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Mighty Mainframe – Fireside Chat with Frank van der Wal

10. 07. 2024

Welcome to the second episode of 'Mighty Mainframe Fireside Chats.'

Frank van der Wal, IBM’s Technical Leader for Z, NCEE, recently became a LinkedIn celebrity running mainframe codeathons all over Europe and engaging with young students and experienced mainframers. I invited Frank as my latest Fireside Chat guest. 

He kindly accepted my call and hopped on to talk about open-source tools on the mainframe. You know when you meet an old friend and the conversation just keeps flowing? That’s exactly how it went with Frank. The time just seemed to fly, with the original conversation standing at over an hour in length, but for brevity’s sake we edited it down to a bit over 20 minutes. Don’t worry, we made sure to include the most important bits and pieces. Here’s an overview of what the latest episode of Fireside Chats holds in store. 

The first question was “REXX or Phyton”? I had mixed feelings about using open-source tools on the mainframe. Despite their obvious advantages, I thought they might bring havoc in an otherwise well-structured environment. Frank helped me put things in the right place, explaining that we need both traditional and open-source tools, and that the future is hybrid. 

Fireside Chat episode 2 Highlights: 

  • What is a mainframe codeathon?
  • Why open-source tools on a mainframe and do we still need tradiotional tools?
  • Is mainframe destined to become “just another platform”?




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