Free XA!

What is this?

This website is a front end for our petition to preserve the XA architecture by IBM for the mainframe enthusiast hobbyist community. If you would want to support that goal:

Please sign our petition!

Clik here to see the current list of petitioners. Below you find our petition text, for the purpose of your review:

Who we are

The undersigned of this petition are a wide-spread, diverse group of people of all walks of life who have a passion for learning, studying and using the IBM mainframe operating systems both of old and new. Many of our community members are young entrants to the field of oIT and want to learn more about mainframes and the programming languages of the mainframe, such as Cobol, PL/1, and others.

Some of our community members are IT professionals who occasionally interface with the IBM mainframe and want to learn how to efficiently connect to the IBM mainframe and work with it. Some others are people who used to work with the mainframe operating systems, databases and programming languages and miss it.

Many of us contribute to the IBM mainframe operating systems available to us (MVS 3.8, VM/370 and DOS/VS) to extend them and add new capabilities.

All of us love the amazing platform of IBM mainframe environments and are highly enthusiastic about them.

We communicate with each other thru many mailing lists, thru a Youtube video channel, thru chat channels, web sites and occasionally by meetings.

Our community work with MVS 3.8 and VM/370 so far

Over the years we have made these contributions to the MVS 3.8j and VM/370 Rel6 operating systems:

MVS 3.8j

VM/370 Rel 6

  • a ready-to-run distribution
  • Crude TCP/IP capability, including an FTP Server, an HTTP Server and mailing capability
  • Full screen editors and JES2 spool viewers
  • Added all publicly available programming languages
  • Extended the XF assembler
  • file compression
  • the APL language
  • VSAM access for the old MVT Cobol and PL/1 compilers
  • a full feature debugger for assembler
  • two C compilers
  • a Rexx interpreter
  • we revived a new VNET-type network of mainframes
  • RJE clients
  • ...
  • several ready-to-run distributions
  • Extended the XF assembler
  • file compression
  • Full screen editor and file browser
  • ported all publicly available compilers
  • VSAM support
  • ported C compilers
  • ported a Rexx interpreter
  • ported many mainframe games
  • ...

Finally, we operate community-led mainframes with hundreds of users to log in and study these environments.

What we petition for

Because MVS 3.8, VM/370 and DOS/VS are 24 bit operating system, and are limited to only 16 MB (that’s megabytes, not gigabytes) of addressable memory, which is very limiting when adding more features. For example, the open source C compiler is not able to self-build in only 16 MB of addressable memory.

Furthermore, with our ancient MVT compilers for Cobol and PL/1 (which are now 55 years old!) we can’t use important sub systems such as VSAM, VTAM and others.

We therefore respectfully petition IBM to release to the learning and enthusiast community the 31bit operating systems MVS/XA and VM/XA together with the 31bit Cobol and PL/1 compilers: VS COBOL II and the OS PL/I Optimizing Compiler Version 2

We are willing to assign one or two people from within our community to establish a dialogue with your representatives at IBM to define the limitations, rules and procedures for the use of those operating systems and respectfully ask that you enter into a dialogue with us.

The undersigned