Skip to main content
Version: v1.23.x LTS

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Check out the following FAQs to learn more about the purpose and function of Zowe™.

Zowe FAQ#

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 modern users. These interfaces include a new web graphical user interface, a script-able command-line interface, extensions to existing REST APIs, and new REST APIs on z/OS.

Who is the target audience for using Zowe?#

Zowe technology can be used by a variety of mainframe IT and non-IT professionals. The target audience is primarily application developers and system programmers, but the Zowe Application Framework 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. Zowe CLI and Desktop are written in TypeScript. ZSS is written in C, while the cross memory server is written in metal C.

What is the licensing for Zowe?#

Zowe source code is licensed under EPL2.0. For license text click here and for additional information click here.

In the simplest terms (taken from the FAQs above) - "...if you have modified 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 and innovation, and also let the community share new source code across the Zowe ecosystem. The open source code can be used by anyone, provided that 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 Desktop (web user interface) can be used in many ways, such as to provide custom graphical dashboards that monitor data for z/OS products and applications.

Zowe CLI can also be used in many ways, such as for simple job submission, data set manipulation, or for writing complex scripts for use in mainframe-based DevOps pipelines.

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

To install the complete Zowe solution, see Installing Zowe.

To get up and running with the Zowe CLI component quickly, see Zowe CLI quick start.

What are the prerequisites for Zowe?#

Prerequisites vary by component used, but in most cases the primary prerequisites are Java and NodeJS on z/OS and the z/OS Management Facility enabled and configured. For a complete list of software requirements listed by component, see System requirements for z/OS components and System requirements for Zowe CLI.

What's the difference between using Zowe with or without Docker?#

Technical Preview

Docker is a download option for Zowe that allows you to run certain Zowe server components outside of z/OS. The Docker image contains the Zowe components that do not have the requirement of having to run on z/OS: The App server, API Mediation Layer, and the USS/MVS/JES Explorers.

Configurating components with Docker is similar to the procedures you would follow without Docker, however tasks such as installation and running with Docker are a bit different, as these tasks become Linux oriented, rather than utilizing Jobs and STCs.

NOTE: z/OS is still required when using the Docker image. Depending on which components of Zowe you use, you'll still need to set up z/OS Management Facility as well as Zowe's ZSS and Cross memory servers.

Is the Zowe CLI packaged within the Zowe Docker download?#

Technical Preview

At this time, the Docker image referred to in this documentation contains only Zowe server components. It is possible to make a Docker image that contains the Zowe CLI, so additional Zowe content, such as the CLI, may have Docker as a distribution option later.

If you are interested in improvements such as this one, please be sure to express that interest to the Zowe community!

Does ZOWE support z/OS ZIIP processors?#

Only the parts of Zowe that involve Java code are ZIIP enabled. The API Mediation Layer composed of the API Gateway, Discovery and Catalog servers along with any Java-based services that work with them such as the Jobs and Datasets servers are ZIIP enabled. Also, the CLI and VSCode Explorer make large use of z/OSMF, which is Java so they are ZIIP enabled as well. More details on portions of Zowe which are Java (ZIIP) enabled can be found here.

This leaves C and NodeJS code which are not ZIIP enabled, BUT, we have a tech preview available currently that allows execution of Java as well as NodeJS code, on Linux or zLinux via Docker. With the tech preview, only the C code remains on z/OS, which is not ZIIP enabled.

How is access security managed on z/OS?#

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

How is access to the Zowe open source managed?#

The source code for Zowe is maintained on an Open Mainframe Project GitHub server. Everyone has read access. "Committers" on the project have authority to alter the source code to make fixes or enhancements. A list of Committers is documented in Committers to the Zowe project.

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, then contribute to future development.

For more information about emailing lists, community calendar, meeting minutes, and more, see the Zowe Community GitHub repo.

For information and tutorials about extending Zowe with a new plug-in or application, see Extending on Zowe Docs.

When will Zowe be completed?#

Zowe will continue to evolve in the coming years based on new ideas and new contributions from a growing community.

Can I try Zowe without a z/OS instance?#

IBM has contributed a free hands-on tutorial for Zowe. Visit the Zowe Tutorial page to learn about adding new applications to the Zowe Desktop and and how to enable communication with other Zowe components.

The Zowe community is also currently working to provide a vendor-neutral site for an open z/OS build and sandbox environment.

Zowe is also compatible with IBM z/OSMF Lite for non-production use. For more information, see Configuring z/OSMF Lite on Zowe Docs.


Why might I use Zowe CLI versus a traditional ISPF interface to perform mainframe tasks?#

For developers new to the mainframe, command-line interfaces might be more familiar than an ISPF interface. Zowe CLI lets developers be productive from day-one by using familiar tools. Zowe CLI also lets developers write scripts that automate a sequence of mainframe actions. The scripts can then be executed from off-platform automation tools such as Jenkins automation server, or manually during development.

With what tools is Zowe CLI compatible?#

Zowe CLI is very flexible; developers can integrate with modern tools that work best for them. It can work in conjunction with popular build and testing tools such as Gulp, Gradle, Mocha, and Junit. Zowe CLI runs on a variety of operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Linux. Zowe CLI scripts can be abstracted into automation tools such as Jenkins and TravisCI.

Where can I use the CLI?#

Usage ScenarioExample
Interactive use, in a command prompt or bash terminal.Perform one-off tasks such as submitting a batch job.
Interactive use, in an IDE terminalDownload a data set, make local changes in your editor, then upload the changed dataset back to the mainframe.
Scripting, to simplify repetitive tasksWrite a shell script that submits a job, waits for the job to complete, then returns the output.
Scripting, for use in automated pipelinesAdd a script to your Jenkins (or other automation tool) pipeline to move artifacts from a mainframe development system to a test system.

Which method should I use to install Zowe CLI?#

You can install Zowe CLI using the following methods:

  • Local package installation: The local package method lets you install Zowe CLI from a zipped file that contains the core application and all plug-ins. When you use the local package method, you can install Zowe CLI in an offline environment. We recommend that you download the package and distribute it internally if your site does not have internet access.

  • Online NPM registry: The online NPM (Node Package Manager) registry method unpacks all of the files that are necessary to install Zowe CLI using the command line. When you use the online registry method, you need an internet connection to install Zowe CLI

How can I get help with using Zowe CLI?#

  • You can get help for any command, action, or option in Zowe CLI by issuing the command 'zowe --help'.
  • For information about the available commands in Zowe CLI, see Command Groups.
  • If you have questions, the Zowe Slack space is the place to ask our community!

How can I use Zowe CLI to automate mainframe actions?#

  • You can automate a sequence of Zowe CLI commands by writing bash scripts. You can then run your scripts in an automation server such as Jenkins. For example, you might write a script that moves your Cobol code to a mainframe test system before another script runs the automated tests.
  • Zowe CLI lets you manipulate data sets, submit jobs, provision test environments, and interact with mainframe systems and source control management, all of which can help you develop robust continuous integration/delivery.

How can I contribute to Zowe CLI?#

As a developer, you can extend Zowe CLI in the following ways:

  • Build a plug-in for Zowe CLI

  • Contribute code to the core Zowe CLI

  • Fix bugs in Zowe CLI or plug-in code, submit enhancement requests via GitHub issues, and raise your ideas with the community in Slack.

    Note: For more information, see Developing for Zowe CLI.

Zowe Explorer FAQ#

Why might I use Zowe Explorer versus a traditional ISPF interface to perform mainframe tasks?#

The Zowe Explorer VSCode extension provides developers new to the mainframe with a modern UI, allowing you to access and work with the data set, USS, and job functionalities in a fast and streamlined manner. In addition, Zowe Explorer enables you to work with Zowe CLI profiles and issue TSO/MVS commands.

How can I get started with Zowe Explorer?#

First of all, make sure you fulfill the following Zowe Explorer software requirements:

  • Get access to z/OSMF.
  • Install Node.js v8.0 or later.
  • Install VSCode.
  • Configure TSO/E address space services, z/OS data set, file REST interface, and z/OS jobs REST interface. For more information, see z/OS Requirements.

Once the software requirements are fulfilled, create a Zowe Explorer profile.

Follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the explorer tree.
  2. Click the + button next to the DATA SETS, USS, or JOBS bar.
  3. Select the Create a New Connection to z/OS option.
  4. Follow the instructions, and enter all required information to complete the profile creation.

You can also watch Getting Started with Zowe Explorer to understand how to use the basic features of the extension.

Where can I use Zowe Explorer?#

You can use Zowe Explorer either in VSCode or in Theia. For more information about Zowe Explorer in Theia, see the Theia Readme.

How do I get help with using Zowe Explorer?#

How can I use Secure Credential Store with Zowe Explorer?#

Activate the Secure Credential Store plug-in in Zowe Explorer.

Follow these steps:

  1. Open Zowe Explorer.
  2. Navigate to the VSCode settings.
  3. Open Zowe Explorer Settings.
  4. Add the Zowe-Plugin value to the Zowe Security: Credential Key entry field.
  5. Restart VSCode.
  6. Create a profile.

Your Zowe Explorer credentials are now stored securely.

For more information, see the Enabling Secure Credential Store page.

How can I use FTP as my back-end service for Zowe Explorer?#

Check out the GitHub article about the FTP extension with the information on how to build, install, and use FTP as your back-end service for working with Unix files.

How can I contribute to Zowe Explorer?#

As a developer, you may contribute to Zowe Explorer in the following ways:

  • Build a Zowe Explorer extension.

  • Contribute code to core Zowe Explorer.

  • Fix bugs in Zowe Explorer, submit enhancement requests via GitHub issues, and raise your ideas with the community in Slack.

    Note: For more information, see Extending Zowe Explorer.