AS400 Tutorials

IBM to Spin off i?

October 1st, 2014 by John Andersen

Dear IBM i Pro,

I’m sure you noticed the recent sale of the IBM x86 server business to Lenovo.

And it’s got me wondering: what if IBM sold off the i platform?

Impossible? Hardly … these transitions happen.

For instance, did you know that Xerox isn’t a copier company anymore … they’ve turned the business around by doing outsourced billing and payment services.

Doesn’t it seem incredible for THE company that invented the term to make a Xerox copy, to not be in the copy business anymore? (Yes, you can still buy a Xerox copier, but that’s not what has been driving the company).

As someone who started out in the Wintel world … I had a “come to jesus” moment when I started using the AS/400.

I’ll be honest — I “thought” it was a crappy mainframe.

Boy wsa I wrong when then I discovered the IBM i is:

… a system that never ever crashes
… a robust database that works
… programming languages that are simple to learn and use
… one box that can take the place of a cluster of Wintel machines

And I hate to see the utter failure by IBM to really promote the platform.

It seems they can’t attract the next generation of programmers and people solving business problems.

When I used to go to an Infor conference, I would joke about being the youngest guy in the room (in my 20’s at the time).

Once I even tried to start a users group, and I couldn’t even get the local IBM partner interested at all … I guess business was booming and they were too busy makingĀ  money while drinking Merlot and lighting cigars with stacks of $100 bills.

What’s more, it seems like all IBM can do is lumber along and sell to existing customers, instead of really grow the install base.

On the other hand, maybe it would be good for someone else to take the reins.

Let someone that might actually give a damn take charge.

I’m not saying their aren’t people who work for the company that don’t care, it’s obvious there are.

Mike Cain’s blog on database and SQL enhancements is great.

And the i user community is committed and downright passionate, maybe even slightly rabid. And that’s great!

But it seems like IBM operates like a typical huge bureaucracy. It’s almost impossible to find out what’s going on with our beloved i platform that doesn’t come from a third party source.

And they’ve made dumb moves. Like when they tried to cram crappy Java down our throats… or when they showed up waaaaaay late to the PHP party.

Maybe major change would be good. Get things stirred up a bit.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.

My Best,
-John Andersen

P.S. If you want to know more about working with the IBM i database, then check this out.

Tags: 2 Comments

2 responses so far ↓

  • Hi, John! You wrote:

    > programming languages that are simple to learn and use

    How’s that? Which programming languages? I’m starting to learn RPG, and it’s not simple to learn! Am I missing something?

    Thanks in advance! By the way, your videos are great!

  • @Ed

    That’s based on my experience… I came from C, C++ and VB, and found that RPG IV (even RPG III) to be much easier.

    It depends on what your trying to accomplish too, I think. I started by writing reports (with AND without RLU) that couldn’t be done in Query … then once I got comfortable expanded into writing screens, subfiles, RPG /free and embedded SQL.