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How Our Mainframe-Focused Working Group Solved Our Linux Distribution Maintainer Isolation Problem

By | May 31, 2024

Open Source Summit North America, which took place on April 16-18 in Seattle, Washington, had 1,961 in-person attendees that represented 721 total organizations. There were more than 270 talks at the event – one of them was presented Elizabeth Joseph,  Global Head, Open Source Program Office for IBM Z at IBM and Co-Chair of the Linux Distributions Working Group.

How Our Mainframe Focused Working Group Solved Our Linux Distribution Maintainer Isolation Problem” 

When you’re the only maintainer caring for a somewhat niche part of your project, it can be very isolating. This was happening with maintainers of the s390x (mainframe) port of a number of Linux distributions, and so in 2021 we founded The Open Mainframe Project Linux Distributions Working Group to try and solve this.

The working group brought together maintainers of the s390x port of openSUSE, Debian, Fedora, Rocky Linux, and more to discuss and collaborate on shared issues, future planning, and access to hardware resources for development and testing.

This talk provided a basic introduction to the s390x architecture to provide context to why collaboration is required and why maintainers sometimes struggled. Elizabeth then presented the specific technical success stories the distributions have from this working group, and how that’s managed to knock down those walls that were causing us to feel so isolated, and create a friendly, collaborative team.


Check out all of the stats and videos from the event. Learn more about the Linux Distributions Working Group here.