Why do I need an additional and separate PTF?
This past week, there was some questions from some IBM i users about why, after installing TR7, RPG free-form support was missing.
The underlying support for free format RPG was made available via the 7.1 RPG Compiler (5770WDS) PTF SI51094 (or any PTF that supersedes SI51094). This PTF will be included on the next cumulative PTF for 7.1 If you are using embedded SQL support for ILE RPG, you also need to have the IBM DB2 PTF Group SF99701 Level 26 (or later) installed.
To help understand what’s going on, let’s review the process that IBM uses to deliver new function for 7.1.
Technology refreshes were introduced with the 7.1 release as a way to deliver new function without requiring a modification release. In the past, when IBM needed to deliver new function that required significant Licensed Internal Code (LIC) changes, it would be in the form of a modification release (e.g., V5R4M5 or 6.1.1). It was actually quite a lot of work for IBM to deliver function with modification releases and it was also challenging for clients to adopt them due to it being a release upgrade.
The introduction of technology refreshes provided a way to deliver function to support new hardware, firmware and virtualization capabilities without requiring a new release or a new modification release.
In the strictest sense, a technology refresh is simply a bunch of LIC PTFs delivered as a special group PTF. A technology refresh does not include the latest database enhancements, the latest work management enhancements, the latest performance tools enhancements, or any other non-LIC enhancement. It is just LIC PTFs for hardware, firmware or virtualization enhancements.
For full operating system support, you’ll need to get the latest group PTFs – the cumulative PTF, the DB Group PTF, the Performance Tools Group PTF, etc… (Read the blog SF99711 about the PTF group of PTF groups.)
What is probably confusing to many is the fact that IBM announces IBM i content twice a year and the technology refreshes are an important part of those announcements. While the technology refreshes are part of that announcement content, there are many additional enhancements that are announced at the same time and delivered to clients at the same time. Yet many of these enhancements are not actually part of the technology refresh itself. You need to acquire the other PTFs (often delivered in the latest PTF groups) to get the latest enhancements.
Bundling all of these enhancements with the announcement gives more visibility to the enhancements. IBM i content is always included in the major IBM announcements, but it may cause a bit of confusion since the technology refresh often seems to be a key message. It may seem that IBM implies that all the latest enhancements are part of the technology refresh, but the reality is they are not.
Here are some additional references for the RPG free form support:
- • Tim Rowe wrote about the RPG free form support last fall in the article RPG, RDi Free-Format Support Reach GA.
- • The article Free-form RPG Support on IBM i, published on the IBM i developerWorks site, begins with the statement, “RPG programming on IBM i was greatly improved on IBM i 7.1 in the Technology Refresh 7 (TR7) time frame.”
- • New with IBM i 7.1 TR 7 - Free-form H, F, D and P statements for RPG
- • Additional Free form RPG & Embedded SQL
Hopefully after reading this blog, you have a better understanding what a technology refresh is as well as how IBM delivers enhancements to the 7.1 release.