Our top most Frequently Asked Questions
What is Zowe?

Zowe is an open source project within the Open Mainframe Project that is part of the Linux Foundation. The Zowe project provides modern software interfaces on IBM z/OS to address the needs of a variety of users. These interfaces include a new web user interface, a script-able command line interface, extensions to existing REST APIs plus new REST APIs on z/OS.

Who is the target audience for using Zowe?

Zowe technology can be used by a large variety of IT and non-IT professionals. The target audience is primarily system programmers and developers but the web user interface is the basis for developing web browser interactions with z/OS that can be used by anyone. 

What language is Zowe written in?

Zowe consists of several components. The primary languages are Java and JavaScript. 

What is the licensing for Zowe?

Zowe source code is licensed under EPL2.0. The text of the license is here: https://www.eclipse.org/org/documents/epl-2.0/EPL-2.0.txt and additional information here https://www.eclipse.org/legal/epl-2.0/faq.php. In the simplest terms (taken from the FAQs above) "if you have modify EPL-2.0 licensed source code and you distribute that code or binaries built from that code outside your company, you must make the source code available under the EPL-2.0.

Why is Zowe licensed using EPL2.0?

The Open Mainframe Project wants to encourage adoption of the technology and foster innovation plus allow new source code to be shared across the Zowe ecosystem. The open source code can be used by anyone provided they adhere to the licensing terms. 

What are some examples of how Zowe technology might be used by z/OS products and applications?

The Zowe web user interface can be used in many ways. One example is to provide custom dashboards of monitoring data for z/OS products and applications. The command line interface can also be used in many ways ranging from simple job submission, data set manipulation or building complex scripts to use z/OS in DevOps processes. The increased capabilities of RESTful APIs on z/OS allows APIs to be used in programmable ways to interact with z/OS services. 

What is the best way to get started with Zowe?

Zowe has an convenience build that includes the open source released to date, as well as IP being considered for contribution, in an easy to install package. The convenience build can be easily installed and the Zowe capabilities seen in action. 

At time of the project announcement, what are the prerequisites for Zowe?

For the open beta the primary prerequisites is Java on z/OS and the z/OS Management Facility enabled and configured. The open beta contains the remaining software for Zowe. More detail can be found in the Download section of this website. 

How is access security managed on z/OS?

Zowe components use typical z/OS System authorization facility (SAF) calls for security. 

How will access to the Zowe open source be managed?
The source code for Zowe will be maintained on a Open Mainframe Project github server. Everyone will have read access. Just like any other open source project, there will be committers on the project that will have authority to alter the source code to make fixes or enhancements. Who earns the authority of being a committer is documented in the Zowe Charter
Will all the Zowe source code be available at the time of announce?

At announce source code for the key technologies will be made open source. Additional Zowe source code will be posted on the Open Mainframe Project github over time as contributors add content to the source code they are contributing and reorganize or refactor the code for public use. The intent is that all development will be done in the open source community in the near future and the convenience build/open beta will become obsolete. There will be a transition period while the contributing members transition from in-company development to open community development.

How do I get involved in the open source development?
The best way to get started is to join a Zowe Slack channel and/or email distribution list and begin learning about the current capabilities to then contribute to future development. 
When will Zowe be complete?
Zowe will continue to evolve in the coming years based on new ideas and new contributions from a growing community. The Zowe Leadership Committee is targeting to have a stable release, suitable for anyone to use, by the end of the year. This depends on a number of factors such as staffing and time devoted to the project by the volunteers that make up the project.
Can I try Zowe without a z/OS instance?
The Zowe community is currently working to provide a vendor neutral site for an open z/OS build and sandbox environment. In this mean time, IBM is contributing a free hands-on tutorial for Zowe. You can visit the Zowe Tutorial page and learn the process of adding new apps to the Zowe Web UI and find out how to communicate with other parts of Zowe.


There are hundreds of developers dedicated to extending Zowe - called Committers - who are focused on building a community around open source on the mainframe. The path to being a Committer is by first being a Contributor of ideas, fixes and showing your development skills. Learn how you can contribute code, ideas, and generate issues to earn your Committer status.

Learn more


Learn to install or build upon Zowe. We provide tutorials on how you can create your own Zowe applications.