Please note I have no connection with lzlabs, other than I know some people who 
work there from other things I have dabbled in....

1) On that note its worth doing a LinkedIn search and seeing who say they work 
for LZLABS. I notice a couple I know from the Hercules that I didn't know 
worked there, plus  Laurence Wilkinson who built an FPGA 360/30 clone, so folks 
how have been down the battle field with IBM and know a little bit about 

2) The approach isn't totally new or original. The original Don Higgins MS-DOS 
IBM 370 Assembler and Emulator took a similar approach, emulating the hardware 
for the problem state code and implementing the SVC's as shims in X86 code that 
call the MS-DOS APIs. This is still downloadable freeware. Then there was the 
MicroFocus Cobol which evolved from this. More recently Don wrote the Z390 Java 
emulator, which provides support for a number API's including parts of CICS and 
some access methods. This product continues to be available at 
although Don no longer takes an active part in working on the project.

In fact its a bit like SVC's in VM/370. The code which handles them is very 
different to that in the OS world, but the code still runs....

3) I always thought the LE API's were, like most IBM mainframe backwards 
compatible. So if they changed in a way which would break code running on the 
LzLabs software defined mainframe, they would break the same code on a real 

4) Of course the challenge is to have an emulation which is both accurate and 
complete. Oh and of course is cheap enough to be cost effective. If we are 
talking legacy code, then LE is possibly irrelevant and its basic access 
methods such as QSAM and VSAM that would be critical. Also how do you provide 
RACF protection. What really is the scope of this project. Of course this sort 
of question probably won't get answered because the journalists don't know 
enough to ask it. I wonder if the current testing phase is also about defining 
the scope needed.

Dave Wade

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