by Brenda J. Christie with Eloy O. Cruz-Bizet
I recently came across a blog piece on Stack Exchange that was trying to explain (from a non-IBM Mainframe point of view of course) why young programmers aren't attracted to mainframe technologies. The usual reasons came up:
- Mainframes aren't sexy
- I'll never conquer the world working on a mainframe
- No simulator like something you could load onto a virtual machine
- If you start working on a mainframe that is all you ever will do
Some of these assertions are, of course, made out of ignorance. For example, an Open Source mainframe-like emulator named Hercules, runs under Windows, Linux, Solaris, just to name a few operating platforms. And it simulates System 370, ESA/390 and the 64-bit zArchitecture. The Hercules simulator, for example, allows a PC to create code similar to that you would code on an actual mainframe. PC's are affordable development platforms to consumers and by extension to software developers. A mainframe on the other hand, whose cost starts just short of millions of dollars is usually only purchased by large organizations. As a new feature on "IT through the Prism of Time,” I have provided a navigation link, above, to a list of organizations using mainframe computers. If you would like to see who they are, please click here or click the navigation link above. For a clear idea of the how a Virtual Machine works, and why it would be used, as well as its history, click here. Other than who owns a mainframe, the prospect of working in a mainframe-like environment using a PC excites me.