can easily get
up-to-speed on the new equipment, even if he/she has not seen it for a considerable length of time. We’ve been around for 40 years. We’ve seen how many of our people have quickly adjusted to new jobs after a layoff.

The “personnel department criteria” for hiring people, are not necessarily a good measure for assessing real skill and talent in this field. The personnel people want to know if you’ve worked on the newest version of z/OS, period. And they sometimes insist on it.

So we can help, and we have helped, several of our people to get jobs.

By providing an up-to-date z/OS operating system level, it is possible to provide a vehicle for a skilled person to write on the resume (curriculum vitae) that he/she has experience working on the latest level of the operating system. This bypasses the prejudice of the personnel people, about having “seen the latest and the greatest.”

This is another one of the benefits that your z/OS system at Vicom provides. THANK YOU AGAIN…..

IN SUMMARY:

Open Mainframe Project  has fulfilled the ideals of open source support  in a big way. Not only, have you helped supply hundreds of companies
and government installations around the world with quality software tools, FOR FREE, but you have supported the wonderful people who work
on these tools, as well.

WE ALL THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS.

To learn more about CBT Tape, visit the project page or the community website.