Sunday, November 25, 2012

Catching up

Welcome! Some changes have occurred with the z390 project since the last entry was published back in summer 2010. So here's what's happened since then.

Latest release: 1.5.06

The latest release of z390, including zCOBOL, zpar, zCICS, and other components was released in May of this year. You can download it here.

Administrator changes

With the latest release, Don Higgins has retired from active management and participation, although he is still around to answer questions and give basic guidance. Taking over administration are Ray Mullins of Cat Herder Software, LLC (your author) and Abe Kornelis of Bixoft. Both have decades of experience with IBM z/Architecture assembler, with Ray's experience from the systems and internals side of z/OS, z/VSE,  z/VM, and BS2000/OSD, and Abe's experience from the applications side, primarily z/OS. 

The other z390 developers remain, and a couple of more people have joined the ranks in several areas. However, we are always looking for more able bodies to help work on the RPI list, so please feel free to volunteer.

From a legal perspective, the copyright for the modules has been assigned to Cat Herder Software. This is purely for legal reasons, as Don is also dissolving his business entity this year. There are no plans to change the use of the GNU V2 Open-Source License.

As both Ray and Abe have other full-time responsibilities, there may sometimes be delays in responding to questions, support issues, or administrative issues. Please bear with them and feel free to raise severities as necessary. The z390/zCOBOL community is healthy, and others can step in to answer questions.

New project hosting

As part of the change in administration, Sourceforge, which was used as a secondary information site as well as the primary host of the product install images, is now the primary site for information about z390 and its components. The and URLs remain unchanged.

Work is in progress to transition the RPI lists (both archived and open) to Sourceforge Tracker databases (Bugs and Feature Enhancements). We expect this to be done by the end of December 2012.

Mailing lists & RPI submissions

The z390 and zCOBOL Yahoo! Groups remain unchanged, and should still be used as the primary support vehicle until further notice. An annoucement will be made when the Sourceforge Tracker database is online and becomes the primary tracking mechanism for bugs.

And, last but not least…

A big and hearty "thank you" goes out to Don Higgins, whose idea for emulating IBM's mainframe assembler goes back to 1980 and his original Macro Mini Systems' MMS/370 product that ran under CP/M 80 (Intel 8080 and Zilog Z80), which led to the mid-1980s PC/370 product on the IBM PC, which I myself used as a teaching aide during that decade.

It is our intent to keep z390 alive and available over the coming years. Sometimes there may be gaps in updates because we all have other priorities in life, but rest assured there are good things coming.