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Blog | Software Discovery Tool

So many software options – what is available and how do I get it? Software Discovery Tool Answers These Questions and More

By | June 9, 2021

Written by Elizabeth Joseph, Chair of Open Mainframe Project’s Software Discovery Tool and Developer Advocate for IBM

Organizations looking to bring open source solutions to their mainframe infrastructure are often faced with a challenge: just what software is available? And how do I go about acquiring it?


This is where the Software Discovery Tool comes in. Forked from the open source Package Distro Search tool (PDS) originally developed by a IBM, the Software Discovery Tool expands the databases beyond Linux, and is a comprehensive search tool for all things open source on the mainframe.

Since incubation the the Open Mainframe Project began in the spring of 2020, we’ve hit several key milestones:

  • Migrating PDS from Python 2 to Python 3 (53)
  • Forking of the code to its new home with the Open Mainframe Project (9), and related updates to licensing (15)
  • On-boarding of two mentees for the summer term, who have already begun making improvements!
    • Fixing some import bugs related to the rename (13, 21, 25)
    • Adding the project logo to the UI (27)

In the coming months, with the help of our mentees, we have outlined a project for them to work on that will continue making basic improvements to the project, and add functionality to search for open source packages on z/OS (with an accompanying JSON file).

We’re also looking into the possibility of developing a simple API for searching, as an alternative to the website interface. Finally, we hope to implement a CI/CD pipeline for the project that will allow us to test commits and deploy new versions of the tool as our development progresses.

2021 is really shaping up to be a great year for the Software Discovery Tool. We’d love to have you join us, whether it’s development efforts you can help with, or feedback as to what you’d like to see included in the tool.

Learn more about the project here and on GitHub, and join us on the mailing list for latest project updates and meeting announcements.