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Q. What is the CBT tape?

A. The CBT tape is a collection of freeware almost all open-source distribution for the IBM mainframe MVS and OS/390 operating system environment.

Q. What does CBT stand for?

A.  This tape was established and previously edited for over 15 years, from Version 1 through Version 321 by Arnold Casinghino who worked at Connecticut Bank and Trust Company (CBT). 

Arnold Casinghino   The Connecticut Bank & Turst Co.  == CBT 

The CBT Tape is now being edited by Sam Golob. Our plan is to keep the initials "CBT" even though this tape is no longer supported at the Connecticut Bank and Trust Company, because those initials reflect how the tape should be properly and accurately referred to. For now, I'm calling it the "CBT" MVS Utilities Tape without the initials CBT meaning anything special.  Various acronyms have been proposed including "Casinghino's Big Tape" but none yet accepted. Smile!

Q. What is a tape?

A. There are many kinds of magnetic media.   IBM Mainframe magnetic data tapes have long been the home of the CBT Tape because this was the format used to store large amounts of information off-line and to move it from site to site.  Today the CBT Tape is distributed in the real world on 3480 IDRC compressed cartridges as this is the current lowest common denominator we cater to.  3480(s) w/IDRC can be read on 3480 or 3490 drives and most shops have at least one of these.  A 3480 tape looks like this

3480 tape cartridge 


Q. Why do you still create tapes?

A. The CBT Tape is still distributed and released using a version system on tape for several reasons.   Some shops still do not allow users to upload to the mainframe from the PC or to download from the internet.  The "release" of a tape provides a consistent reference for everyone around the world.  If you are told that utility xyz from file 555 will solve your problem and it was added at CBT tape V421 then you instantly know if you have it and where to get it. The tape/version distribution provides persistence that a simple on-line download area does not.  The tape is copied (usually several thousand of any given version are circulated worldwide) and distributed widely so that it is unlikely it would ever be completely lost if something were to happen to the the people who are currently maintaining the tape and the web site.   The tape format along with a system we use for making updates allows us to master a new tape at a friendly site using limited DASD. Lastly despite the growth of the internet not everyone has a big, fat pipe to internet and so the biggest bandwidth is still on the back of a Chevy Truck i.e. CTAM  (we now also us the more up to date PTAM or Plane Transport Access Method).Happy smiley face thinking about hundreds of CBT tapes flying to you:-) 

Q. I got a 3480 tape at a user group or by mail now how do I unload the files?

A. The tape is NL. File 1 is a sequential file of documentation that describes the tape contents. File 3 is sample JCL which can be used to unload an individual file or the whole tape. The DCB information is normally printed on the label and also listed below along with a sample job to unload File 1 or File 3. The remaining files on the tape are in several standard formats which the JCL in File 3 will show you how to unload.

// VOL=SER=CBTxxx,LABEL=(n,NL,EXPDT=98000)
//SYSUT2 DD DSN=userid.CBT422.FILEn,
// SPACE=(TRK,(5,5),RLSE),


Q. Help!  I found just what I want but I am getting a strange error,

A. If you are having trouble downloading files review our download tips.


Q. Is the CBT Tape compatible with the latest IBM operating systems like z/OS 1.1, OS/390 R10, etc. ?

A. It depends. The tools on the tape are all contributed by and maintained by individuals.  The most popular tools are often those frequently updated by the authors to be compatible with the latest releases.  Also well written code often runs for years without any modification and there is a lot of good code to be found here. Most of the files contain documentation about the releases on which tools have been built or tested and those they are intended to support.  Read the documentation,  review any particular piece of freeware for fitness for use in your environment and remember that all the software on this website and on the freeware tapes is covered by a disclaimer. If you update something for compatibility or exploitation of a new operating system release please share your changes with the author and with us if you cannot reach them.


Q. How can I get my cool stuff on the CBT tape?

A. You can find out here how to contribute to the tape.


Q. Is there any legalese I needed read?

A. The software on this site is contributed by others and shared for the public good.  It may not work in all environments or anywhere.   Be careful, test, enjoy and remember that everything on this site is subject to a disclaimer


Q. So the software here is really free?

A. Yes.   


Q. Does this site have a privacy policy? 

A. Yes.  You can read the privacy policy


Q.  Can anyone get my email or IP address if I download files here?

A. No.  You can read the privacy policy but in summary we only keep logs for system debugging and our own curiosity about which files are downloaded most frequently so we can help make the site easier to use.  We do not provide email or IP addresses to anyone and they are not available for sale.


Q. So you are sure the software here is free.  I don't need a license or something?

A. Yes it's free.  No you don't need license.   Some people have trouble understanding why so many great programmers just give away their work to help others.  Let my freind Mike explain.

USER FRIENDLY Comic on Open Source 


Q.  I can't download or would prefer to have the whole archive. Can I get a real CBT Tape?

A. Yes.  You can read the HOWTO order a real CBT Tape here.


Q.  I can't download or would prefer to have the whole archive. Can I get a CD-ROM?

A. Yes.  You can read the HOWTO order a CD-ROM here.


Q. This FAQ is awfully short.  Where else can I find information?

A. Yes. We will add to the FAQ as time goes on.  File 1 of the CBT tape has a great deal of advice on getting started with this collection in addition to including a detailed index of the CBT file collection.

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