Client/Server Laboratory 2

Getting hands-on experience

You may want to get some experience playing with an OS/390 system. If you work for a company that owns a S/390 you are lucky. It is probably not impossible to get access to the machine. If you are going to school, things may be more difficult.

Not many universities or colleges, not even to talk about high schools, have access to an S/390 computer. So consider this an opportunity: Since there is so little OS/390 education, your experience in this area will be very attractive in the job market.

What are your options?

1. You may contact the folks at for a public domain (free) software package called the "Hercules Emulator". This runs on a regular PC and emulates a zSeries or S/390 computer. They are able to run all S/390 operating systems including z/OS and OS/390. However, running OS/390 on this emulator without a license from IBM is quite illegal. The z/OS or OS/390 licensing agreement stipulates the kind of hardware on which the software is supposed to run (and many other things). There is no provision to run it on top of Hercules.

2. The Hercules site offers a download for the vintage 1975 OS/370 and VM/370 operating systems, which may be used without a license. This is the good news: IBM guarantees all software written since 1965 to run on todays zSeries machines. Compared to Microsoft, this is quite a difference. Most of my older Windows software will not run under Windows XP. And this is the bad news: OS/390 components like TSO and ISPF are considered very oldfashioned. Well, have a look at the 1975 versions to see something really oldfashioned.

3. The University of Northern Illinois computer science department ( teaches quite a few OS/390 related classes. They own an OS/390 system, that is used for educational purposes. Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY ( also owns a modern zSeries system and offers a comprehensive zSeries, z/OS and zLinux curriculum. They work closely together with the IBM Academic Initiative. To the best of my knowledge, (and I would very much like to know differently,) these systems and our own at Leipzig University are the only systems worldwide used exclusively for academic z/OS and OS/390 education .

4. Our own z/OS and OS/390 system at the Leipzig University Computer Science department is accessible via the internet. This is a Multiprise 3000 machine with z/OS v. 1.5, OS/390 v.2.7 and a relatively complete range of software, including DB2, CICS, and WebSphere. If you want to access this machine for educational purposes we may be able to accomodate you. Contact Dr. Paul Herrmann at

next page
back one level      home page