Friday, May 13, 2011

I Use the Ib'm i

It seems that I've been forever reading blog, forums, articles, and tweets arguing one way or the other about what to call the latest incarnation of the pantheon that we all worship. It's gotten so bad that Cardinal Klement had to write an encyclical to set some ground rules as to the proper terminology. I've been watching this argument go on and on and on with no end in sight and I don't for a minute think that this blog post will put an end to the oodles of disk storage dedicated to its living spirit, but I do hope that this story might have some bearing on it.

For years I was in the AS/400 camp. Meaning I was pissed off at our lord Ib'm for continually re-naming its liturgy and the damage it was continually causing to the AS/400 brand. That is, until I had a conversation with someone outside of our rarefied community. When he asked me what platform I worked on I told him it was the "Ib'm i". When he inevitably asked "what's that?" I told him it used to be called the AS/400. To which he asked: "Wasn't that the dinosaur platform that was supposed to be dead or dying?" I realized at that moment that the AS/400 brand was dead and it was never coming back. The whole world believes that the AS/400 is an old out-dated platform that is slowly withering away, like the HP 3000, or the DEC VAX.

Yes, I know they're wrong, but in a way they're also right, because while the AS/400 platform is alive and well, it's the AS/400 brand that is a dead-end. It belongs to the world of 5250 terminals, Twin-axial cables, Token-Ring networks, SNA, and SNADS. A world dominated by libraries, physical & logical files, OPM, RPG-III, CLP, EPM-C, SEU, SDA, RLU, out-files, and Net.Data.

Today there's a bright and shiny new brand that our lord Ib'm calls the "Power Systems running i", but since that's too much of a mouthful I like to use the much simplified version "Ib'm i". It belongs to a new world of PC clients, CAT5 cables, Ethernet & WiFi networks, TCP/IP, FTP, Apache, and NetServer. A world dominated by directories, relational databases (tables, indexes, views, triggers, constraints, etc.), SQL, ILE RPG (free-format), ILE CL, ILE C, C++, Java, API's, QSH, PASE, Eclipse, Rational, WebServices, XML, and PHP.

We're on the cusp of a new dawn and if we play our cards right it will flower into a beautiful meadow. When the outside world is invited to sees how wonderful it really is they don't need to be reminded of the dusty over grown field behind them that was repeatedly sown with salt. I'm never going to say to anyone again that I work on an AS/400 and I encourage everyone who reads this to do the same. The "Power Systems running i" or "Ib'm i" is the platform I use.

Say it with me now: "I used to use the AS/400, yes that old dinosaur. It's true; it's gone, but it's been replaced by something better, something called the Ib'm i." Amen.


  1. Hello Joe,

    I'm with a software private equity firm making investments in the iSeries space.

    Perhaps we can work together to source some deals?

    The company is Avantce.

    Mac Strong

  2. Would love to join your site - but Google Friends keeps erroring out

  3. Grace - Redemption and Peace!
    Welcome to the blog: