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Searching for Open Source Software on IBM Z

By Elizabeth K. Joseph posted Wed January 19, 2022 06:42 PM


Are you looking for open source software that's available to you on IBM Z and LinuxONE?

It can be a daunting task for any organization, regardless of their platform. Open source software projects have various release channels, including:

  • The project website
  • A container registry
  • A vendor
  • Your Linux distribution

When faced with this, where should you begin?

The first question you need to answer is whether you're looking for software on IBM z/OS or Linux on Z.

For IBM z/OS

If you're looking for open source software on z/OS, the Open Mainframe Project Software Discovery Tool at is a good place to start. Just select "IBM z/OS" when you do your search. The Software Discovery Tool pulls in data from various sources, including the Open Mainframe Project projects and the z/OS Open Source Tools from Rocket. You'll want to note that the open source ecosystem is a dynamic, ever-changing place and so the Software Discovery Tool is not exhaustive. We're always looking for additions, which you can learn about in this blog post: What open source software do you use/develop for z/OS? We need you!.

You may also find valuable tools in the Downloads for the IBM z/OS platform repository, which includes the Tools & Toys repository which has many popular pieces of open source software for z/OS.

If you don't find what you're looking for, your next step should be going to the project website, or asking one of your vendors.

For Linux on IBM Z and LinuxONE

The Software Discovery Tool mentioned above is a great place to start for Linux on IBM Z and LinuxONE as well. It allows you to search the repositories of several Linux distributions and the IBM Repository for Container Images for Open Source Software on Z in a single tool. If your Linux distribution has the software already, you're have a list of packages at your fingertips! But if not, you have a few more options.

You can visit the Validated Open Source Software on Z page which is a list of software that have been ported/validated on corresponding Linux distribution versions by IBM currently or at some point. The information includes links to packaged binaries and/or document for building them on Linux on IBM Z. In addition, the Dockerfile/Image column provide links to Dockerfile or Docker image for some packages.

Still not finding what you're looking for? This is a good time to go to the project website directly and see if IBM Z binaries are being released. The open source project may refer to these binaries by the name architecture name "s390x" so you can be on the lookout for that. If not, you can either reach out to the project yourself to ask if they have plans to support it, or talk to a vendor you work with who may be able to help you reach out to the project. IBM and the various vendors in the IBM Z ecosystem regularly engage with open source communities to help maintain the software.

With the number of open source projects supporting IBM Z growing every month, you're bound to be pleasantly surprised by the plethora of options available to you. And  whether you're a user or developer of open source software for IBM Z, you're invited to join our Open Source group on the IBM Z Community, which also includes an ever-growing number of resources, a forum where you can ask questions and get informal support from your fellow community members, and more!