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Open Mainframe Project’s Linux Distribution Working Group

By | September 22, 2022

There are many enterprise and community distributions. Do they work together? Do they work with upstream development resources? What happens when there are issues?

There are communities of users and contributors, and each distribution has their own resources and mailing lists, but there isn’t a real collaborative space for all of the Linux distributions to get together to solve problems and share solutions.


That’s when Open Mainframe Project’s newest working group steps in. Launched earlier this year, the Linux Distribution Working Group aims to change that. 

The purpose of this working group is to oversee the health and maintenance of the s390x port of various Linux distributions to ensure that the s390x port remains a supported architecture for them all. To this end, the group will collaborate on shared challenges and successes, work together to nurture new contributors, and make sure they also have the infrastructure they need.

The Linux Distribution Working Group is led by co-chairs Elizabeth Joseph, Developer Advocate at IBM, and Sarah Julia Kriesch, DevOps Specialist at Accenture and an Open Mainframe Project ambassador. 

The group already has representatives from Debian, Fedora, openSUSE, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Rocky Linux, SUSE and Ubuntu. In fact, AlmaLinux just recently joined. 

“We’ve just released AlmaLinux 8 for s390x. Mainframe operators now have a familiar Linux platform to build packages for s390x. Joining the Open Mainframe Project’s Linux Distributions Working Group is a great way to share ideas and work with the community on building great tools for mainframes,” said Eduard Abdullin, AlmaLinux OS Developer. “Our engineering team used Fedora binaries to bootstrap the build, which is… hard! And we’re providing containers for AlmaLinux 8 for s390x. We hope to contribute this kind of enthusiasm to the Linux Distributions Working Group. You should join, too, and we can all work together to make Linux for the mainframe better!”

Planned deliverables for this group include:

  • Wiki page that links to all resources for participating distributions.
  • A living document for sharing s390x porting tips that are shared across distributions.
  • Identification and nurturing of new contributors for distributions needing them

To learn more about the group, check the Linux Distributions Working Group wiki, subscribe to the wg-linux-distros mailing list or join the Open Mainframe Slack #linux-distribution-wg.