Talk:IBM mainframe utility programs

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I re-arranged this article a bit today.

  • moved ICKDSF into the "System Utilities" category. There seemed no reason to give this one its own category, especially as it is a rather obscure utility.
  • moved IDCAMS into the "Dataset Utilities" category. There seemed no point to having a special category for VSAM utilities, when this is the only item in the category. And labeling it 'VSAM' isn't accurate: it isn't just for VSAM files; it works fine for non-VSAM datasets also. T-bonham (talk) 09:42, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Did some more changes today.

I added a prologue giving a bit of history on these utilities, and including a list of the common DDs used in them.
Then I removed information about these DDs, that was duplicated in the section for each utility. I only left info that was different & specific to a utility.
I also removed stuff that was just common JCL info, such as statements that EXEC stepnames could be any name, or that DDs could be in any order within a step. This stuff is already covered in the article on Job Control Language.
Also some minor reformatting like making use of Wiki lists, and putting all the examples in < pre > boxes. T-bonham (talk) 08:39, 5 March 2008 (UTC)


I removed IEFBR15 from this page yesterday. Despite its name, it isn't an IBM utility program, any more than the ISPF PDS-compression hack that was generally known as "IKJJB007" was part of TSO. Somebody just named it that way. Tcb restored it today, saying "IEFBR15 is utility program. It doesn't shipped by IBM but it can be compiled and used on IBM mainframe system." By that logic, every assembler program ever written is a utility program, but as any old-time sysprog can tell you, there was a specific list (which reminds me, I need to add IEHDASDR and the others).

This article is about the MVS utility programs - it's called IBM mainframe utility programs and it starts "IBM Mainframe Utility Programs are supplied with IBM mainframe operating systems such as MVS to carry out various tasks associated with datasets etc." - and IEFBR15 isn't one of them. So I've removed the IEFBR15 entry again, and it should stay gone. It still has it's own page, at (of course!) IEFBR15. RossPatterson 01:01, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Use of SORT/MERGE utility (in JCL)[edit]

Deleted. Wikipedia is not a tutorial board.T-bonham (talk) 00:27, 19 March 2008 (UTC)


I added a divider before the linker & COBOL compiler sections, to clarify that these are not utilities supplied with the OS. I called them "support programs"; not sure if that is the best wording. Any suggestions?

Also, I made a few changes in those items:

  • Clarified that the linker works with an object deck from any language, not just COBOL.
  • Clarified that this is just the current COBOL compiler, there have been many others over the years.

T-bonham 02:55, 18 March 2007 (UTC)


The previous version seemed to imply that IEBUPDTE came from the UNIX patch utility. Which is ridiculous, since that was written 20 years after IEBUPDTE! So I rewrote it to clarify that. Also fixed the link to go directly to UNIX patch instead of UNIX in general. T-bonham 00:36, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

The comparison to patch is still misleading, because IEBUPDTE uses line numbers to establish context rather than matching substrings of the text; patch can't do what IEBUPDTE does and IEBUPDTE can't do what patch does.
Another point of confusion is the name. The reason for the peculiar abbreviation is that an older utility had the name IEBUPDAT and coexisted with IEBUPDTE.
Finally, some examples of the control input would greatly clarify the article. Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 18:13, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

There was more than on IBM mainframe and there's more than one IBM mainframe operating system[edit]

The title of this article is too general for its topic; there have been several unrelated IBM mainframes and on the current product line there are several unrelated operating systems. I propose changing the title to MVS utility programs and service aids. Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 20:24, 20 September 2010 (UTC)


The description of IEBIMAGE confused special cases with general traits. Load modules are not images, although images can be stored in load modules. IEBEDIT supports more than the 3800, and it generates more types of images than just bit maps. See IBM (2007). z/OS V1R8.0-V1R9.0 DFSMSdfp Utilities. SC26-7414-04.  Unknown parameter |separator= ignored (help) for details. Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 18:02, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

Possibly not vandalism[edit]

The line containing INREC and OUTREC may have been a disrupted edit rather than deliberate vandalism. Those two statements define remappings of the sort input and output, and the author may have intended describing them. If that is the case, would it have been TMI had he added a complete description? Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 21:16, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

Prefix origin(s)[edit]

I have long wondered about the three-letter prefixes used by (almost) all of these utilities. The set of folklore and urban-legend explanations that I've heard since the 1970s is large and self-contradictory. If anyone could add a section documenting the origin(s) of IEB, IEF, IEH, etc. -- with reasonably-authoritative references, please! -- that would be appreciated. (talk) 01:22, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

The OS/360 Messages and Codes manual, and equivalents for OS/VS and later replacements, included a table of prefixes. There were some arcane rules as to how IBM assigned them, but IBM did not always follow its own rules, e.g., the prefix IBM. Even if it is not TMI, the description of prefixes would belong in OS/360 and successors‎, not here. Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 15:05, 24 April 2012 (UTC)


There seems to be some confusion in this article and in MVS about what DFSMS is. DFSMS started as a program product to replace Data Facility Product (DFP), and as such its DFSMSdfp component includes all of the utility programs that had been in DFP, as well as most of the access methods. The support for managed storage is a small part of DFSMS; in fact, until you configure and activate SMS DFSMS runs in a non-SMS mode essentially the same as its predecessors. Even when SMS is active, particular datasets can be non-SMS, and utilities like IEHMOVE can be used just as they were in OS/360. Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 15:21, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Service aids?[edit]

Should the article discuss IBM service aids, e,g,, AMASPZAP? While they are documented in a separate manual, they are as much utility programs as the programs documented in Utilities, and have a better claim to the title than the binder, compilers and the link editor. Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 20:10, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

User:Chatul, as you say, in IBMspeak they aren't utilities, and I guess this article is of fairly restricted interest (ah, the memories it brings back). So can argue it either way. But we're a general encyclopedia, and as superzap doesn't seem to be covered elsewhere, yes, perhaps redirect IBM mainframe service aids here and expand the article scope. Good idea. Andrewa (talk) 03:41, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

Rem unreferenced tag[edit]

Added in 2008 diff this tag seems to refer to an issue since resolved, so in accordance with Help:Maintenance template removal#When to remove I'm removing it. Andrewa (talk) 03:34, 21 February 2017 (UTC)