Open Mainframe Project - Vision, Mission, and Principles


The mainframe is an active, integrated, and essential part of modern enterprise IT, consumable by mainstream developers and users and driven by a vibrant open-source community.


To achieve the vision of the Open Mainframe Project by…

  • Setting a high bar for application development on the mainframe through documentation, API development, and a security-first approach.
  • Showcase the mainframe of today to both the mainframe ecosystem as well as the broad enterprise IT community.
  • Enable the mainframe to be more consumable by developers with a transparent experience in leveraging the value propositions of the mainframe.
  • Ensure the mainframe aligns well with the changing enterprise IT landscape of cloud-native and DevOps.


These principles were developed as a joint effort between the Governing Board and the Technical Advisory Council of the Open Mainframe Project to give both the technical and member communities a set of guiding principles to make decisions on future directions and investment areas. These principles are intended to be “living principles” and might be adjusted in the future by joint action of both bodies.

When the term “we” is used in this document, it refers to the collective voice of the authors of this document ( Open Mainframe Project Governing Board and Technical Advisory Council ) speaking on behalf of the entire project community.

We believe that…

We are the premier home for all things open-source on the mainframe.

We provide a vendor-neutral home for collaboration openly and transparently for open-source efforts on the mainframe. Our projects collectively represent over 60 person-years of development with an economic value of over $8M ( using the COCOMO method ), supported by over 45 organizations and customers in the mainframe space, including the four most prominent vendors in mainframe ( IBM, Rocket Software, BMC, Broadcom ). Users looking for open-source on the mainframe will look here first.

Each project is transparent and open, welcoming to contributions from any person or organization, owned entirely by the community as a commons for the mainframe ecosystem. We support each project with the needed infrastructure for success, including collaboration, hardware, ecosystem development, and awareness.

Mainframe is integral to a hybrid, connected IT landscape.

We regard the mainframe as a key component in an integrated, connected IT ecosystem. Our projects and work focus on the mainframe and how it connects and adds continued and further value to the enterprise. We will help articulate and champion what the mainframe can do now and into the future. We will champion mainframes and use open-source as a means to demonstrate their further value.

We will defer to other vendors to sell mainframe hardware, software, or services, however.

Focus on high-quality projects that further our mission and vision to which we can add value.

We focus on high-quality projects that have relevance and importance to the mainframe platform and community, further our mission, and help us realize our vision. In short, this is not a dumping ground for old products or code. Projects will have sound design and be securable in line with mainframe standards. We aim to help such projects succeed, gain adoption, and grow a diverse committer and user base. Further, we strive to encourage participation from all to build a thriving project ecosystem and foster the open-source mindset across the mainframe community.

Customers and vendors ( the market ) will decide which projects are viable and which aren’t.

We focus on supporting projects within the scope of the Open Mainframe Project, which delivers value to customers and vendors. We rely on project relevance and importance among customers and vendors to determine whether it should be included in Open Mainframe Project or not.

Technology and stack ( such as programming language, framework, tooling ) are not a determining factor as to the relevance and/or importance of a given project; open-source is a “scratch your itch” model, and we believe the market will handle that for us.

We seek to be a catalyst of new revenue streams through our projects and efforts, showcasing open-source as an economic and ecosystem growth enabler.

A common pattern in open-source communities where successful vendor-neutral projects create downstream commercial ecosystems for vendors to develop differentiating services and offerings, bringing those to market faster and creating deeper loyalty between customers and vendors. For example, the Eclipse open-source project has enabled numerous commercial tools and offerings, creating new revenue opportunities. We expect that same pattern to happen in the projects and efforts that Open Mainframe Project supports.

We always look to collaborate with other groups and bodies inside and outside the mainframe ecosystem.

We recognize organizations such as SHARE, ECC, GSE, VM Workshop, and others as an integral part of mainframe heritage, and we respect the history and impact they’ve made. We understand the value each of these organizations brings to the ecosystem and certainly do not look to take over these organizations or displace them. We aim to collaborate first and always welcome partnerships and deeper relationships across organizations.

It is important to realize that the community will define the future of the mainframe ecosystem - not any one organization ( including the Open Mainframe Project ). We look to be a bridge to groups outside the mainframe ecosystem, representing and advocating for the mainframe ecosystem in broader ecosystems.